The Rose and The Laurel - 1966

Since the last edition of the Journal was printed we have seen a complete change of staff, Major McGowan and WO2 Munro having left for cooler climes.  WO2 Blackburn arrived in January,1966, S/Sgt Madgwick in November, 1965, and Sgt Black in February, 1966.  Cpl Mackney joined us in November, 1965 after a spell with 3 Cmdo Bde Intelligence Platoon, and Cpl Delamere arrived in March, 1966 from that other larger island to the east.  Capt Allan and Major Cole-Mackintosh fill the officers’ posts.

Perhaps the most significant factor which has been felt here is the amount of paper which has descended upon us.  SSgt
Madgwick has often been surrounded by, indeed covered, with enormous sheets of signal messages which rain upon him like snow flakes.  Paper has also been in great demand for our work on the Group, training material and, let it be said, for our many attempts at planned postings.

On the training side, the Course Schedule keeps everyone busy and at the time of going to Press we have just completed a Continuation Course for NCOs who will soon enter the A1 marathon.  Coming shortly are new short courses for the Army Depot Police and the Branch Security Officers at HQ FARELF.  Our social occasions with the foreign officers are sometimes fraught with danger and a word of sympathy is due here for the RSM who, when on a very strict diet, was faced with fish-head soup, crab claws and abalone – a menu calculated to deter all but the strongest of constitutions.  Capt 
Allan was undefeated however, and carried his chopsticks until the innings ended.

It was decided that our Corps celebrations should contain three elements, a duty, a method of thanking those who have helped us, and finally a “family” evening.  On Corps day itself we attended a short Service at Kranji memorial at which the Assistant Chaplain General officiated.   On 22
nd July we gave a cocktail party in the WOs’ and Sergeants’ Mess of CI Platoon, Singapore, and on the following day a dinner for all ranks of the Corps in Singapore and their wives.  Our thanks are due to CI Platoon, and particularly to Lt McMullen, for the hard work which was put into these very successful events.

Members of the Corps Association in Singapore attended our Corps celebrations, but so far we have been unable to provide a rallying point for expansion of the Association.  This is a lengthy process but we hope, in the next issue of the Journal, to provide proof of existence.

For the future we look forward to entertaining the Colonel Commandant, the Inspector and Colonel 
Fielder during the latter part of this year and early 1967.  By this time we hope to have our Group established, though possibly with some amendment to the original proposal.

We cannot end our contribution without acknowledging our debt to units and staffs who have helped us.  Before this goes to the printers we will have offered tangible evidence of our thanks to the REME Administrative Unit in the form of a Corps plaque.

The Detachment of 2 Int Company, which lives close to the HQ, is unfortunately away on duty and they may not have been able to produce their contribution in time.  We feel, therefore, that some mention should be made here of the Joint Service Colour of their enterprise.  Lt 
Neech RN, provides the Navy blue whilst Cpls Atkins and Johnson show the sky-blue.  We will leave to the pen of Capt Crawford a detailed summary for the next issue of the Journal

The gradual intensification and subsequent relaxation of Indonesian confrontation have made the past year an interesting and, we feel, a successful one for the unit.  However, the build-up of hostilities has made 1965-66 an extremely frustrating year as far as writing news of departed friends or welcoming new ones, because at times the unit resembled a “transit camp”, so many were the comings and goings.   In order not to offend any of those unfortunates who could spend only a few weeks here before being pushed out into the inhospitable beyond by omitting their names from the salvete or valete columns, none will be submitted.

Members of the unit have been active on the sports fields of Negri Sembilan and have enhanced our reputation while proving that at least one aspect of CI work has not been neglected, namely that much overworked term liaison.  Lt 
Langstaff is the Secretary, Treasurer and captain of the Garrison rugby football team and still finds time to play a good game as full back.   Cpl Woodhouse has represented the State at both rugby and cricket and also is Secretary to the Garrison cricket side of which Cpl Jackson is a member.  Cpl Grant and L/Cpl Williams were ever present members of the 17 Div soccer team which has just completed a successful season by winning the State Division II Championships and runners-up position in the Negri Cup.  The remainder of the unit carry out the tasks, such as surveys, inspections, etc. which are necessarily neglected by those named above.

On a lower level, but no less enthusiastically played were “Cloak and Truncheon” (CI Pl plus RMP) soccer and cricket matches against Special Branch.

Away from the HQ the members of Kluang Det, Cpls 
Greenfield and Dixon and L/Cpl Dicker keep sending back exhilarating reports about wild boar hunts and jungle training.  It is understood that the Bar Owners Association are petitioning for the return of S/Sgt Gosney, but as yet this is unconfirmed.  Penang Det remains suspiciously quiet about their activities, possibly to prevent  a mass migration from dusty Seremban to their palm-fringed beaches.  WO2 Huntbach and Cpl Lewer did appear for the Corps day celebrations held at the HQ but disappeared back to their island paradise as silently as they arrived

Finally we would like to congratulate Cpl 
Jackson on his recent marriage, Major and Mrs Collins on the birth of a daughter and S/Sgt and Mrs Stone on the birth of a daughter and Sgt and Mrs MacMurphy on the birth of a son.

The past year has witnessed an almost complete turnover of personnel.  Capt G L D Jenkins succeeded Capt G F O’Neill as Officer Commanding in march, WO 2 Robertson arrived in April as replacement for WO 2 “Tom” Woods, and Lt J J McMullen joined the unit as 2 i/c in May.  Other new members of the platoon area S/Sgts J Barry and R Matthews, Sgt A Wilson, Cpls D HickmanC Spencer and C Sage, L/Cpl W Barnes and Pte A Peck.

The physical highlight of the year, work wise, was exercise “Cold Comfort” where our efforts were rewarded by a tribute from an infantry unit commander who wrote: “I was impressed by the display of ingenuity and resourcefulness…. I am glad to think we will be on the same side in any future conflict.”  The initial reaction of the Royal navy to the destruction of “the pride of the Fleet” by an enterprising member of the platoon cannot, alas, be recorded in print.

Corps Day activities were a joint effort by all Int Corps units and personnel on the island and have been described elsewhere in these pages.  We share the view of other participants that activities were a huge success.  The cocktail party is still a lively topic of conversation among many of our guests.

The Sergeants’ Mess has undergone considerable alteration and redecoration.  A sliding wooden partition now extends across the end wall thus incorporating the annex into the main body of the Mess.  A new, modern bar has been built and positioned in a corner of the room.  The result is quite impressive.   

Other items of interest to readers are: The birth of a son, Nigel Stewart , to S/Sgt 
“Bob” and Kathleen Finlayson at BMH Singapore, on 23rd  May, 1966; the marriage of Cpl P Clark on 1st February, 1996 at Venlo, Holland, to Miss Yvonne Van Leeuwen; the birth of a daughter Rosedah, to Sgt and Mrs Idris bin Mohd Noor at BMH Singapore on 23rd May, 1966; the award of the LS&GC to WO2 “Max” Arden in March, 1966; the promotion of S/Sgt Arden to WO2 in April and the promotion of Sgt Finlayson in march, 1966.
Since JARIC (FE) activities haven’t appeared in this Journal for some while, this short article covers, rather conventionally, the period of Indonesian confrontation.

When “Confrontasi” started in earnest this small Joint Service Unit played a very large part in providing Intelligence for the Security Forces on the Borneo/Indonesian frontier and we weren’t able to indulge any longer in the off-duty activities which seem to fill the leisure hours of more fortunate units in the Far East.  This situation is now happily reversed and jaunts to the islands of Singapore and in the South China Sea off Mersing where, rumour has it, that “South Pacific” was filmed, as well as many other more relaxing activities are now once more possible.  Trips to Bali and similar  glamorous places may well be a possibility in the future if the Indos open their land to us once again.

During the period of Confrontation the Intelligence Corps members were, in the early days, Lt 
Roy Haisley, S/Sgt Chris Edwards and Sgt John Fielding, more lately known as Schwegmann-Fielding, a point on which he was most particular.  All three left us quite early on and were replaced by another set of worthies: S/Sgt John Kingston in November, 1964, S/SgtColin Bell in March,1966 and S/Sgt John Herredge, who has just arrived from the UK.  S/Sgt Gordon Taylor came over from Borneo, spent a few months with us and then, preferring the “sharp end”, returned to his old Brigade.  Major Ted Kenningtonhas been the senior representative of the Corps in the unit throughout most of the period.  Capt Fred Mace, although no longer a member of the Corps but well known to many members, has been with us for two and a half years and is one of the Corps’ most loyal supporters, and seldom does an Int Corps function take place without Fred’s presence.  He usually pays too!   One of the happiest attachments to us was made by S/Sgt John Irwin of the Australian Intelligence Corps who stayed with us for a few months.  “The kangaroo” as he was called behind his back, seemed to have spent most of his service outside the friendly shores of his native land in New Guinea and all those countries which used to form French Indo-China.  His many stories of his adventures in those lands will be as well remembered as his beer-drinking prowess and the mechanical failures of his Simca. 

Although none of the Corps members of JARIC (FE) have been lucky enough to get to Australia yet, we have been more fortunate than some other units and our travels and visits, on duty, have taken us to Borneo, Brunei, Hong Kong and many parts of West Malaysia, including Penang Island.; the duties including general photographic interpretation and delivering lectures to Army units on air photo reading. In “outside activities, although the Corps members form only a small percentage of the unit, they have made themselves felt and are in fact considered indispensable.  


Currently Colin Bell is in our very competent darts team which has walked off with two of the Station’s Trophies, and John Kingston is one of the stalwarts of the unit football team which has just concluded a very worthwhile season.  Many are the times when we spectators have had the pleasure of seeing “full back Jack”, deserted by the rest of the team,facing an onslaught of the opposition single-handed, lapsing into a thick Welsh accent and employing the tactics of his Nation in order to save the day with his “heavy artillery” kicks.

In common with many other Corps units we don’t often get the chance to meet many individual Corps members and it was, therefore, a very real pleasure to be able to meet so many at the highly successful social functions organised by the Headquarters for the Corps day, and to be able to take part in the memorial service at the Kranji military cemetery despite the downpour.

Per Terram, SubAqua, Ad Astra

In any attempt to chronicle the past year’s activity, Confrontation must obviously form the major theme.  For the Platoon, based with Commando brigade Headquarters in Singapore, it has produced anomalies; the Brigade operates on a roulement system in Borneo, at least one Commando and one Gun battery being there at any one time, and therefore if our job of providing specialist support is to be done properly, the greater proportion of the Platoon must be there too, invariably working independently and, by the very nature of the Brigade, in a variety of different roles and guises.  It is an unreal existence; one minute enjoying the comparative luxury and comfort of peacetime Singapore, the next well forward on the border on extremely active service.  With the ending of Confrontation imminent, the pattern will change.  For once perhaps more than half the unit will be able to get together at the same time.  Whatever one’s feelings, nursing blisters, leech bites, or a straightforward hangover, unless something comes along to take the place of this “luvverly war”, life could become considerably dull by comparison.

It has been another full year.  The Platoon has been required to work increasingly closely with Special Boat Sections of the Brigade both in East and West Malaysia.  Lt 
Tantum, S/Sgt Jackson and Cpl Shilcock are virtually qualified as swimmer-canoeists (less of course the extra pay), more at home in canoes and fins than office chairs and army boots.  S/Sgt Jackson is a particular devotee and now seems to spend more time below than above the surface.  Obstacles have been blown up and beaches reconnoitred from Kuantan to Kota Belud; take care next time you see something green and slimy crawling across the sand, be sure to look for a Corps badge before you tread on it.
Throughout the year different members have been away in Borneo.  Sgt Courage, having gained an Indonesian Linguist Interpretership, is now detached to 2 Intelligence Company and may be seen on most days at RAF Changi Air Movements Centre either departing for or returning from the ”other side”. 

 Morrison returned in July, 1966, from a year as FIO at Serian, 1st Division Sarawak, initially there during the tour of 40 Commando.
His place has been neatly filled by Cpl Knight who until recently had been the mainstay of the Platoon in Singapore.  Cpl Kitching sends occasional unprintable dispatches from the wilds of Lundu where he has been FIO since November, 1965, again initially with 42 Commando.  Peering alternately through face-mask and stereoscope, S/Sgt Jackson has somehow found time to write the notes on a “Sedentary Occupation” which appears below.  Depending upon your point of view, they may be considered an inducement or a positive deterrent to an unwary successor.

There has been the usual run of exercises, mostly amphibious with the Commando ship in both Borneo and Malaya.  Light relief is now provided by the development of a water parachuting technique designed to reinforce the embarked unit at the last moment at sea by a “team of specialists” from within the Brigade.  Lt 
Tantum and S/Sgt Jackson (recognition at last!) concluded a series of work-up jumps with a final descent into the sea off the east coast of Malaya beside the Commando carrier, to be winched out by helicopter on hitting the water and landed onto the ship complete with waterproof container of “hot intelligence” in time for breakfast.  If nothing else, it’s a change from going everywhere by helicopter.  The rot has spread to Cpl Shilcock too who has completed his first training descent, and Sgt Courage who is next in line.  We are working towards the day when the “team of specialists” is composed entirely of the Platoon – and rightly so!
It is particularly good to be able to list two tangible records of achievement since the last issue.  Firstly the award to Cpl Morrison of the Commendation of the Commissioner of Sarawak for outstanding work in Borneo, especially during the Indonesian incursion into Serian in February, 1966, and secondly the winning by the Platoon of the 1965 Shortt SMG Trophy.

At the time of writing Lt 
Venn has just arrived from BAOR via Lympstone mud to take command of the unit.   Lt Tantum leaves shortly for the dubious delights of England – an England which, if one believes the three-month old periodicals here, consists entirely of playboy bunnies and sallow youth in Carnaby rig.  More fearsome than any far-flung mangrove swamp or border terrorist….

The two-bar, two-horse town of Brunei has seen a 100 per cent change over the Intelligence Platoon inmates since last year.  Brunei being what it is and also being classed as an “operational theatre”, the Army in their wisdom do not normally pronounce more than a one-year sentence, hence the rapid and complete turnover.  However, it appears that the last turnover may in fact have been the last.  With the end of “Confrontation” the Brigade’s presence is o longer required here.  The Platoon expects to be withdrawn at the end of the year, but its future after that date is still anybody’s guess.

Brunei may have its disadvantages from the social and spare time point of view, but most members of the Platoon would agree that, from a work angle life has often been very interesting.  However, it would be a distortion of the truth to say we are truly sorry to be leaving.

The characters who have figured in what must be the last act of 5 Int Pl in Borneo are numerous.  The OC, Lt 
Langstaff, was relieved in more senses than one by the arrival of Capt J Landolt in early February.  The latter, having just escaped from the rigours of the Depot, was confronted by a platoon consisting largely of his “ex-squaddies”.  Cpl, P Shepherd-Watson arrived in the Platoon to complete a shorter than average “Cook’s Tour” before being medically evacuated with a leg injury.  Rumour has it that the Medical Officer delayed his departure by three days to ensure that he at least qualified for a medal!  WO2 E Steinitz unfortunately also left Brunei in the tender care of the medical authorities.  However, in his case he had completed a full and often rigorous tour as an FIO.  Sgt A Watson left Brunei to join the ranks of the civilian populace.  His going was marked by a beach party the previous evening where the only dry place to shelter from an unwelcome tropical storm was under the none too large bar.  Cpl G Patten is another Platoon member who is also shortly leaving for civilian life.  It’s quite possible the Platoon may be in for another soaking.  Others who left us, but for military service elsewhere, were Cpl M Plane, Cpl H Pinchard, Cpl A Lewer and L/Cpl G Wightman.   Tales of Pinchard’s further subversive activities have already filtered back from Singapore.  Sgt Perks also left the Platoon to return to UK for a Photo Interpreter’s Course.  Cpls M Jordan and A McClenaghan are still in situ.  They were suitably duped into thinking they would be returning to greener pastures in Singapore in October, but now realise it was all a hoax.  Frantic searches of regulations may provide them with an irrefutable excuse for leaving on time, but it is quite likely they will have to wait till Christmas with the rest of us.  S/Sgt F Dawes is in roughly the same boat, although being in Singapore at the time of writing he does not know it yet.   Cpl P Palmer and L/Cpl G M Smith, our security team, complete the Platoon Int Corps staff in Brunei.  Cpl Palmer plays soccer and became a father ( there appears to be no direct connection) and L/Cpl Smith has chanced his arm by trying to persuade the Pay Office that the consumption of T-bone steaks in Jesselton formed an essential part of his duties.  Our sapper staff also underwent changes.  Bewhiskered and musical Spr D Stanley gave up his part time job as map storeman in favour of Cpl A Cox who occupies a fair part of his time painting.  L/Cpl D Rigby, our draughtsman, left us for Singapore but in his case without replacement.

Serving temporarily out of Brunei we have two valiant FIOs, Cpl 
P Llewellyn in Sabah, who keeps in touch whenever tenuous communications permit, and S/Sgt Winterton, who was generously loaned to 2 Int Coy and who has rarely been heard of since.  Now that 2 Int Coy have been mentioned, it may as well be admitted that Corps Day was celebrated jointly with this august unit.  A barbecue at Murara Beach (the ill-starred venue of Watson’s farewell wetting) was agreed upon.  The steaks, chips, music, beer (and girls) were fine, but the rain was again an uninvited guest.  This time we were better prepared, but a battle with the elements and a temperamental generator took a toll of time and tempers.

In closing, mention must be made of yet another member of the Corps serving in Brunei, Capt 
K Rutter, who is presently QM of HQ, 51 Gurkha Inf Bde.  Needless to say, the Int Platoon enjoys good relations with the QM staff.


Kuching, Sarawak

Whilst recognising the existence of certain other contributory factors, the ending of Confrontation can,  if one is sufficiently enlightened, be directly traced to the sterling efforts of 21 Intelligence Platoon (Bde). However, with the continuing decline of sterling, it is necessary to record the Platoon’s efforts in perpetuity amongst these pages (in any case, it is unlikely that a record will be made elsewhere).  Sober intent, steadfast temperance, inhuman sacrifice, et ad infinitum, were ever in the Platoon’s sub-conscious.  In the event, this sub-conscious, together with three-quarters of the G1098 store, was never utilised, with the result that a willing, cheerful, efficient and contented team worked well and hard, earning the admiration and praise of all but the most bigoted.

This team has changed much in the course of the past year, Cpl 
Mick Roberts being the first to depart – for a period of jungle-bashing – but who has now been received back into the fold.  (Perhaps some day we may read of the parable of the prodigal Intelligence Corps Corporal).  Cpl Pete Jackson was the next to bid farewell, but not before succeeding, after months of frustration, in BLRing a stationary Land Rover, thereby enabling us to obtain a brand-new one.  It is to be hoped that his newly-acquired spouse doesn’t go the same way.  Cpl John Regan then left us for Hong Kong and married life – Eros strikes, even in jungle boots.  Cpl Mick McGrath then deserted us for Ashford and a course, but has never been seen since.  A D4 source reports that he is in BAOR, where we hope he is continuing his hobbies of air-dropping typewriters and harbouring pregnant cats.  S/Sgt Gordon Taylor roared off in a cloud of dust shortly afterwards for UK, completing a marathon and memorable tour.  Finally, Sgt Mick Conway passed on to better things – marriage and a new start in Australia.  The sight of the intrepid Conway “bulling” a land Rover for the annual REME Inspection caused more incredulity and awe amongst Brigade Headquarters than any half-dozen INTSUMs ever did or are likely to.  (It was intended to present the finished article to the Sarawak Museum, such was the spectacle, but unfortunately DADOS objected).

Those whom we have been pleased to welcome are Sgts 
Tony Barnes,  John Nash and Lou Adamson, whose memoirs will appear in another edition; also Cpl George Hopkinson and L/Cpl Pete Pugh, who divides his time unequally between the golf course and his office.  Not forgetting the long-suffering L/Cpl Paddy Payne, a well established member.  The OC, 2Lt M R Lett, deserves (so he thinks) a mention, but undoubtedly won’t get one, and is therefore patiently awaiting the same fate as Malvolio.  The Platoon’s fate is uncertain, although our days are numbered.  What is certain however is that a good time is being enjoyed by all, and great works are being executed.