Ops and Malaysia troop 19 Signal Regt.
Operations Troop and Malaysia Troop…retold from “Our History”
The start of Confrontation with Indonesia began with the revolt in Brunei on 8th December 1962. This immediately involved the Regiment in an operational commitment and at long last Malaya Squadron, consisting mainly of Malaysia Troop and Operations (Ops.) Troop which had been formed for such an eventuality, was put to the test.
Early days 1962
The first detachment from Ops. Troop arrived in Labuan for active service on 12 December 1962 and two further detachments and an officer moved in the next week. Initially they were deployed at Labuan and Brunei airfields, activating these to operational readiness. A 40-line F & F switchboard was installed at Labuan and a small 10-line magneto at Brunei. The detachment was also given the task in providing some of the communications for HQ COMBRITBOR in Brunei Town, where a further 40-line F & F switchboard was installed for Force HQ. By the end of the month one officer and 14 men were deployed in the Borneo Territories. However in the New Year as the situation became more stable it was possible to withdraw two of the detachments leaving behind a few men on the two airfields to maintain the line systems. This maintenance task involved the rehabilitation of UG (Underground) cables mainly on Labuan airfield and this work continued for the next two months. In addition some minor telephone installations at Kuching were completed in February
Communications in Borneo
Confrontation still brought calls on the Regiment for installation and repair work in Borneo. Ops. roop now found itself involved in radio-relay when in January 1964 a small team as sent to Kuching to install a B 70 radio-relay link between Kuching Airport and West Brigade in Kuching Town. This was to be a back-up in the event of a breakdown in the civil line communications. COMBRITBOR then moved from Borneo to a new combined headquarters in Labuan where a line detachment was sent to assist in the combined services project for the new headquarters. The threat of increased Indonesian air activity necessitated the basing of fighter aircraft at Kuching and this in turn meant that the airfield communication system had to be made more sophisticated. A project was planned which included the laying of cable tails for the transmitter site, the T-type radar convoy, aircraft dispersals and navaids. An additional 10 + 50 exchange was also included. The installation task was undertaken by two detachments of Malaya Troop, and for the first time these included some LEP tradesmen.By 1966 the Squadron was commanded by Maj. Frank Philp who had commanded Changi Troop in the early fifties
In August 1964 Malaya Troop took over all commitments in North Borneo in order to release Operations Troop for another major SEATO Exercise in Thailand, called AIR BOON CHOO. Three detachments were deployed to the exercise headquarters at Don Muang and the airfields at Korat and Udorn. One of the most complex of circuits from an engineering point of view was a link from HQ FEAF in Singapore to the Exercise HQ at Don Muang. The routing was from RAF Circuit Control at Changi, through Main System Control (Army) Singapore, then via the Golden Arrow (SWB 8) to Bangkok and on to the US Army Microwave System into Don Muang
and finally over a D10 field cable run to the terminal. It worked!
Tawau in Sabah
In North Borneo the project installation teams at Labuan and Kuching completed their work and returned to Singapore. However a further outpost of the Regiment was added to the already impressive list when another airfield required activating, namely Tawau in Sabah; this involved the usual exchange installation and cable tails to the Technical and Domestic sites
Click on the slider below for photos of the Troop on and off duty
The photos below are those donated to the website by various members of Ops Troop but particular thanks are to the Selby Robinson collection, those donated by Alan Lewis from his album and those sent in by Sean Mullen.
Sean’s own story of his days with Ops Troop are related under Memories and Photos of Ops Troop later on in the Ops Troop history.
(My grateful thanks to those who have written in and pointed out various errors in photos and typos…Ed)
Stripped and ready for action.Action man Selby Robinson
John Goodfellow left in charge of the boat. Well “Hello sailor”
Goldie and Brian
Goldie Peters and Brian Tewkesbury in deep conversation at one of the reunions
Selby and Midge
Its Ok they were just good friends
Ops Troop ready
Ops troop on exercise.
Keith Marchant, Alf Ashmore , Fred Flintham, Taff Tudgay, Johnny May, Taff Taylor, Bert Wright, Pete Coathup,
Teoh, Bob Hocking, Mick Kelly, Kok, Chippy Wood, John Goodfellow, Bob Carter, Eric Firth and Driver Geordie Rogers.
………….and this is what they call work
Tug of War
Tug of War winners. Back Row. Ian Guirey, Ian Cameron, Nobby Clarke, Colin Maclaron,
Front Row Ray Cank, Pete Tarrent, Selby Robinson Ted Widdowson
Not another tea break ! Dave Lyon, Selby Robinson, Geordie Rodgers and Midge Brown
Relaxing in Bugis street. Not sure if the one at the back is a member of Ops Troop
Ops In Bugis Street
……..possibly Bugis street ? Selby Robinson, Mick and Helen Kelly and Paddy Cartin.
RAAF Club Penang
Having a jar or two at the RAAF Club Penang.Selby Robinson, Bob and Evelyn ( Aussie hosts) and Chippy Wood
Selby and Ray Doe
…..Bit worried about the hand on the shoulder
....and more tea.
Left to right..at the back. Selby Robinson, Midge Brown, Pete Coathup, Dave Lyon and Lofty Price
Harry Betton is in the front.
Is this strip poker?
Selby Robinson, Paddy Cartin and Ray Doe. Nice leg. Would go down well in Bugis Street
Selby and Avril
So Selby. Who was Avril ?
Hope this wasn’t taken at the bus stop.
From the Alan Lewis collection.
Left to right
Marilyn,a WRAC girl from 18 Signal Regiment, An RAF friend, Sue and Bunny Warren and Alan Lewis in the foreground
The Alan Lewis collection
The following selections are from Alan Lewis’s Photo album
Apologies if some of the photos are blurred on enlarging JH
Allan Lewis's photos 1967 to 1970
Games evening between RAF Seletar and 18 Signal Regiment
The lady in the white overall is Betty (WRVS)
Taff Marchant is seated facing the camera
Admin Inspection 1968
The Annual Administrative Inspection (Ops troop)
On the left is Ray Cank and Alan, S.Sgt Pete Blunt and Capt. Eric Firth are also on the left
Inspecting Officers on the right.
Admin inspection again.
Left to right facing the camera.
Lofty Price, Cpl Dave Lyon, L.Cpl Paddy Cartin, Ray Cank and Alan.
Troop photo... Taken in the compound
Ops Troop taken in the compound
Photo includes Midge Brown,(striped shirt) Geoff Pinder, SSM Alan Webster, Sgt George Black, Sean Mullen (striped shirt) and Ray Cank,
Squadron Commander Maj. Frank Philp is on the extreme right.
in the field
Pete Coathup, Mari Sahari, Chris Macklin Geordie Rodgers and Alan
in the ulu
Great picture Alan
Now that’s what I call camouflage.
Just about easy to see. Who are they ?
Who am I
It would appear that this is the RAF chef..and he owes Alan 10 Dollars.
The REME mechanic from Changi and L.Cpl Ted Widdowson
Deep in thought
Alan taken before the days of Selfies.
Even “Cammed up” for chow
Scouse Williams and Midge Brown
Whatever are they doing ?
In the shade
On the right, Johnny Broughton
Grub up again
Same picture as before. Different angle. Who is on the left?
Not quite sure
It would appear it is a young lady washing in the stream in the Cameron Highlands.
Malaysia Railways 1968.
REME and MP
Fooled you there
It is the REME mechanic from Changi and Ted Widdowson in a borrowed beret
3 Cessna 172 landing at Seletar.
In 1969, that was the entire Singapore Air Force
RAF Driver skills training
On the parade ground at Seletar.
Where are we
RAF Driver skills training in private cars.
picture of a landrover
RAF Driver skills training in private cars and Landrovers..
At RAF Seletar.
picture of a landrover
RAF Driver skills training in private cars and Landrovers..
At RAF Seletar.
The end of RAF Driver skills training in private cars and Landrovers..
At RAF Seletar.
The Sean Mullen collection
Saun today 50 years on !!!!
Sean ready to go to a show.
Sean and Paddy Cartin
Sean checking out the litter
Sean, Selby and Paddy (RAF)
Don’t ask what they are doing !!
Sean's 21st Birthday
More of that 21st Birthday
How many more can you name?
More of the 21st.
……….and a few Tigers later. !!!!
Selby Robinson and Midge Brown
When Selby wants to make a point……
..............and Selby again
This time at the swimming pool
Selby trains a snake
…..and if you believe that !!!
The Sean Mullen collection Part 2
More Sean Mullen photos
ladies close your eyes.
looking very smart and ready to go………Where ?
Where did he get that shirt ?
That looks like one of my Techs Cpl. Pete Osborne (JH)
It is !
Its Pete Osborne, Seletar Troop
The Sky Hotel. Malaya
…….and they were all warned !!!!!
When will they ever learn ?
2 dolla….2 dolla OK
At the China Sea Beach Club
Paddy Cartin, Bob Hocking, Sean Mullen and Chippy Wood
…and it looks like Eric Firth in the foreground.
............the same tea break
………….different angle !!!!!!!
Bet he couldn't eat three
…….bet he bloomin’ well could
Seletar Swimming Pool
Sean Mullen's contribution.Part 3
More of Sean’s fantastic Collection of photos. (See also the Botanical Gardens and Haw Pah villas)
Sean's Taxi outside BMH
Cheers. But who are they?
Bob Souter (standing) with Chippy Wood looking up at him.
Footballer Bob Hocking
I presume he won. He’s the only one on the field
..........and now the whole team
Including Bob Hocking, Paddy Cartin , Chippy Wood and Sean in the front
Sean can’t remember the first two but then it is Sean, Bob Hocking and Chris Macklin
Blimey. More soldiers
Selby Robinson, Midge Brown and Sean
The Botanical Gardens
There are a number of photos in the albums of both Sean and Selby which refer to their visits to the Botanical Gardens in Singapore so it is perhaps prudent to remind ourselves of those beautiful gardens and include the photos in this narrative.
For more than 150-year-old Singapore Botanic Gardens is a star visitor attraction for the sophisticated traveller and the local resident. It was, in particular, a MUST visit for all us servicemen who were part of 19 Signal Regiment in the 50’s and 60’s. The Gardens possess an array of botanical and horticultural attractions with a rich history and a wonderful plant collection of worldwide significance. Complementing these unique resources are sensitive developments and entertainment events providing visitors educational and recreational facilities amidst the wonders of nature. It is the most visited botanic gardens in the world and is a unique example of the informal English Landscape Movement’s style in an equatorial climate.
The first botanical garden was set up by Sir Stamford Raffles, the founder of Singapore and a keen naturalist, in 1822 on Government Hill at Fort Canning, mainly to introduce into cultivation economic crops. It closed in 1829 and, in 1859, at the present Tanglin site a new garden was developed by an Agri-Horticultural Society, and later handed over to the government in 1874. From an ornamental garden with roads, terraces, a band parade area and even a small zoo, it has come a long way in evolving into a leading equatorial botanic garden of 82 hectares, where major world crops, such as rubber and orchids were launched.
The Tiger Balm Gardens (Haw Pah villas)
The park, originally called Tiger Balm Gardens, was built in 1937 by the Burmese-Chinese brothers Aw Boon Haw and Aw Boon Par, the developers of Tiger Balm, as a venue for teaching traditional Chinese values. They moved their business from Burma to Singapore in 1926 and purchased the site in 1935. It was a favourite visiting place for millions during the 50’s and the 60’s.
In 1986 the International Theme Parks Pte Ltd, announced an investment of $30 million to modernise the themed park. This company was a joint venture formed by Fraser & Neave and Times Publishing, and had invested on the latest animatronics and technology to enhance the attractions in hope to create an ‘oriental Disneyland’, a theme park meeting Western technology with Eastern mythology.
In 1988, the Singapore Tourism Board took charge of the Tiger Balm Gardens and renamed it “Haw Par Villa Dragon World”. The Haw Par in the park’s name is based on the Aw brothers’ personal names—Haw and Par, which mean “tiger” and “leopard” respectively. The dioramas and statues were restored, while plays, acrobatic displays and puppet shows were organised and held there.