Confrontation - Know your enemy, was it Soekarno ?

Member for

11 years 4 months

Posts: 145

More pictures of Seletar

For Postfade.....

This string of three photos should allow you to get your bearings:

Your photos of the Dakota, the cut down Single Pin and the Vampire were on East Camp as in this photo below you can see the two small hangars at the left with the grass area in front of them. I recall that the Beverleys were broken up in that same area. The compass swing circle can be clearly seen. The brand new hangar and concrete apron must have been made ready for the Andovers, but my memory is not good as to the veracity of that. You can see the old 23 M.U. hangars in the background. During the time I was at Changi 1959-1962, the Avro Yorks were running the rockets and rocket fuel from the U.K. to Australia and one of them crushed the port wingtip against the ASF Hangar at Changi. ASF phoned 23 M.U. and asked if they still had a Lancaster wingtip in stock. You should have seen the relief on the face of the Dan-Air York Captain when the answer came back, "Yes". The guys that fitted it got SIN$50.00 each which to us then was quite a lot of money. Dan-Air F/E's also used to go scouting around in the scrap tyre dump at Changi and roll a few Shackleton or Hastings tyres out and into the York for the return flight to the U.K.. That was lucrative as well ! In this picture you can just see the 103 Sqdn side of the 103/110 HQ's building at the lower left.

http://i571.photobucket.com/albums/ss154/vinedodger/Seletar1.jpg

This is the 34 Squadron dispersal as before. To the left of where the Pig fuselage is, there are a few rows of low-set buildings and one of my duties at Air Niugini (1992-2002) was to audit contractors. AAR Allen had those buildings as a Maintenance Repair Shop for aircraft components and I audited them there before they moved to the Loyang Industrial Area at Changi.

A Note about Changi: A lot of Changi camp is still there but Google Earth shows that a lot of the barrack blocks at Changi have now been pulled down. I used to be in Block 151 which has the Murals on the walls on the lower floor painted by a POW. That is still there according to Google. Block 151 was used as a Hospital Block during the Japanese occupation and outside the block there was an area where the grass did not grow. You can still go onto the old RAF barrack block area by checking into the Guardroom there and the Singapore Defence Force has made a Chapel at the southern end of the ground floor of Block 151 which can be visited to show your respect.

http://i571.photobucket.com/albums/ss154/vinedodger/34SqdnDispesal0001.jpg

Last picture of West Camp Seletar shows the 209 Squadron hangars at left and the boundary road from the Main Guardroom which started when you turned left on entering the camp from Jalan Kayu. Seletar roads had names like "Piccadilly" and "The Strand" as I remember. Anyone can go onto Seletar now on business and there is a flourishing Golf Club there and a restaurant on East Camp.

http://i571.photobucket.com/albums/ss154/vinedodger/Seletar3.jpg

I have forgotten what most of the buildings were used for now but I guess with the roles that the Squadrons were in, there would be Army despatcher units and all sorts of support units resident at Seletar.

Lauriebe: Was it 52 Squadron Andovers ? I always thought it was 84 Sqdn. Maybe if it was 84 then 52 had transferred one of their aircraft out to SIN to kick-off 84.... Just like we did with 28 Sqdn in HongKong.

Regards,

RPM, Fuel Flow, TGT...
www.electranewbritain.com

Profile picture for user lauriebe

Member for

20 years 7 months

Posts: 565

ar.

Lauriebe: Was it 52 Squadron Andovers ? I always thought it was 84 Sqdn. Maybe if it was 84 then 52 had transferred one of their aircraft out to SIN to kick-off 84.... Just like we did with 28 Sqdn in HongKong.

www.electranewbritain.com

RPM, more excellent photos. Thanks.

Yes, 52 Sqn were the FEAF Andover sqn. They had been resident in the area since the end of WWII. Initially they operated Daks but re-equipped with Pigs in 1951. They disbanded at Butterworth at the end of Apr 66, but reformed at Abingdon with Andovers at the beginning of December 66. They returned to FEAF, at Seletar, later that same month. They finally disbanded at Changi on 31 Dec 69. No. 84 Sqn was based in MEAF at Sharjah and, later, Muharraq. Saw a few of their Bevs, which they flew prior to re-equipping with the Andover, stage through Butterworth in 66 when I was there.

I think you could be right about the use of the Pig in your first photo. Must have been an ex-52 airframe.

Postfade/David, many thanks for the info on the Vampire. I thought it might be a T11 but could not be sure. For your record, it also served with the Far East Communications Sqn (FECS) and No. 60 Sqn. As you mention, it seems to have been allocated to Seletar for GI as 7763M in Oct 62.

Profile picture for user lauriebe

Member for

20 years 7 months

Posts: 565

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.

John, your wife is right. No 2-star in the UK forces that I know of would stand in line waiting for his meal. And certainly not in a Burger King!:rolleyes:

Have we spoken before? About a certain aircraft in Montana?

Member for

11 years 4 months

Posts: 145

Your "normal" British Officers....

J Boyle....

Not only would a British Major-General not stand in line, he would not be seen dead in a Burger King..... He'd be wearing civilian clothes, sunglasses and a beanie to disguise himself even if his kids dragged him in there to buy a bun....

My Log Book says that on December 6th, 1967, I was on a VIP run with the USN C-in-C Pacific fleet (CINCPAC), the little cigar chewing guy "Bull" something or other.... he was there to have an aerial look at the Naval Base in Singapore. He made hand signals to me to unplug my microphone and head set and when I did he said words to the effect that he was getting the run-around about the Naval Base from the senior officers he was meeting and when he went to the Naval Base himself on his schedule would it be possible to get the honest picture from the senior enlisted men as he wanted to get a clear understanding of the state of the Naval Base..... An entirely different approach from an American "very" senior officer. I told him that he would have to "insist" that he wanted to speak to CPO's and PO's and senior ratings and that RN senior Officers would not be happy about it. "Then we'll see," he said and stuck the cigar back in his mouth.

There were many occasions where I had to just smile and move on, aware of the stupidity but unable to get past it. British Officers then thought of themselves as "the bees knees", when clearly a lot were not. Yes, there were good ones but a lot of them were just passable as officers in my opinion. A lot of them had never heard the phrase, "Water your horse first..." and if they had they would not have known the meaning behind it.

There have been many films where the attitudes and actions of British Officers have been portrayed and most of it is correct. Born to Rule was their attitude during the time I was in the RAF. Despite some coming from the lowliest of backgrounds, their attitude changed once they become commissoned and surrounded by other officers. Pranks played by airmen would be treated by a charge and "jankers" or even days inside but stupid activity on the part of officers was always "high spirits".... and we wouldn't want to curtail that, now would we chaps ? Their attitude was one of the reasons for leaving the RAF. I hope to God that it has changed in this modern world.

An Army Captain I lfted out of Bankit one day in Sarawak appeared in our "All Ranks" RAF bar at Nanga Gaat in his jungle green uniform with pips removed from his epaulettes. I walked into the bar and recognised him as coming out of Bankit that day. Small talk ensued and he said, "I think it's bloody marvellous that you RAF chaps all get together in this bar for a convivial drink after duty..... of course you know I'm a Captain don't you ?" I mean it was obvious to anybody by the six holes on his epaulettes but why re-inforce it ? I turned around and left the bar.

I leave you with this reply by a Lieutenant-Colonel who we brought out of a forward base in Borneo. His name was Carruthers. I asked him, "Has your family been in the British Army for a long time, Colonel ? You have a very 'British Army' name...." He replied, simply, "Since Cromwell".

Regards,

RPM, Fuel Flow, TGT...
www.electranewbritain.com

Member for

11 years 4 months

Posts: 145

Correction to last post....

Lauriebe informs me that I have the number of the M.U. at Seletar incorrect and his is right. The M.U's (two) were 389 M.U. and 390 M.U. on East Camp. There was a roving team of guys from, I think, 390 M.U., who went around FEAF doing the major modifications and heavy repair work, they were with us at ASF Changi for a long time on the Hastings at the Minor Inspections. "Minor" in this sense was not a "small" inspection it was just a term.

Thanks Laurie.... "Oh, to have a memory as sharp as a tack...."

Regards,
RPM, Fuel Flow, TGT...
www.electranewbritain.com

Profile picture for user lauriebe

Member for

20 years 7 months

Posts: 565

Thanks Laurie.... "Oh, to have a memory as sharp as a tack...."

Regards,
RPM, Fuel Flow, TGT...
www.electranewbritain.com

RPM, I wish that were the case. Senior moments are now coming thick and fast. Occasionally there are periods of lucid thinking though.

Member for

11 years

Posts: 2

[QUOTE=Postfade;1392807]I was only a teenager living at Changi when the Confrontation started to build up.
First incident I recall was the surprise visit of a KLM Super Connie that brought Indonesian troops captured in West Irian. A Garuda Airways Electra 'sneaked in' and exchanged the Indonesian troops for some captured Dutch-sailors I think. This was probably the first time Indonesia had tried flexiing it's muscles.

http://www.davidtaylorsound.co.uk/share/Aircraft%20pics/KLM%20SConnie%20Changi%2062.jpg

The crew enjoy a break in the sun at Changi -KLM Super Constellation PH-LGE 'Pegasus' -11th March 1963.

Hello from Holland,

Interesting post about the surprise visit of the KLM Super Connie at Singapore Changi in 1963. Specially with the military passengers....
I wonder if you have some more info on this?
Holland had aldeary given up on Dutch New Guinea at the time, so I wonder why there was still some military involvement of KLM at that point.

Also, the photo-links don't seem to work anymore.
I would love to see the pics of PH-LKE and the crew again if possible.

Can you help?

Many thanks!

Profile picture for user Postfade

Member for

11 years 8 months

Posts: 258

"Flying Dutchman": Sorry that I had to start removing some of the pics I'd posted....some had even appeared in books with someone else's credit (thankyou 'MAP' for doing that!).

I've reinstated the one you wanted to see again, slightly bigger.

http://www.davidtaylorsound.co.uk/share/Aircraft%20pics/Super%20Connie%20PH-LKE%20departs%20runway%2002-S1056A%20copy.jpg
Here's my favourite shot, that truly beautiful KLM Super Connie, as she took off from runway 02 at Changi on the 18th March 1962...that's the correct date 1962 not '63 as I had written before. The 'invasion of Brunei' took place in December 62.

My photos are available as 210x297 (A4) prints by the way and that book I promised is coming when I can complete the 'research' I need to do!

david

Member for

11 years

Posts: 2

Hello David,

Many thanks for your kind reposting of your truly fantastic KLM Super Connie pics! They are stunning indeed! Only thing missing is the glorious sound on the take-off picture....:)

The corrected date you stated now indeed makes more sense.
The Dutch New Guinea crisis was in full swing at that time.

I do know KLM's landingrights in Jakarta were cancelled in december 1957.
A friend of my mother (passed away some years ago) travelled on the very last Super Connie flight out of Jakarta on december 3rd 1957 (PH-LKR "Electron").

KLM would return to Jakarta in 1963, but this time with the newly introduced DC8 aircraft.

In the period from 1957-1963 Biak therefore beacame KLM's major Far East hub for services to both Tokio and Australia.
But Singapore was the new final stop on the former Jakarta service.
However, the special flight you mentioned here was most likely not a normal line-service given the special load of passengers...

I work for KLM and I have KLM History as a hobby, that's why I'm particularly interested in all the older KLM pictures and aircraft.
I'm already busy quite some time researching the whole Dutch New Guinea operations of KLM & Kroonduif during the late '50s and early '60's.
Very interesting indeed, and luckely there is quite some material available of this period in various Dutch archives. Also there is quite some photographic material available of KLM aircraft at airports like Biak, Hollandia, Sorong, Manokwari etc.
Some of my former colleagues were based in Biak at the time and luckely did manage to take some pics.

I don't know which specific historic issues your book will cover, but perhaps I can be of help in some way?

And naturally, if you have more historic information/pictures related to the KLM operations in this region & period I'm very much interested.

Best wishes from Holland,
Ronald.

Member for

10 years 11 months

Posts: 7

Last job I had at Seletar in 1967 was inhibiting the Javeline engines - be fore they were removed. Airframes chopped up and dumped at the end of the runway . Have a photo somehere taken from a Scout showing the graveyard..
Started the tour on Bloodhounds of 65 sqdn - confrontation was still going on - have memories of being dug out of the billet - taken down to the missile site and sitting under floodlights wathcing for possible intruders coming in from the straits.
Peter

Member for

14 years 10 months

Posts: 32

Seletar aircraft and units

I lived at Seletar from summer 1967 to March 1970. My father was the last Air Movements Warrant Officer at Seletar, his duties reverting to more usual supplier work from April 1969 when RAF flying ceased.

I saw the air-to-ground pictures submitted by RPM, FF, TGT to be superb and very interesting. Having developed a very keen interest in military aviation and wanting to know as much as I can about the units and aircraft at Seletar, I wonder if anyone out there can answer at least some of the following questions:

Where was 52 Sqn.’s (Andovers) hangar and flightline space? It seems possible that it was that area between the Beverleys and Whirlwinds, using the hangar parallel to the runway. Also did 52 Sqn. only use the six C.1s, with the two VIP CC.2s being used by FECS and always based at Changi? I have seen conflicting reports as to where the CC.2s operated from whilst the C.1s were at Seletar.

Where did 66 Sqn. (Belvedere HC.1) operate from at Seletar?

What about 209 Sqn. (Pioneers and Twin Pioneers)? There is a Twin Pin visible in one of the shots but it is not on a flightline.

Also where did the Beavers of 130 Flt. have their flightline?

Did the two MUs (389 and 390) use all most of the hangars on the eastern side of the runway and therefore the flying units have those hangars on the western (control tower) side of the runway?

Does anyone know what use was made of the large hangar near the yacht club, that was formerly used the Sunderlands after 1959?

From various photographs I have seen, I wonder if Seletar had more hangars than any other RAF station(or at least, vertical-sided hangars only, thereby excluding the smaller ‘blister’ type hangars common on airfields built to be MUs?

When we lived at Seletar, there was a Vampire (believed to have been T.11 XH358), in natural metal, which was by the road leading to the swimming pool, which means that the machine in the picture must have been moved. I have no information as to its fate after the RAF left.

I do remember a Valetta being used for crash rescue training and have seen photographs on a website dealing with British school children in Singapore, pictures of a wingless Valetta, on its undercarriage, near some low buildings, being covered with foam. This is believed to have been C.1 WJ499.

I would be really pleased to get any information concerning my questions or indeed receive information which fellow subscribers feel I would be interested in. I am nearly 50 years old, so the vast majority of those who served in Seletar will be of retirement age. I don’t want to leave my researching to when I retire!!

Many thanks

Ian

Member for

11 years 4 months

Posts: 145

In reply to Ian Old....

In reply to Ian Old,

Where was 52 Sqn.’s (Andovers) hangar and flightline space? It seems possible that it was that area between the Beverleys and Whirlwinds, using the hangar parallel to the runway.

That is correct, the hangar was raised for 52 Squadron, back end of 67 (I recall). Their Line was between the Bevs and the noisy, leaking, rattling, whining, Whirlwind HAR Mk.10’s.

Also did 52 Sqn. only use the six C.1s, with the two VIP CC.2s being used by FECS and always based at Changi? I have seen conflicting reports as to where the CC.2s operated from whilst the C.1s were at Seletar.

AS FEC ‘s job was VIP (along with the Shiny Hastings, which I remember as a C.MK.1) they would have been at Changi. In ASF, we certainly did maintenance on them.

Where did 66 Sqn. (Belvedere HC.1) operate from at Seletar?

They operated from the East Camp area near the old “1931” Hangars (near the old Sunderland Base).

What about 209 Sqn. (Pioneers and Twin Pioneers)? There is a Twin Pin visible in one of the shots but it is not on a flightline.

209 Sqdn., hangared and operated from the two “Ridged roof” hangers close to the road that crossed the runway from East camp to West Camp.
Also where did the Beavers of 130 Flt. have their flightline?

Ah. Army. No idea but a lot of their work was “up country” in Malaya but they had a Flight at Kuching, I recall.

Did the two MUs (389 and 390) use all most of the hangars on the eastern side of the runway and therefore the flying units have those hangars on the western (control tower) side of the runway?

Mostly correct they were in the old 1931 hangars except for 66 Sqdn., as above.

Does anyone know what use was made of the large hangar near the yacht club, that was formerly used the Sunderlands after 1959?

I recall that was the Logistics stores. From there they dug out a Lancaster wingtip to fit a York for the ASF Team at Changi while I was there in 1959-62, can’t recall the year when the York Captain didn’t obey the Marshaller and ran his Port Wingtip into an ASF Hangar. Boy, was his F/E a little cranky. The F/E gave us S$50 each for replacing his wingtip. Yorks were doing the rocket fuel and missile carriage UK to South Australia. The Flying Boat slipway is till there, I saw it as I was leaving Seletar.

I would be really pleased to get any information concerning my questions or indeed receive information which fellow subscribers feel I would be interested in. I am nearly 50 years old, so the vast majority of those who served in Seletar will be of retirement age. I don’t want to leave my researching to when I retire!!

Half your luck… I’m 72 this month and still working…. In fact I’m in Kuala Lumpur looking after a Fokker F100 on Maintenance. The Aussie Age Pension doesn’t cover my bills…!!!

I was at Seletar for two+ months just before Christmas. All the old Hangars on West Camp are gone except for the old Beverly Hangar.

Soon to be demolished will be the old 1931 Hangars on East Camp along with all the buildings in that area.

The Singapore Government is spending S$ Millions on the new “Seletar Aerospace Park” and one of my old aerial photographs of Seletar is used on the brochure the Corporation has produced.

Reminiscent for old Airmen Aircrew is that part of the beloved Airmen Aircrew Sgt’s Mess on West Camp is still standing...... Good times were had there.

Most of the old families accommodation “Black and White’s” as they call them are still there and can be rented from the Sing Government on a monthly fee of around 3000-4000 S$’s a month.

Street names from the past are to be retained and for two months I went down ‘Piccadilly’ and ‘Old Birdcage Walk’.

Most of West camp is gone.... All new Hangars and Office buildings have mushroomed up out of nowhere. RR Engines have a huge facility there now and Aerospatiale and Hawker Pacific all have had new Hangars built.

They have connected Seletar to "Nee Soon" (now Yishun) and Sembawang with a causeway over the Sungei Seletar which incidentally is a a freshwater reservoir.

Regards,

RPM.

Member for

14 years 10 months

Posts: 32

Your update

RPM,

thank you very much for taking the time to give such a comprehensive answer. I now know where almost all of the flying units at Seletar in the sixties were operating from. It helps me understand what was there and what is left.

Ian

Member for

14 years 10 months

Posts: 32

Seletar again

RPM,

on the photograph you sent showing two Beverleys and three Whirlwinds at Seletar, there is a large circle of concrete on the MU side of the runway. Do you know what it was used for? I remember seeing it when I returned to Seletar in 2007.
To the left of the circle, there is at least one Belvedere visible, (in the middle, upper third of the photograph) its fuselage parallel to the runway. It is off a track. Is this the dispersal you meant?
My father was Air Movements Warrant Officer up to March 1969, and then reverted to more conventional supply work after that. Do you know where the Air Movement Section or Flight was located? I remember going to my Dad's office, from which I could see Andovers.

Ian

Profile picture for user D1566

Member for

14 years 4 months

Posts: 2,024

there is a large circle of concrete on the MU side of the runway. Do you know what it was used for? I remember seeing it when I returned to Seletar in 2007.

Compass swinging?

Member for

14 years 10 months

Posts: 32

Compass swinging

I have heard that it was for compass swinging. I believed this involved a solid circle, just like an aircraft dispersal. The feature at Seletar looks more a ring, suggesting the aircraft itself was not on the concrete. Is this standard?

Ian

Member for

16 years 5 months

Posts: 409

Large aircraft would taxi around the circle,and adopt the appropriate headings; smaller a/c could /would normally stay in the centre; I can`t remember whether it too was grass or `crete..still visible on G-E but poor pic. detail..

Member for

9 years 6 months

Posts: 18

We had one at Changi to carry out compass swings. In the case of our Shackletons we needed two tractors, one to tow the Shack backwards round the circle and one to tow the P.E set. The sightings were done by aircrew Navs. From memory they lined up on a prop blade.