The National Malaya & Borneo Veterans Association (Inc States) has recently returned from its annual Pilgrimage to Ipoh. The first item on the Agenda was to pay tribute to the 28 Australian Diggers who lie in the Kamunting
Rd Christian Cemetery at Taiping. These lads were Killed in Action, Died from Wounds, or Died by Accident from 1956 through to 1961....these were the Emergency years which affected the Australian Army the most, but of course it has to be remembered
there are also over 100 British servicemen also interred at Kamunting Rd. Taiping.
On the return from Taiping, we called in on the Monument
& Gallery at Sungai Siput (N) which is erected on the very spot where Mr Wally Walker and his Assistant, Ian Christian, were murdered on the 16th of June, 1948. This act of thuggery triggered "the Emergency".
The Gallery does not have general public accessibility and permission must be obtained from the owners of the Palm Oil Mill located close by. Many people donated the RM100,000.00 required to get the Gallery
commissioned, (started in 2010), so it is a very great disappointment to see that the public cannot get to it without quite a lot of prior administration.
The next day, Friday 09th of June, we attended the Ipoh City Cenotaph Service run by the Warriors Association Malaysia. This organisation was founded by Dato R Thambipillay some 13 years ago, and due to his age, he has now passed the Presidency on
to the very able Mr R Jeyasingam. At the conclusion of the Service we adjourned to the Royal Ipoh Club where we were superbly entertained by pupils of various Ipoh schools performing as choirs and musicians....all in all, a very beautiful experience,
and Ipoh can be very proud of its' young people in particular...
On Saturday 10th of June, the church service at Holy Trinity Batu Gaja began on time
at 0730 hrs. Afterwards, the congregation walked down into what is commonly known as "God's Little Acre" for a Wreath Laying Service conducted by the Malaysian Palm Oil Planters Association. This service attracts the Malaysian Police Assistant Commissioner
and a Guard Unit ...who were very keen to be photographed later on with the Veterans in our midst. A total of 35 floral tributes were laid during the service, including those from the High Commissions of Australia, Britain and New Zealand. After this service,
we took Morning Tea at the nearby Kinta Golf Club, before dashing across town for the 1100hrs service at Camp Sued Putra. It is on this base occupied by No 2 Ranger Bat, that a Gurkha cemetery exists and it contains 29 Gurkha soldiers who were
killed in action during the Emergency.
It is important to note there is little chance of being sun affected during these activities, as the Malaysians go to a lot
of trouble to ensure we are comfortable.
The Planters Association conduct a Luncheon at the Royal Ipoh Club after these events....there is no likelihood of the supply
of drinks drying up on this occasion either.
In the evening we were invited to attend a "Troops Night" to round off the Commemorative
Program in Ipoh for 2017.
The following Monday a small party (12) took off for Sarawak and Sabah. Whilst in Kuching, we visited the Hero's Grave. This
is where the 13 Malayans are buried who assisted
Sandakan internee Cpt Matthews and his men build a radio during 1944. They were taken from Sandakan to Kuching for
trial by the Japanese, ...not a fair trial of course, and all of them lost their lives. Of Cpt Matthews, the POW Camp Commandant Col Suga was heard to say, "He was the bravest man I have ever met". The POW site is now a successful Teacher Training College,
but they have retained a Museum area on the site o where Col Suga's house was located. Also retained, is the base of the Japanese flagpole.
Kota Kinabalu, we took part in a day trip organised by Tham Yau Kong...he is the guy who helped Lynette Silver survey the track the POWs took from Sandakan to Ranau.in 1945
has crafted two books on the Death Marches, Sandakan - a Conspiracy of Silence, & Blood Brothers.....both excellent reading for those interested in WW2 events.
whilst in KK, our Association was proud to present a large Atlas to the SANZAC School on Tuesday 20JUN17. We would have purchased it in Malaysia, but after extensive effort, we realised it was not going to happen, so I lugged the extra 5 Kilos all the way....well
perhaps not all the way, but it felt like it !
This school was built on land occupied by the Australian Army just after ww2, and
a man called Francis Lee (befriended and nurtured by WA Army members.in his earl life) bought the land and offered it as a professional learning establishment in recognition of the excellent start in
life he was given by the members of the Australian Army. It is now a Government School, and that is perhaps a little disappointing. The SANZAC school has never forgotten its beginnings however, and we passed a very pleasant morning with some of
the staff and senior students.