Did any British Forces Serve In Vietnam?

Noone, as far as I can recall, did do something during WW2 and during the Malayan Emergency.
He was an anthropologist of some sort, and disappeared in the jungles of either Malaya or Borneo, late 50s early 60s, never to be seen again, well before VN kicked off.
Now I could be quite wrong, and if so, stand to be corrected.
All correct apart from the fact that he disappeared in Malaysia's Cameron Highlands in the late 60's. He served in Vietnam in the Mountain Scout Program 63/64 CIA/USSF and again in Borneo during confrontation MI6/SAS.

Cover for Vietnam was through your man Robert Thompson's BRIAM.

I think he is a slightly better fit.

P.J Honey sort of fits too.

There were some interesting characters kicking around.
 
Slightly off topic again.
There was a very good non fiction book written about the Malayan Emergency called 'The war of the running dogs', by Noel Barber.
It encompassed the late 40s and 50s and as far as I can remember Thompson featured in the book prominently.
It is probably out of print now, but if anyone can get get a copy it is well worth a read.

It was interesting the two different approaches that the Brits and the Yanks took to a similar problem.
The Brit approach mainly was by stealth, deception and generally being devious, whereas the Yank approach was to attempt to solve theirs by using brute force in the main.
We all know now which one succeeded.
 
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I think sometimes the Brits learned the wrong lessons from Malaya. Malaya was (and Malaysia still is) a multi-ethnic country. The guerrillas were overwhelmingly ethnic Chinese. They had no natural friends among the other groups. Also it was fairly clear to everyone at the time that the Brits were already negotiating a graceful withdrawal so if it was independence you wanted, all you had to do was wait. The Chinese terrorists wanted communism. So the Brits had a lot of local support.

The big picture in VN was very different. The French spent 10 years after WW2 trying to prop up their empire. Uncle Ho was a Nationalist before he was a Communist, and if Truman had given him the support that he'd asked for in the first place, VN would be like Singapore now, or Taiwan or Korea.

But after 1000 years of Chinese occupation, and 100 years of the French they were determined to be independent. And the artificial north/south split solved nothing.

So given a (largely) ethnically homogeneous Vietnamese population, and the history, not to mention a corrupt government in the south, it was never really going to suit Thompson's advice.

But we Brits have a habit of saying that the Americans 'ignored' our advice in Vietnam. They didn't. The fortified hamlet concept was based on British lessons from Malaya. It just didn't work


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I think sometimes the Brits learned the wrong lessons from Malaya. Malaya was (and Malaysia still is) a multi-ethnic country. The guerrillas were overwhelmingly ethnic Chinese. They had no natural friends among the other groups. Also it was fairly clear to everyone at the time that the Brits were already negotiating a graceful withdrawal so if it was independence you wanted, all you had to do was wait. The Chinese terrorists wanted communism. So the Brits had a lot of local support.

The big picture in VN was very different. The French spent 10 years after WW2 trying to prop up their empire. Uncle Ho was a Nationalist before he was a Communist, and if Truman had given him the support that he'd asked for in the first place, VN would be like Singapore now, or Taiwan or Korea.

But after 1000 years of Chinese occupation, and 100 years of the French they were determined to be independent. And the artificial north/south split solved nothing.

So given a (largely) ethnically homogeneous Vietnamese population, and the history, not to mention a corrupt government in the south, it was never really going to suit Thompson's advice.

But we Brits have a habit of saying that the Americans 'ignored' our advice in Vietnam. They didn't. The fortified hamlet concept was based on British lessons from Malaya. It just didn't work


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That is a very reasonable summation.
 

AlienFTM

MIA
Book Reviewer
Is school of thought the latest term for loonies ?
No. Believe it or not, scientists have studied the rain forest and that's their conclusion. If it's good enough for QI it's good enough for me.

Edit.

Now I'm up and compus mantis. I wasn't as far out in my years as my second thought suggested.

QI Series J, Episode 10 - Jungles - British Comedy Guide

At least 10% of all the Amazonian rainforest was deliberately created by human activity over a period of 1,500 years, more than 1,000 years ago. It is in fact a gigantic orchard twice the size of Great Britain. Reasons for believing the theory include the large amount of fruit in it which humans consume, and that a large part of it grows in soil that is of human origin. The soil, known as terra preta (Portuguese for "black earth"), contains charcoal, bone, manure and pottery. This soil can only be humanly produced. According to a BBC Four documentary on the subject called Unnatural Histories, an advanced civilization of between 5-6 million people flourished along the Amazon until the 1540s when 95% of the population were killed by diseases brought by the Spanish. By the 18th century the rainforest was empty and no buildings were left behind, just the soil. For more information visit jungleschmungle.co.uk

Edit again. The link immediately above has gone.
 
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Not sure whether those who served during Operation Masterdom would have been given a specific campaign medal for service in Vietnam. Interesting though, that it was British and Indian troops (along with former Japanese POWs) who began the West's campaign against the Viet Cong.
Indeed there was medallic recognition for the immediate post-War operations in the region (not just VN but including Sumatra and Java also): the clasp 'SE ASIA 1945-46' to the 198-62 GSM.

General Service Medal (1918) - Wikipedia
 
From my understanding,Saigon to be exact.
You've piqued my interest.

What time period was that?

The number of current or ex MI6 people who were either instructors or observers at the NPFF (Phoenix) training centre at Dalat is pretty well documented.

This is the first I've heard of a Brit Int Corp training mission working in Saigon.

I am aware of the work of Int Corp officers attached to the UK Embassy.

Whatever you have is a new line of enquiry and is well worth establishing.
 
You've piqued my interest.

What time period was that?

The number of current or ex MI6 people who were either instructors or observers at the NPFF (Phoenix) training centre at Dalat is pretty well documented.

This is the first I've heard of a Brit Int Corp training mission working in Saigon.

I am aware of the work of Int Corp officers attached to the UK Embassy.

Whatever you have is a new line of enquiry and is well worth establishing.
Exact dates I cannot commit to, but it was right after Guiana became independent, so 65/66.
 
Not sure, I was a baby at the time and got the story second hand. He certainly went to
Vietnam but not sure if he stacked blankets or played soldiers. I'll try to get the story next time I chat with my dad.
He should turn up on this database. Have a look and see if he turns up. If he does can you post the first three of his regimental number?
 

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