On the night of 3rd January it was reported that the CTs were
going to move the food. 'Cut Off' parties stood by, and at last
light 'D' Company the main assault party, went forward to the
food dump. The moment firing was heard, 'A', 'B', and 'C'
Companies moved into position, while two armoured car troops of
the 4th Hussars and Federation Armoured Car Regiment together
with the Battalion's own MMG and Mortar Platoons
brought fire to bear on the one area, a large swamp, not covered
by the cordon. Meanwhile RAF Sunderland flying boats were
called in and dropped flares for the rest of the night to
illuminate the scene in conjunction with two RA searchlights
close to the village. Results were not as good as anticipated;
only two CTs fortunately the most important ones, were killed,
and four surrendered later, which eliminated that particular CT
Branch. In fact only 14 CTs had been engaged as luckily for them
the CT 'No. 5 Platoon' had not arrived on time.
In January virtually the whole Battalion was in the jungle. Early
in the month, 'Meiktela', a deep jungle base of Company strength,
was taken over from 2/6 Gurkhas until relieved by helicopter in
April. At the end of the month 2 Platoon of 'A' Company and 5
Platoon of 'B' under Major P R Swanson, located a terrorist camp on Mount Ophir
- a tricky operation as the guide completely lost his way to
the almost inaccessible site in precipitous jungle. Nevertheless
surprise was achieved and two 'CTs' killed.
In February and March attention was increasingly switched to the
Malacca area, which had been proclaimed the first 'White Area' as
the result of a progressive policy to 'normalise' civilian
activity in areas where terrorist influence had been greatly
curbed, but to which CTs were transferring their activities due
to the unrelenting pressure on Mount Ophir. Reacting to this
development involved constant patrolling and one combined 'C' &
'D' Companies' operation.
On the 25th March, at the completion of the Battalion's first
operational year, twenty-eight CTs had been killed, and nineteen
caused to surrender.
In April, Operation 'Mentor' involved encirclement during a dark
and stormy night, of Sagil, a 'new village' South of Mount Ophir
where it was known a terrorist store of food had been collected.
One CT Committee Member was killed. Further incidents occurred
in the Malacca area when the CT '5 Platoon' attacked Police
patrols, and the Battalion's Companies including most of HQ
Company were out frequently, but caught no terrorists.
South Johore & Singapore
At the end of April, 'A' Company (Major J B C Palmer) and 'C'
(Lieutenant T G Mulady) moved South to Kota Tinggi and Pengerang
respectively, and were immediately involved in a combined
Services Operation 'Rex' against 'CTs' in the Pengerang
peninsular - thick jungle and swamp, and wide open to illegal
emigration and food running from nearby Singapore Island; there
were virtually no roads so the two Companies were moved and
supplied by launch, and supported by RAF bombing and fire from RN
and Royal Malayan Navy ships.
At the end of May the rest of the Battalion relieved by 2nd
Battalion Royal Welch Fusiliers, moved to the Kluang area, to be rejoined six weeks later by 'A' and 'C' Companies. The new area was even more active than the previous one - frequent murders, ambushes and attacks on the local Home Guard. There was constant patrolling, but the CTs were elusive, and only one was
killed in the first month of operations.
'A' and 'C' Companies were deployed with a platoon each in six of
the most uncooperative 'new villages', keeping in check
Communist influence and gaining the confidence of the villagers.
'D' Company (Major Lowry) was flown into deep jungle to ambush
'CTs' in jungle cultivations, while 'B' Company (Major Swanson)
patrolled in the Rengam area achieving the one 'kill' of the
At the end of June the Battalion moved to Selarang Barracks to
retrain and to take over Internal Security duties in Singapore.
This phase lasted through July and August, and finished with a
parade before Major General R N Anderson, GOC 17th Gurkha
Division, when the Battalion with a total strength of about
900, mustered 550 all ranks on parade, the capacity of the
On the 9th September the Prime Minister of the newly elected
Government of Malaya, Tunku Abdul Rahman, declared an amnesty
for the CTs on most favourable terms, and military activities
were drastically reduced. However, very few Communist surrenders
took place, and in the Kluang and Rengam areas, hostile
incidents actually increased. General Sir Geoffrey Bourne,
Director of Operations, therefore ordered a strong concentration
of troops to confront them. 1st Queen's was to operate in the
Rengam area, in cooperation with other units, including 1st
Northern Rhodesia Regiment commanded by Lieutenant Colonel G H W
Goode (Queen's). The two Battalions had a common tactical
boundary, the Queen's operating in the estates and the Northern
Rhodesians in the jungle.
The Queen's were responsible for five 'new villages', a large
number of estates, and patches of jungle between. This involved
long patrols from dawn until after dark, perpetually checking
workers and villagers, searching vehicles and buildings for
surplus food, and dealing with incidents often at night. These
activities were successful in sapping the strength of the
Rengam Communist Branch, whose members were reduced to living on
oil palm nuts and tree shoots. There were vast oil palm estates
in the south of the Battalion area near Layang Layang, and as far
as possible these were denied to the 'CTs' by mortar and MG fire
on the approaches, and by constant patrolling, some on bicycles.