Saturday, October 24, 2009

SHQ & Support

Following this Timetable, are photos of Gillman Barracks and Singapore.

November 1963After a flight on a VC10 from Lynham to Bahrain, to Gan (Maldives), to Singapore.
Temperature slowly creeping upwards from 70's to the 90'sF.
59 Squadron - Advance Party arrived in Singapore, under command of Major Bramwell.
Drivers were taken to Malaya - Terendak, to collect vehicles for the Squadron, despite the Chinese Riots, which were being contained.
The MT drivers, then had to teach the Squadron drivers, how to drive in 4 lane traffic, rather than the two lane traffic in the UK.

December 1963
Advance Party sailed to Bangkok on the Sir Galahad, sailing through rough storms, a very rough journey.
Then followed the 450 mile journey to Leong Nok, travelling in Convoy and staging at various US Air Bases.

January 1964 - Pay RoutineThe main party of 59 Field Squadron arrived in Singapore.
Due to the "Emergency" (Riots and and Warfare in the Jungles), a Curfew was in place, no-one allowed out un-escorted by an armed team, between 6pm & 9am.
Pay was in Cash, from a Bank in the Queensway area.
The Pay Officer was armed with a Pistol, the Driver an SMG, plus 2 x Sappers with SLR's.

1965 - Ulu Tiram Training GroundsA short 2 day exercise was carried out, with the strength of around 2 Troops, to gain Jungle Warfare experience. The course was held at Ulu Tiram.
Weapons but no ammunition. The exercise involved hunting the enemy in a section of the jungle, the enemy was "Johnnie" Gurkha. The exercise was carried very quickly and the party settled into a clearing for the night.
Many exercises were carried out in this section, so the party was surrounded by Gurkha, Commando and other British Troops.
Early the next morning, a tactical withdrawal was carried out; on route, the party passed 45 Cdo RM going the opposite way. The Marines warned that Indonesian Paras had landed close-by and the Party should return to Base. The Party Commander (Jack Castle) took heed and moved back with great haste.

December 1965
Singapore main Base Re-titled Cloutman Barracks.

Amphibious Beach Party 1965 - 1967
This is an account from Dave Floyd, who was based on-board HMS Fearless.
The ship was used in the Far East, particularly around Singapore, but when it was in Dry-dock, the Navy had no idea what to do with our Unit, so we were "attached" to 59 Field Sqn.
With 59 Fld Sqn, we carried out many tasks, here is one of those first tasks.
To build a Heli-pad in the Jungle, under tactical conditions, with 'Royal' in support and Ghurka as the enemy.
I was only 18 and realised that the Sapper had a raw deal, not only did he carry a weapon, ammo & Rations, he also carried Explosives, wood augers and Jerry Cans of Fuel.
I was on forward clearence with a coloured lad called "Chalky White", after crossing a stream, we found Leeches on us, but neither of us smoked, but found that insect repellent worked as well.
The light fails in the Jungle around 16.00hrs, so as soon as we reached the destination, we had to go straight to work, whilst 'Royal' set-up a perimeter defence, set-up their bashers and had a meal.
Trees were brought down by Cutting Charges, but if the charges were too aliened, the tree would go skywards, then re-plant itself.
When darkness closed in, we started to sort ourselves out, putting up bashers and getting a meal. Often re-arranging our bashers, when we found that we were sleeping on a hill and sliding-out from our bashers.
I can recall getting annoyed at the amount of lads who smoked, it was a tactical exercise, only to find it was not the lads, it was my first encounter with "Fire-flies".
We were using Australian Dry Rations, a packet with what looked like soap flakes, became Apple Stew with a pint of water added. An OXO Cube became Steak & Kidney.
Water was taken from Water Canes, so gathering enough water was hard work.
The task took 3 days, but whilst we were waiting for helicopter to land on the pad and collect us, it rained heavilly. We returned un-shaven and sodden in our filthy OG's.
Another task was laying Beach Tracking through a lake, to aid waterproofing of vehicles - another story!!
Bring it on Dave!!

January 1966
An intensive re-training programme carried out early in the year, including: Jungle Warfare, Bridging, Combat Engineering and Field Firing.

May 1966 Operation Crown
Squadron returned to Operation Crown.

Chain of Command & Engineer Support to 3 Cdo Bde RM.
From 1966 - 1970, the Squadron was in support and under Command
of 3 Cdo Bde RM, for all Operational and Major Exercise situations.
The Squadron OC was the Engineer advisor to the Bde Commander,
with 1 Troop supporting 40 Cdo RM and 3 Troop supporting 42 Cdo RM.
The Squadron HQ provided an Engineer cell, in the Operational HQ of
the Bde, on major exercises.
Support troop & 2 Troop provided additional engineer capability, to the
Cdo Bde RM.

From a Troop Commander
3 Cdo Bde was over-joyed by the addition of 59 Squadron, for the Squadron had lots of wonderful toys to dig holes for them, build temporary huts and supply clean water. The Squadron brought expertise to them, creating new ideas as a whole. The Bde gradually learnt to accept us, when they knew what we could do for them. At Officer level, we had no problems and got on very well. I never heard any grumbles from the troop, except about what would happen, when the Squadron returned to the UK and had to pass the All Arms Cdo Course! Generally speaking, both sides had a lot to learn, for the Integration to be complete.
The Intergration was not on a rigid timetable, but had the withdrawal from East of Suez as the backdrop.
Everyone was keen to ensure the affiliation was on a 'firm footing', enough to continue when Cdo Bde and 59 Sqn returned to the UK.
The idea was originally conceived by Brigadier Richard Clutterbuck - Chief Engineer Far East Land Forces, who clearly had a close rapport with Brigadier Ian Gourlay - Commander 3 Commando Brigade.
It was a Cdo Brigade without an intergrated Engineer Support and an Engineer Field Squadron, without an Operational home to belong to - A Marraige made in Heaven!!! The arranged Marraige, has stood the stress of time and is going forwards.

October 1966
Squadron returned to Singapore.
59 Field Squadron affiliated to 3 Commando Brigade – Royal Marines.
The Squadron undertook training and exercises with 3 Commando Brigade RM in: Australia, Malaysia and Hong Kong.

Exercises in the Far East.
February 1967 -- Exercise CaricatureThe Squadron embarked with the Brigade for Exercise Caricature in Hong Kong.
All ranks enjoyed the feeling of belonging to the Brigade and there was obviously a great deal of work needed, to put Combat Engineering into the Brigade consciousness.

Major MGL Roberts was awarded the MBE
S/Sgt Hill was awarded the BEM
These awards were for their part in Operation Crown.

May 1967 – Aug 1967 -- Exercises Firm Stride & GedgleyElements of the Squadron were sent to Plymouth, to undertake the Commando Training.
3 Troop remained with 3 Commando Brigade in Singapore.
They took part in two Major Exercises:

Firm Stride – where they supported the Brigade with Water Supply, digging of field defences and clearance of mines and booby traps.

Gedgley – where they were deployed on damage control and MACC tasks, which included a 130ft Suspension footbridge at Kampong Phon.

September 1967Major Geoffrey W Preston-Jones (MBE) assumed command of 59 Field Squadron.

2nd Oct 1967 --Withdrawal from Aden3 Commando Brigade had the task of covering the final withdrawal of British troops from Aden.
A contingent of 16 All Ranks deployed with 40 Cdo RM, they completed a a very large number of Combat Engineering and Work services tasks.
This led to a series of Troop detachments to Aden until 25th March 1968.

January 1968 -- Post Crown
Sqn returns to Post Crown, along with 54 Support Sqn and 51 Field Sqn, tasked to complete the 25kms road between Leong Nok Tha and Ban Khok Klang.

12th June 1968 – 16th July 1968 -- Exercise Lath.SHQ - Major Geoffrey Preston-Jones, 2i/c Capt. Bill Egglestone, QM Capt. Aldridge, SSM WO1 "Spreader" Hurst.
The Squadron was responsible for setting up the Services for 17 Divisional HQ and Umpire Control on Exercise Lath, they were deployed on 4 major MACC tasks:

Crossing the Causeway that connected Singapore to Malaysia, with 445 miles to go.
Stopping overnight, before proceeding to the various sites.

The Exercises below (when time permitted) gave the Squadron solid engineering construction experience and helped the local population, continuing the British Forces "Hearts & Minds".

Waref Tapai School

This timber and corrugated galvanised Iron construction, had originally been obtained as a MACC contribution, to a combined UK/US Phillipines exercise, scheduled for May in the Phillipines, but which was ultimately cancelled.
It was built by 1 Troop.
In the last week, they held a Cinema Show and the whole village turned out to watch.
The great sport in the evening was Frog Racing.

Ulu Sat School
Built by 1 Troop.
This was a similar design to Waref Tapai School, but smaller.
It had been flown into the sight by helicopter, as there were no access road to this very remote Kampoong.
The children of the village, had been forbidden to walk the 2 miles to the Valley School, when two children had been attacked, killed and eaten by a Tiger, about 1 year earlier.
This was therefore a very real contribution to the progress of the area.

Sungei Dura Bridge

Built by 3 Troop.
A Class 9 Timber improvised bridge, 138ft long and consisting of 8 spans. The design was done by Lt Yerbury and had to be reconsidered when the timber piling rig was damaged and the resulting trestle bridge was a sound, good looking construction.

A Pontoon Bridge was also built over the river Sungei Dura, to give HQ 17 Div access to the fabulous Marang Beach.

Denarek Suspension Bridge

Built by 2 Troop.
This was a 195ft span with a 100ft approach span. Designed by Captain Egglestone and the construction carried by Lt. Carr.

13th July 1968The GOC 17 Divisional Major General AG Patterson, DSO, OBE, MC, flew back to the exercise area, to attend the opening ceremonies for each site.

Mid-July to Mid-August Ex. Inner Circle
An exercise run by CRE (Ops).
This involved troops from 59 Field Sqn and 11 Indep Field Sqn, moving in circles around 13 tasks, which involved Field Engineering and Infantry roles.During this exercise, S/Sgt Vowles of 59 Sqn, unable to see an entrance, due to thick high grass, fell over 100 feet down a very narrow Tin Mine shaft, he never fully recovered from this incident and was later flown home to England.
20th September 1968 Ex. Coral Sands

The Squadron, less 2 Troop, boarded HMS Intrepid to support 3 Cdo Bde.
3 Cdo Bde - including 40 Cdo Rm with 1 Troop, 42 Cdo Rm with 3 Troop, 29 Light Battery,59 Sqn and Logistics of the Cdo Bde, embarked on a Fleet of Navy ships.
The Fleet sailed from Singapore, via the Torres Strait, past the Great Reef Barrier to Shoalwater Bay, near Rockhampton.
An opposed amphibious assault landing took place, with Gurkha as the enemy.
The Squadron transfered to HMS Bulwark, closer to shore near Shoalwater, then boarded 18 Wessex Helicopters to take place in the landings.
Squadron tasks included Combat support and the construction of tracks and hoverways.
Whilst Support Troop were embarked on LSL Sir Galahad and provided a battle simulation and Engineer team for the control staff.
Relaxing on the beach and in Surfers Paradise, was well earned.
After the exercise was over, the Sqiuadron sailed round to Brisbane, for 10 days R&R.
Arrived back in Singapore, during early November.

November 1968Under Command of CRE Division - Malaya District, with 54 Sqn, 11 Sqn and 67 Gurkha Sqn.

1st December 1968 - 31st January 1970 --Bukat MendiThe Sqn, along with 54 Sqn, 11 Sqn and 67 Sqn, participate in Bukat Mendi MACC project in Malaya.
The project was to construct a main access road, housing for Settlers and a large Oil-palm cultivation complex, totalling 30,000 acres.
It is believed that 11 Sqn built the Hut Accommodation, 3 Troop worked on the site from March - May, 1 Troop relieved them from May - July.
Living in the huts, which later became a part of the village for the Settlers.

February 1969 - Luk Keng Road in Hong KongThe Sqn along with 54 Sqn, 11 Sqn, 67 Sqn & 68 Sqn, became involved in building this road.
Built to give access to Starling Inlet, in the extreme North East of the Territories, the 4 mile route requiring demanding Cut & Fill. The construction of many culverts and a considerable amount of Rock Blasting.
The work continued for 3 years, though 54 Sqn remained the Heavy Plant Support Sqn, it was re-titled 54 (HK) Support Sqn.

September 1969
3 Troop was sent off with 42 Cdo RM, to the area of Perak, to assist the Orang Asli, on small bridging projects, deep in the remote jungle.

22nd September 1969
Major John B Grosvenor assumed command of the Squadron.

6th November 1969Major Grosvenor presents L/Cpl Ellery with the Cloutman Tankard Award.

4th February 1970 - Brigade Commander Inspection - Brigadier PJF Whitely OBE
1 Troop - Lt. JM Wyatt, S/Sgt George Baker, Sgt Taff Rees.
2 Troop - Lt. Charles Moorhouse, S/Sgt Mick Tracey, Sgt Stephen Pickles.
3 Troop - Lt. John Yerbury, S/Sgt Dick Barton, Sgt Fawcett.
Support - Capt. Derek Stuart, S/Sgt Ginge Thorn.
QM - Capt. Joe Kite.
SSM - WO2 Bill Moretta.
Chief Clerk - Coleman.

1970 (April to June) - Exercise Bersatu Padu.
This was the first time that the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF), became involved in a large scale multi-lateral Forces Exercise, in which it can learn from the other forces, plus put its own strategies into operation.
The SAF was only a fledgling force, it put forward 5 SIR - made up of 900 men, mainly National Servicemen, with Senior Officers and Non-Commissioned Officers being Regular Forces.
The whole of 59 Squadron, plus 16 Brigade commanded by Brigadier George Cooper, came out to the East Coast of Malaya, to demonstrate that Britain could reinforce the FAR East, after Britains Withdrawal in 1972.
It must be noted :- Dave Drinkell was detached to operate 27.5kva generators, with Cpl Rob Campbell of 54 Sqn, spending 3 glorious months on Dungan Beach, Trengganu.

The Scenario for this Exercise was:
"Ganasia a ficticious country between Thailand and Malaysia, had begun infiltrating Trengganu and managed to control a swathe of territory in the West Malaysian State. The aim of the five powers, was to stop the growing aggression of the Ganasians and to regain the lost territory."
The exercise began on the the 5th April, with the deployment of the ANZUK (Australian, New Zealand & United Kingdom), Malaysian & Singaporean troops.
A 6 week training phase was then conducted, with 5 SIR receiving Jungle Training in Kola Tinggi, Jahore.
5 SIR along with two British Units (2nd Batt - Royal Anglian Regt & 2nd Batt - Light Infantry Regt) formed the 19th Brigade.
"Spring Handicap" was held at the end of the training phase, where 5 SIR successfully attacked and captured a 400m high enemy-held hill.

Exercise Granada
The exercise called for the capture of Penarek Airfield, followed by operations against enemy bases, by the 4th Brigade (consisting of Australian & New Zealand) troops and the 19th Brigade.
13th June, Penarek Airfield was successfully captured and 19th Brigade was Air-lifted.
28th June - 5 SIR took part in the final assault on the enemy stronghold, the assault was a success. Equal losses on both sides (British "enemy" had 102 'killed in action', whilst 5 SIR had 105 'killed in action').
There was also Air & Sea exercises held in Butterworth and the South China Sea, but the SIR was minimal involvement, mainly administrative.

1970 - Exercise Square Hole.This was 59 Sqn and 3 Cdo Bde, deployed to a Jungle area in Central Malaya.
It involved an underground Bunker, in the form of a Cruciform - as used above ground.
The Bunker provided protection for the Joint Force HQ and when completed with Lighting and Air conditioning, the power supplied by a 27.5KVA generator, backed up by a 10KVA generator.
As the Sqn was the first Sapper Sqn dedicated to the Cdo Bde, an air conditioned bunker in the middle of the Jungle, built during heavy rain, impressed them drastically.
Just to remind them of the torrential rain above, a deliberate "leak", via a small bore pipe, was
placed by the Commanders area.

The Officers and SNCO's took part in a Squadron Education programme, to operate a Certificate of Education course, for all Sappers requiring up-grades.
The Squadron carried out operations in:
Hong Kong
They also took part in 12 exercises, generally supporting 3 Cdo Brigade.
3 Troop took part with 42 Cdo RM, in Hong Kong in the Sek Kong Peninsula. Upon their return, 3 Troop went to assist with improvements to the Jungle Warefare School in Jahore Baru.

June to July 1970 Exercise - Bersatu Padu.The whole Squadron took part in this large exercise.
3 Troop was based with 42 Cdo RM, living in a remote forest, dug-in, whilst the enemy tried to find them.

September 1970 Trengganu.
3 Troop with 42 Cdo RM, was involved in this exercise.

20th November 1970 - Operation Burlap - Cyclone BholaThe Squadron plus attachments, sailed for East Pakistan with Task Group 318.2 from Singapore, for Cyclone relief operations. Around 150,000 people had drowned.
This unfortunate country had been hit by a devastating cyclone and tidal wave some days earlier and the British Government were in the process of mounting the biggest external relief effort of all time. Far East Command who were mounting the relief effort (Operation Burlap), had delegated the responsibility for the relief ashore to the Commander, 3 Commando Brigade (Brigadier Pat Ovens).
The Royal Navy, by good luck, had on station both HMS Intrepid (LPD) and HMS Triumph, a converted carrier, they carried eight helicopters, eight landing craft, rescue teams and supplies. Fifty soldiers and two helicopters were flown-in ahead of the ships, to survey the disaster area and bring prompt relief work. Other ships joined the fleet at sea. After a trip of some 20 hours the recce party reached the town of Patuatchali, the seat of the local regional government, where it had been decided to set up the Relief Control HQ. A quick change of name from Recce to Tac HQ and on with the planning of the operation. This included frequent liaison with the Pakistani authorities, who were in overall charge, and representatives of many international relief organisations.
The main task force arrived off the Pakistan coast on the 24th November, when the 650 men on board the ships, immediately began using landing craft to deliver supplies to offshore islands.
The main task of the UK force was to distribute relief supplies, some of which bad been brought by the fleet from Singapore. With the arrival of the fleet off the Ganges delta on Tuesday morning the distribution of food and supplies and the build-up of the force ashore got under way. Suddenly the horizon came to life with helicopters and small boats - a welcome sight for hungry families. The mainstay of the communications system ashore was 3 Commando Brigade Signal Squadron under Captain Sam Pope RM, whilst HMS Intrepid acted as a Command ship at sea.
After a week of flat-out work it was decided to thin out the force and withdraw it completely before Christmas. Gradually, by air and sea, detachments and individuals returned to Singapore. The main party cruised home on HMS Triumph.The final party made it home in time for the first of the Christmas parties after a most enjoyable voyage on Sir Galahad. Our reception in Pakistan had been overwhelming -- indeed as one Pakistani put it, "You have achieved as much goodwill by your efforts as in the 200 years of the Raj."

The Squadron also gave Construction and Engineering support to the local population.

HMS Triumph carried out repair work on a Liberian Tanker, during passage in the South China Sea, en-route for Aid Relief.
Photos are courtesy of HMS Triumph Site.

Anchored in the Bay of Bengal, Intrepid and Triumph distributed aid to remote areas.
Photos courtesy of HMS Intrepid Site.

World wide Aid Stock Pile

Daily Delivery Service

Flying Stores ashore

Aid Base Pataukhali

Delivery to remote areas

Delivery to local villages

Monday, August 24, 2009

Singapore Map

The Padang
Ashore on the Padang

Singapore River

Keppel Harbour

Swimming Pool

Swimming Pool

Swimming Pool

Gillman Bks

Gillman Bks

Empress Place

Collyers Quay

Robinsons Store

Clifford Pier

Cavanagh Bridge

Britannia Club

Britannia Club