The Rose and The Laurel - 1967

Since we last contributed to the Journal, much has happened to the Corps in the Far East, the most important event being the formation of the Group on the 1st June, 1967.  This was exactly one year and one day after the establishment proposals had first been put forward.  We waited impatiently for news of progress but by November, 1966, the date on which we all hoped the Group would form, we had heard nothing, and although the ground work had been laid, we could go no further.  HQ Int Corps had no “fat” in its establishment, and was very heavily committed on training.  This meant that all the many small items required for major reorganisation imposed an additional burden on the staff of the HQ, resulting in quite a lot of overtime.  This particularly involved S/Sgt Madgwick, the Chief Clerk, throughout most of the preparation period and who is now seeking lighter relief in studying Russian at Beaconsfield.

In January this year, when Col 
Goss arrived, we had still heard nothing definite as to our formation date.  Our preparations continued until March when we were able to present to the Corps Conference a realistic outline of our structure and our method of operation.  We were particularly pleased to have the Inspector’s support during this conference, which proved of value to everyone concerned.  In June, 1967, we received formal approval for the Group’s establishment, back-dated to November, 1966.  It was, however, impractical to form the Group in retrospect, particularly from the records and unit documentation aspects.  We therefore asked that the formation date should be 1st June, and this was agreed.

Circumstances force us to organise ourselves somewhat differently from our sister unit in BAOR.  The most important of these circumstances is the fact that Col 
Goss occupies two posts – both full-time jobs – he is G1 Security and our CO.  The great advantage of this is that technical direction can be closely co-ordinated with staff policy and the Corps professional expertise used to the maximum effect.

Some account of the preparation leading to the Group’s formation should be given since our activities in this connection took up a good deal of our work during the past year.

Towards the end of 1966 the Intelligence Corps Units in the theatre underwent reorganisation, some units were re-located and others disbanded.  2 Intelligence Company faded away, until finally Capt 
Crawford and the few men who remained from the Interrogation Team were the sole representatives of the Company in Singapore.  They too finally left the theatre early in 1967, and 2 Company was no more.  About the same time 5 Intelligence Platoon wasted away, leaving Capt J D Landolt to take up an appointment as GSO3 Int, HQ 99 Bde, and S/Sgt Dawes, who had settled at JARIC (FE).  15 Int Platoon left the theatre with its formation, leaving Capt Small, who was successively Staff Captain Q, Company 2 IC and now Adjutant of the Group.  In effect, the units and members of the Corps who had served in Borneo during confrontation were now given new and more peaceable tasks.  As always, however, there is an exception – S/Sgt Howard is presumably finding little change of tempo between his days in Borneo and his present work with 10 Company.

On 31
st December, 1966, the old HQ Intelligence Corps (FARELF), moved from Rowcroft Lines to its present home in Alexandra Park.  This was the fourth move made by the HQ since 1962, and we sincerely hope that we have now come to roost.  Although Rowcroft Lines had several attractions, it cannot really compare with Alexandra Park.  We live, or rather work, in what is essentially a residential area.  We now have a brick building in place of the rather flimsy wooden structure, and we are able to boast of one of the best strong rooms on the island, as well as air-conditioning in the lecture room and the CO’s office.  We are at present taking over another building in the area for use as syndicate rooms.  Not for nothing, therefore, does the Commanding Officer consider that we are one of the “growth industries” in the area.

Our move brought its inevitable changes in administrative support, and we now come under the watchful eye of the Engineer Base Group, to whom we owe a great deal of thanks for their support both during and after the move.

Despite the move, training still had to go on, and we are deeply involved in preparations for the Group.  Although there were some minor set-backs, it is true to say that we were able to continue in our new home with very little disruption of our responsibilities.  The training programme has always been the bread and butter of the Group HQ and, indeed, of the old HQ Int Corps.  In 1966 we saw an increased training programme in which extra courses were fitted into what ever “spare time” was available.  The same is true in 1967.  Training does not stop.  In fact there is no “spare time” now, and the longest uncommitted period which remains this year is ten days over Christmas.  It looks very much as though this pattern will be followed in 1968-69 training year, which is currently being planned.  As in the past, the bulk of our effort is directed to foreign officers’ courses, but we have increased the time available to the Corps NCOs for trade and continuation training.  We have also increased the number of unit security officers’ courses, as one might expect now that G Security has its full complement of Corps Badges.

During the year we were delighted to see the Colonel Commandant and Mrs Lloyd, who visited FARELF in October and November last; the Inspector who visited in February and March this year, attending our Conference in March; and Col Fielder, who was with us last December.  General Foster was able to spend some time with us in April.  We sincerely hope that all enjoyed their visit as much as we enjoyed seeing them amongst us.  At the present moment we are looking forward to seeing Col Goulding and Major Lacey-Johnson in the near future.  We were pleased when, in January, 1967, Col and Mrs Goss joined us.  The Colonel’s arrival, even with two hats, brought us a step nearer to the Group concept.

Singapore is a regular staging post, and we were glad to meet the following members of the Corps who were birds of passage.  Outward bound – Major and Mrs 
Vearncombe and Major and Mrs Nicholson, the later however slipped through our formal net, but was suitably fielded by Maj Alcock, a former colleague of the SMI.  Homeward bound – Capt and Mrs Kelly, leaving Australia en route for UK.  Capt Rutter has been a regular visitor to us from his exile in Brunei, but we hope in the near future to have him with us on a more permanent basis. 

We have already made contact with some of the officers who have recently transferred to the Corps; Major 
Bedford-Russell, Major Hunter and Capt McCardle, and we hope to see them whenever they pass through the island.
Corps day, 1967, was very successful and reflected most creditably on all those concerned with its organisation.  The WOs’ and Sgts’ Mess of

8 Company arranged an informal buffet which was well attended.  Our thanks are due to the PMC and his committee for all the work which went into this.  A cocktail party was given by officers of the Group in the very pleasant surroundings of the Senior Officers’ Mess, HQ FARELF.  The Army Commander, Chief of Staff and BGS attended this function as well as guests from as far afield as Seremban and Brunei.  We were also pleased to entertain several former members of the Corps and two members of the Australian Intelligence Corps.  An outing to Blackgang Mati had been planned, but unfortunately had to be cancelled at the last moment.  One enterprising gentleman did, however, conduct a party round Tiger Brewery. 

We are beginning to take our place in the sporting life of the Island.  The soccer team organised by Sgt 
Conway and Sgt Black, has been going well despite injuries, and a rugger team has just been raised with Capt Small and Sgt Wilson as managers.  The Commanding Officer and 2 i/c have turned out for both games, but there are indications that the 2 i/c is feeling his years!  The Commanding Officer has added his personal trophy (fourth in Individual Squash Championship) to the shields which decorate his office.  He is also one of the guiding lights of the Free Fall Parachute Club, thus continuing an association started by S/Sgt Barry.   S/Sgt Barry’s enthusiasm also communicated itself to the Colonel’s lady and it is to be regretted that his premature return to the UK prevented him witnessing the results of his instruction.

Individual members of the Group have also taken part in a variety of sporting activities in the Command, and several have represented their formations including Sgts Conway and Palmer (soccer) and Cpl Pugh (basketball).  With the arrival of WO1 Dunn from 10 INt & Sy Coy, we can expect to be given a lead in the orienteering field.

In the course of last year most of the military personnel have been involved in hand-overs or take-overs within the HQ.  The only man to have lasted the full year is our 2 i/c Major 

Blackburn has left us for retirement, and we wish him and his family every success in the future.  WO1 Dunn arrived from Hong Kong to take his place.

Hughes has taken over the training post from Sgt Black.  S/Sgt Madgwick’s job as Chief clerk is now being handled by Sgt Stanton RAOC, ably assisted by Cpl Farr, also RAOC.  We also have a new draughtsman, L/Cpl Wright.  All three appear to be standing up under the strain of serving with the Intelligence Corps.  We have our decorations at the HQ in the persons of Mrs Miller, the confidential typist, Miss Morris, the confidential shorthand-typist, and Mrs Allison, who is the confidential clerk.  These three ladies also appear to be able to live with the pressures of this HQ.

During the year the personnel from the HQ appear to have followed the current Singapore Government of strict family planning in that the only addition has been the birth of a second son to Sgt and Mrs 
Black on 4th August, 1967.  We congratulate the Blacks on this fine effort, having at least managed to show that the Intelligence Corps are still fertile in the Far East.


The re-designation of this unit took place on 1st June, 1967 on the formation of the Intelligence and Security Group (FARELF).  Reorganisation to meet the additional requirements of the new establishment had been smoothly effected over the preceding eight months as personnel were absorbed from units disbanding following the end of Confrontation.

The role of the Company is somewhat broader than that of the CI Platoon for in addition to our previous security commitments we now provide personnel for the Int Sp Section of 3 Cdo Bde and 99 Gurkha Inf Bde.  Thus have we gained a wider field in which to obtain experience of the various aspects of our trade.

In spite of a heavy work-load, we have not neglected the lighter side of life.  With our increased man-power, and by joining in with Group HQ, 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.

The WOs’ and Sgts’ Mess, whose membership includes most of the Int Corps personnel on the Island, continues to survive and thrive in spite of the threat of extinction which hangs over all small Messes these days.  Social evenings have proved the most popular, particularly the “East of Suez” evening and the barbecues, and perhaps our greatest problem is in trying to limit guests to the number that can be comfortably accommodated.   We enjoy the privilege of entertaining visiting VIPs on behalf of (and together with) all Intelligence Corps personnel on the Island, and during the past year we have extended a welcome to the Colonel Commandant, Maj Gen R E 
Lloyd, CB, CBE, DSO, MA, on 1st November1966; the Chief instructor SMI, Lt Col J A Fielder, MBE, on 3rd December 1966; the Inspector of intelligence, Brigadier T F R Bulkeley, MBE, on 25th February 1967; the Director of Security, Maj Gen N L Foster, DSO (Retd) on 17th April 1967; GOC Singapore District, Maj Gen D N H Tyacke, OBE on 10th July 1967.


Local personalities are: HQ – Major K G Stevens (shortly to be replaced by Major G F O’Neill), Lt R A Langstaff, WO2 Adams, S/Sgt Newark (arriving shortly), and Cpl McGuire; CPIO – S/Sgt Guthrie and Cpl P Jackson; Seremban Security Det – WO2 Cambridge (soon off to 10 Company), Sgt Jubb (follows in WO2 Cambridge’s footsteps), Sgt Woodhouse, Ptes Knought andGregory; Penang Security Det – S/Sgt Adamson, Sgt Lewer (in September off to 1 Company), Sgt Thornton and Cpl Jordan; Malacca Security Det – S/Sgt Wood, Sgt Clarke (soon to go to Kluang), Sgt Jenkins, Cpl Fleming and L/Cpl Bird; Kluang Security Det – Sgt Greenfield and Cpl Campbell; 17 Div Int Support Section – Lieut A A W Edwards, S/Sgt Dickinson, Sgt Turnbull (presently helping out Seremban Security Det), Cpl J Jackson, Cpl G Downing, L/Cpl Hawksley and the draughtsman Cpl Edwards; 28 Comwel Inf bde Int Support Section – Cpls Brogden and Dicker, L/Cpl Toppin, RE (at present on DOMCOL in Barbados).  The GSO III (Int & Security) at 28 Bde is Capt J L L’Epagniol, Australian Intelligence Corps.


Married during the year were Lt Champion, who is now acting as Garrison Adjutant in Terendak, and Cpl Fleming[Webmaster's Note: Not to each other I hope!]

The Company Archaeological Society has had a very active year.  The whole society in conjunction with OC CI Company (Cyprus) visited most of the fascinating sites in Cyprus.  The Society also visited most of the sites in Malaya and S. Thailand.  However, as membership totals but one, he must occasionally co-opt temporary members.  One co-opted member, Sgt
Adamson, unearthed a number of shards from Sri Vijaya site in Kedah.  Sri Vijaya was a large empire in S. Asia in the 7th – 10th century AD, subsequent to the large Funan Empire covering indo-China, Siam, Burma and N. Malaya. 

Meanwhile, back in Seremban, early one morning a short while ago, our Confidential Clerk, Brigit, opened her cupboard (steel, security, 6’ x 3’, with combination lock) to find a snake coiled up on the bottom  and hissing in annoyance at being disturbed.  Has anyone heard of a trip from Seremban to Singapore on foot completed in 10 minutes?  Brigit left us in mid-July for the cool meadows of Colchester.  There was no connection between the snake and her departure.

Corps Day was celebrated with a nine course Chinese meal in Malacca.  The evening was a splendid occasion despite some of our younger members’ difficulty with S/Sgt Wood’s substitute for wine and beer, “Merrydown Cider”.
History of the Malacca Security Detachment Office at Klebang Kechil:
This castellated property was constructed in approximately 1939 at the whim of a wealthy and prominent Singapore lawyer, Mr S G Goho.  It was built in pseudo-medieval style in order to conform with the general historic pattern of the old Portugese Fort and settlement area.

The purpose of the building was to entertain friends over holidays and at week-ends and also his Indian lawyer friends when visiting Malacca.
It is of interest to note that in 1946 or thereabouts, Mr Goho offered the use of this house to the late Prime Minister of India (Mr Nehru) and his daughter, who later spent three or four days at this address during a visit to Malacca.

The building was later occupied by a succession of Indian lawyers from Singapore and Malacca.  Before the Detachment took the building it was rented by a world-wide insurance company who added the final “security” touches, e.g. bars to the windows, double locks etc. and used it to provide office and living accommodation for their local agent.

It is understood that the building, owing to its location overlooking the Port and the Malacca Straits, was used by the Japanese during the last war as an observation post.  Although this is highly probable, it has not been confirmed.