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."
| Battle of Limbang - Brave Policemen By James Ritchie
| Thursday, November 28, 2019
|Limbang - Sir Jeremy Moore
In the early hours of December 8, 1962 the rural town of Limbang underwent an infamous insurrection which shook Sarawak as it was preparing for become Independent.
This was the long-forgotten “Battle of Limbang” when several hundred Kedayan rebels led by former Sarawak constabulary Sgt Salleh Sambas, captured the shantytown, the hospital and government offices and took the British Resident and his wife hostage.
However, in an epic fight nine brave Sarawak policemen from the Iban, Malay, Bidayuh, Selakau and Melanau communities, defended their station with their 303 rifles in a fierce gun five-hour battle before it finally fell.
But not before losing four dead Sarawak policemen and four dead rebels and a dozen others injured.
In the last moments of the capture and fall of the police station, two Police constables—an Iban from Simanggang and Selekau from Lundu-- swore to fight to the death despite being surrounded by dozens of armed rebels.
It was a life-and death occasion for Iban bren gunner PC Bisop anak Kunjan who recalled the tragic incident that occurred 57 years ago Bisop who was 22 at that time said: “The incident is still clear in my mind when we lost four loyal policemen.”
The dead policemen were Bidayuh Cpl Kim Huat from Kuching and PCs Wan Jamaluddin, Bujang bin Mohamad and Insol anak Chundang, an Iban.
The events unfolded a day after a rebellion had taken place in neighbouring Brunei—hours by river or road. Station office Inspector Latiff Basah, had just alerted his men when the attack took place.
An Iban from Undop in Simanggang, Bisop said that as a precaution Latiff placed a loaded light machine gun on top of the counter of the charge room with instructions that if we came under attack the first man there should man the weapon.
At 2 a.m. on that fateful day Bisop thought he was dreaming when he heard his colleague Wan Jamaluddin bin Tuanku Alek shouting “musuh...musuh” (enemy… enemy). ”
In his underwear and singlet, Bisop jumped out of bed and rushed to the charge room and to his horror realised Jamaluddin, a Malay from Kuching, had already been killed in the initial attack and was lying just outside police station compound.
Next to him was a dead rebel whom Jamaluddin had shot.
The attack came when Jamaluddin dashed into the barracks to alert his colleagues. He returned to his post but was killed outside the station by a section of the 300 to 400 armed rebels who had captured the town.
He reminisced: “I dashed to my bed, wore my pengaroh amulet around my neck and went back to the counter still in my white underpants. I started firing at the rebels who were now trying to get into the station.
“I saw several rebels trying to enter the police station.
Then I realised that the enemy who were only armed with shotguns could see us under the lights of the police station. So I fired a shot at the charge room’s florescence light and the whole room went dark.”
Bisop who was an expert gunner having trained at the Police Training School in Kuching when he was a recruit in 1960, said only a handful of constables they tried to defend the station.
Among those who agreed to fight to the death were Cpl Kim Huat, Cpl Muling anak Musan, PC Sanggah, a Selakau from Lundu, P.C. Essa bin Marataim, PC Insol anak Chundang and PC Bujang bin Mohamad.
Reminiscing, Bisop continued: “In the initial attack Essa managed to kill a rebel who tried to enter the charge room from the back door. But he ran out of ammunition and climbed into the ceiling of the barracks with his rifle. He remained there without food but drank some rain water that seeped through the belian atap, for four days until Limbang was relieved.”
“In the midst of the battle we ran of ammunition and Cpl Kim Huat got the key to the armoury.
We used the rifle barrel to force open the wooden ammunition box and continued to fight. I picked and chose when to fire single shots or bursts of gunfire at the enemy who surrounded the station.
“At about 2.50 a.m. Cpl Kim Huat, a Bidayuh from Kuching, was shot but died 15 minutes later crying out “mother I’m dying.”
From then on there was sporadic fighting - most of the married couples and their families had fled from the police barracks–while only half the policemen stayed on to fight.
At the government office, PC Zaini bin Titun was on duty when the rebels tried to enter the premises.
He fled and along the way and met Cpl Muling who killed one rebel and inflicted serious injury on nine others.
Corporal Muling and Zaini was captured later in the morning but the former suceeded in escaping the following day.
In the meantime Insol who was engaging the rebels from outside the police station tried to enter the charge room to assist the others but was shot in the back and died shortly after. Next to fall was Bujang but not before he killed two rebels.
As time passed slowly, they suddenly heard a Kadayan rebel shouting out shouting in Malay “Keluar…kami orang sudah pegang perintah…bagus kamu serah.” (Better surrender because we now have taken over the government.)
Bisop continued: “When I heard that, I was furious because they had killed PC Bujang had been killed before my eyes. I replied in Malay-Kadayan dialect saying “Kami tidak mau serah diri…kalau berani, Lawan Tia!) (We will not surrender…if you dare, let us fight to the death).
At that point only two policemen--Bisop and Sanggah were defending the outpost. “I made a pact with Sanggah and said we should defend the station with our lives. I said I would shoot him if he tried to leave his post and he agreed to shoot me if I did the same”.
At about 7 a.m. Bisop heard the voice of the Resident, R.H. Morris outside the police station pleading to the duo to give up. By then they had held out for almost five hours.
“Resident Morris called out to us at least five times but I refused to respond. He was in the hands of four to five armed rebels. After considering the possibility that the rebels would kill Morris if we did not obey, both Sanggah and I agreed to come out.
“As we were left the building in daylight, I noticed there were 16 rebels lying injured or dead near the gate of the police compound and the ground of the main entrance.
I think a number of them were hit by bullets from my machine gun.”
Among those detained at the police barracks were the officer in command of the station Inspector Latif Basah who had been wounded but later captured, Sanggah, Titun and Bisop together other policemen who had surrendered.
Sarawak Information officer Alistair Morrison in the "The Gallant story of the Defence of Limbang" described the incident:
"This is the story of heroism--Sarawak heroism--of how a handful of police held out against a violent onslaught by hundreds of rebels. It is a story that must be told to Sarawak in full.
"Shortly after 2 o'clock they opened fire on the police station, the batchelor police barracks and the house of Inspector Latip. The OCS, Inspector Latip, came out of his house firing his sterling. He was soon shot through the arm and succeeded in crawling across the road and hiding himself in the river behind the bank.
"The station and barrack room behind were occupied by nine of the 18 policemen then in Limbang.
The rebels crept quietly close to the wire fence and opened a barrage of shotgun fire while some climbed over the fence.
"Police constable Essa in the police barrack loft remained there without food or drink apart from some rain water he collected in his hand through the the billian ataps, for four days until Limbang was relieved. He kept his rifle with him all the time.
All the other members of the force were also taken prisoner, five of them in their married quarters.
“The fight put up by the police in Limbang, was a splendid example of good morale, devotion to duty, and aggressive spirit. The police never had a chance against such overwhelming numbers but they showed great bravery and tenacity in holding out to the bitter end until ordered to surrender by the Resident.
“Those who were able to take part in the actual fighting were representative cross-section of Sarawak's racial makeup. These men have written a splendid page in Sarawak's history and one which will never be forgotten."
posted by Major D Swami (Retired) @ 1:22 AM