Arrival at 19 Signal Regiment.
On the move to 19 AFS, we were collected by a sergeant and a 15 Cwt and transported to Pasir Ris. On entry to the Red Road we were told that the hut on the right was Out Of Bounds to us squaddies but it was OK for the sergeant. We never did find out why! Having obtained bedding etc. we were allocated to tents and shown around to the essential features. What were these you may ask. Well— the double six-a-side latrines at the top of the hill, the night comfort stations, the showers, the preventative ablutions and of course the NAAFI. These were followed up by the laundry point, messhall and the holy of holies THE OFFICERS MESS. There were other places but we gradually discovered them, places like the guard station on the Pagar or the one down by the stores.
Our first official function was to parade on the Officers Mess lawn for a welcome by the Colonel. We were told of the Regimental ethos, what was expected of us and when, where and what our duties were to be. This was finally ended with a warning which has remained with me to this day. The Colonel finished with this “Remember that you are in a hot country and will often feel fruity. I do not want you going down to those dirty little whores in Singapore. Put on a sweater and go for a bloody good run!” You could see the sweater clad bodies every night!
To Shoot or not to shoot
I can remember the first night guard on the Pagar, there were the eyes glittering on the beach in the beam of the searchlight, then what turned out to be fishermen with their lanterns who landed on the end of the Pagar. O dear, to shoot or not to shoot for we did have live ammunition and there was the possibility of terrorist attack. Fortunately the sergeant of the guard answered the anguished HELP very speedily. The fishermen were spared.
Work was in Changi at the Signals block where we became acquainted with the WRAF girls and looked after the exchange and the communications landlines to Seletar, Sembawang and Tengah. Also the teleprinters in the signal centre.Details of the block are in the slider following.
My twenty first birthday memory remains with me to this day. I was taken by my friends and two WRAF girls to The London Restaurant in the village where we wined and dined before attempting an unsteady walk to return the girls back to the WRAF quarters. On the way we called into the exchange where all the girls wished me Happy Birthday. I was then introduced, at the gate, to all of the girls returning to quarters who felt it their bounden duty to give me a kiss for my birthday. Ah memories of youth!
The Yacht Club
Another memory is of the move from Elim Camp to permanent billets in Changi followed by the arrival of the PT kit clad Elim Camp Yacht Club members at the white shirt, shorts, socks and shoes clad Changi Yacht Club. I am not sure who received the greatest culture shock. Nevertheless we were made very welcome.
On leave to Penang
Then there was leave to Penang, a fantastic experience. Begun with two overnight journeys separated by a twelve hour day in Kuala Lumpur. Before leaving we were each given a Sten Gun and three full magazines. Our instructions in the event of the train being attacked were to leap out, deploy at the trackside and return fire. I am happy to say our journey was completely peaceful.
In the early part of 1949 I was transferred to 2 Squadron where I was to take over the detachment of nine men at Tengah from a Corporal who was about to return home to Boston, Lincolnshire. Having moved onto the station I made myself known to the Station Warrant Officer and was taken by him in to see the Wing Commander. Being an RAF station the way of life was much relaxed. For instance they only required beds to be made up but not laid out with equipment……………………….now turn to Tengah Troop to read the remainder of the story.