Drop Zone Borneo


Book Reviewer
Just stumbled onto this on Amazon:
Drop Zone Borneo, The RAF Campaign 1963-65: 'The Most Successful Use of Armed Forces in the Twentieth Century'

The quotation bit of the title is lifted from Denis Healey's then summary of the campaign to Parliament and probably quite true even if it was said by a politician. I thought I knew a fair bit about the Confrontation, but the air war was a complete unknown to me it seems. I genuinely thought that all they did was ferry troops in and out of the Ulu in what was essentially an infantryman's war. Reading the reviews has been a bit of an eye-opener though:

The background to "DZ Borneo" is a little known campaign - "Confrontation" - between a newly created Malaysia and Indonesia. The foreground is a squadron of Royal Air Force tactical transport aircraft and their crews. Both receive a welcome boost of publicity. The former is a model of how to earn the hearts, minds and respect of the indigenous peoples of a country you are trying to help politically. The latter, seen through the eyes of a young co-pilot fresh from Cranwell, embraces fear, fun, adventure, travel and achievement. The author's description of their humanitarian rescue of British nationals from Djakarta brings a patriotic lump to the throat, and his very human concerns about weather, jungle and aircraft problems are all set out with engaging sincerity.
This book is an excellent portrayal of a small, thrilling and successful chapter of Royal Air Force history that, sadly. we are unlikely to see again.


Book Reviewer
Nice to know the crabs have got their share of glory. A lot of the troop lift in and out of the ulu had to be done by the Royal Navy. Some of their bones are still out there.
The infant AAC also lost at least one Scout out there, a 'Patrol' of them back from over the border when the engine 'Blew up'.
I'll be buying this as Borneo is the only campaign that my old man has a medal for...

He doesn't speak about any of what he did (up to and including using his issue Machete for impromptu head removal - told by his best mate who campaigned for a gong for him).


P.S. He was VERY disappointed when his son joined as a poofy Bandsman rather than a megahard "special" type!
Comparisons are indeed odious though we all breathed a sigh of relief when we were told the Navy would be flying us in - and more importantly - out on operations in Borneo. Crabs would refuse to fly in inclement weather. Air drops were usually bang on though.
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