Gunners in Borneo

Discussion in 'Gunners' started by Petardier, Jan 14, 2009.

Welcome to the Army Rumour Service, ARRSE

The UK's largest and busiest UNofficial military website.

The heart of the site is the forum area, including:

  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!


  3. '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.
  4. You will find a list of RA regiments + batteries on the Borneo page of www.britains-small.wars
    I served there with 30 (Rogers's Company) Battery of 16 Light Air Defence Regiment in 65-66
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.....!!
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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;

    This would have been mid-1964
  11. Quote from 88 (Arracan) Bty's website:

    A few pictures can be found here
  12. 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.
  13. 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?
  14. 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?