The Rose and The Laurel - 1971

Our notes from Singapore last year ended with a reference to the days of Field Security in 1945 when two Japanese POWs were employed by the section.  A history of the Corps in Singapore since 1945 has been prepared, but is very much a bare bones of the story, consisting largely of organisation tables and personalities.  What is needed are the anecdotes which put flesh on the bones and help to make the history live.  The story covers the period of the FS era, from 1945 to 1959, when the designation was changed to Counter Intelligence Unit, Singapore.  The FS were engaged in the cleaning up after the Japanese occupation, and all too soon in the increasing internal unrest in the area.  The unit’s name has changed again in 1962 to CI Platoon, Singapore, but the work remained as before.  There was in fact a further widening of the unit’s field of operations with the revolt led by Abdul Azahari in Brunei and only a month later, in January 1963, the start of the Confrontation by Indonesia against Malaysia which at that time included Singapore.  The Corps strength in the region was increased significantly to meet this new threat and in 1965, 2 Coy, was formed in Borneo to supplement those Brigade Int Pls already in the field.

In 1967, the Group system was introduced and the unit in Singapore became 8 Company, Int & Sy Gp (FARELF) a title which lasted until the closure of the Group in September 1970.  All of which brings us up to the activities 8 Int & Sy Coy in Singapore over the last year.  One of the most significant events for the British Forces in 1971 must be the withdrawal from Singapore.  There will be a small British element in Singapore as part of the ANZUK force but the British presence will end in December 1971.  This year therefore we have been playing our part in the dismantling of the base here.

The process has been very gradual with once-great units still existing on paper but now operating from tiny corners of their camps – the remainder already being patrolled by Singapore soldiers in their familiar camouflage helmets and green uniforms.  We are also reducing, and each month people disappear without replacement.  By 15th December 1971, this Company will cease to exist.  During the year we have also helped in the training of the ANZUK Int & Sy Unit which will be our successor, supporting the ANZUK units and headquarters.  This unit has a small Intelligence Corps contingent who will continue to represent the Corps in Singapore.

On 1st September 1971, we moved to our final home within the hutted area of HQ FARELF.  On the move of the Company we had to close the Intelligence Corps Club, Singapore, since no suitable accommodation was available in Tanglin.  We had an excellent Corps’ day barbecue at the Club with an incredibly noisy band which ended in the early hours of the morning with one of our number playing dodgems in the car park.  We then had several final parties including an auction of club property and a farewell party when pewter pots and other goodies were distributed.  The final, final party was a Chinese meal when we ate and drank the balance of the club funds.  Just before it closed, we received our Club ties from UK and these are now being proudly worn throughout the world by past members.

Maj Liley left the Company on promotion in April and Capt Shepherd, now in air-conditioned luxury, continues as OC.  Lt Col Parritt moved from Group HQ to OIC Stats and Records and then back to UK in August.  Capt Edwards has reluctantly left Singapore n posting to Ashford.  On the sporting side, the Company has been involved in several motor rallies and, of course, our football team enjoyed a very good season.  The Wives’ Club continued to organise outings and coffee mornings but again because of reduced numbers have been unable to repeat their magnificent effort of last September when a sale of work produced £100 for Corps funds.

To bring these notes to a sad end, mention must be made of the closure of the Central Pass Issue Office on 1st October 1971, although it will continue in changed form as part of the ANZUK force.  Not only does this mark the end of an era but it also means saying farewell to the local staff who have been with the Intelligence Corps for many years.  We would like to take this opportunity to thank them for their past services and to wish them well for the future.  Also included, of course, are Sgt Yacob, the last MOR in the Intelligence Corps and Sgt Adnan RAOC, attached.  Our sincere gratitude to them all.  May we also reiterate our plea to all those who have interesting  reminiscences to contribute to the Corps history in Singapore to send them to the Editor, The Rose and The Laurel, Intelligence Centre, Templer Barracks, Ashford, Kent.

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 metre shell of its former might.  We surrendered our midfield supremacy with the departures of Cpl 
Gordon and Mr Jack Arbuckle.  A rather large gap appeared in our defence (literally) when Cpl Ovens returned to UK, and most of the sting disappeared from the attack with the postings of L/Cpl Pearcey and Sgt Houldin.  Only Sgt Allan (RAOC), Cpl Ashcroft and L/Cpl 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, S/Sgts ShilcockCreighton and Ogglesby, Sgts Allan (RAOC), Houldin and Ovens, Cpls Ashcroft, BrookesClarke (RAOC), Rippon and Smith (RAOC), L/Cpls WestonCaulfieldClarkPearcey (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. 

(Editor’s note: It is with a sort of horrified reluctance that we reproduce these football atrocity pictures, hoping that no one will be able to identify anyone who took part in what must have been a distressingly violent contest.)

This year saw at change for the better in Int Corps participation in rallying.  The first rally in 1971 was the Duckham’s in March 1971.  Sgt Smith and WO2 Radford, crewing together for the first time came second in class, after a very fast rally which saw many of the top rallyists in Singapore and Malaysia come to grief.  In May a joint Int Corps/REME team, “INTEX”, was formed for the North Malaysia rally starting from Penang.  Sgt Smith and WO2 Radford again formed the Int Corps representation along with two vehicles driven by S/Sgt Avery and Cpl K Tilley.  Both NCOs have helped us considerably over the last two years in keeping vehicles going.  A second in class was also gained in this rally, in spite of being bogged down in the mud for nearly four hours.  The route was most interesting, and provided a most enjoyable three-day rally in Kedah.

The Intex team was reformed for the BP rally; this time with two vehicles from 8 Company.  One crewed by Sgt Smith and WO2 Radford and the other by Sgt Holland and Cpl Green, REME.  The third vehicle was again provided by S/Sgt Avery.  After the success in two previous rallies, Sgt Smith and WO2 Radford were disappointed to find that they were once again near the back.  This caused problems as there were a large number of newcomers who would insist on driving down narrow rubber estate roads at 10 mph, refusing to allow one to pass.  In the end, Sgt Smith and WO2 Radford were beaten into 4thin class by 10 points by the JWS Land-Rover which only finished because they had been given a tow by Sgt Smith.  Sgt Holland finished 9th in class.

In September better luck was met when Sgt Smith and WO2 Radford came second in class in the Castrol rally.  This was an achievement as the gear stick broke at the bottom just after passing the first control.  They removed the top housing and changed gear with a spanner, using 3rd gear in plantations and 4th gear on roads.

It is hoped that two vehicles will be entered for a proposed rally in Malaysia in November 1971, as a grand finale to 8 Company’s rallying.