Confrontation - Know your enemy, was it Soekarno ?

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A Caribou belonging to the "Ten Terrors"...

A TUDM (Tentera Udara Di-Rajah Malaysia) [Royal Malaysian Air Force] DHC-4 Caribou FM-1102. The "Ten Terrors" was the nickname applied (obviously the "Tentera" lent itself splendidly....)

I think this was taken at Long Pa Sia and I always thought that Long Pa Sia was at the eastern end of Sarawak but I am told (and can only find) a Long Pa Sia in Sabah which comes up on Google Earth (if you enter the name).

When 110 Squadron moved to Labuan and Bario in 1967, Confrontation had officially ended but the presence was still required just in case it flared up again, particularly in Brunei.

Some Caribous were based in Labuan and supplied the strips, Long Pa Sia, Long Semado, Bario and the SRT's (Whirlwinds) ferried the supplies to the border posts. The Malaysian Army was taking over (to have a second go at defending their own country) and they were using Alouette helicopters in support. Some Ghurkas remained.

The TUDM lost one of these Caribous after an engine failure on the way to Long Semado, the Captain turned back for Labuan but exhausted his fuel on the good side and crash landed at Meligan but off the grass strip and the Caribou was destroyed.

RPM, Fuel Flow, TGT...

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Sycamore: I imagine, with your 'avatar' and obvious helicopter background that you were once at home in these fellows:

110 sqn Sycamore XG519 down from Butterworth at Changi late 1961. The Sycamores were painted yellow overall I remember.
That's an intriging perspex tray which looks to be attached over the rear doors on these machines, presumably lowered for casualty evacuation?

The change over to Whirlwind HAR10's must have been during mid 1963, with a move down to Seletar as well.

The points mentioned about Whirlwind HAR10 Gnome engines were probably nowhere near as bad as the Navy experienced when the exchanged their Sikorsky S-55 based machines for the Whirlwind 7's with the Leonides engines...they were seriously under powered in the tropics.

On the subject of Army supply dropping, the 48 Sqn Hastings had to adopt some new techniques during the Confrontation.
Hence this practicing going on at Changi in mid 1963:'low%20drops'%20on%20the%20airfield-S1085A.jpg

TG612 does a low drop' onto markers beside the runway.


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Fascinating thread.

I posted these images, on this forum, a few years back (Can't believe it was nearly four years ago)

These are some of the pics my dad took when he was stationed out in Borneo during the confrontation.

My dad hard at work

There seems very little info about what when on out there so these stories posted on here are priceless.

Hopefully there will be more.

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I was just looking back through the 'archive' here to find your original thread with your father's pictures...and got back to see you'd just posted a link to it thanks for posting. the pictures are great.

Keep them coming everyone.

David T

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This is an fascinating thread, with some cracking pictures, keep it coming!

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PF,the perspex `thingies`are actually the doors for medevacs,as the stretchers would be too long and stick out the sides.In those days everyone flew the Sycamore as the basic helicopter trainer at Ternhill,until about the mid-70`s,then the Sioux,Clockwork Mouse took over.
XJ763 looks as if it might be at Kuching,on 103. The other one looks like it might be flown by `Fearless Fred` Hoskins,Boss of 103 Sdn,and an ex-Hornet driver in his first `youth` in the Far East on 33.

edit.Closer inspection reveals poor `housekeeping` by the LZ `Manager/SNCO, in that all the ready fuel drums should be stacked upright,so that any water /contaminants went to the bottom when tested after settling; should also be shaded to keep the fuel cooler; Hey ho ,that`s 110 !! running for cover !

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110 Squadron gathering ....

Here we have 110 Squadron gathered for a group photograph... I recall this could have either been when Confrontation was declared "over" or on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the formation of the 110 (Hyderabad) Squadron.... can't remember...anyway, that's Squadron Leader Richard Hadlow, presiding, in the centre, front row.

Darren Be, Some good photos there.
XJ763 definitely at Kuching. No's 6 is The Gaat, No. 8 is The Gaat but the negative is reversed, No.12 is The Gaat and is the cairn in memory of the Naval guys lost in the two Wessex. In the background can be seen the hot shower arrangment tower with the 44 Gallon drum as a tank, and No. 13 is The Gaat again. The hill in the background had an Army Radio Net station on the top manned by a couple of guys. The Army also used the top of that hill as a Mortar ranging target for the mortar pits at the Army camp and there was one pit near our crewmen basha by the river. In target practice one day they nearly hit their own Radio Net station up there. One or two of the Belvedere on pads also look to be The Gaat as they always used the top pads due to their length when they visited The Gaat.

Can't remember the hull serial of the Sycamore we had on 110 for VIP duties, could have been that one. The pilot on VIP was a Master Pilot of very great experience with a large moustache, but one event spelled the end of the Sycamore in service for VIP work and this was when the poor thing had a donk failure over Singapore on a VIP trip and the Master Pilot put it down onto a cleared building site right in the heart of Singapore. Very embarassing as the photos appeared in the Straits Times. I think it was carrying the Commander of FEAF at the time, who had to whistle up a taxi....

When 110 did the VIP runs after that, the Whirlwind used had an "airline" type seat fitted and a cover under the Main Rotor Gearbox to prevent the "normal" drips of oil landing on the VIP's head. My notoriety in VIP flights was when the Greek Prince visited Singapore and we were tasked to pick him up from Air House just after lunch (and maybe Pink Gins), I recall. We duly arrived and I rolled out the strip of red carpet and put out the steps. He arrived and got in. I rolled up the carpet and put it and the steps in the cabin and climbed in to sit in the back. The Greek Prince ordered me out..."What are you doing here, get out". No problem, I plugged in and told the pilot to come and pick me up after he'd dropped the Greek Prince off. What outstanding arrogance from the Greek Prince, the hanger's on at Air House saluted as the Whirlwind lifted off and I waved "goodbye" too !

A little off topic here but another amusing tale.... We were up in Hongkong doing cordon work for the Police when 28 Squadron was building up. There was a restricted fly-zone by the Chinese border which required special authorisation for Ops. The Chinese border guards were known to be a bit trigger happy with their burp guns. One job I had was to operate a large aerial camera in the back of a Whirlwind as it flew along the border and I was to push the button once every five seconds or so. Anway out of this came a beautiful picture of LOWU Railway Station with a very nice capture of Mao Tse Tung's face which was on a huge billboard on the side of the station. The Squadron had already had its 50th Anniversary and had produced a little booklet which had Squadron Leader Richard Hadlow's face depicted in the welcome address in the front of the booklet. I cut out Hadlow's face and it fitted very nicely onto the picture of LOWU Railway Station over Mao's face. I gave it to one of the Flight Commanders and he had it framed and stuck it on the wall of his office. Hadlow went in their one day, and said, "Oh, that's a picture of LOWU Railway Sation isn't it ?" He peered at the picture closely...."Very funny", he said and walked out !

Know your enemy: Squadron Leader's who "might" find out you've made them the butt of a joke !!!

RPM, Fuel Flow, TGT...

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There seems very little info about what when on....

Darren Be says:

"There seems very little info about what when on out there so these stories posted on here are priceless."


Soekarno wanted the entire island of Borneo, if the British were to give Sarawak and Sabah away, why wouldn't they give it to him he asked. He already had Kalimantan and the states of Sarawak and Sabah would do very nicely but there was also oil rich Brunei which was "the jewel" that sparkled. Because Britain was leaving the Far East, he thought it might be a good idea to have Malaya too and his first act there was to drop paras into Johore.

Religion wise, Sarawak was not Moslem, it was more Pagan but the interior people of Sarawak lived a communal life, everything in the Longhouses was shared, a form of Communism if you like but without the political will to force it onto others. Each longhouse I visited had pictures on the wall of HRH and the Greek Prince. I did get asked quite a few times, "Why are you giving us to Malaya, we do not have cultural ties with Malaya ?" Sabah was different, there they were Moslem in the main and of course Brunei is Moslem. Of the three states, I personally consider Sarawak was the worst off and probably has had to change the most.

You only have to look on Google Earth to see what they have done to the rainforest, there are logging tracks everywhere on the ridgelines even in deepest 3rd Division. You can assess that Nanga Gaat became a centre for logging just by looking at the area today. I know what logging does to rainforest as I have seen it with my own peepers.

When Confrontation started there were no ground troops there and the Indons could walk over the border; Indon aircraft overflew Brunei dropping leaflets. It looked like Brunei would go, followed by Sarawak. South of Kuching was hot and in desperation, the British Government allowed the Ibans to head hunt again until they got some troops there. I can imagine the scene with the local District Officer saying, "I say, you Iban chappies...the big White Queen says that you chaps can take a few of those beastly Indon heads when they pop over the border...Now what do you say to that..Hmmm?" Big grins all round.......

I recall reading about a supposed "crack" Indonesian Army Division, the "Siliwangi Division", that encroached over the border south of Kuching through a rubber plantation and were met by yellow-painted Ibans brandishing pangars (long knives) and the Siliwangis ran.

While I was on the SRT Course at Ternhill in Shropshire there were returned pilots who had gained experience and who were now back to train new pilots going out there. They had colour slides of the jungle, the bases, the people and some depicted smiling Ibans holding heads.

The strategy was one of quiet containment, just keep the Indons out and there will then be very little trouble. Get the people behind you with a hearts and minds campaign, intern troublemakers in fenced camps. Patrol the border with troops on the ground, gather intelligence from related people over the border, eliminate the Indons when they did come over, gain air superiority and they would eventually give up. Stop them at every turn but if there was a build-up over the border which would cause big trouble, then nip it in the bud and that is where the British SAS, Australian and New Zealand SAS entered the picture in order to "visit" these build-ups and cause maximum damage.

Other units of the British Army also "visited" the other side and I have here a book about the Durham Light Infantry, written by a member who was there and it tells of British losses around a border area the author calls "Gunang Gadja" which from my maps was "Red 19" and it was South-East of Pluman Mapu (Red 14) and South-West of Nibong (Red 04), for those that still have the maps.

The area to the South and South-East of Kuching was the hottest area and was mainly 103 Squadron territory with a forward Base at Simmangang, but 110 Squadron also operated from Kuching, I did a few detachments there. Helicopter LZ's were coded Red, White and Blue and apportioned numbers depending on which area of operations you were in, 1st, 2nd or 3rd Division controlled from Kuching. 4th Division was controlled from Labuan. Commander British Forces Borneo (COMBRITBOR) had a beautiful house on a headland near Brunei town.

Throughout the conflict, the modus operandi was to drop troops into the border in strengths of about 30, they would patrol the border from Grid Ref to Grid Ref and be re-supplied after about two weeks, where rations (including live chickens) would be taken up to a known LZ for a rendezvous point and the patrol on the ground would show the colour of the day by a smoke grenade and the chopper would approach the pad but be ready to pull off if the unexpected happened. Sometimes the troops would not be there in which case you held off until they either appeared or you could locate them by the coloured smoke which would drift through the jungle and come out a mile or so from where the troops were. If they were late, you came back later. Travel is not easy through the jungle as I well know.

It was a bit hit and miss at times and as 'Sycamore' said earlier, your enemy was poor communications air to ground and ground to air.

After another two weeks the exhausted patrol would be picked up and this is where gallons of "underarm" would have come in handy ! The aroma of the jungle is also hard to get rid of, you can smell for days..... There would always be a party on at the Army camp after a patrol.

Biggest enemy to the troops (apart from the Indons) was the possibility of catching Leptospirosis which is a disease brought on by water contaminated by rats or other vermin. Drinking such water was one way but it was known that walking through water with a recent cut or abrasion would also do the trick. Lepto casualties were evacced to Singapore for treatment at the BMH. Lepto sends you yellow in colour, affects the kidneys and other organs and makes you comatose, it can kill.

"Full Precautions" roles happened occasionally if a Patrol was in trouble and had to be picked up in a hurry, the Whirlwind would have two GPMG's mounted one at the door and one at the LHS window and two crewmen would be employed. The pilots had minimum armour plating protection as in "theory" you do not send soft-skinned vehicles into a combat zone.

Very rarely did we have to use the rescue mode and pick people up by the wire and strop but it did happen. Flying was usually about five or six days a week and it was from 6-6:30am till dusk at The Gaat, that would be typical during Confrontation. When it eased off in mid-1967, flying became less until by 1968 we were back in Singapore and then started detachments to HongKong.

Know your enemy: Any war...

RPM, Fuel Flow, TGT...

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More pics....

When speaking of Nanga Gaat, I mentioned Charlie the Monkey in a previous post.... Here he is:

He was only small but caused a bit of trouble. He must have watched from the rafters of the SNCO's basha as one of the SNCO's wrote a letter with a fountain pen. Chris had a break, put the cap on his pen, put it in his drawer and went for a beer. When he got back the letter was all scrawled over and when he found his pen the cap was back on but the nib was crossed like when you cross your fingers.... Could have only been Charlie. The guys sent him aloft in a balloon one day tied into a little harness and when he got back to the ground he ran off into the jungle, it was the last they saw of him....

This is another view of Long Jawi looking NNE:

Sapulot: There was an army camp here.

I think this is Long Seridan, beautiful little place with a permanent properly made sawn wood longhouse with a shingle roof but there was no-one there at all....

This is a typical border LZ:

Air to Air....but if you were out there with a single chopper, single engine, limited HF Radio, no VHF comms, over 100% jungle....It could get a bit lonely...

RPM, Fuel Flow, TGT...

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Fuel Drum Stacking....


I've seen some horrible fuel drum usage in my time but I learned a lot from Borneo which stood me in good stead when later I worked in Papua New Guinea in the years 1992 to 2002. Drum fuel is quite often used there to refuel Commercial flights.

We didn't tip the fuel drums onto their bases, ie; vertical drums until we were ready (and sure) that we would need the fuel therein. Obviously the logistics of getting fuel drums up to remote areas as in Borneo is a nightmare for the Supply we were careful and only took fuel when required for safety. Wait five minutes, do a water check and then use it if O.K..

Lifting them up required a certain technique, we are talking about 44 Gallons of Avtur (Jet A-1 to the purists), which in anybody's book is 350 lbs. Two men was good, to do that. Usually you were on your own, particularly in 3rd Division. There you would be left all day with fuel drums and a "Zwikky" pump just to top off the beast halfway between legs from "Base to Border". I have a bad back, which I have blamed on the Argosy, but now I come to think about it, it was half that and half the bloody fuel drums.

In respect to the dregs in the bottom of drum fuel, yes, there would be water and until people used the stack pipes correctly there would have been problems. Yet, I did see, a TUDM Alouette refuelled straight out of a drum and 'then' the Malay refuelling the beast did a water check, out of the aircraft low point. A backwards way of doing it. In respect to dregs, I note here (without my wife listening) that I have oft been profferred two or three delightful handmaidens by the headman of a village for the remains of a drum but decided that I would not be able to withstand the invigorating pace that would have ensued.... "Chicken Me"...

Notwithstanding that you were left on your own all day on some remote LZ in the middle of the Borneo Jungle, worst of all you would be left with a packet of sandwiches prepared by the Chinese Cook at Nanga Gaat, which as aforesaid, were always the same variety, which had been appelled by the Canadian Pilot with name of "Donkey C**k" you hold these (by now "hot") sandwiches, would look at them and make a decision as to whether you were "going" to eat them or not. Usually not.

One of the beauties of being left on your own in the middle of nowhere was the silence. Total and utter silence, not usually experienced nowadays in this insane world. Taking a leak was very interesting...I kid not that taking a leak attracted all the butterflies from out of nowhere who would be after the salt and other minerals... dozens and dozens of them...some even daring enough to land at the head of the stream.... Anybody doubting that should immediately buy a tcket and go there to experience it themselves.

So....left there to ruminate or whatever... you could get "twitchy" and on one accasion a bloody great pig about seven feet long passed through the LZ at a trot and I was too slow to c*c* the SMG and drop him. On the same LZ I heard voices one day...'C*c*', remove mag, check full, replace mag.....ready. It was Ibans fishing.... they had caught the biggest Catfish I saw there, about five feet long. If I ever go back, that's where I'll go... I know exactly where that place is.

Know your enemy: "Hot" Donkey C**k sandwiches.:mad:

Know your enemy (2): "Hot" village handmaidens full of fun.... !!!:D

RPM, Fuel Flow, TGT...

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Felicity, Long Lellang and Limbang Pics...

Felicity was a reporting point about half way from Nanga Gaat to Lang Jawi... Felicity was the rock faced hill to the right of this picture and the view is of the valley heading towards Long Jawi.

The pilots of 848 Sqdn (RN) had named the landmarks in the operational areas by naming them after their wives. So, when reporting where they were on HF, they would give their call sign and in this case of "Felicity", say, "...on/at/going through Felicity...". I guess it was Royal Navy humour... the Royal Air Force carried on the tradition.

Next is of the rough airstrip at Long Lellang. I believe there is a modern airstrip there now.

This last is of Limbang town during a leaflet drop. Remember, Limbang was where the rebellion in Brunei started.

The leaflets were yellow paper with a large red cross printed corner to corner as a big "X" on the page. The Leaflet offerred various sums of money if arms and ammunition were surrendered to the authorities, no questions asked. This was at the time we were told to be on the lookout for rebels in Brunei giving themselves up by appearing on the river banks and waving "white" shirts or articles of clothing. We were issued two pairs of handcuffs with which to cuff them and attach them to the airframe. I remember the Army Officer saying at the briefing, "...and if they give you any trouble chaps, just throw them out". Said with a smile. Nice.

RPM, Fuel Flow, TGT...

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Fascinating thread, folks.

This was extracted from today's 'The Age'. Monocles and bagpipes...

Not a blink when confronted by the mob

* April 24, 2009

24-9-1916 — 3-4-2009

BILL Becke, who cut an archetypical British military figure when he bravely confronted the first onslaught in what became known as the Indonesian "Confrontation" of the early 1960s before becoming private secretary to Victoria's last English governor in 1974, has died at a nursing home in Toorak. He was 92.

Becke, then a lieutenant-colonel and the military attache at the British embassy in Jakarta, stood upright, moustache bristling at the front of the embassy, eyeballing through his monocle a state-orchestrated mob intent on ransacking the building. He was backed by his deputy, Major "Rory" Walker, who marched up and down playing his bagpipes with heightened zeal. Soon both men were dodging missiles and some of the mob managed to tear down the Union Jack and burn the ambassador's car.

The mob was let loose on September 16, 1963, by Indonesia's President Sukarno, who blamed the "imperialist power" for including Sarawak and North Borneo (now Sabah) in the new Malaysia.

The mob returned two days after Becke and Walker's stoic stand, pulled down the fence, smashed the windows and set the embassy on fire. This time the two soldiers forced their way through the mob to gallantly join the ambassador, Sir Andrew Gilchrist, to take a stand on British sovereign territory and to prevent the strongroom from being broken open.
Becke's bravery in Jakarta earned him appointment as a Companion of the Most Distinguished Order of St Michael and St George (CMG) in the 1964 new year honours list.

He and his wife, Mary (nee Richmond) — she was raised in NSW and was serving as a nurse in Scotland when they married in 1945 — lost everything in their bungalow, which was ransacked and then burnt. Only a dog's rubber ball was retrieved. Becke even lost his monocle, which he wore over his good eye. A replacement was sent by diplomatic bag from London, which led the British press to label him "Blinky Bill".
Many in Melbourne came to know him through his work as a senior marshal for the RSL's Anzac Day march between 1977 and 1999.

Becke was born in Worcestershire; his father, John, was one of the earliest to serve in the Royal Flying Corps and rose to the rank of brigadier. He, too, had been appointed CMG and awarded a DSO.

In his youth he lost fingers on his right hand in a motorcycle accident; later in life, he saluted an observant general who had suffered a similar loss and the senior officer promptly exclaimed "Snap", which caused Becke some confusion. Becke's hand injuries, and later wounds, did not prevent him playing a high grade of hockey until the age of 40.

In World War II, he served in the Channel Isles, Palestine, Cyprus, Egypt, Syria and Iraq. He was a temporary major when he was awarded the Distinguished Service Order for gallantry in a night attack on German tanks after the Anzio landing in Italy in January 1944 with his battalion, the 2nd Sherwood Foresters. He was wounded in the leg and arm.

The rest's worth a read, too!

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Bario Pictures...Ahh, Bario... a pleasant place...

First off... The Lt.Col. in the foregoing post was a brave man to face up to a howling Jakarta mob...


Bario is located close to the Kalimantan border and in this picture the border is possibly the hill in the East.

This picture shows the whole camp... RAF accomodation beside the runway, Army camp on the hill. View is looking South-west.

This picture looking West back up the normal approach route into Bario.

The first pic shows the TwinPin taking off to the West which re-inforces the fact that the border was not that far away from Bario.

Bario is at 3,500 feet so the climate was very pleasant. I was lucky enough to hear the local schoolkids playing their bamboo flutes, tenor flutes, right down to bass flutes. It made an eerie sound. I was told that the English schoolmaster resident there, had introduced music into their lives and had also introduced salad variety vegetables into Bario, they grew tomatoes and other salad stuff there.

While I was there, Borneo Airways did fly in with their Twin Pioneers. On the left of the last picture, beside the runway are a group of huts. That was the Borneo Airways Terminal. The Bario locals used to bring a water buffalo there that they intended to butcher and sell in Labuan.... They would wait until they heard the sound of the Twin Pioneer at the scheduled "Borneo Airways" time, butcher the beast and have it all in cuts and wrapped up in banana leaves tied with vine by the time the Twin Pioneer landed. Ten minutes at the most !!!

RPM, Fuel; Flow, TGT...

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The pictures and text in this post would make a darned good book or ebook. They are evocative of a 'forgotten' war.

The photos could be cleaned up digitally - I use the freeware Photofiltre which would be ideal. Mind you, I'm not sure if the spots on the pix are mossies, or the remains of mossies...

So how about it lads? Get together and make that book!

Bri :)

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Just about the last pictures I have....


Yes, I remember when the English did indeed speak English.... I'm attuned to the Australian version now though !

The idea of a book is good as you say. I think it would take a lot of ex-Confrontation guys to get all the stories together and that means from all the services too. I do not think a historian has actually sat down with all the War Diaries from the three services and put everything together in a chronological order. There have been a few books but not a composite picture. I could stand to be corrected there.

These are the last pictures I have which are posted now....most are of Seletar...from 1966 & 1967and an air to air of an HAR10...

View is looking South over Seletar, West Camp, then the runway, then East Camp and on towards Jalan Kayu village. The 34 Squadrom Beverley's and their huge hangar glistening in the sun. Ex-Seletar Airmen Aircrew will have fond memories of the NCO Aircrew Sergeant's Mess which was located on West Camp. The older hangars on the right were used by 209 Squadron Single & Twin Pioneers. I think the old hangars are gone now and SASCO (an aircraft maintenance organisation) are on that site. The hangars on East Camp which were 23 Maintenance Unit have been taken over by other maintenance organisations. Most of the old married quarters have been sold off to Singaporeans.

This the Whirlwind dispersal and the 103 and 110 Squadrons HQ's Building, 103 on the left and 110 on the right. The building is still there I believe, I last saw it in about 1997 or 98. I think the Singapore Flying Club or some club has the building for their office now. The Sungei Seletar in the background is now a fresh water reservoir. Only two helicopters to be seen plus the one I'm in, most were in Borneo.

I'm giving the game away here... Aaaah, to be young again....This is "RPM" in his yoof in 1966 as a young Sergeant Flight Engineer Crewman straight off the Argosy onto the cooling fan..... "V" sign courtesy of Sgt. Pilot Fred A_____. Yes, there were still some Sergeant Pilots around in 1966, I recall on 110 we had two and two Master Pilots (aka Warrant Officers). One Flt.Sgt Pilot was the QHI and some Officers didn't like that....

This must have been the RAF 50th Anniversary Open day at Seletar with this shiny new 84 Squadron Andover being an attraction.

Polished Twin Pioneer from 209 Squadron.

Last photo....nice air-to-air "Bound for Labuan..." Returning from the interior to Labuan over Brunei Bay....

Best Regards...

RPM, Fuel Flow, TGT...

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RPM, good photos again. Thanks for posting. Never got to Seletar only Changi (10 Days in transit0 and Tengah (4 weeks). Rest of the time up-country.

See there is also a flightless 'pig' centre-bottom and what appears to be a Vampire tucked away between some trees at centre-right. Any ideas what they were used for?

One small correction. The Andover is one of 52 Sqn's airframes, hence the "Lion Rampant" under the cockpit window.

You certainly have a good collection of photos.

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RPM and others fantastic posts and pics! A very good reference thread indeed.

In short how did you find you time out there, ie enjoyable or otherwise?

I have just read an acount by RAF commanding of that period, and raises serious issues with 848 RN, not with the effort they were putting in, but with the fact they wouldn't do things the same way as RAF, did you encounter this?

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Thanks for showing us more great photos. I was pleased to see such a detailed aerial of Seletar.

I don't remember the layout as well as I do of Changi, so it was good to try and workout where some of my old photos were taken.
Like this one of RAF 'Dakota KP277 'Faith' (an ex 'voice aircraft') and Vampire XH358 with the 'part eaten remains' of Pioneer XK368 in 1962.

The Vampire here is almost certainly the one that you've noticed in the aerial photo of Seletar, XH358. It became an 'instructional airframe' at Seletar, after this photo was taken and I've seen a pic of it displayed on 'a grassy bank'- as in RPM's photo I think.

The Vampires history is given as :
"XH358, c/n 15710, Vampire T.11. 14 Sqn RNZAF aircraft hired from RAF and stationed in Tengah, Singapore until Venoms became available. Coded "Y". In service with 14 Squadron ...stayed at Seletar-became instructional airframe."

The lower pic actually seems to have some 'contrails' in the sky. Rare that for the Far East in 1962. In all my 1000 odd Singapore aircraft pics I haven't seen any others with what we now see in 'almost every sky'-aircraft vapour trails. The 'big civil jets' (707's, DC8's and CV-880's) still rarely got up high enough and the fighters didn't tend to fly high over the island I guess.

David Taylor.

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I recall that the last totally demeaning term that I heard was at Seletar on a parade where the C.O. of Seletar (a Group Captain) addressed the assembled parade and all the assembled ladies who had come to watch on the occasion of the Royal Air Force's 50th Anniversary..... a joyous occasion....
As he welcomed the crowd, he said in a stentorian voice:
"Officers and their Ladies, Senior NCO's and their Wives, Airmen and their Women..... welcome to this 50th Anniversary..." etc. etc...

A few years ago, my wife was a captain in the Queen Alexandra's Royal Army Nursing Corps..the QA's.
She said that some of the well-bred but thin-brained junior officers in the "posh" regiments, had similar attitudes, and saw the nurses as a ready source of "women"...while their Sloan-ranger "ladies" were at home.

It did temper her opinion of some of the UK's officers.

Later when we were dating, we happened to be in the Burger King at Bentwaters.
She couldn't believe it when the saw the Commander of the Third Air Force...a Major general...standing in line with his aide.
That, she assured me, would NEVER have been seen in the British Forces.
She often uses that example when asked the differences between Americans and UK military.

Member for

11 years 9 months

Posts: 145

Was it good out there ?

Lauriebe, pagen01 and Postfade....

Don't know much about the Valetta fuselage lying next to the wooded area next to the Sungei Seletar. It may have been used by the Fire Stoppers for evacuation practice. The Vampire stood at the back of the building there and in truth I'd forgotten about it until the picture came up enlarged on the Forum thread !

I had been out to Singapore straight out of the brats in 1959 and was at the ASF at Changi, first in the Modification Bay, then posted to Labuan for six months and then back to Changi on 2nd Line Inspections, Hastings mainly. That took up the two and a half years. Labuan was beautiful, a small island, friendly people, never did I think I would get back there again when I left in 1961. I left Singapore in 1962 and then went to RAF Lyneham, then Thorney Island where I worked on 1st Line Argosy, posted in when the OCU moved from Benson.....

After eighteen months Flight Engineer training from 1964 to 1965 and flying at Thorney on the Argosy, I eventually arrived at RAF Ternhill for SRT training. That was quite a let down and none of us F/E's wanted to be there. After flying on the Argosy after OCU training and then being posted onto Whirlwinds it came as a complete shock to be on helicopters from which I did not recover !

I remember a senior officer maybe an AVM; "Bird-Wilson" visiting Ternhill and asking me how I liked Helicopters (?).... "Not at all Sir, I am not interested in them at all Sir...." I got the usual ****-eyed looks from the hangers-on officers accompanying him. At least I told the truth ! They should have trained up volunteer helicopter Groundcrew to be on the things and given them an aircrew category of "Crewman", full stop. We were called "Flight Engineer Crewmen", but they dropped that to "Crewman" when the NCO Aircrew Signallers started being posted onto helicopters. There were then Air Electronics brevet wearers and they didn't know what to do with the surplus "signallers" trained up so: "Here you go, go to helicopters as Crewmen.....". In the main, they didn't like it either.

No. 5 SRT Course at Ternhill had been a revelation. We had Royal Navy pilots on the course as well as RAF pilots and I found the Navy drivers to be ill-disciplined and during the confined space landing exercises I thought they took too many chances and I regarded their flying as "bull-at-a-gate" stuff. Risk takers. I didn't want to be on their sorties.....

We did the 'winching at sea' exercises at RAF Valley in bitterly cold weather and it was no fun to be in an immersion suit for four or five hours at a time. After all that "rescue" training, I recall I only had to do one rescue on the winch in Borneo throughout the near two years we went there.

After arriving at Seletar and settling-in, in late December 1965, I was sent over for two weeks familiarisation to Sibu and Nanga Gaat. When I arrived at Nanga Gaat in late January 1966 the Navy had long vacated but there were a few tales of their antics.

Borneo was a sort of magical place but the Sarwaks I spoke to could not understand "why" they were being incorporated into Malaya. Nanga Gaat was the home of the person known as the Tumunggung Juga and he was the representative in the Malaysian Parliament for his Iban people. He was fiery but I can't recall him having any success with the Malays. One look on Google Earth shows what the Malaysians have removed from Sarawak. There are very rich Malaysians today because of the plunder of Sarawak.

Did I enjoy it, you ask ? I enjoyed Borneo, but did I enjoy helicopters ? No not really. Getting back onto the Argosy in 1968 was like the bad dream ending.

Postfade... I have a couple more aerial shots of Seletar and I can see where the picture of the Dakota was was on East Camp, you'll see the two small hangars in the background right on the left of the photos. If Photobucket will behave I'll have them up as a string of three (with the first one posted in the middle) shortly.


RPM, Fuel Flow, TGT...