Author Topic: Information about National Service served in Malaya  (Read 398 times)

Offline Scotaus

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Information about National Service served in Malaya
« on: Monday 23 November 20 22:33 GMT (UK) »
My husband John Murdo MacLEOD born 29 July, 1926, Inverness did his National Service after the Second World War - 1946-8 ? - I believe he was in the Artillery. He was "on the big guns" at Dover, and he also sailed to Malaya (he said he was passing through the Bay of Biscay on his 21st birthday! in 1947) to fight "suppressing insurgents in the jungles of Malaya). I have a photo of his troop at Folkestone, but have no more information. I would like to know more of both his actual regiment and the areas of battle in Malaya, etc.

Offline KGarrad

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Re: Information about National Service served in Malaya
« Reply #1 on: Tuesday 24 November 20 09:49 GMT (UK) »
Service records for people serving after 1920 are still with the MOD.
See: https://www.gov.uk/get-copy-military-service-records

There is usually a fee of £30, but this is waived for the spouse of the person concerned.
There is a bit of a delay at the moment - due to Covid restrictions.
Garrad (Suffolk, Essex, Somerset), Crocker (Somerset), Vanstone (Devon, Jersey), Sims (Wiltshire), Bridger (Kent)

Offline stanmapstone

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Re: Information about National Service served in Malaya
« Reply #2 on: Tuesday 24 November 20 13:59 GMT (UK) »
The Malayan Emergency (1948-60) was one of the few successful counter-insurgency operations undertaken by the Western powers during the Cold War.
See https://www.nam.ac.uk/explore/malayan-emergency
There is mention of the Artillery in Malaya at https://www.army.mod.uk/media/6558/bar-report-malayan-emergency.pdf
Stan
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Offline barryd

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Re: Information about National Service served in Malaya
« Reply #3 on: Tuesday 24 November 20 16:47 GMT (UK) »
The "Malayan Emergency" had the distinction of being one of the last times combat bolt-action rifles were  issued to the British Army. I was there during that time. About 1948. Saw and no doubt ate my first Banana). Travelled by train from Singapore into Malaya. Had to fly back as the train was too dangerous.

The Rifle No. 5 Mk I, was a derivative of the British Lee–Enfield No. 4 Mk I,[5] designed in response to a requirement for a shorter, lighter, rifle for airborne forces in Europe. However its operational use was in post-war colonial campaigns such as the Malayan emergency - where it gained its common nickname of the "Jungle Carbine".

Offline Scotaus

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Re: Information about National Service served in Malaya
« Reply #4 on: Wednesday 25 November 20 04:37 GMT (UK) »
Thanks for your quick response. Such an interesting article. I didn't realise that they saw actual battle.
I know my husband was also stationed on "the big guns" at Folkestone, Dover, England.  Any further information on this?  I also have a photo of his platoon, but don't know how to attach to post.

Offline Viktoria

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Re: Information about National Service served in Malaya
« Reply #5 on: Wednesday 25 November 20 09:46 GMT (UK) »
When I was at College the ex High Commissioner for Malaya cane to give us a lecture.
It was interesting because a complicated picture ,
There were three factions, :-
Malay Malays, the indigenous people .
Indian Malays ,and Chinese  Malays .These two groups were immigrants who  worked in various areas of business.
Tradesmen and the rubber industry ,tree tapping etc .
The young National Servicemen had it really rough .
Some not much more than 18, jungle warfare often and such a long way from home !It seemed to a degree like Burma again.
Just as with Korea in the fifties.My brother in law to be was in Korea aged 18/19 .East Lancs ,Canaries ,yellow hackle?
There were three enemies ,as the Malays,Indians and Chinese were by no means united ,that was part of the trouble  ,fighting each other and then the British.
I had heard the lecture at school a couple of years earlier , so was set up to ask pertinent questions ,he was a boring speaker but as we knew lads who had served there ,friends’ ,older brothers etc  it seemed more relevant .
Many of those  lads had their studies interrupted ,(tragically some permanently !) by two years.

The war was over ,but all the other areas where young lads were sent to!
Malaya, Aden, Cypress, Korea, then later Africa,Mau Mau.
. Memory not perfect ,but when lads you knew were serving it really came home to you.

Viktoria,

Offline Scotaus

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Re: Information about National Service served in Malaya
« Reply #6 on: Thursday 26 November 20 01:17 GMT (UK) »
That is very interesting, Viktoria.
Sadly, my husband is not still alive to ask - but I didn't realise that the National Service were involved in actual battles in Malaya. I actually saw a programme on "Who Do You Think You Are" here last year, where the person's relative was in Malaya, and it was an opener re the fighting that they were involved in.

Offline Viktoria

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Re: Information about National Service served in Malaya
« Reply #7 on: Thursday 26 November 20 09:12 GMT (UK) »
Yes, and of course the Chinese  in Malaya would be backed by Communist China, so a difficult - to put it mildly - situation.
The National Servicemen would be some of the first if not the first to be engaged in what was a war.
It was called something like”The Malayan Engagement”
Sounds like a party, which it wasn’t.
My husband was 18 in November 1949 ,saw no overseas duties, plonked in the Pay Corps ,he was doing accountancy prior to call up.

 But it was difficult ,with the different factions in Malaya and the Chinese Communist back up.
People at home were sick of war, WW2 had only ended couple of years earlier.
Those first National Service lads would be the first I think to be engaged overseas.
I am sure you already are but you can be proud that an 18 year old was in such a conflict .
Old people often think National Service was the  making of many young men and might do something today regarding a lot of anti social behaviour , but I am glad my sons did not have to kill anyone ,or risk being killed .
The eldest would have wanted to “ talk rationally “ to solve problems the second would have had a row of medals for bravery “in the face of the
enemy “.
Neither have anti social traits.
Behaviour needs to come from the home .
Malaya is often forgotten ,following on from WW2 so relatively soon.
If you  would like to know more ,accurate ‘information Google “The Malayan  Engagement “.
Viktoria.







Offline Scotaus

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Re: Information about National Service served in Malaya
« Reply #8 on: Thursday 26 November 20 09:26 GMT (UK) »
That's great. Thanks. My husband was slightly older. I know he said he "celebrated" his 21st birthday going through the Bay of Biscay and experiencing its notorious rough weather and big waves. But whether that was going or coming, I didn't think to ask at the time! 
I will have to also see if I can find out what regiment he was in, possibly Artillery? Have a photo but no luck attaching it! How does one do this?