On 7th May 1963 the Commanding Officer, Lt Col M A Lowry, MC.,
and his wife left the Battalion and returned to the United Kingdom,
he had assumed command in Colchester in 1960 and had taken the
Battalion to Aden for the Tercentenary celebrations. This was
followed by the move to Hong Kong. Lt Col Lowry had worked tirelessly
for the Battalion but had taken time off to get married, which
delighted everyone: He was no mean sportsman and played most games
for the Battalion. He was succeeded by Lt Col E G Woodman. MC,
The Queen's Own Buffs, accompanied by his wife.
Colonel Woodman confirmed the plans for the training season in
preparation for the Battalion's move to BAOR at the end of 1963.
In Germany the Battalion was to be equipped with APCs and therefore
emphasis was towards driver and signal training. German language
classes were started with the unofficial help of Mrs Bennett,
wife of Cpl Bennett of HQ Company. This training took place against
the background of a severe drought brought about by the failure
of the annual rains. This entailed most stringent rationing in
the hot climate, most unpleasant for the civilians as well as
the soldiers. Water was turned on at the mains for four hours
only every fourth day. The Battalion was lucky as 3 tonners went
down to Stanley Village Bay and filled up with sea water for the
families and barracks.
The Glorious First of June was celebrated in the usual style and
was notable for the first appearance of the Battalion monthly
newspaper 'Braganza'. In August WOI R L Wildgoose returned to
the Battalion from the Territorial Army to take up the post of
Regimental Sergeant Major, while WOII A Quickenden, who had been
Company Sergeant Major of A Company, left to take up the vacant
post of RSM in the 3rd Battalion.
The Battalion's tour in Hong Kong was now in its last months and
there were many farewells to be made. The Band and Drums, wearing
their scarlet tunics, and the Drum Major his new sash, Beat Retreat
on the square at Stanley before a large audience. Afterwards HE
the Governor, the Chief Justice and the Commander, British Forces
and many others were entertained in the Officers' Mess. The Sergeants'
Mess was not to be outdone and held its final ball which it was
hoped would revive the spirits of those members who had been isolated
on Stonecutters Island for weeks while engaged on range duties.
The Mess was spotlighted and gaily decorated for a fine evening's
entertainment, which was much enjoyed by their wives and friends.
In return the officers invited the Sergeants' Mess in for a drink
before lunch to thank them for their hospitality during the stay
on the Island.
The move home was to be by air via Calcutta, Karachi, Istanbul
to London for six weeks Christmas leave before reporting to Münster.
As departure time drew near the Assault Pioneer Platoon was very
active in manhandling the heavy baggage, anything that could be,
was crated for the sea journey direct to BAOR. A flight of BOAC
Britannia aircraft left London with the advance party of the South
Wales Borderers and took the Battalion's advance party back. All
went well and the Chief Clerk, ORQMS Wilmshurst, was at Kai Tak
airport daily crossing off items and personnel on his millboard.
The move went off very smoothly and efficiently. C/Sgt Riley and
his wife were at the airport waiting for their flight home when
news came that President J F Kennedy had been assassinated. The
aircraft prior to their's had trouble and after jettisoning its
fuel made a belly landing with one wing in the sea. The passengers
and crew, using the emergency escape shute, were safe. The Riley's
plane was the next to leave after the runway had been cleared
and they boarded it with some trepidation. They took their dog
with them. She had been saved from a Chinese cooking pot, after
quarantine she lived to the ripe old age of seventeen.
At Hong Kong a high degree of achievement was maintained by the
Battalion in many sports and activities. Two teams were entered
for 'Round the Colony Race' in which various military skills were
required and although top places were not gained against the Gurkhas,
some credit was recorded. The Gurkha Khud Race was, however, won
by Lieut A F S Ling. There was sporting success in the major competitions
in swimming, hockey, rugby, soccer, athletics and water polo.
The Queen's Surreys won the Land Forces Boxing Championship and
finished second in the modern pentathlon, and were Colony and
Army Champions at Hockey.
Throughout its time in Hong Kong the Battalion had consolidated
its affiliations with the Royal Navy and Royal Marines - particularly
close links were formed within the Hong Kong Squadron of minesweepers.
The Battalion was affiliated throughout with HMS Chawton
and a number of soldiers had trips to sea on her patrols. Special
relations were established with visiting ships, HMS Lincoln,
HMS Bulwark with 45 Royal Marine Commando embarked; HMS
Llandaff and lastly HMS Cassandra. Most contacts
involved football and hockey as well as the mutual parties in
the ward rooms and messes.
|Corporal Chambers receiving the Land Forces Individual Medal
WOII Jennings and his wife remember with affection their first
Army married quarter in Stanley. It was a bungalow with magnificent
views over the islands. They had the service of an amah to help
with the running of the quarter. Life was very pleasant. There
was no need to be bored, a trip on the ferry to watch the world
go by was of constant interest. Plenty of time for window shopping
and meeting friends and taking meals out in Kowloon and in Hong
Kong. Hong Kong was a fun place, full of colour and excitement,
and if not broke one could have a lot of enjoyment in Wanchai
. It was not altogether only the 'poodlefaking' the Battalion
members would remember but also the constant exercises in very
hilly country: The plains of Germany would be a contrast to the
hills of Kowloon and the New Territories.
After the last Annual Administrative Inspection in Hong Kong The
Brigade Commander wrote, "Overall opinion is of a competent,
happy and well-led Battalion, who will be capable of adapting
themselves to their new role of an APC Battalion in BAOR without
difficulty." By 30th November 1963 The South Wales Borderers
were in charge of Stanley Fort, and to the Queen's Surreys it
was a happy memory.
Hong Kong c 1960