Some of the many tales and legends of the Corps football team in Singapore appear here in text for the very first time. They are followed by the official reports from the Rose and Laurel between 1967 and 1971 – it is obvious that throughout its brief existence the team had one main mantra – beat the team above you in the league and lose to the one below you! 

The Reluctant Goalkeeper 
In 1967 there was a concerted effort to find sufficient players to field a football team. Anyone who was fit and able was approached by Mick Conway and Pete Palmer and, one happy hour in the WOs And Sgts Mess, this was to include Capt Stuart ‘Siggy’ Small. Siggy was a very accomplished rugby player but he had absolutely no desire to switch codes to ‘cissy’ football. His ball catching skills were what had attracted Conway and Palmer, who saw him as a natural goalkeeper. He was not to be convinced until they explained some of the finer rules of football, including the fact that if a keeper had hold of the ball and had one foot off the ground, he could not be challenged by an opposing forward. Descriptions of the 1957 FA Cup Final when Peter McParland of Aston Villa shoulder charged the Manchester United goalkeeper Ray Wood and broke his jaw; and the 1958 FA Cup Final when Nat Lofthouse of Bolton Wanderers charged Harry Gregg the Manchester United goalkeeper and bundled him into the back of the net, aroused Siggy’s interest and he was finally persuaded to don the keeper’s jersey. 

The great day arrived and Siggy was keen to impress. Our opponents were on the attack and an accurate cross was directed into our penalty box. Siggy came out and claimed the ball above his head, both feet on the ground. As he saw the opposing centre forward approach, he casually lifted one foot off the ground and smashed his elbow into the centre forward’s face. The referee deciding this was not within the letter of the law awarded a penalty. This was to be Siggy’s only match being replaced by Tommy Farr and eventually Robin Eccles as the team’s goalkeeper.

Dave Peaks (SDWS Historian)

BMH after RAF Seletar
There is an ominous thread running through the history of the CI Pl (S’pore) football team which involves Tiger Beer and the BMH. This particular story is one of individual woe, and concerns Dave Wakelam. Now, one of Dave’s very best mates was the late, great Harry Pinchard, who in 1966 was detached to the British Embassy, Saigon as the MA’s bagman. Harry was on a long weekend pass from Nam to Singers and decided to forego the luxury of the Union Jack Club for the companionship of Ayer Rajah Road. Saturday lunchtime found Harry ensconced at the Bar quaffing the obligatory ice cold Tiger. The footy team came in for sensible pre-match soft drinks, but Harry’s silver tongue convinced Dave to have ‘Just one with your mate.’ Several cans later Dave was dragged limply out of the bar by the irate skipper, Mick Conway, poured into the minibus for the journey to RAF Seletar for the game against Ground Support Squadron, and warned that if he let the side down his goolies would adorn the shelf behind the bar. Anyway, about ten minutes into the game, Dave playing at left back went into a tackle against a nippy crab winger, but hit a patch of thick grass and turned his ankle badly, letting out a scream like a stuck pig. The combination of ale and Conway’s threat convinced Dave that playing on was the safest option, and so he did with some degree of success against said crab winger. After the game, still feeling no pain, Dave joined the rest of the team in the bar, Next morning, with a head feeling bigger than Birkenhead, and an ankle even bigger, Dave got the duty NCO to drive him to the BMH promising to be back in time for the curry lunch, at which he was meeting his WRAC girl friend. WRONG! The medics took one look at the ankle, and after an X-Ray decided that an immediate operation was necessary to repair the damage to all three parts of the right lateral ligament. Not only did he not make the curry lunch (at which Mick Conway got off with his girl friend) he was in the BMH for nearly two weeks, finally escaping two days before his 21st birthday – and that’s another story! 

Dave Wakelam

BMH after the Tiger Brewery 
There are many instances of the words ‘piss up’, ‘brewery’ and ‘Int Corps’ being combined in a sentence – often together with ‘couldn’t organise’. A prime example was in 1967 when the Corps organised an evening football match against BMH following an afternoon trip to the Tiger brewery. The brewery trip was extraordinarily successful and copious amounts of the product were consumed in the hospitality bar following the mandatory trip around the brewery. The livers in left the brewery to return to Ayer Rajah road and collect our football kit; the pads went home to collect theirs. 

We were on the pitch having the pre match kick about, but missing a player – Dave Ellis our left winger. A taxi was seen to pull up at the BMH main entrance. An agitated taxi driver got out and ran into the hospital, returning a few minutes later with two nurses. They opened the rear door of the taxi and proceeded to extract a comatose body (Dave Ellis) dressed in a green and white football strip. The medics quickly bundled Dave on to a trolley and were racing along a corridor towards A&E (or whatever it was called in those days), when Dave came round and realised that this was not the normal mode of transport to a footy pitch. He jumped off the trolley and hot-footed it towards the exit with the medics in hot pursuit. As Dave made it to the exit and paused to get his bearings, the medics pounced. Dave Wakelam, our sponge man for the day having badly injured his leg in an earlier fixture (see above), was the first to react. Despite the pot on his leg, he was across the road and had firm hold of Dave Ellis’s left arm, his right being grasped by the two nurses. As Dave Ellis became the subject of a bizarre tug of war, cries of ‘He has to be admitted – he’s got alcoholic poisoning’ and ‘He can’t be he’s playing football in five minutes’ could be clearly heard. It was no contest really – Wakelam won and Dave Ellis played for the team. He was later congratulated on his weaving runs down the wing, which he played down, claiming he was trying to run in a straight line.

Dave Wakelam

The Folk Club and the Six-a-side 
In 1968 the Corps football team appeared to have an abundance of riches – Mick Conway, Pete Palmer and Eric Fitzsimons were regular Army players; Dave Peaks was an occasional Army player; and Brian Fozard and Clive Walch had been Army trialists. The Singapore District Six-a-Side competition was to be held on Saturday and hopes were high. The skipper, Mick Conway was keen for success and laid down the ground rules including – all players to be in bed by 10 pm Friday night! The team were taken aback and took great pains in explaining to Mick that Friday night was folk night at the HMCU’s Anopheles Inn over the road from 8 Coy. Mick reluctantly conceded an amended deadline of midnight. The folk night was its usual roaring success and, unlike Cinderella, the team did not hear the chimes of midnight warning them of disaster. No one is sure what time we eventually left. 

The next morning Mick’s worst fears were recognised as he went around rousing the livers in. The team did make it to the ground in plenty of time for our first round match – so much so that they were changed and running onto the pitch a good 20 minutes before the scheduled kick off time. Keen to convince the skipper that they were perfectly capable of playing football the team put on an impressive display of passing, dribbling and shooting – so much so that arriving members of other teams were heard to say ‘hope we don’t get drawn against them’. The euphoria was not to last though, and when at last their opponents took the field there was only Mick Conway from the Corps team still on his feet. Other players were scattered around the field and Pete Palmer and Dave Peaks sat back to back in the centre circle, cigarettes dangling from their mouths, singing ‘Oh but the old triangle, it goes jingle jangle, all along the banks of the Royal Canal’. 
We got knocked out in the first round. 

The Record Sending Off 
Following the departures of Mick Conway and Pete Palmer there was no natural successor for the role of captain of the football team so it was decided that everyone should have a go in turn. This decision was probably based more on the reluctance of anyone to accept responsibility for a team whose player’s attitude to the game could change so quickly from extreme dedication and professionalism to laissez-faire – well demonstrated by Brian Unsworth at right back and Bob McCrindle at left back. The opposing left winger knocks the ball past a static Brian Unsworth and runs around him – Brian calls out ‘Your man Bob’ – McCrindle who, is on the other side of the field calls back ‘What do you mean my man?’ – ‘ You should be covering’ calls Brian, unmoving - ‘I’m covering my winger’ calls back Bob, also unmoving – meanwhile the opposing left winger, ball at his feet, is heading for our goal and a stunned Robin Eccles who can’t work out what is happening.  When it came Bob McCrindle's turn to captain the side he went to the centre circle for the toss up and seemed to spend a long time speaking to the referee before he came back. He called the team around him and said that the referee had given our team a strict warning about talking back to the referee. 'Right Brian' said Bob looking directly at Unsworth. ‘Why are you looking at me? asks Brian. ‘Right Brian’ repeats Bob. ‘OK’ says Brian.  As the referee blew his whistle for the start of the game there came a cry from our right back - 'Never Ref, never in a month of Sundays!' Brian is the only person known to have been sent off before a ball was kicked.

The Wonder Goal of 1970 
After two matches of the new season, 8 Coy and 10 Port Sqn RCT were the runaway league leaders and the 3rd match was eagerly awaited by the local pundits as it set the two pacemakers against each other in the high octane atmosphere of the Dover Road recreation ground. Both spectators anticipated a closely fought match and so it was until late in the 2nd half, when 8 Coy were awarded a penalty. The nerves jangled as a young promising player called Dave Gordon prepared to take the kick. Young Gordon's later career was blighted by broken legs, always something of a setback for footballers.  His powerful shot rebounded off the crossbar and looped high towards the edge of the penalty box, where a predatory Lawson awaited. Little did either spectator or the teams know what awaited them........... 

As the ball looped towards him, he instantaneously sized up the situation; imperceptibly he shifted the balance of his lissom frame onto his left foot, spotted the onrushing 10 Port Sqn defenders closing him down and intuitively decided that the shot would have to be an instant half volley. At the same time he ensured that his lithe, but muscular body was over the ball at the point of contact. Unerringly the ball flew in to the top corner of the 10 Port Sqn net. The whole action, although taking several lines to describe in fact only lasted for milliseconds and was so quick that to this day no film action is available to cover the technical skill involved. It was, truly something that cannot be taught or found in the textbooks. There was no overwhelming roar from the spectators, either they were totally blown away by the stellar moment (or possibly because they were lighting up fags for each other at the time). The remainder of the game could only be an anti-climax and so it proved with 1 - 0 being the final score. Word of the goal was spread around Singapore and Johore Bahru (mostly by the scorer) and even now 41 years later the skill is continually reviewed and analysed in minute detail at 1 Wellesley Close, Bowerhill (postcode provided on application). What happened to them later? The Straits Times sadly failed to find either spectator to interview them. In 2008 an ailing member of the old 10 Port Sqn team was interviewed at his home in Netley and he confirmed that not even Pele, Charlton or Beckenbauer scored a better goal against them that season. 

Lawson was later posted (some well placed football sources claimed ..poached) to 3 Div, Bulford where he became the schemer/ playmaker in the old fashioned inside right position for the RMP Sgts Mess Sunday morning team. The highlight of his twilight days was scoring a hat-trick before halftime in the Rheindahlen Garrison v 23 Regt RCT game in 1977 - sadly two of the goals were own goals due, it is claimed, by poor positioning by the Garrison goalie in dead ball situations. 

Willie Lawson

Extracts from the Rose and Laurel 
“we have, for the first time in many years been able to field teams to represent the Intelligence Corps in both rugby and Association football. Our efforts so far have been more of a social than a competitive nature, but we hope to enter into league and cup competitions in the near future.” 

“In 1968, football for the Intelligence Corps in Singapore became a regular fixture. Not content with intermittent friendly games the Corps joined the Singapore District League and a place in Division 4 was secured. Limited manpower does not necessarily mean limited ability and with the early hesitantly-played matches over, the eleven settled down as a team and played some fine constructive football. The “Int Corps” was led by Sgt Palmer assisted by Sgt Conway on his return from Mauritius. These two, together with Cpl Peaks and LCpl Fitzsimons held their regular places in the Army XI, also taking part in the July tour of Malacca. 
In competitions the Corps met with strong opposition, losing to Brigade HQ and the BVD; but a magnificent effort meant victory by 4 – 2 against the Signal Regiment. In the Singapore six-a-side tournament we were narrowly beaten on corners by BAD. However, victories in the wooden spoon competition against the BOD, HQ FARELF and the Singapore Guard Regiment assured us a place in the finals. A Signal Squadron won this keenly contested game. The team fully deserved their runners-up shields presented by Col W S Irwin, RAMC. 
As far as the league programme is concerned, the Int Corps finished sixth out of twelve with the following analysis:- 
                   P   W  D  L    F    A    Pts 
Int Corps:   22  9   1  12  64  74   19 
The usual misnomers which accompany our presence as a Corps in any theatre arose throughout the season. Lt Eccles, our football officer, was known to local referees as manager of the ‘Intelligent Corpse’ as well as the ‘Int Centre’. (Unknown to to most, HQ” Int Centre has moved yet again, this time complete with skeletons.) All the players are to be congratulated on the good results achieved by the ‘Corpse’s’ first regular football team in the Far East. We hope to improve upon our record next season.” 

The start of the 1969 season saw the Intelligence Corps football team sadly missing the services of SSgt Conway and Sgt Palmer, both of whom had moved to pastures new. The team started the season rather disastrously with a 7 – 2 defeat by FETC, our only goals being scored by ‘Dixie Dean’ Lawson and ‘Stanley’ Rousell. However, full retribution for this game was taken later in the season with a 2 – 0 victory. As the season progressed the team improved and with only two games to play appears assured of fifth place in the league, although having had no success at all in the cup. Current statistics are: played 14; won 6; drawn 0; lost 8; goals for 24; goals against 35; points 12. Special mention must be given to Cpl Fitzsimons who, besides being the team’s star player, has held a regular place in the Army XI and has been selected for the Joint Services team. Those who have followed the record of the team over the past two seasons will probably be surprised to hear that 'Twinkle Toes’ Ovens has so far failed to break his own record of the most own goals in any season. Lt Col Goss turned out for his last game for the team only two days before his departure for the UK and was very unfortunate to break his wrist in the first five minutes of the game. We got our revenge 3 – 0 but this practice is not normally recommended for success! A Lt Col Goss Memorial match played the following week between the Officers/Warrant Officers and a few SNCOs (The Elite) and the rest (The Rabble) revealed the upper echelons all too ready to do battle. The final score was 6 – 1 to the ‘Rabble’ after a very hard game which resulted in enough injuries to prevent the Corps being able to provide a full team for their next league fixture. The team has also this season seen the last performance of 2/Lt Eccles and Sgt Peaks, who spent as much valiant effort and far more time off the field than on, getting teams, transport and kit together from our far-flung ‘empire’. Sgt Unsworth and Cpl Fitzsimons are also moving on, but the team continues under the capable leadership of Sgt McCrindle next season. We wish them the best of luck. 

The Company football team has not enjoyed a particularly successful season after some fine performances in the opening games. This was not due to lack of effort or enthusiasm for the game, but because most of our footballers were posted. In the opening match we took two points from 31 Sqn Gurkha Tpt Regt, beating them five nil. Following this, the team earned themselves the reputation of ‘Giant Killers’ by beating the two major teams in the division, Command Pay Office and Singapore Guard Regiment in successive matches. Command Pay Office, a very strong team with three Army players in their side were beaten two one, both our goals being scored in the first half. Singapore Guard Regiment were two nil in the lead at half time but, urged on by the CO, OC and many other supporters, the team produced a fine spurt of four goals in the last twenty minutes resulting in a very excellent four two win. The team also enjoyed several other successes but, unfortunately, they were interspersed with a few lost and drawn matches. 

We were entered for both the Major and Minor Units Cups but had the misfortune to meet first division opposition in both instances. In the Minor Units event 59 Fd Sqn, FRE, soundly defeated us 8 – 1 and, in the Major Units Cup, 1 / 2 Gurkha Rifles defeated us by two goals to nil. The team is currently preparing for the SDAFA six-a-side tournament by carrying out a training/selection programme in the hope of producing a comparatively strong team so that, once again, we can make a bid to restore our old title of ‘Giant Killers’. Personnel involved in the Company’s footballing activities this season are as follows:

Football Officer: Capt R R K Shepherd. Players: SSgts Ogglesby and Thomas; Sgts McCrindle, Ward and Luttrell; Cpls Ovens, Lawson, Allan and Ashcroft; LCpls Pearcey, Weston, Caulfield and Rippon; Pte Gordon (Capt); Mr Arbuckle. 

This year, the Intelligence Corps’ Club Singapore soccer team enjoyed an extremely successful series of pre-season friendlies by winning twelve out of fourteen matches, losing only one, and drawing one. 
However, feeling the full effects of the rundown, the team was quickly reduced to a mere shell of its former might. We surrendered our midfield supremacy with the departures of LCpl Gordon, Cpl L Watters (RAOC), and Mr Jack Arbuckle. A rather large gap appeared in our defence (literally) when Cpl Ovens returned to the UK, and most of the sting disappeared from the attack with the postings of LCpl Pearcey and Sgt Houldin. Only Sgt Allan (RAOC), Cpl Ashcroft and LCpl Weston managed to survive a full season. Consequently, the team had a rather mediocre season, finishing nearer the bottom of the league than the top. 

In the 1971 Singapore six-a-side competition the team managed to go one step further than last season by reaching the semi-finals, only to be ousted by an extremely fit Gurkha side. For our finale, the team played a friendly against 18 Signal Regt (this year’s runners up in the Major Units Cup). The Signals had 4 Army players and a Combined Services goalkeeper, but to the amazement of the crowds and the players of both sides, we defeated them by six goals to four, to end on a victorious note. Personnel involved in the Company’s activities this year are as follows: 

Football Officer (and occasional guest star), Capt R R K Shepherd and his son Michael, Lt Walker, WO2 Radford, SSgts Shilcock, Creighton and Ogglesby, Sgts Allan (RAOC), Houldin and Ovens, Cpls Ashcroft, Brookes, Clarke (RAOC), Rippon and Smith (RAOC), LCpls Weston, Caulfield, Clark, Pearcey (RE) and Watters (RAOC), Mr Arbuckle and the other ‘Honorary’ Club members from the REME.. This year saw the last of the Junior Ranks v Senior Ranks football friendlies, with the Junior Ranks emerging the victors by 8 goals to 3. Lt Col Parritt led a veteran Senior Ranks XI while the Junior Ranks were led by that ace schemer, Cpl (Chopper) Ovens. The match was, as usual, preceded by a ‘tactics talk’ in the Club. Only light casualties were reported after the game.