Subtitled "Fighting Terrorists in Malaya"
- Roy Fellows
Roy Fellows was a young man post WW2 who was looking for adventure and something a bit more than the mundane office life of many of his compatriots. Having been unsuccessful in his application for the Palestine Police, Fellows then tried his luck with the Malayan Police and was accepted. His book deals with his time as a Police Inspector fighting the Communist Terrorists (CTs) in Malaya. It has to be said here that this role is more that of a Platoon Commander in an Infantry unit than a police officer as we know them.
He took command of a small police platoon and an area of Malaya which was his to patrol and bring to justice any CTs they find. This was a very brutal war with no quarter being given on either side. Captured personnel, both police and CTs, often did not make it out of the ambush site alive, wounded or not. It was a nasty little war with very little ‘glory’ but with lots of courage and discipline.
Fellows’ writing is very easy on the eye and it was no problem mentally placing oneself in the jungle with him and his men. He tells of patrols, how he learned to live in and use the jungle, how to command the respect of the little Malayan policemen and how to track, ambush and kill CTs. This called for the toughest of men displaying skills and manner of living most Europeans did not know about and had they done so, would have avoided like the plague. But Fellows had a job, one in which he believed implicitly, to get rid of the CTs who were making the life of everyone from the government down to local villagers a misery. He describes the jungle where a hard day’s march would be no more than a mile or so, with everyone giving all they have got. Energy sapping, constantly damp or wet through, eating rations airdropped every few days or living off the jungle meant Fellows lost all his surplus fat and some. Yet he thoroughly enjoyed it.
He is a hard, resilient man who carried out his task to the best of his abilities, earning respect from local tribesmen and villagers as well as that of the men he commanded. He was also feared by the CT as a very effective operator, responsible for capturing or killing many of their men and disrupting their activities in his area. Not everything went to plan, seldom ever does, but working round problems and finding solutions was his everyday life.
This is one man’s story of his role at the tail end of the British Empire and is well told. If you have any interest in the Malayan Emergency Campaign post WW2, then this book is a must for your bookshelf. For anyone with an interest of fighting in a jungle environment, then this book is definitely for you. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about Fellows’ exploits so give this book a well deserved 4.5 out of 5 Mr Mushroomheads.