"Butchered bodies of about 30 soldiers"?

Well it certainly wasn't NI, in no case did a British patrol ever just arrive on the scene and find 30 butchered colleagues.

The Arab Police mutiny? Perhaps, over 30 dead yes, but only 17 soldiers and I doubt any routine patrol simply arrived and stumbled upon the bodies, the whole Crater District was a full on battle field for days and no one was casually patrolling around unaware of what was going on.
'Britain's Small Wars' states 22 men were killed on the first day. I would believe them as opposed to Wikpedia.
 
Perhaps, but still I don't think any routine patrol just stumbled across them, do you?
I don't know. It was 53 years ago. I just thought it might be a likely scenario. His memory might be a bit hazy. Its a bit like a Tommy who was in Ireland in 1921 describing an incident that happened at that time, in 1974.
 
I read somewhere that after Korea the occupation of Indonesia was the costliest post-WWII operation in terms of killed in action, albeit mostly Indian troops.

There were atrocities certainly but then the Brits were there to hand over the Indonesians to their former colonial masters who the Indonesians felt they had made rather clear weren't welcome back. To do so by using Japanese troops until such times as the Dutch could stop swigging their gin and get around to actually coming back was regarded as doubly outrageous.

So you can kinda see why the locals might have been a bit pissed off with the red-faced English gentlemen and their colonial levies telling them to get back in their places and wait for their Dutch bosses to come to reclaim their rightful position.

The Brits of course miscalculated awfully and assumed that the lazy, shy Javanese with their beguiling smiles would never fight for their freedom and a good whack across the knuckles with a rattan cane would teach the uppity natives a lesson. In Surabaya those natives rose up and in the next few weeks armed with very little gave the British and Indian troops a good run for their money in brutal house-to-house fighting.

Of course being massively outgunned the Indonesians lost eventually, but the Brits got the hint and promptly packed their bags and got the feck out, not least because Nehru was having a freak out about Indian troops being used to suppress fellow Asian nationalists. The last thing Atlee wanted was for the Indian army to start getting awkward ideas from the Indonesians about how to achieve Indian independence a lot quicker and more effectively than London was prepared to concede.
That's a very one-sided and Indonesian nationalist type account, I'm afraid.

The problem was one of communication (or miscommunication). The British troops arrived under clear political direction that they were to maintain law and order, but that they were to do nothing to sort out any nationalists they encountered. They - or more accurately Philip Christison, the GOC - were not to tell the Dutch this, though, since it would cause all sorts of bother with close allies.

Unfortunately, the Dutch had no idea how strong the nationalist movement actually was, and told the British that the Indonesians were simple folk who would be eager to see their Dutch rulers return. Force 136, which was hunting for PoW camps was sending back the occasional sign that this might not be the case; when British troops arrived, they discovered almost every other wall plastered with Indonesian flags and/or 'Merdeka' and concluded that the Dutch might have got it wrong.

The situation was complicated by the following:

1. The locals, because they couldn't be told this wasn't the case, assumed that the Brits were there to reimpose colonial rule.

2. The nationalists had a violent, extremist element who set about murdering anyone Dutch they could find. Dutch internees were massacred in several places, while elsewhere, Dutch soldiers released from the POW Camps found arms and started retaliating.

3. In a bid to keep law and order with too few personnel, the British attempted to negotiate a ceasefire. As a result of a comms failure, an aircraft dropping leaflets ordering the surrendering of arms was not recalled and did the leaflet drop, convincing the nationalists that there was a plot to aid the Dutch. This led, in short order, to the murder of Brigadier AWS Mallaby, GOC 49 Brigade, and a fighting withdrawal of the Brigade to the port at Surabaya.

4. The nationalists, proclaiming a great victory, started killing ethnic Chinese citizens of Surabaya, and it looked as if PoWs might fall victim to the violence.

5. 5 Division was sent to restore law and order; the Indonesians were told to surrender their weapons; they (understandably in many ways) refused, and the Battle of Surabaya ensued.

Once the battle was over, many of the extremist militants were dead, or considered too extreme by many moderate nationalists; the moderate nationalist leaders (Soekarno, Hatta, et al) realised that the British were far more interested in maintaining law and order than actually stopping them, noting that there was no effort made to take over running public infrastructure or kicking people out of senior civil service posts which had traditionally been reserved for the Dutch. The Dutch were furious, but Attlee and Bevin fobbed them off. The Brits didn't 'promptly pack their bags' (although they'd have loved to), but remained for several more months until the Dutch returned; they departed at a ceremony with the Indonesian leaders expressed gratitude for the way in which the British troops had operated. Some of this was, of course, politeness, but there was an appreciation that the British - who'd allowed the locals to get on with running the infrastructure from the start - had, in effect, created conditions which made it much harder for the Dutch to come in and take over. The Dutch were even more annoyed at this, since it was clear that the British were treating the locals as though they were the legitimate government; the Dutch then fought their two failed police actions

The UK didn't expect or want to be in the NEI/Indonesia, didn't want to have to use Indian troops (who fought very well) because of the possible sensitivities but were sent there because of the realignment of SWPA just prior to the Japanese surrender. There is a mountain of archival evidence which suggest that references to 'red faced English gentlemen' (Christison would've thumped you; he was either a proud Briton or a proud Scot, but never an Englishman) who made assumptions about the Javanese, etc, etc are verging on crude stereotype. They certainly grossly over-simplify the situation and do not reflect was was actually British policy in 1945-46. The stereotypical colonialist attitude came from the Dutch; the British and Indian troops were caught in the middle, and but for a reorientation of AORs, it'd have been Americans who'd have found themselves in the mess.
 
Par Avion senior was a Royal Marine on HMS Persimmon (Landing Ship Infantry) as Landing Craft Crew when after the surrender they went to the NEI to take the surrender from the Japanese in 1945. He said that the locals were asking if there were Dutchmen on board the ship. They were told no, but why do you want to know. They said that they didn't mind the British but they didn't want the Dutch back. Apparently they had a bit of a reputation as harsh colonists.

The Marines blew the safe in the Japanese senior naval officers cabin and retrieved a load of japanese occupation guilders. They then went on a spending spree down town buying shirts and other things. The locals thought the British were guilable and were ripping the booties of big style, which was obvious to our gallant boys.

What the locals didn't know was that the currency was due to be devalued with 4 old guilders to 1 new one, the day after HMS Persimmon and the rest of the Flottila had sailed. The British had been told of this and advised to get rid of any local currency that they held.
 
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That's a very one-sided and Indonesian nationalist type account, I'm afraid.

The problem was one of communication (or miscommunication). The British troops arrived under clear political direction that they were to maintain law and order, but that they were to do nothing to sort out any nationalists they encountered. They - or more accurately Philip Christison, the GOC - were not to tell the Dutch this, though, since it would cause all sorts of bother with close allies.

Unfortunately, the Dutch had no idea how strong the nationalist movement actually was, and told the British that the Indonesians were simple folk who would be eager to see their Dutch rulers return. Force 136, which was hunting for PoW camps was sending back the occasional sign that this might not be the case; when British troops arrived, they discovered almost every other wall plastered with Indonesian flags and/or 'Merdeka' and concluded that the Dutch might have got it wrong.

The situation was complicated by the following:

1. The locals, because they couldn't be told this wasn't the case, assumed that the Brits were there to reimpose colonial rule.

2. The nationalists had a violent, extremist element who set about murdering anyone Dutch they could find. Dutch internees were massacred in several places, while elsewhere, Dutch soldiers released from the POW Camps found arms and started retaliating.

3. In a bid to keep law and order with too few personnel, the British attempted to negotiate a ceasefire. As a result of a comms failure, an aircraft dropping leaflets ordering the surrendering of arms was not recalled and did the leaflet drop, convincing the nationalists that there was a plot to aid the Dutch. This led, in short order, to the murder of Brigadier AWS Mallaby, GOC 49 Brigade, and a fighting withdrawal of the Brigade to the port at Surabaya.

4. The nationalists, proclaiming a great victory, started killing ethnic Chinese citizens of Surabaya, and it looked as if PoWs might fall victim to the violence.

5. 5 Division was sent to restore law and order; the Indonesians were told to surrender their weapons; they (understandably in many ways) refused, and the Battle of Surabaya ensued.

Once the battle was over, many of the extremist militants were dead, or considered too extreme by many moderate nationalists; the moderate nationalist leaders (Soekarno, Hatta, et al) realised that the British were far more interested in maintaining law and order than actually stopping them, noting that there was no effort made to take over running public infrastructure or kicking people out of senior civil service posts which had traditionally been reserved for the Dutch. The Dutch were furious, but Attlee and Bevin fobbed them off. The Brits didn't 'promptly pack their bags' (although they'd have loved to), but remained for several more months until the Dutch returned; they departed at a ceremony with the Indonesian leaders expressed gratitude for the way in which the British troops had operated. Some of this was, of course, politeness, but there was an appreciation that the British - who'd allowed the locals to get on with running the infrastructure from the start - had, in effect, created conditions which made it much harder for the Dutch to come in and take over. The Dutch were even more annoyed at this, since it was clear that the British were treating the locals as though they were the legitimate government; the Dutch then fought their two failed police actions

The UK didn't expect or want to be in the NEI/Indonesia, didn't want to have to use Indian troops (who fought very well) because of the possible sensitivities but were sent there because of the realignment of SWPA just prior to the Japanese surrender. There is a mountain of archival evidence which suggest that references to 'red faced English gentlemen' (Christison would've thumped you; he was either a proud Briton or a proud Scot, but never an Englishman) who made assumptions about the Javanese, etc, etc are verging on crude stereotype. They certainly grossly over-simplify the situation and do not reflect was was actually British policy in 1945-46. The stereotypical colonialist attitude came from the Dutch; the British and Indian troops were caught in the middle, and but for a reorientation of AORs, it'd have been Americans who'd have found themselves in the mess.
Thank you, a well-considered reply, most of which I actually already knew.

You're right of course my post was considerably skewed toward the Indonesian Nationalist side, that being, in my view, the right side. My post was in response to the earlier post which seemed to say how Johnny Gurkha and those fine Japanese chaps taught those uppity natives a lesson they wouldn't soon forget, what, hey!

The Indonesians committed atrocities against many POWs, and that was shameful, but it was a dreadful time of chaos and often it was hard to differentiate between civilians simply seeking to get back home and triumphalist colonialists looking forward to a reckoning with the "collaborating" natives and a restoration of righteous Dutch supremacy (qv the flag incident at Hotel Oranje) and equally it was hard to differentiate between genuine nationalist fighters and gangs of bandits taking advantage of the power vacuum.

The lead up to Surabaya was in my view unquestionably a British cock-up and the military leadership must take responsibility for what happened. In fairness, however, the British, as they so often do, quickly realised their error, learned from their mistake and as you say clearly saw which way the wind was blowing and wanted no part of the idiotic idea that the Dutch could, like the Bourbons, simply turn back the clock (I know the Dutch pretended that is not what they were doing but to all intents and purposes that's exactly what they were doing).

The British did the right thing in Indonesia, eventually.
 
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In fairness, however, the British, as they so often do, quickly realised their error, learned from their mistake and as you say clearly saw which way the wind was blowing and wanted no part of the idiotic idea that the Dutch could, like the Bourbons, simply turn back the clock (I know the Dutch pretended that is not what they were doing but to all intents and purposes that's exactly what they were doing).

The British did the right thing in Indonesia, eventually.
Mike, is this you, saying nice things about the British. Have you been taken ove by Aliens?
 
Following the line of the original post about exaggeration of incidents, the other day on the BBC there was a programme about homelessness. There was an ex soldier living on the streets in his early 20s who claimed to have been shot and wounded fixing equipment in Pakistan, and showed the reporter scar on his shoulder, claiming it to be a gunshot wound . The story didn't seem to make a lot of sense. Having been through the medical discharge process recently, I know that that is not what happens. I can't recall any recent incidents involving British soldiers shot in Pakistan.
 
There was an ex soldier living on the streets in his early 20s who claimed to have been shot and wounded fixing equipment in Pakistan, and showed the reporter scar on his shoulder, claiming it to be a gunshot wound .
The story didn't seem to make a lot of sense. Having been through the medical discharge process recently, I know that that is not what happens.
Why would you get MD'd for being shot through the shoulder ?

I know 2 who were shot, both went on and had full 22 year careers. One finishing as a WO1 and the other a WO2.

ETA

I have just remembered a 3rd, who also finished as a WO2.
 
'Britain's Small Wars' states 22 men were killed on the first day. I would believe them as opposed to Wikpedia.
Actually Wiki is correct in this instance;
17 soldiers were killed in the Police/South Arabian Army mutiny (+ one British Civvie)
The figure of 22 comes from the number of fatalities interred in the single mass burial at Silent Valley. The additional number (4) comes from casualties who were killed around the same time but not the same day, in actions unconnected with the mutiny.

Edited;
Whatever post-war operation the letter writer is referring to, I think he is bull-shitting
 
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Why would you get MD'd for being shot through the shoulder ?

I know 2 who were shot, both went on and had full 22 year careers. One finishing as a WO1 and the other a WO2.

ETA

I have just remembered a 3rd, who also finished as a WO2.
Sorry, I meant the homeless chap claiming to be ex Army, not me. I was invalided out for skin cancer. But a lot depends on the injury and the ability to be a soldier - if he is a young private who can't deploy and not suitable for a remustering, invaliding would be the usual process.
 
Actually Wiki is correct in this instance;
17 soldiers were killed in the Police/South Arabian Army mutiny (+ one British Civvie)
The figure of 22 comes from the number of fatalities interred in the single mass burial at Silent Valley. The additional number (4) comes from casualties who were killed around the same time but not the same day, in actions unconnected with the mutiny.

Edited;
Whatever post-war operation the letter writer is referring to, I think he is bull-shitting
Aye... and the casualties would have been much lower had 'Touch Me' Towers not refused to allow the Saladin to fire its main armament!
 
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Aye... and the casualties would have been much lower had 'Touch Me' Towers not refused to allow the Saladin to fire its man armament!
He doesn't seem to be a popular man amongst the Aden Veteran's. Understandbly so. Apparently though, according to par avion senior, who was at RAF Khormaksar at the time, the big nebbies were worried about it all kicking off up country, as we still had a lot of peaple embeded with the Federated Arab states as advisors.
 
"ex military homeless" is a classic scam for professional beggars.

Regiment include the Royal Army Regiment, the Liverpool Lancers and the 50 th battalion English Guards .
 

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