Who Have Looked At
Death In The Eye
Stories Of Valour
In A Foxhole
“When you're left wounded on
Afganistan's plains and
the women come out to cut up what remains,
Just roll to your rifle
and blow out your brains,
And go to your God like a soldier”
“We are not retreating. We are advancing in another direction.”
“It is fatal to enter any war without the will to win it.”
“Old soldiers never die; they just fade away.
“The soldier, above all other people, prays for peace,
for he must suffer and be the deepest wounds and scars of war.”
“May God have mercy upon my enemies, because I won't .”
“The object of war is not to die for your country but to make the other bastard die for his.
“Nobody ever defended anything successfully, there is only attack and attack and attack some more.
“Fixed fortifications are a monument to the stupidity of man."
“It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died.
Rather we should thank God that such men lived.
The Soldier stood and faced God
Which must always come to pass
He hoped his shoes were shining
Just as bright as his brass
"Step forward you Soldier,
How shall I deal with you?
Have you always turned the other cheek?
To My Church have you been true?"
"No, Lord, I guess I ain't
Because those of us who carry guns
Can't always be a saint."
I've had to work on Sundays
And at times my talk was tough,
And sometimes I've been violent,
Because the world is awfully rough.
But, I never took a penny
That wasn't mine to keep.
Though I worked a lot of overtime
When the bills got just too steep,
The Soldier squared his shoulders and said
And I never passed a cry for help
Though at times I shook with fear,
And sometimes, God forgive me,
I've wept unmanly tears.
I know I don't deserve a place
Among the people here.
They never wanted me around
Except to calm their fears.
If you've a place for me here,
Lord, It needn't be so grand,
I never expected or had too much,
But if you don't, I'll understand."
There was silence all around the throne
Where the saints had often trod
As the Soldier waited quietly,
For the judgment of his God.
"Step forward now, you Soldier,
You've borne your burden well.
Walk peacefully on Heaven's streets,
You've done your time in Hell."
| 901738 Sergeant Kanang anak Langkau SP PGB
| Thursday, January 03, 2013
|In the annals of the Malaysian Military History no one person was more decorated than Kanang anak Langkau of the Ranger Corps. He is one of the very few survivors ever conferred the "Seri Pahlawan Gagah Perkasa" whilst still alive and a "Pingat Gagah Berani". No other person has ever received two gallantry awards in the history of the Malaysian Armed Forces. No other Corps can boast of a warrior of his stature but the Ranger Corps.
In an operation in the Korbu Forest Reserve at Fort Legap on the 1st June 1979 whilst on a mission tracking the enemy, Sgt Kanang's group came across a temporary enemy resting camp. Sergeant Kanag ak Langkau from the 8th Battalion Royal Rangers immediatedly launched an attack on that enemy camp, an enemy that far outnumbered Kanang's group. In this fierce contact with the enemy, two of the Rangers went down, mortally wounded. Five of the enemy were killed, enemy equipment too were captured. He was conferred the highest gallantry award, the "Pingat Gagah Berani" by his Majesty the King.
In another operation, which was a follow up on an enemy ambush on a section of soldiers from the 20th Battalion Royal Malay Regiment at Ladang Kinding, Sungei Siput, Perak, 8th Battalion Royal Rangers was tasked to conduct the follow up. One of the follow up groups was commanded by Sergeant Kanang ak Langkau. Sergeant Kanang who was a skilled tracker managed to track down the enemy. He made contact with the enemy, several of his soldiers were wounded. Even after experiencing casualties, his morale and the indomitable fighting spirit of the Ranger Corps within him remained high.
901378 Sarjan Kanang Anak Langkau was leading the Unit Combat Intelligence Platoon of 8th Battalion Royal Rangers(now known as 8th Paras). This platoon was tasked to track down and destroy a group of communist terrorists who were present in the operational area. Who awhile ago shot dead one soldier in the Tanah Hitam area of Perak on the 8th February 1980.
The tracking skills and his courage led him successfully to followup on the enemy. The lay of the land at that time was an obstacle as they were in very difficult terrain. The enemy was cunning and skillfull in the use of the ground to their advantage. They were very adept at concealment, with the years piled on fighting the British and the Malaysians.
The tactics used by the enemy to throw off Kanang and his group off their trail was never ending. Due to the courage of Kanang and his tracking skills the Rangers managed to keep up with the enemy.Even as some of his men were disheartened, he kept their morale up by encoraging them. This dogged pursuit and tracking of the enemy took 11 days !
Since the death of the soldier 11 days he managed to doggedly track and identify the enemy's exact route of escape. On the evening of 19th February 1980 at around 1500 hours in the afternoon, after conducting a recconnaisance with great caution and care, his platoon mananged to estimate the location of the enemy, which was located not very far from their location.
Actually they were inside the location of the enemy, as they were at the foot of the hill. They only realised that they were inside the enemy's location when they found a communictions cord from the enemy sentry's location. This cord was running from the sentry's location to the enemy's main force. This cord is normally attached to a small bush or empty cans which make noise when pulled. This way the main force can be alerted by the sentry when an enemy approaches.
At that moment Sergeant Kanang was approximately 8 meters from the enemy sentry's location. Realising that, he launched the assault towards the right by firing towards the right of the enemy along with his platoon. After lauching the attack to the right, it suddenly struck everyone that the enemy's main force was on the left, below the slope of the hill. Without losing his senses, he switched the direction of fire to the left, at the same time changing the direction of the assault to the left.
They ploughed into the enemy, a large force of the enemy managed to escape. The platoon and Kanang on that day managed to bag five Communist Terrorists on that day. Even with that success, they were saddened by the loss of one of their group who was killed and one more seriously wounded.Whilst trying to rescue his wounded friends, Sergeant Kanang himself was repeatedly shot, he took three rounds from the enemy into his body. The will to live and fight another day was strong, he recuperated and was back on active duty.
Kanang anak Langkau following the highest fighting traditions of the Ranger Corps was conferred the "Seri Pahlawan Gagah Perkasa" for valour in decimating the enemy on the 3rd June 1981 by his Majesty the King.
Sergeant Kanang was from Simanggang, Sarawak. He joined the service with the the Sarawak Rangers as an Iban Tracker on the 21 April 1962. He was absorbed into the Malaysian Rangers when Malaysia was proclaimed on the 16th September 1963. He left the service after 21 years of service as a Warrant Officer 1.
posted by D.Swami Gwekanandam @ 12:21 AM
| Firefight in Elizabethville, Congo – Lt Lee Ah Pow PGB of C Squadron, 2nd Reconnaissance Regiment
| Sunday, April 10, 2011
|C Squadron of the 2nd Reconnaissance Regiment was chosen the second time to be part of the Malayan Special Force (MSF). It was chosen to be on a peace keeping mission in the Congo under the auspices of the United Nations. This was in June 1962. The MSF was commanded by Brigadier Mohammed Noor bin Hajji Tamin (927). The Squadron Leader was Major Asna bin Mohamed Sutan (200004). The Second in Command was Captain J.C.Rodrigues, the Troop Leaders being Lt Tan Siew Soo of No.1 Troop, Lt Tee Bua Bian of No. 2 Troop, Lt Lee Ah Pow of No.3 Troop and 2Lt Raja Hj. Ahmad of the Rifle Troop.
C Squadron had 14 Ferret Scout cars and 101 men; the accompanying Infantry Battalion was the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Malay Regiment (2RMR) which was commanded by Lt Col I.W. Lloyd H. Jones MC (262925). They embarked to the Congo from Port Swettenham, now known as Port Klang with the SS Blatchford, to the port of Mombasa in Kenya. There, C Squadron separated from 2nd Royal Malay Regiment and flown directly to Elizabethville to act as an Independent Squadron.
<The Squadron was placed under the command of the Indian Independent Brigade Group, which was commanded by Brigadier R.S. Noronha MC (Military Cross). Other units deployed to Elizabethville were the Irish Battalion, Tunisian Battalion, Ethiopian Battalion, 2nd/5th Gurkhas, a Battalion of the Madras Regiment, a Battalion of the Rajputana Brigade which comprised of 63rd Cavalry Squadron and the 4.2 inch Heavy Mortar Company, in direct support was the Indian Airforce from Kamina. C Squadron took over duties from A Squadron of the 1st Reconnaissance Regiment, which was commanded by Major Amiruddin Al Bakri.
Elizabethville then, was the largest town in Congo. It is located in highlands surrounded by jungle. The temperatures were low and especially very cold at night. This was something not expected as every one of the Malayans expected Africa to be hot. . Elizabethville was connected to other towns by air only. To ensure that these airways were opened all the time, the UN Forces were tasked to keep the Air Port secure. The town was run in an efficient manner by the former colonial masters, the Belgians. Some destruction of basic amenities caused by two previous wars was noticeable, but they were still operable.
War broke out in Elizabethville, due to the fact that the ruler of Katanga, President M.Tshome refused to take orders from the Central Government in Leopoldville. The situation in Elizabethville was very tense. The UN laid two layers of defense around the town.
All entry points into Elizabethville were guarded by Military checkpoints; this was to ensure no one was carrying in weapons. Apart from manning checkpoints they went out on reconnaissance and fighting patrols, especially into areas considered as “No Man’s Land”. This was done to ensure that the area was clear of rebels and to dominate the ground. Sometimes they came across the Katangese soldiers; these instances just raised the tensions. C Squadron’s troops frequently went on patrols supporting the Infantry Troops of the various nations involved in the peace keeping effort. Sometimes they went on independent patrols when the situation arose due to uncertainty in some areas.
The Officers frequently attended “Officers day” which were study periods organized by the troops of various nations to study one another’s operational procedures to enhance inter operability amongst them. The Troop’s of C Squadron, 2nd Reconnaissance Regiment were frequently rotated with other troops and various places, their duration per rotation was approximately about a month. The Troops were frequently rotated so as to prevent the soldiers from becoming bored or complacent in one area, due to familiarity. This way they stayed alert. No.3 Troop under the command of Lieutenant Lee Ah Pow was attached to 2nd/5th Gurkhas which was guarding the Airport in Elizabethville. On the 12th September 1962 Lt Lee Ah Pow was ordered to escort a section of the Gurkhas on a reconnaissance mission to the north of the Airport. The area was just taken over by the Gurkhas from the Rajputana Rifles of the Indian Army. That area was about 5 miles away from the Airport.
The patrol comprised of 4 Ferret Scout cars. Lt Lee himself was in the leading scout car. Cpl M. Yusof was in charge of the second scout car, the 3rd scout car was commanded by Sgt Abdul Razak and the 4th Scout car was commanded by Cpl Edward Skading. The 4 drivers involved were Trooper Lye Tuck Joo, Trooper Zainal Abidin, Trooper Sidin and Trooper M.K.Lam. They left the Airport in the morning at around 8 am escorting the Gurkhas, whose commander was Major Gupta. All the Gurkhas were mounted in two Land Rovers for this combined patrol. The Land Rovers were positioned between two scout cars in front and two more behind. They were sandwiched by the scout cars. The terrain they patrolled was flat covered by shrub and tall grass. After conducting the patrol for around 3 hours they did not find any traces of the Enemy. As they were returning Lt Lee entered a lane which led to a junction called “Martini Junction”.
After going into the lane for about a kilometer he saw 30-40 Katangese soldiers, who tried to stop them by jeering and shouting at them. At first he was not at all worried ordering them to withdraw. They did not withdraw; in fact they surrounded the patrol of 6 vehicles. The vehicles were too close and bunched up within this hostile Katangese emplacement. The Katangese soldiers were jeering and yelling at them. After a little while Cpl Edward Skading who was in the rear reported to Lt Lee that his Ferret Scout car was surrounded, he turned around to take a look, it was true. The Gurkha, Major Gupta, who surrounded too was yelling at Lieutenant Lee Ah Pow, “Do something Lieutenant! Lieutenant do something!” This Lt Lee heard distinctly over the Katangese voices. All the Gurkha soldiers had leapt off the Land Rovers and were lying in the prone position with their rifle pointing towards the Katangese.
Lt Lee ordered the Katangese to disperse, reacting to these orders from Lt Lee, the Katangese responded by opening fire in his direction. The sound of the gunfire deafening his left year temporarily. He ducked into the turret and contacted HQ, about the problem facing him. Simultaneously he relayed orders to all the Ferret Scout cars under his command to open fire with the Browning machine gun which was mounted in the turret, if the Katangese attacked them. He further gave instructions that if the Katangese were to clamber up his vehicle, they were to fire at his vehicle and to be not bothered about his safety. That this instruction be applied to all vehicles and further to conserve ammo, not to fire blindly. The Katangese continued firing at them. As all the vehicles were too close he instructed them to spread out, this was to avoid being burnt, just in case any one vehicle caught fire due to a grenade being lobbed at them. The Katangese retreated a short distance when they saw the vehicles move out and jockey into firing positions. Before that move, they were barley 20 yards from the Katangese. To get out of this tight situation they fired a short burst of automatic fire from the Browning’s at the Katangese who were firing at them. They saw the Katangese soldiers running helter skelter from their trenches. Seeing that the Katangese were fleeing he gave the orders to cease fire.
Lt Lee was cool and controlled, he was very professional and so were his men as peacekeepers. His men obeyed him to the letter, to move when told, fire when told and cease fire when told to do so, under tremendous pressure and threat to their lives. The Katangese soldiers who fled were led by a white man, believed to be a mercenary. Without wasting time they conducted a search of the area. In the abandoned trenches they found a lot of firearms and ammo that were left by the Katangese in their haste to flee from the Malayans. They, the patrol of Malayans and Gurkhas had actually by fluke had ended up in the center of a Katangese defensive position. The Katangese were too surprised and shocked. The Katangese machine gun which they found abandoned was actually aimed directly at their patrol. They were puzzled, why the Katangese had not opened up on them when they had the whole patrol in their sights. Some Katangese rocket launchers too were recovered. Two dead Katangese soldiers were recovered, which were handed over to the UN HQ. Major Gupta thanked Lieutenant Lee profusely and promised Lee that the matter would be reported to the UN HQ. After that Lieutenant Lee reported the incident to 2nd Royal Malay HQ and then to his Squadron.
When Major Asna bin Mohd Sutan heard the initial communications between Lt Lee and the rest of his Troop, on radio, he himself got “saddled” onto his command Scout car, raced with a Troop accompanying him to assist Lt Lee. When he arrived at the Airport he saw the Indian Commander Brigadier Noronha already there. Major Asna dismounted to pay his respects to him. The Brigadier queried him on the reason for him coming to the location, to which Major Asna said he was there to assist his Troop that was in a firefight. He stopped Asna from going any further; he further ticked off Major Asna by saying that, this was not a war, that they were not there to fight a war. He returned to base and was anxious about Lt Lee and his Troop. Lt Lee arrived an hour later with his 4 vehicles. Major Asna then went to UN HQ, where he was further ticked off, that the UN Peacekeepers were not supposed to project their firepower and act aggressively.
Anyway Brigadier Noronha acknowledged that the Katangese lost large amounts of equipment due to the actions of Lt Lee. The Brigadier further told Major Asna, that he as the Commander of UN Forces in that area would accept all responsibility in relation to the firefight and advised Major Asna to go back and not spread the news of the firefight around. The following day all men under the Command of The Indian Brigade were not allowed to go out. This was because President Tshombe used the two dead Katangese killed by Malayan Forces to rile against the UN. The killing was exploited for his political mileage. All papers sympathetic to him carried stories of the firefight calling it a killing by the UN Peacekeeping Force. The newspapers carried stories saying that the Katangese soldiers only wanted peace. After that incident, the hatred against UN Forces rose, especially against Malayan Troops, this hatred was strong amongst the supporters of President Tshombe. In Elizabethville the Congolese supported the actions of the Malayan Forces.
Major Asna as instructed, by Brigadier Noronha kept quiet about the incident, after a few days he received a message congratulating and thanking him for rescuing the Gurkhas on the 12 September 1962. The message especially emphasized the exemplary role played by Lt Lee and his Troop. Major Asna was further cited to recommend Lt Lee for a valor award. This acknowledgement was rewarding as before this, MSF failed in protecting the 13 Italian Airmen killed in Kindu. After this incident in Elizabethville, all the UN Forces started looking upon the MSF with respect. Two weeks after the firefight a group of Gurkhas who were unaccompanied by the MSF ran into a “jumping minefield” planted by the Katangese. Two Gurkhas were killed and four of them were wounded.
During the funeral for the two killed Gurkhas, C Squadron was honored by being given a place of honor closest to the cremation. Major Asna was placed last, which by itself was an honor to place a wreath for the two dead Gurkha soldiers. It was considered an honor according to Gurkha traditions, just before the setting of fire to the bodies.
After a few months had elapsed during a farewell for Brigadier Noronha, the Brigadier suddenly approached Lt Lee Ah Pow and asked him, “What has happened to the award for you?” To which Lt Lee replied that he did not know, as he had given the Brigadier’s letter of commendation to his OC, Major Asna, which was forwarded to the Sector Commander. To which Brigadier Noronha responded by saying, “Lieutenant Lee, if they do not respect my rank they should at least respect my white hair. I have served 36 years in the Indian army. Tomorrow come to my office, I will give you a letter, give it to your Commander”. Lt Lee did as he was told. The letter to be handed over to Lt Lee’s superiors written by Brigadier Noronha is as below:
From: Brigadier R.S. Noronha MC
Command HQ: Indian Independent Brigade Group
LIEUT. LEE AH POW, who commanded a troop of Scout Cars from C Squadron
2nd Recce MSF in support of 2nd/5th GURKHA RIFLES patrol of 12 men on the
12th September 1962 played an admirable part and showed exemplary courage
when the patrol was surrounded by about 100 armed KATANGESE
GENDARMERIE on MARTINI TRACK JUNCTION, ELIZABETHVILLE.
With a high degree of restraint and presence of mind LIEUT. LEE AH POW
deployed his troop in a position of all round defense to take on the Enemy should
they open fire, and thus provided a screen around 2nd/5th GURKHA RIFLES.
With undaunted courage and high quality of leadership he controlled his men
from opening fire until the enemy opened fire first on the patrol. Only then under
a most difficult situation knowing of the UN PEACEFUL AIM, he ordered his
troops to open fire with short bursts, in which they did and killing only two
Gendarmes and wounding one. The Enemy then dispersed leaving behind boxes
of ammunition, side arms, greatcoats and equipment. For gallantry and the
correct execution of orders and a high degree of discipline displayed in the face of
the enemy LIEUT.LEE AH POW has set a glowing example of leadership against
overwhelming odds in the eyes of the enemy and the GURKHA RIFLE
Brigadier R.S. Noronha MC
Command HQ: Indian Independent Brigade Group
Major Asna bin Sutan recommended that Lt Lee Ah Pow be bestowed with the “Pingat Gagah Berani”. The King at that time, Tuanku Syed Putra ibni Almarhum Syed Hassan Jamalullail presented the award to Lt Lee Ah Pow on the 2nd June 1964.
Lt Lee Ah Pow was born on the 9th October 1937 in Rompin, Negri Sembilan. He was the second child in a family of 6 siblings. His father Lee Seng was a contractor in a rubber estate who was married to Mesah bte Ahmad. He got his early education at the Tsung Hwa Primary School, in Bahau for 4 years and then transferred to the Anglo Chinese School in Seremban. On his own steam he joined the Boy’s Wing of the Federation Military College, in Port Dickson. He completed his education there until he became an Officer from there. His father strongly opposed his choice of career in the Army, as his father still held strongly onto old Chinese beliefs that ‘good sons do not join the army’. The factors that made him skeptical to his father’s beliefs was the situation then, the Emergency. The other strong factor was that, quite a number of his relatives were killed by the Communist Terrorists.
For two years after he joined the army his father did not speak to him. His estrangement with his father ended one Chinese New Year when he knocked on the door of his father’s house at night. Lee Ah Pow was a Regular Cadet of the 1st Intake of the FMC. He was commissioned in 1957. Even though he was commissioned in the Federation Armored Car Regiment, he was attached to 1st Royal Malay Regiment, as a Platoon Commander on operations in Gurun, Kedah. After his return from Congo he was promoted to Captain and was appointed the second in Command of B Squadron, 2nd Recce. He was involved in the fight against the Indonesians during Confrontation in Tawau, Sabah. Throughout his career he never served in any other unit apart from 2nd Recce and in Mindef.
Soon he was a very young Major decorated with a “Pingat Gagah Berani”, he was bitterly disappointed when his early orders to become the Second in Command of 2nd Recce Regiment was cancelled and another to become the Camp Commandant of 4 Brigade, too was cancelled. The cancellation was from high up as he had disobeyed orders to give preferential treatment to a particular unit*. The second posting was probably with a bad motive from the higher ups. He refused to be intimidated. With that he decided to change his Corps to the Military Police or to leave the service. In March 1971 he was absorbed into the Military Police.
While he was an Officer in the Military Police, a senior Officer was advised to leave for misappropriation of funds, scandal of supplying kangaroo meat to soldiers was discovered, resolved the end of hostilities between the youths of Kuching and the army. All these, through the efforts of Major Lee Ah Pow, who was then Deputy Provost Marshall of the 1st Infantry Division. As his chances of getting promoted to a Lieutenant Colonel grew slimmer even after numerous recommendations by the Provost Marshall, that promotion became elusive. To avoid this pressure of not going up the ladder in promotions, he decided with a heavy heart to leave the service after 20 years of dedicated and loyal service, which was done hastily.
After he left the service he and his wife Alice Tan and his 5 children had the misfortune of losing their home, which Major Lee had bought. He could not fulfill the conditions imposed by the Military Co-operative, where all the balance of the loan should be paid up before leaving the service. He left without awards or benefits as awarded to Officers who leave the service early. That was a dark spot and one of the worst moments in his life and his family’s when they were deprived of their house. He being a man of strong character and a resourceful personality, rebuilt his life and that of his family's.
*No known details.
Reference : Pahlawan, Angkatan Tentera Malaysia, Penerima S.P. dan P.G.B. Jilid 1, Syed
Othman Syed Omar, Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka, Kementerian Pendidikan
Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, 1993
posted by D.Swami Gwekanandam @ 5:34 AM
| Captain Courageous aka Mukhtiar Singh s/o Sodagar Singh by R. Nadeswaran 10th Nov 1985 from the Sunday Mail
| Monday, April 04, 2011
Born in India in 1932, he came to Malaya in 1939 to attend school and live with his grandparents, though his parents remained in Punjab. However, his education came to an abrupt end when the Japanese invaded the country in 1941. When the British came back, Mukhtiar was back at school, but not for long either. His uncle who worked as a watchman on Wilkinson Process in Batu Caves told him that the company was looking for another watchman. "You can go to school in the morning," his uncle told him, "and be a watchman at night." So he became a partime watchman and when the Emergency was declared in 1948, he and the five other watchman were recruited and given arms to protect the English owned company. " I pleaded with the police as I did not want to take the job because I wanted to continue my education, but the Kepong OCPD then, an Englishman, told me that the security of the nation was more important than my education. " So there I was, a young man of 16, given a gun and designated Special Constable," he said. Two years later, Mukhtiar received a letter from Punjab that his mother was seriously ill. By the time he got back to his village there, his mother had died. He did not want to remain in India and so two months later he was back in Malaya. "I was cycling along Ipoh Road one day when I was spotted by a Mr. Swan who was then the big man in Wilkinson Process. He wanted me to resume my old job but I refused and insisted I was going back to school. The following day, I was summoned to the OCPD's office where I was told that if I refuse to become a Special Constable, I would be drafted in national service and sent to Kulai for training. So I became a Special Constable again and three years later, the education bug bit me again.
I reported sick regularly in the hope that I would be discharged. I was sent to the hospital where Dr Latiff (the father of the former Datuk Bandar, the late Tan Sri Yaacob) examined me and told my superiors that there was nothing wrong with me. My superiors said I would be put in the guard room if I ever reported sick again," Mukhtiar said with a tinge of mischief in his eye. He accepted the fact that his future was with the police force and learnt to live with it. The following year, he was appointed Temporary Inspector and worked at various police stations. When the emergency ended in 1960, he was still a Temporary Inspector attached to the Bentong police station on a month - to- month basis.
During one of the many anti-terrorist operations, he had come to know one Ungku Nazaruddin who was then the Commanding Officer of the 4th Malay Regiment. By then, the Malaynisation of the army had taken place and the CO had become General Ungku Nazaruddin. Mukhtiar then joined the army as an instructor with the rank of sergeant and in 1966 was commissioned Second Lieutenant. When he retired in 1978 he was holding the rank of Captain.
Although the fight against the terrorists in the dense jungles took place some 30 years ago, Mukhtiar distinctly remembers every moment of his encounters with the terrorists. On one occasion he had to put down his arms and face an armed terrorist just to "show him that I meant every word I said." That was on Jan 2, 1958, when he had shot and injured Yap Keow Sin, a state committee member of the outlawed Communist Party of Malaya.
A chance encounter with a group of CTs in the jungle of Rawang resulted in a gun - battle and Yap who had a $20,000 reward on his head, shot in the arm, retreated to his camp closely pursued by Mukhtiar. The police surrounded the camp and one of them shouted to Yap to surrender. "How can I be sure that I will not be harmed if I surrender," came the voice from the camp. Mukhtiar told him that he would go in unarmed to meet him and he can officially surrender to a police officer.
"I put my gun down and walked towards the camp." Yap gave himself up and said: 'Lu Menang, Saya Kalah'. On another occasion, on Christmas Day in 1955, Mukhtiar was alone on reconnaissance in Sungei Buloh, near Kuala Lumpur, when he found himself confronted by two armed terrorists. He opened fire immediately wounding one, who escaped in the jungle. Seeing the other bring up his gun to fire, Mukhtiar opened fire agin, killing him instantly. Three hours later, the wounded terrorist, CPM district committee member Ho Keng Meng gave himself up to to labourers of Pilmoor Estate. Today,
Mukhtiar is a contented family man with children, but it was different when he married Pritam Kaur in March 1959. Four days before the wedding the headlines of an article in the straits times read: Bandit Fighter weds on Sunday and after the the marriage, the headline read: Police hero married according to sikh rites
The guest of honour was none other the then Commissioner of Police Mr CH Fenner, a great honour for a junior police officer whio was forced to put the nation before his education so that citizens like us could continue living in peace and harmony.
Click on clippings to enlarge. More to follow.
posted by D.Swami Gwekanandam @ 10:01 PM
| 901370 Trooper Sigai anak Nawan - Pingat Gagah Berani
| Wednesday, February 09, 2011
After having served 4 years in the 1st Rangers Lance Corporal Sigai anak Nawan, was posted to the 5th Brigade in Sabah doing general duties.. He continued doing this for another two years. As he felt he needed challenges he applied to join the Special Forces at the end of 1970. After successfully completing his Basic Commando and attaining the coveted Green Beret, he was posted to X Squadron of the Special Forces. His first operation as a full fledged Commando was in the jungles of the Kinta Forest Reserve in Perak. His Troop Leader was Lieutenant Yap Poh Meng (200516). This troop was ordered to assist the 4th Ranger’s which was conducting operations in the same area. This troop was tasked to support the 4th Ranger’s unit commanded by Captain Mohana Chandran a/l Velayuthan (200402) who had made contact (clashed) with the enemy (Communist Forces). They were flown in by air from Tambun Camp, in Ipoh. There were ten of them who were dropped off at the vicinity of the contact. They abseiled into the area using ropes from the helicopter.
Once on the ground they were instructed by Lt. Yap to look for the enemy and also to look out for Captain Chandran’s body, who had been killed in the contact, along with the wounded of 4th Ranger’s. They successfully found the body of Captain Chandran and the wounded of 4th Ranger’s. After that, they were extricated from that area and inserted for another operation in Bukit Condong.
After the operation in Bukit Condong whilst in Tambun camp, they had to deploy to Lasah, an area in the north of Sungei Siput. This was an unforgettable operation for Sigai anak Nawan, as that was the first time ever, he got into grips with the enemy, it was a very fierce fire fight. Two Commandos, who were his close friends died in this fight, they were 19151 Trooper Rasli bin Buang and 20677 Trooper Sharif bin Hadis who died on the way to hospital due to his wounds.
Yankee Squadron under the command of Major Ghazali @ Abdul Rahman bin Ibrahim (12264) was tasked to assist a Ranger and a Royal Malay Battalion, who were on operations in the state of Sarawak. Sigai was actually a member of X Squadron but was attached to No.5 Troop of Y Squadron which was commanded by Captain Hamid bin Kusrin for this operation. 13852 Warrant Officer 2 Johari bin Hj. Mohd Sirat was the Troop Sergeant with the Section Commanders being 14666 Sgt. Selamat bin Hj. Abd Rahman for No.1 Section, 15502 Sgt Nayan bin Tak for No.2 Section and 11292 Sgt Muhamad Taib bin Husaini for No.3 Section. Sigai was in Section No.1 which was under the command of Sergeant Selamat, he was assisted by 928519 Corporal Entabah anak Ubok, 18799 Lance Corporal Mohd Ali was in charge of the support weapons group within the section.
On the 9th of May 1972, Sigai’s Troop which was in Camp Pagar Ruyong, Sibu was deployed to Nanga Dap in a Navy boat. The Troop moved from the naval base at around 1700 hours and actually arrived at Nanga Dap at midnight. On the 10th of May 1972, they moved from Nanga Dap to Ulu Dap. After walking for around 3 hours, they came across a recently abandoned enemy camp. While they conducted a search within the abandoned camp they camp across a live chicken, which they immediately slaughtered for their next meal. They also found packs of assorted cakes strewn over the place. The enemy must have celebrated the Chinese festival of Cap Goh Mei at this location.
On the 11the May they continued tracking the enemy, when they stopped for lunch at one of the tributaries about 1 mile from “Rumah Panjang Ubong”(name of long house). Before the men went into an all round defence position, Sigai approached Captain Hamid informing him that he was going to conduct a reconnaissance around the pepper plantation which was nearby. As he went on the trail he bumped into a pile of bamboo which was laid on the track, the track was deliberately blocked. He felt that in this part of Sarawak, this bamboo piled up high was not right. Curiosity got the better of him. As he arrived at the edge of the pepper bed, he found a pineapple fruit which has just been peeled, half of it had been eaten. Seeing this he cautiously moved forward. He was closely followed by 207206 Trooper KandasamyAL Maniappan, a fellow Commando. Sigai edged forward, he was in a place where the undergrowth separated the pepper bed from another plot of unkempt rubber. Trooper Kandasamy at that moment in time had the urge to take a “leak”. As he was urinating at the foot of a rubber tree, a shot rang out. Trooper Kandasamy yelled out that he was hit. Sigai rushed to Trooper Kandasamy. Sigai realized that Kandasamy was not shot, when he neared him, the tree splinters resulting from the shot had slammed into him. The enemy had fired this one shot and fled.
Sigai handed over his SLR (Self Loading Rifle) to Trooper Kandasamy and swapped it for a Sterling Sub Machine Gun, telling Kandasamy to stay put and wait for the rest of the Troop. Alone he descended from the hillock, to climb another hill in front of him. As he was climbing the hill he heard some more shots being fired by the enemy at Trooper Kandasamy. Trooper Kandasamy was returning the fire too, towards the enemy.
As he reached the lower slope of the hill, he saw a group of Communist Terrorists who were many in a state of confusion trying to pack and leave the area in a hurry. Sigai fired at one of the enemy who was rushing towards him. That was the enemy sentry who had fired at Trooper Kandasamy. He also opened up on the rest of the enemy.
He was tense and thoughts were running wildly through his head. He completely forgot about the grenades he was carrying. Had he thought about his grenades he could have wiped out the whole lot of them as they were bunched up. Trooper Ismail came running to join Sigai in the firefight. Both of them engaged the enemy in an intense firefight. The rest of the Troop rushed down to join in the fight. They had gone to the left of the hill, the Troop failed to effectively engage the enemy as they had arrived a bit late. The enemy managed to escape. When a search of the area was conducted, one dead enemy was found. This dead enemy was the sentry who had opened fire at Kanadasamy who was taking a leak at that moment in time. He was the enemy shot dead by Sigai. Another enemy dead was found at the foot of the hill. Two weapons and a large amount of ammunition were recovered.
On the track heading toward the Long House Ubong , on the left of the hill, around 59 booby traps were recovered, these were planted in the ground, forward of the enemy’s location. The enemy did not expect the assault to swing in from the rear. Had the Troop used this approach, the casualties on the Commando side would have been many. Captain Hamid to avoid casualties called off the pursuit. They then requested the help of members of the 16th Royal Malay Regiment who were operating in the vicinity, to evacuate the bodies of the dead enemy. The two dead enemies were evacuated by a helicopter from the Royal Malaysian Air Force. Along with this evacuation Sergeant Selamat too was evacuated as he was struck with a very high fever.
At around 1500 hrs the Troop left the place to conduct a follow up. The Troop was split into 3 groups, into their respective sections. As Sergeant Selamat had been extricated, the command of Section No.1 was taken over by Corporal Entabah, Captain Hamid was with this Section. Others in this Section were Sigai, Lance Corporal Mohd. Ali, 17593 Trooper Mohd Akhir bin Jaafar, 21739 Trooper Johari bin Harun, 22958 Trooper Budin bin Laham and 22784 Trooper Mohd Noor. The Troop Sergeant, moved with the section headed by Sergeant Mohd Taib. On this follow up they came across a large enemy camp which had been abandoned late in the evening.
As it was getting late and dark Captain Hamid ordered them to base up not far from this enemy camp. On the morning of the 12th May 1972, they continued with their follow up. They followed the trail left by the enemy until late in the evening. They had by then reached the upper part of the river Dap, where they found that the enemy had split up into small groups, seen by the signs left behind.
In the morning they followed these tracks up to a hill, where Sigai found a fresh sign that the enemy had only recently passed there. He found a beaten track where the root of a tree was oozing with it’s sap. The beaten track indicated that there could have been 3 of the enemy. Sigai reported this to the Captain, who ordered them to and have their food, to regain their strength as they had not eaten for a long period. This was in the eventuality they had to fight the enemy, and they needed their strength.
Whilst some of them were cooking, Sigai reminded Captain Hamid and the rest to be on alert, as the day was the anniversary of the 13th May incident where a racial riot had occurred in Kuala Lumpur. As an Iban, Sigai had very strong beliefs pertaining to dreams he experienced. He felt strongly as the previous night he had a bad dream. After all had eaten Captain Hamid instructed Sigai to lead and follow the trail of the enemy. Sigai followed the trail he had earlier discovered. At the summit of the hill he heard loud voices. He quickly took cover behind a log which lay in his path. He was amazed and shocked to see a group of the enemy at the bottom of the hill. The enemy had assumed that the Commando Troop would not be able to track them down as there was thick undergrowth between their previous location to their current location..
He very slowly retreated to the rear and informed Corporal Entabah and Trooper Budin who were nearby, Budin was instructed to go and call Captain Hamid and the rest of the Section. Corporal Entabah and Sigai slowly retreated even further so as not to be detected by the enemy.
When Captain Hamid arrived, Sigai asked the Captain, his attack plans. Captain Hamid decided that Lance Corporal Mohd Ali, Mohd Akhir and Johari to be on the left flank with the Light Machine Gun. Corporal Entabah and Mohd Noor to be on the right flank near the river. Sigai and Budin to follow him as the assaulting force. The attack was to be conducted downhill. Sigai objected to this plan, he asked how 3 of them would be able to succeed as they did not have any heavy weapons. The Captain was armed with an AR15, Sigai was with an SLR and Budin was with a Sterling Sub Machine Gun. The Captain brushed of Sigai’s objections saying that they had an element of surprise. The rest of the cut offs at the flanks will kill off the panic stricken and fleeing enemy. Captain Hamid in his quick orders failed to think of the low ground where the LMG and group were taking up position. As that group would not be able to see the enemy and would not be able to bring effective fire to bear on the enemy.
Sigai was adamant that all of them attack from uphill, that Johari can fire his M79 directly at the enemy, with LCpl Ali’s group giving supporting fire from up hill. Captain Hamid again instructed Sigai to recon the enemy location one final time. He moved out with Budin, moving to the log across the trail where he first came upon the enemy. They counted the number of enemy located there; there were 25 of the enemy. They also saw that the enemy’s support weapon was placed facing uphill towards Sigai and group. He went back and reported to Captain Hamid, who told him that, the more enemy there is all the better for them. He too wanted to take a look by himself. He came back and Sigai asked him his decision, he wanted to follow his initial plan per his orders. So they ended up waiting for Mohd Ali and his group to take up their positions. Meanwhile all of them were anxious and getting restless waiting for the orders to start the attack. They were waiting for the two groups to take up positions. The two groups had already left for twenty minutes and still there were no orders from Captain Hamid to attack.
Meanwhile Mohd Ali and his group who were carrying the LMG, tried to edge closer to the Enemy from an adjoining smaller hill, unfortunately for them, the Enemy Sentry detected their presence. He fired in the direction of Lance Corporal Mohd Ali. LCpl Ali was hit along with the LMG , which was disabled. Sigai, Budin and Hassan were still waiting for the orders impatiently for the word ‘go’ to open fire to begin the assault. They daren’t open fire as Captain Hamid promised each of them a Court Martial if they opened fire without his orders.
He was sitting there smoking one stick of cigarette after another. He did not completely finish one cigarette he pulled out another. The pressure on him was great, as the enemy outnumbered his men.
Sigai seeing his Troop Commander in this stage said, “We entered this jungle to look for the enemy. Now we have come across the enemy you do not allow us to shoot and kill the enemy. How has it come to this? It is better not to have entered into this jungle. It is better for me to quit being a soldier.” He let it all out. This was related by Budin who was beside Sigai. After which he heard Sigai swearing in the Iban language which Budin did not understand. At that moment they heard shouts that Ali was shot, the shouts were repeated.. This was yelled out by Trooper Mohd Akhir amidst heavy automatic fire. Sigai, hearing that Ali was hit along with Budin came downhill firing in the direction of the enemy. On hearing the returning of fire from Siagi and Budin the enemy fire became erratic and wild. They were far in front, away from Captain Hamid’s position. Trooper Sigai could not take it anymore, he shouted at the Captain, “Sir, if you do not move forward, I will shoot you, sir!” After that the Captain came forward. The fleeing enemy started mocking them. They were numerically more than the Commandos, and very well entrenched. The only support weapon they had, carried by Lance Corporal Ali was damaged. Even if used it would be ineffective as it was on low ground. Sigai ran towards Ali’s position, even as Captain Hamid objected to his actions, the Captain was actually angry with Ali for not firing the LMG.
As soon as Sigai arrived at Lance Corporal Ali’s location, he found that Ali was hit by the enemy’s fire. Sigai handed over his weapon to Trooper Mohd Akhir. He gave Ali first aid and moved him to a more secure place. He then removed Ali’s webbing which contained ammunition for the LMG. He took a look at the LMG, the magazine was damaged. He replaced the magazine with a fresh magazine. With this he started firing at the enemy, at the same time moving to higher ground. This caused the enemy to flee their position. After the enemy had fled, he went down hill to gather around with the rest of the Troop. He found that Captain Hamid was on the radio trying to call for artillery support.. Sigai asked him,” Sir, what are you doing, how are you going to contact anyone without an aerial.” Sigai helped Captain Hamid to fix the aerial to the radio. Captain Hamid managed to call for artillery fire, it was not effective as by then the enemy was too far away.
As the jungle they were in was dense, the landing point they constructed was not spotted by the pilot of the helicopter, it was also too late in the evening. Lance Corporal Ali who was wounded could not be extricated that day. He died at 2000 hrs that day due to the loss of blood. Sigai, felt that all these would not have happened if Captain Hamid had only listened to his advice.
901370 Trooper Sigai anak Nawan was born on the 6th July 1944. He was from Rumah Kasau, Nanga Mujan, Batang Ai, Lubuk Antu, Sarawak. He was the eldest in a family of 11 siblings. His parents were Mr. Nawan anak Kasau and Mrs. Tau anak Ngindang. As Rumah Kasau was too far in the interior, the British at that time made them move to Rumah Bunjai in Kampung Sebandi, Lundu when he was 5 years old. He derived his early education at Christ Church School, Stunggang, Lundu. He schooled until Standard 6. His early years were like other youths of his time, which were tapping rubber, helping his family to tend the farm, trading at the Indonesian border, working at the harbour in Miri. On receiving encouragement from his Uncle, Warrant Officer 2 Ninkan anak Kasau and his interest in the military he joined the profession of arms on the 22nd June 1964. He did his recruit training at the Gurkha camp in Sungei Patani. After pasing out he was posted to the 1st Battalion of the Rangers in Ipoh.
Trooper Sigai was a man of exceptional bravery, who always led on patrols while on operations, as related by Sergeant Budin. Even though only a mere Trooper, he acted with great responsibility and did not care for his own personal safety. With this he was awarded the “Pingat Gagah Berani” by the King, His Royal Highness Al-Sultan Almu’tasimu Sultan Badlishah on the 5th June 1974 for valour beyond the call of duty. He received this award on the parade ground of Sungei Besi on the occasion of the conferring of colors to the 9th Battalion Royal Malay Regiment on the 22nd March 1975. He left the service after 10 years of service. He joined the Sarawak Electricity Supply Corporation as a Security Guard, in Bintangor, Sarawak.
posted by D.Swami Gwekanandam @ 5:36 AM
| Re-burial for one of our brave
| Tuesday, February 03, 2009
Mission: Bringing Remains of Iban Warriors Home
Nov 6, 2008
I was alerted a week before the launch of my book by the Chief Minister of Sarawak, Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud. I prepared the necessary letters and documents that I wanted to hand over to him, including the shocking photographs of the grave. The Chief Minister was supportive of my suggestion to bring back the remains of the Iban Trackers and Sarawak Rangers and rebury them in a Heroes’ Grave in Kuching. However, there is a big BUT – All the next-of-kin (NOK) must give their written consent for the remains to be exhumed and reburied in Sarawak.
Nov 11, 2008
I emailed the list of Iban Trackers and Sarawak Rangers killed in action and the locations of their graveyards to the Head of Armed Forces Veterans Department, Sarawak Branch, for him to trace the relatives.
Nov 12, 2008
I extended a copy of the letter I gave to the Chief Minister to the Director of Veterans Affairs in KL and at the same time requesting for Ungkok's grave to be relocated to a more respectable location.
Nov 18, 2008
Mej Suhaila from Jabatan Hal Ehwal Veterans ATM (JHEV) called me this morning to say that they have received my letter. They were thankful and were surprised to see the grave by the roadside. They didn’t know anything about it and nobody had talked about it either. They will try to locate the next-ofkin and in the meantime, find out about relocating the grave to Taiping or Batu Gajah.
Dec 2, 2008
Apparently, the location of Ungkok’s grave was raised by the Malaysian Historical Society, Kedah Branch on April 17, 2006. In replying, Malaysian Ex-Services Association, Sarawak Branch gave the name of his nearest NOK to the society.
As I do not have access to correspondence thereon, I do not know what transpired between the two organisations.
Anyway, two years had gone by and the grave is still where it was.
Today, I called Major Suhaila of Jabatan Hal Ehwal Veteran ATM on the outcome of the letter I sent them earlier on. She told me they have located the nearest NOK, (the same name given to the Historical Society Kedah Branch two years ago).
They have instructed the Sarawak Veterans Affairs director, Major Monday, to contact the NOK and inform her of the situation and seek her approval to relocate the grave to a more respectable location. I had suggested Batu Gajah or Taiping, where his comrades were laid to rest. LCpl Ungkok died a bachelor.
January 6, 2009
I called a Veterans Affairs staff to check up on the progress...
The attempt to trace his NOK has hit a snag. The NOK identified by the Ex-Services Association of Sarawak could not be found.
I asked them what happens if no NOK is found? They said they will seek the advice of the Kedah State government on the next course of action.
So, it looks like LCpl Ungkok's case and the plan to bring back the remains of the Iban Trackers and Sarawak Rangers buried in Malaya and Singapore will take a long time to materialise.
Feb 3, 2009
I received an email from the Secretary General of Sarawak Dayak Iban Association (SADIA) sympathising and expressing their shock at seeing the graveyard of LCpl Ungkok ak Jugam by the highway in Kedah.
It is a most welcomed email from the right organisation. SADIA can apply more pressure on the Sarawak Government, JHEV and PBTM to take a more positive and urgent approach in solving and handling the case.
Feb 5, 2009
I received the good news today from Major Monday that he has obtained the consent letter from the NOK of LCpl Ungkok ak Jugam (Irene).
The letter has been forwarded to Headquarters in KL for further action.
I immediately called Major Suhaila, and told her that I would like to be around when they exhume the grave. She agreed.
I'm so glad the case is solved. The next course of actions are just procedural and administrative.
I felt a load off my shoulder.
Thank you Major Monday and Major Suhaila for helping out. LCpl Ungkok’s soul will finally find a respectable resting place where he could rest in peace.
About the Iban Trackers and Sarawak Rangers
In 1948, at the beginning of the Malayan Emergency, groups of Iban trackers were recruited to help in the defence against the Communist Party of Malaya. These Iban trackers were organised into a regimental formation as the Sarawak Rangers in 1953.
The Iban Trackers and Sarawak Rangers served with distinction during the First Emergency in Malaya, alongside the Commonwealth Forces. In 12 years of fighting the insurgency war, their casualties were exceptionally low – only 20 killed in action and 25 wounded. Their uncanny tracking skill and prowess in the battlefield had earned them worldwide recognition.
Their qualities and the number of bravery awards they received from the British Government spoke for them. They died fighting for a cause – helping the Commonwealth Forces fight the communist terrorists to prevent Malaya from falling into their hands from 1948 to 1960.
They served with distinction and displayed their uncanny tracking skill and unparalleled courage. They were acknowledged by Sir Gerald Templer as the world's best. Between them, they earned numerous bravery awards and medals, including the highest ever given to a civilian. Tracker Awang ak Rawang was awarded the George Cross, an equivalent of a Victoria Cross, for saving a British soldier in the face of enemy fire.
Their graves are scattered all over Malaya, with two in Singapore.
posted by D.Swami Gwekanandam @ 5:14 PM
| General Sir Walter Walker
| Monday, October 27, 2008
GENERAL SIR WALTER WALKER, who has died aged 88, was an outstandingly successful commander during the Malayan Emergency in the 1950s and as Director of Operations in Borneo between 1962 and 1965; later, he courted controversy by setting up Civil Assistance, a voluntary organisation which attracted 100,000 members.
Walker was one of the first to identify the importance of helicopters in modern military operations. "In Borneo," he reckoned, "one SAS squadron with helicopters was worth ten infantry battalions to me." Denis Healey, who became Secretary of State for Defence in 1964, considered that the Borneo campaign would be recorded as "one of the most efficient uses of military force in the history of the world".
Yet the qualities that made Walker so effective in the field - clarity of vision, single-mindedness of purpose, fierce insistence on discipline, fearlessness in the face of both the enemy and his superiors - also ensured that he was a highly controversial figure.
In the early 1960s his efforts to defend the Gurkhas against plans to reduce their numbers were so forceful that he was threatened with a court martial and - under threat of losing his command in Borneo - forced to apologise to the Chief of the Imperial General Staff.
In 1974 he was accused of attempting to form a private army to combat the dangers to Britain which he discerned both from without and within. The charge was absurdly exaggerated; it is undeniable, though, that he was rarely capable of trimming his views, compromising his principles, or entertaining the notion that he might be mistaken.
Walter Colyear Walker was born in India on November 11 1912, the second of four sons (there were also two daughters) of Arthur Colyear Walker, an Assam tea-planter and soldier. Family connections with the Army and India went back several generations on both sides of the family.
Walker's character was well defined even in his schooldays, at Blundell's, near Tiverton. "When I became head of the school's day boys," he recorded in his autobiography Fighting On (1997), "I found them to be a motley bunch of idle, unpatriotic, unkempt, and 'couldn't care less' type of youths. I decided to straighten them out . . . "
Walker went on to describe how he became "a tiger of a boxer" and decided "to sort out the school bullies, who received a straight left to the nose or an uppercut to the jaw if they insulted me, tripped me up or ruffled my hair etc". The headmaster, however, felt obliged to point out to him the difference between driving and leading.
Walker went on to Sandhurst with the aim of obtaining a commission in the 1/8 Gurkhas, which his grandfather had once commanded.. He settled quickly into the discipline and austere atmosphere of the Royal Military College, though he privately doubted the wisdom of allowing so much time to be spent cleaning weapons and so little on firing them. He would have preferred to spend less time on drill, and more on weapon training, tactics, military history and map-reading.
After a short attachment to the Sherwood Foresters, Walker joined the 1/8 Gurkhas. He had the first of his many narrow escapes from death in the Quetta Earthquake of 1935, before his battalion moved up to Razmak for operations against the Fakir of Ipi. In 1939 he was recommended for a Military Cross but did not receive it as the District Commander had just approved an MC.
One day on the frontier Walker had to retrieve some dead Sepoys from an ambushed piquet, whose commander had disobeyed strict instructions. The corpses had all been horribly mutilated; and for Walker this was a lesson, which he never forgot, on the importance of meticulous discipline. He was mentioned in dispatches twice during this campaign.
In 1942 Walker attended the Staff College at Quetta, which had then decided to pay attention to the Far East rather than to the Middle East as before. In 1944 he took over command of the 4/8 Gurkhas, who had been involved in heavy fighting in the Arakan.
The story of how he revived the morale of this battle-weary battalion and in two months of exhaustive re-training transformed it into the most effective fighting unit in the division has been told in A Child At Arms (1970) by Patrick Davis, who served as a subaltern in the battalion. Walker applied the lessons that he had learned in Waziristan, particularly in relation to ambush techniques, of which he became the supreme exponent. His abrasive manner and his painstaking attention to detail won him enemies, but in the ensuing battle with the Japanese the 4/8 acquitted itself brilliantly. During the Burma campaign Walker was again mentioned in dispatches and was also awarded the DSO.
After a short period on the Staff at GHQ Delhi (where he worked closely with Wavell and Auchinleck) Walker became GSO1 in Kuala Lumpur. He was given the task of training "Ferret Force", which consisted of British, Gurkhas, Chinese, Dyaks, and ex-Force 136 soldiers.
In 1948-49, as outbreaks of Communist terrorism increased in Malaya, Walker commanded the Far East Land Forces Training Centre, establishing what later became the Jungle Warfare School at Kota Tinggi. For this work he was appointed OBE.
Next, in 1950, he took over command of the 1/6 Gurkhas. Walker went into the jungle with each company to determine where the mistakes were being made. He then withdrew the battalion from operations and again put them through the ruthless re-training that he had developed in Burma. After that he once more achieved startling results in jungle operations.
The high standards that Walker demanded from his officers and riflemen became the yardstick in all the Gurkha regiments, greatly enhancing their reputation as the British Army's best jungle fighters. Nowhere was this better displayed than in the execution of Walker's Operation Tiger in 1958, when his 99 Gurkha Brigade eliminated the last 100 communist terrorists operating in Johore State.
Ten-day ambushes, laid on the basis of Special Branch information, became the norm, and Walker once ordered an ambush group to stay in position for 28 days. "My Special Branch man," Walker later declared, "had guaranteed the CTs [Communist terrorists] would come and after 28 days they came - and were killed in the swamp." For his work in Malaya Walker was twice mentioned in dispatches, awarded a Bar to his DSO and created CBE.
On his return to Britain he faced a different battle in Whitehall, where the government was reducing the size of the Army, a policy which would involve cutting Gurkha numbers by half. Walker, now a Major-General, did not hesitate to call this "a betrayal".
His campaign to retain Gurkha fighting strength was interrupted when he was made Director of Operations in Borneo from 1962 to 1965. Here, his versatility in fighting a defensive war with Indonesia along a 1,200-mile frontier with limited resources showed him to be a field commander of genius.
Many of the tactics he employed - using four-man SAS patrols as his "eyes and ears" to give warning of border incursions, flying in howitzers by helicopter to provide support fire for forward company bases and, above all, his "Claret" operations - broke rules but were devastatingly effective.
His Claret raids into Indonesian territory, planned and executed to inflict decisive but limited damage to the enemy's forward bases, only became public knowledge a decade after the event.
Walker's great slogan was "Jointmanship". He succeeded in making all the services work together, and with the local population. Though a martinet, he became known as a "soldier's general", and the best there was. To the Gurkhas, in particular, whose talents he used to the full, he was nothing less than the hero of the age.
With Whitehall it was a different story. He felt, with some cause, that his championship of the Gurkha cause was held against him - but then he made no effort to tread lightly on toes, however high in authority.
Although both the C-in-C Far East and Earl Mountbatten had recommended Walker for a knighthood, the Army Board did not approve and he did not get it. A proposal for the CMG was also rejected, though he was appointed CB in 1964.
In 1965 Walker became Deputy Chief of Staff, Army Land Forces Central Europe, in which post he supervised the removal of AFCENT to Brunssum, in Holland, after General de Gaulle had withdrawn France from Nato. Next, from 1967 to 1969, he was GOC Northern Command, at last being appointed KBE in 1968.
His final post was Commander-in-Chief Allied Forces Northern Europe from 1969 to 1972. Once more he found his subordinates, and his allies, less dedicated to their tasks than he would have wished. His command was marked by some stormy occasions.
After Walker retired from the Army in 1972, he continued to express extreme concern (often in letters to The Daily Telegraph) about the dangers to Britain. At home he discerned, not least in trade unions, "the Communist Trojan horse in our midst, with its fellow travellers wriggling their maggoty way inside its belly". For wanton lawbreakers, Walker favoured the re-introduction of corporal punishment.
Abroad, Walker warned, the Soviet empire was waiting for its moment to strike. In addition he deplored the hostility shown to Ian Smith's rebel government in Rhodesia, and attacked what he considered the feeble policy adopted towards the IRA, which he saw as a Marxist organisation inspired by Russia. "Northern Ireland should now be declared a proper operational area, or even war zone," he reckoned, "in which would-be murderers caught carrying or using arms would be subject to summary trial and execution."
In an interview in the Evening News in 1974 he raised the possibility that the Army might have to take over in Britain. Soon afterwards, claiming the encouragement of (among others) Admiral of the Fleet Sir Varyl Begg, Marshal of the RAF Sir John Slessor, and Michael Bentine, the former Goon, Walker set up an "anti-chaos" organisation, known at first as Unison, and later as "Civil Assistance".
The proclaimed aim was to create a force of "trustworthy, loyal, level-headed men", who would be ready to ensure the continuance of essential services should public order break down - as Walker considered all too likely. Though he named Enoch Powell as the right man to lead the nation, he insisted that his movement existed only to support the properly constituted authorities. There was no question of anyone being armed.
By the end of August 1974 100,000 people supported his movement, and Walker spoke of the numbers rising to three million within another month. But Civil Assistance was fatally easy to mock. Journalists wrote of Lambrook-les-Deux-Eglises in reference to Walker's home in Somerset, and in the Telegraph Maurice Weaver fashioned a masterpiece of mockery from the leader's own remarks. Britain survived; Civil Assistance petered out.
Walker persisted in his jeremiads, proclaiming in 1977 that the West's only hope of salvation lay in the neutron bomb. He undertook extensive travels to lecture on the perilous world situation - above all to South Africa, which he visited six times, and to Pakistan, where the President, General Zia, was particularly friendly. Walker published two books, The Bear at the Back Door (1978) and The Next Domino (1980).
But in 1985 Walker's active career was virtually ended when two botched hip replacement operations by Army and RAF surgeons left him in terrible pain. He faced this disaster with courage. The only consolation was that he received £130,000 in damages from the Ministry of Defence.
Even in extremis his views remained as forthright as ever. The claim of homosexuals to equal treatment caused him especial distress. There could be no place for such people - "who use the main sewer of the human body as a playground" - in the armed forces. His own recreations were listed in Who's Who as "normal". Walker married, in 1939, Beryl Johnston. She died in 1990. They had two sons and a daughter.
By the way, both sons were my contemporaries and were commissioned into the infantry, one in the Gurkhas and the other in the Royal Greenjackets.
posted by D.Swami Gwekanandam @ 11:00 PM