Brits Forces in Thailand 1960s ?

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by jonwilly, Apr 30, 2010.

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  1. Gents on one of the Thailand forums a thread has been started and in it is claimed that Brit forces where deployed to Thailand in the 60's.
    I know that the Royal Engineers where deployed to build airfields and attendant facilities, served with some years later and from a Signals guy I know there was an Intercept unit.
    Both where part of SEATO.
    A Hawker Hunter Flt of 6-10 aircraft was stationed in Chiang Mai for some months when trouble was expected from Laos.

    Two Post from the thread are below.

    "british and australian troops had an R&R camp on pattaya beach in 1963!! no bars no hotels only a dirt road the first bar and brothel opened in april 1964, it wasn't until 1966 that US troops passing through plucked up the courage to stop, this was yonks before the vietnam debacle kicked off I have attached a couple of piccies of pattaya beach 63 and 64"

    "Not Army, Air Force. 1962, operation Bibber. To defend Thailand against incursions from Vietnam and Laos. Guns bombs and everything. British combat forces on the ground in Thailand. It was not the original operation Bibber which was the occupation of Bangkok in 1945. That was operation bibber too."

    Does anyone have any serious comment on any of the above ?
    I have been unable to reproduce the photos, one seems to show a Bedford RL of that era.

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  2. Part of the thread about the Airfield construction (Operation CRE Crown) and the R&Rcamp in Pattaya were my handiwork ,so any of you ex54 or59 squadron survivors back me up, the reason there is a bedford on the beach at pattaya is, it was permanently based in BKK to transport personel and compo rations on R&R from Don Muang Airport to Pattaya beach :)in the sutlers thread I mentioned ali,s noggyshop, here is a piccy too

    Attached Files:

  3. Which RE Airfield Sqn was in El Adem in 1969? my friends dad was there when I was, but I cant remember the number
  4. Have they discovered a lost tribe of scouse ladyboys?
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  5. Auld-Yin

    Auld-Yin LE Reviewer Book Reviewer Reviews Editor

    tropper - are you finally trying to tell us that there is something that you don't know? FFS the world must be coming to an end :twisted:
  6. Nignoy
    As the Old Hand, do you know if it was just RE and Signals who where deployed.
    From your post you seem to have been involved in the airfield construction.
    When I was in BATUS back in 82, one of the Sappers had been up in Issan on airfield construction duties.
    As you have read the original thread you will know that I am adamant the Brit Ground Combat Forces where never deployed post 45.
    I can check next week at our curry lunch, with my friend, 90 year old ex R.E. Major psc, on any other deployments.
    He was the ground liaison for the Hunter deployment at C.M. in early 60's.
    He first came to Thailand in 45 to lock up jap, repair bridges and then moved by road down to Malaya.
  7. I have a vast collection of military history books for reference, but my memory is getting crappy with old age, PTSD,Alcohol,Bangs on the head ect
  8. Thanks Driver excellent site which I have forwarded to my Old Sapper, he will be chuffed to bits with a dedicated artical to his Corps.
    I have had a PM confirming the Signals deployment and I am still adamant that No UK Ground Combat troops where ever deployed post 45-46.

  9. Operation Bibber. May - Nov. 1962.
    Pro-Communist Pathet Lao threatened to invade Thailand from Laos. Thailand was a member of the South East Asia Treaty Organisation (SEATO) other member countries were obliged to provide assistance.
    Based at RAF Tengah, Singapore I took part in this operation. The British contribution was to detach 20 Sqn. operating the Hawker Hunter Fighter Ground Attack (FGA) Mk.9 from Tengah to Chieng Mai, North Thailand to be known as RAF Contigent, Chieng Mai. I was part of the armament support team to the squadron, a member of the first contigent, flying up in a Blackburn Beverley, a two decker, large transport aircraft. Personnel upstairs and a three ton water bowser on the lower deck.
    Full tropical field service kit with safari bed, 0.303 Lee- Enfield rifle with pig sticker bayonet and a bandolier of 50 rounds. Accomodation would be under canvas.

    Any further interest and I'll continue with the next episode.
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  10. Thanks guys, herewith the next episode.

    On the way up we landed at Bangkok to refuel, never have I seen so much USA military aviation might - row upon row of USAF aircraft parked in neat rows on the massive flight line.
    Anyway, once more we lurched into the sky, Beverleys definitely lurched, bit like a brick with wings. A couple of hours later we landed at Chieng Mai civil airport.
    A wee note here, the airport was still in the process of being built, but the main runway and parking areas were complete, so no worries getting things with wings onto the deck.
    HOWEVER, that was it, no runway lights so no night flying. At night we lit our tents with hurricane lamps which attracted insects of all sizes, I'm certain the huge moths carried their own armament! Any one who has been stationed in the Far East will know about the humidity linked to the tropical temperatures. I was a mere youth of 21 summers and whippet thin so didn't have to much of a problem, but many suffered quite badly. Water was a bit of a problem, the bowser that we took with us was full but the medics. hadn't purified it, so the MO said we couldn't drink it for some hours, medics were roundly cursed ! But by this time, stalls were appearing around and about with ice cold bottles of all kinds of soft drinks, we'd changed Singapore dollars into Bahts so these stall holders were soon doing a roaring trade. Security, what security!

    But, the airfield had to be made operational, until that was done, no Hunters. Soon Beverleys and Hastings transports were landing at a steady rate with stores of all kinds, flown up from RAF Tengah. "Not me chief, I'm a technician" cut no ice, all ranks and trades assisted in unloading these aircraft so they could get back to Singapore. All of this in 1962 was to stand me in good stead in the late 1970s when stationed in Germany, I used to go camping to a hole in the forest with a Harrier. By then, the movement of the kit required to keep this aircraft and ourselves happy was called logistics. Also, by this time a SNCO, I'd graduated from rifle to the Sterling SMG, which still had a bayonet on the business end.

    Back to Thailand, a few days later the airfield was declared operational and a load of steely eyed jet jockeys did a fighter style landing in their Hunters. Namely, beat up the airfield in fine style, peel off and land in pairs. Brake failure was not an option.

    More to come later.
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  11. There was also a Royal Signals Troop located in Bangkok in the '60's. "Golden Arrow Troop" accommodated originally in The Grand Hotel they later moved to The White Horse.

    I was deployed there as extra cover for a major SEATO exercise in 1969 when 249 Signal Squadron, who I was a part of, had taken over their administration. Best six weeks I ever experienced during my career as a bleep...
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  12. Short history of the Royal Engineers page 67 Operation Crown 1964.
    The construction of an airfield and hutted camp by 11 and 59 Field Squadrons and some Australian and Kiwi Sapper's. It was opened in 1965.
    1966 the runway was strengthened by 34 Squadron coming from the UK
    54 Field from Singapore was the last unit to be deployed.
    My father was the Sapper G2 at HQ FARELF and spent a lot of time between 67-69 up north of the Causeway in Thailand and a couple of jollies to Nakhon Phanom airbase watching the B52s and Phantoms head to the bad lands.
  13. Was it in June 69, as I have just cleared my Dads bits and I have the SEATO unclassified op order for the exercise.
  14. Can't remember the exact dates sadly but '69 sounds right. 2 x Technicians and 4 x Operators (Comcen and RTG I think), we boosted their shift system from a 3 way to a 4 way rotation. (Afternoons; Mornings & Nights; Sleep day followed by a day off.)

    The whole top floor of the White Horse was the troop's accommodation and it included a troop bar. Room service and all hotel facilities available at no extra cost to us toms.
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