The photo above is of 2 Sqn , 19 Signal Regiment taken roughly in 1968. The squadron commander is Major Frank Philp, while the squadron Sgt Major is SSM Alan Webster. Included in the photo are several members of the Association

The back row includes Paddy Cartin, Bob Hocking, Sean(Titch) Mullen , Midge Brown and Chippy Wood while others in the photo include Association members Geoff Pinder, the late Ray Cank, Alan Lewis, Goldie Peters and Selby Robinson.

Operations Troop and Malaysia Troop 19 Signal Regiment

Retold from ‘Our History’

The Indonesian–Malaysian confrontation also known as the Borneo confrontation, or to use its Indonesian/Malay name, Konfrontasi began with the revolt in Brunei on 8th December 1962. This immediately involved 19 Signal Regiment in an operational commitment meaning that at long last, Malaya Squadron, consisting mainly of Malaysia Troop and Operations (Ops) Troop – which had been formed for such an eventuality – could be put to the test.

The first detachment from Ops Troop arrived in Labuan for active service on 12 December with two further detachments and an officer moved in the following 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 of 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.

By New Year the situation became more stable making it 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 Underground (Ug) cables mainly on Labuan airfield; work which continued for the next two months. In addition some minor telephone installations at Kuching were completed in February of 1969. Confrontation with Indonesia continued to bring calls on the Regiment for installation and repair work in Borneo.

Background

Ops Troop had been involved in radio-relay since January 1964 when a small team was 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 meaning 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.

Ops-Exercise

Ops Troop on exercise

In August 1964 Malaya Troop took over all commitments in North Borneo releasing Operations Troop for another major SEATO (Southeast Asia Treaty Organisation) 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!

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.