Gunners in Borneo

#1
I’m trying to put together a reliable list of btys that served in Borneo (& Brunei).

First questions are about 95 Cdo Lt Regt, this regt seems to have comprised 7, 8 Bty (4 guns each?) and 145 AO Bty. 8 Bty seems to have joined in 1963. Questions:

Was the Regt based in Singapore 1962 to 1970ish?

Did one of its btys serve in Brunei in early 1963 during the mopping up after the revolt? Which one was it?

The first battery into Borneo was in 1963 and was replaced every 4 months or so. I think this battery was taken from the one of the FARELF regts, eg
95 Regt based in Singapore;
45 Lt Regt (70, 170, 176 btys) then 6 Lt Regt (H, V, 132 btys) in Terendak;
4 Lt Regt (29, 88, 97 btys) then 49 Lt Regt (55, 127, 143 btys) in Hong Kong.

The only one I’m sure of is 102 Bty RAA in Borneo Apr – Aug 1965. Can anyone add to the list?

4 Lt Regt. I think went to Borneo in Apr - Nov 1965 after some weeks training in Malaya, this is separate to any bty tours done while it was in HK.

40 Lt Regt (38, 129, 137 btys) was in Borneo Nov 65 – Aug 66.

Medium bty, half a 5.5-in bty rotated thru Borneo. Can anyone confirm or add to them being 170 bty (45 regt) and 132 bty (6 regt)? When did a 5.5-in troop first deploy there?

In Nov 1965 when LCpl Limbu won his VC the FOO was Lt Doug Fox and awarded a MC. He wasn’t on the posted strength of 40 Lt Regt, he may have been attached to either 129 or 137 bty from another regt in FARELF, or part of the non-40 regt bty in 99 Bde. Can anyone id his unit?
 
#2
Petardier

You should find all of what you are looking for here.

You have to trawl through it to get what you need, on the other hand you might be surprised at what you find that you weren't looking for!

Regards

Mick
 
#4
'and 145 AO Bty' I think you will find that it was 148 AO Bty (the other one was 20 AO Bty) - 145 Cdo Bty was always a gun battery (as was 79).

My understanding from the veterans that I spoke to in the '70s about Borneo was that there were 2 Commando Light Regiments (29 & 95). Each had two gun batteries and an AO Battery and rotated between Plymouth and Singapore.

There was a persistant story of one of the gun batteries (and I don't know which one) manpacking a 105mm Pack Howitzer into position upcountry to support a surprise attack on the Indos. I am still in contact with some old AO members and can PM you email addresses, if you are interested.
 
#6
Thanks for those. Unfortunately commandogunner doesn't help at all and I'd already worked over Small Wars, which as a very mixed bag of info in terms of its quality. The Aust Comd Diary is really only useful for the periods that Aust troops were in Borneo. Most of the SITREP stuff looks like a small selection from DOBOPS weekly report, and cross border events have been subject to a bit of 'geographical displacement'.

Thanks for the correction of cdo btys. It looks as if 29 & 95 regts swopped over in Sep 65 but 79 Bty stayed in Borneo until the end of the year and may have been relieved by 8 Bty, or a bty from 49. 145 Bty was in Bornoe in the first haalf of 65 but I can't yet pin down dates. 20 AO was based in HK and I assume 148 was as well. A particular question is when an AO party started being a permanent part of the Tawau Assault Group. I'd be grateful for any additonal info.
 
#7
As an aside, it was down to a former member of 20 AO that the new AD Cdo bty that formed in 90/91 got the number 20.

Haven't a clue if 20 or parts there of got to Borneo, i certainly remember seeing the 20 AO photos showing lads in tropical climes in the bty history room but that's not too specific and i don't have a photo of 'mad mick' good enough to see if he's wearing a Borneo clasp.
 
#8
Sorry the Small Wars info wasn't helpful. I helped to compile the listings from very scant ( practically nil! ) information available elsewhere to research. Some info was from personal recollections from us Gunners who were there and it was a long time ago.....!!
 
#9
Petardier said:
I’m trying to put together a reliable list of btys that served in Borneo (& Brunei).

40 Lt Regt (38, 129, 137 btys) was in Borneo Nov 65 – Aug 66.

Medium bty, half a 5.5-in bty rotated thru Borneo. Can anyone confirm or add to them being 170 bty (45 regt) and 132 bty (6 regt)? When did a 5.5-in troop first deploy there?

In Nov 1965 when LCpl Limbu won his VC the FOO was Lt Doug Fox and awarded a MC. He wasn’t on the posted strength of 40 Lt Regt, he may have been attached to either 129 or 137 bty from another regt in FARELF, or part of the non-40 regt bty in 99 Bde. Can anyone id his unit?
129 Battery claim to have supported the limbu action. I was told that was why there is a Gurkha green stripe on the battery tie. In 1980-82 I was the battery history officer of 129 Battery and can't recall us commemorating Doug Lewis or his name being mentioned by any members of the battery who had serviced in Borneo. That may support the argument that he was attached to 129 from somewhere else - or its a reflection on my lack of diligence as a historian or poor memory.

In our records we had a photograph of an officer from what I recall was 15 Medium Regiment attached to the battery in Borneo. The officer was JR Templer, who later became CO the 42nd Regiment and CRA of 2nd Armoured Division. This has stuck in my memory because Templer was then our CRA . Templer's 42nd Regiment was also notorious for the amount of wife swapping scandal associated with its officers and sergeant's messes.

According to battery tradition the posting to Borneo was a punishment posting following the Schneverdingen incident - but the dates don't really match up.
 
#10
Thanks for that.

Doug Fox did eventually serve in 40 Lt, after pilot training, in the regt's Air Troop in UK. Later he transferred to AAC. I wouldn't doubt that the gun(s) of 129 fired in support at Limbu. The action at Limbu was only a few weeks after the regt arrived and he did not arrive with the regt so was probably already there.

15 Medium Regt never existed in the all-regular army, perhaps 45 Lt Regt which had 170 Medium Bty, or their sucessors in Terandak (28 Comwel Bde) 6 Lt Regt with, I think, 132 Med Bty, although the medium btys were stationed in Seremban when in W Malaysia. 129 lost an officer mid-tour, a severe case of PTSD, IIRC no one was posted in so a local attachment seems likely.

Another question, it seems that 4 Lt Regt moved btys around mid tour (from a bty in each of East and Central Bdes to one bty covering both (I'd guess because the RMA (not Malta) deployed a bty in E Bde) and 88 Bty moving to West Bde and 97 covering the 2 bdes. Can anyone add detail?

The one that I currently have least about is 49 Regt based in HK. I think they detached a bty to Borneo from time to time, but have no detail. It's even possible that they had a medium bty and rotated troops.
 
#11
Petardier said:
Medium bty, half a 5.5-in bty rotated thru Borneo. Can anyone confirm or add to them being 170 bty (45 regt) and 132 bty (6 regt)? When did a 5.5-in troop first deploy there?
May be of some interest that a 5.5 Bty (170) was actually deployed to the Radfan in Aden for medium arty support there, between Borneo tours.

Info from Small Wars site;

Small Wars said:
170 Imjin Battery, 45th Field Regiment, Royal Artillery 170 was acting as an independent bty, stationed at Seremban in Malaya. The Bty was in infantry role in Borneo and were taken of from Semetan by the minesweeper HMS Dartington and then by HMS Bulwark to Aden via Singapore picking up the guns enroute, we were still in jungle greens, I remember that we had 5.5s and the towing vehicles were leylands these turned out to be absolutely useless and 3 or 4 old matadors were pressed into service to haul the guns up to the top of the Wadi Misrah where we supported a number of units and operations the tour lasted about 4 months and we turned round and returned to Malaya and virtually immediately into another Borneo tour. Thanks to Derek White for this entry
This would have been mid-1964
 
#12
Quote from 88 (Arracan) Bty's website:

In 1963 a platoon (All volunteers) was raised from 4 Field Regiment, RA to strengthen the deployment of the Royal Leicester Regiment which was badly under strength. The platoon operated indepedently of the Royal Leicester's, and were based at SEPULOT airstrip. The Platoon carried out airstrip defence and jungle patrols, usually 10 man, 14 days. The Platoon deployed from Hong Kong for a tour of nine months, before returning to Hong Kong. Commanded by Lt/Col. Bob Lyons; Regiment took over from Australian Artillery Regt. 4th consisted of HQ. Bty, 88 (Arracan), 97 (Lawsons Company), 29 (Corunna)Btys. 29 and HQ. Bty. served in Kuching, 97 Bty. served with the Gordon Highlands at Kalabakan Sarwak. a sub-section fo 97 battery deployed to 5th Division, Sarawak, supporting 1/2 GR at Ba Kelalan and later 1/6 GR. Equipped with Italian 105mm Pack Howitzer M56. The GPO was WO2 (BSM) Ron Baynes and the Gun No.1 was a Sgt Chris Beck. 88 Bty was split up all over Borneo. Initial training and acclimatisation took place in Tarandak camp Malaca Malaya.
A few pictures can be found here
 
#13
Thanks for that which adds to other info.

However, for the record, it's wrong in referring to an Aust Arty Regt, no such beast ever served in Borneo after 1945, 102 Bty RAA stationed in Terandak (as part of 45 Regt) did do a 4 month tour in Borneo (BHQ in Kuching) in Apr-Aug 1965 - ie under control of 4 Lt Regt (this can be verified from the RAA official history). It unfortunately highlights the problem that some bty web sites are a tad less than 100% accurate.
 
#14
A couple of spefici questions:

1. In December 1962, when the Brunei Revolt occured a battery was sent to Kuching as infantry. I think it was probably cdo, any offers as to which? Alternatively 26 Regt was in Terandek with the Commonwealth Bde and 4 Regt in HK but I'm fairly sure it didn't come from either of these.

2. In late Dec but more likely Jan or Feb 63, a Cdo battery went to Brunei with guns to help with mopping up (which lasted until May). I think there was an article in RA Journal a few years later. Any offers as to which bty?
 
#15
Petardier said:
.

2. In late Dec but more likely Jan or Feb 63, a Cdo battery went to Brunei with guns to help with mopping up (which lasted until May). I think there was an article in RA Journal a few years later. Any offers as to which bty?
Is that the Hot Guns in a Cold War article? If so, I'll look it up for you. Would you like a scan of the article?
 
#16
Could be, IIRC there were only a couple of articles in RAJ in the '60s about Brunei/Borneo, the other was about locating. I'd be grateful for a copy of the Hot Guns article and any others except the Loc one. Of course its also possible that there were items in Gunner.
 
#17
OK, as soon as I get a chance, and I find the article! I'll scan it, I have found another article which describes a battery on operations in Borneo, but doesn't mention which battery. I'll scan that as well.

PM me an e-mail address and I'll send them as soon as I've scanned them.
 
#18
Royal Artillery:
2 Troop attached to 4th Regt RA. The original 2 Troop served in Malaysia from August 1963 to January 1966. Terendak Camp - attached to 45 Field Regt RA. Approximately half the troop went to Borneo from May to December 1965 - Troop HQ was with 4 Regt HQ in Bau with a Green Archer section at Stass and Serekin fortified positions on the border - elements served under fire as radio relay stations with Gurkha patrols on forays against Indonesian CCO's (Clandestine Communist Organisations). Troop Commander - Lt H.H. Mews RA later to become OC Kings Troop RHA and eventually Prince Charles' equerry. The remainder of the Troop remained at Terendak - involved in preventative measures against Indonesian infiltrators.
2 Locating Troop, RA. Formed from 22 Locating Battery, 1st May 1963 based in the UK initially at Perham Down then at Larkhill. The Troop on it's second FARELF attachment was part of 6 Light Regt RA based at Terendak Camp Malacca. The troop comprised of 3 sections - met, radar and artillery intelligence. The tour of duty for the attachment to 6 Lt Regt was December 1965 - March 1968.
The Troop Commander was Capt K R Harding and the radar section officer was Lt. A.A. Windam. Shortly after arrival in FARELF the troop was attached for operations to 137 Java Lt Battery in Kuching and deployed it's 'green archer' radar at Tebedu alongside a section of 5.5" guns of 132 Battery (The Bengal Rocket Troop) of 6 Regt RA.
At the end of 'confrontation' the troop returned to Malcacca and the radar section prepared for an attachment to 18 Lt Regt RA in Hong Kong. The section sailed from Singapore with it's radars and other equipment on 27 December 1967 on the LSL Sir Bedevere.
Purpose of the operation was border watch with green archer radars. In February 1968 the troop returned to Malacca to prepare for end of tour. Many Thanks to Brian Harrison for the detailed entry.
3 Regiment Royal Horse Artillery (Locating Troop) 3 Locating Troop equipped with Green Archer mortar locating radar. Deployed to Borneo 1965-66.
4 Field Regiment, Royal Artillery. In 1963 a platoon (All volunteers) was raised from 4 Field Regiment, RA to strengthen the deployment of the Royal Leicester Regiment which was badly under strength. The platoon operated indepedently of the Royal Leicester's, and were based at SEPULOT airstrip. The Platoon carried out airstrip defence and jungle patrols, usually 10 man, 14 days. The Platoon deployed from Hong Kong for a tour of nine months, before returning to Hong Kong. Commanded by Lt/Col. Bob Lyons; Regiment took over from Australian Artillery Regt. 4th consisted of HQ. Bty, 88 (Arracan), 97 (Lawsons Company), 29 (Corunna)Btys. 29 and HQ. Bty. served in Kuching, 97 Bty. served with the Gordon Highlands at Kalabakan Sarwak. a sub-section fo 97 battery deployed to 5th Division, Sarawak, supporting 1/2 GR at Ba Kelalan and later 1/6 GR. Equipped with Italian 105mm Pack Howitzer M56. The GPO was WO2 (BSM) Ron Baynes and the Gun No.1 was a Sgt Chris Beck. 88 Bty was split up all over Borneo. Initial training and acclimatisation took place in Tarandak camp Malaca Malaya.
Air Troop, 4 Light Regiment, Royal Artillery. The Air Troop 4 Light Regt. R.A. formed under Capt. L.C. Bond in June 1965 at Kluang, Malaya with 3 Sioux helicopters and sailed to Kuching on the LST Reginald Kerr. Transferred from mid-river upstream to Kuching by LCV because of capsized vessel at the Kuching dock. Initially based at the Batu Kitang waterworks along with the REME LAD. Later in the year moved into the more secure Semengo Camp. The pilots and technicians exchanged posts with those from 49 Regt. R.A. (Hong Kong)in late December. Thanks to Dickie Dawes for this entry.
6th Light Regiment, Royal Artillery based in Terendak camp, Malacca. 6 x 105 Howitzers to cover border areas. Tour of Malaysia was from January 1966 to April 1968. H(Ramsay's Troop)Bty, V Bty equipped with 105mm howitzers. 132 (Bengal Rocket Troop)Bty equipped with 5.5" guns. V Bty deployed in Bau and Lundu areas 1966.
12 Light Air Defence Regt: 9 (Plassey)Bty and T(Shah Sujah's Troop)Bty rotated between Tampin (Malay Peninsula) and Borneo. Deployed to Borneo. Equipped with L40/70 Bofors and FCE7 radars. Returned to UK 1966.
16 Light Air Defence Regt: Commanded by Lt Col HD Way. Deployed from BAOR in March 1965 for 30 month tour of Singapore and Borneo. 30 (Rogers's Company) Bty, commanded by Major Bell, 32(Minden) Bty, commanded by Major Arend, each carried out two operational tours at RAF Changi, Singapore and RAF Kuching, Borneo. Equipped with L40/70 Bofors and FCE7 radars. 4.2" Mortar crews who were deployed on the border in Sarawak firstly at Padawen and later at Nibong. Returned to the UK in November 1966.
16th Light Air Defence Regiment RA LAD REME: REME LAD in Cyangi, Kuching Borneo & Singapore.
20 Medium Regiment RA, 12 (Minden)Bty, 43 (Lloyd's Company) Bty. Based in Tampin, Malaysia. Equipped with 5.5" guns. Returned to UK 1963.
12 (Minden) Battery fled out to Kuching about 12th December 1962 and were based in the school at Bau some 8 miles south of Kuching. The Bty Commander was Major Walker RA. and the BSM was BSM Tony Wilcox. The abattery received both the old GSM (Brunei)and the 62 GSM (Borneo)because the GSM 62 replaced the old one two days after the battery arrived in Kuching. The battery's guns were left back in Tampin and the battery acted as infantry patrolling the Border. The battery left Kuching in (I believe) March 63. Thansk to David Williams for the 12 (Minden) Battery information.
22 Light Air Defence Regt: From BAOR . Based at Tampin, Malay Peninsula on short emergency tour to provide additional Short Range Air Support and Defence at RAF airfields, reinforcing RAF Regiment LAA squadrons. 42(Alem Hamza) Bty and 53 (Louisburg) Bty deployed to RAF Kuching. Equipped with L40/70 Bofors and FCE7 radars.
29 Commando Light Regiment RA 20 Bty, 79 (Kirkee)Bty and 145 (Maiwand) Bty.
Based in Singapore, Deployed to Borneo to provide artillery support to units in border areas.
Equipped with 105mm pack howitzers.
22 Locating Battery, RA. A Sound Ranging Troop (22 Locating Bty) left Larkhill December 65 and returned July 66. Deployed at Biarwak?,Stass. 7 Mile Bassar. Located with units from Royal Marines and Coy of the 2 or 7th Bn Royal Australian Regiment.
40 Field Regiment, RA. 38 (Seringapatam) Bty, 129(Dragon) Bty and 137 (Java) Battery.
38 (Seringapatam) Lt Battery, Replaced 97 Bty (4 Field Regiment) supporting 1/6 GR and later 1/7 GR. Equipped with Italian 105mm Pack Howitzer M56. The GPO was WO2 (BSM) Curtiss and the Gun No.1 was a Sgt Deeves.
40th Light Regiment, Royal Artillery HQ battery, 3 miles outside Kuching June 65-June 66. Supporting 38 Bty, 129 Bty, 137 Bty & HQ Bty of 40 Fd Regt. in Pegiru and other forward locations. Based in 7 Mile Bazaar, Bau for short period. OC LAD Captain Shotton. AQMS Burford. AQMS Hancock.
45 Field Regiment RA
70 Bty CO Major J.B. Keenan, based at Kuching with A Troops att Lintang.
116 Bty and 176 Bty equipped with 105mm Pack Howitzers.
170(Imjin)Bty equipped with 5.5" guns, stationed in Sarawk.
49 Field Regiment RA (Air Operations Troop)
94 Locating Regiment RA, (73(Sphinx) Bty)
95 Commando Light Regiment RA 7 (Sphinx) Bty, 8 (Alma) Bty , 148 (Meiktila) Bty. Based in Singapore.
Deployed to Borneo to provide artillery support to forward units in border areas. Equipped with 105mm pack howitzers. Both 8 (Alma) and 7 (Sphinx) batteries completed a tour in 1965-66. battery HQ was colocated at Bty HQ was colocated at Balai Ringin with the HQ of the Inf Bn being supported. Single gun detachments were forward with the infantry companies at Gunan Gajak, Plaman Mapu and Pang Amo. Due to roulement and boundary changes the batteries supported 1 RGJ, 1 DLI, I A&SH, 40 Cdo RM and 1 RNZIR. The Cdo Lt Btys were (for RA purposes) under command of the RA Regt in First division with HQ in Kuching, but for all practical purposes we worked with and for "our" infantry. 140 (Meiktila) Cdo AO Bty was represented in Borneo by a Naval Gunfire Support Forward Observation Team deployed with the Tawau Assault Group.
 
#19
Thanks, from Britain's Small Wars. Unfortunately it doesn't answer my two specific questions, nor does it reveal the follow ons - before 4 Lt arrived what batteries were in Borneo when (and what order), and after 4 Lt arrived who was the 4th bty before 102 RAA.

There's also a lot of minor errors (eg GPO of 38 bty, RAR was neither 2 or 7, is was 3 in 65 and 4 in 66, the nearest RAA regt to Borneo was in SVN), so it isn't a source that's totally reliable.
 
#20
148 Commando [AO] Battery was never stationed in Hong Kong. 20 Commando [AO] Battery were stationed in Whitfield Barracks in Hong Kong [It's predecessor being 3 AO Tp RA] and IIRC, moved down to Singapore whilst I was at Tawau in 1965. I returned to 20 Battery which was by then in Nee Soon about the middle of that year and very shortly afterwards 148 relieved 20 who returned to UK. In the AO world, postings of personnel between the NGS Batterys was the norm interspersed with 18 month tours to 3 Commando TP in Malta. The last Army Commando Unit to leave Singapore was 4 Commando AO Tp [actually 5 men] of 28 ANZUK Bde in 1975.

[edited for typo]
 

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