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40 Royal Marine Commando

Based at Burma Camp Malaya

1962 to 1966


'Stass' and the Head

By Cpl Tom Blair 6 Troop B Coy

I  had just finished a slog on the hearts and minds campaign arriving back to our base at Stass (Bau) in the evening. Before I could give my report to Lt. Gregson, another Cpl asked me if I would like a beer.

This person had never before bought me drink, he was from Kilmarnock after all. I opened the fridge door and there on one of the few plates we had was a human head wearing sun glasses and had a fag in its mouth.

All went quiet as my reaction was awaited, I said the first thing that came into my head." MacMillin this beer is warm and has a bloody head on it all ready."

The head man as he was now called had been killed because he was a Indon soldier by locals in return for money and ammunition. They were firmly told that the complete corpse and uniform was required in future. The head was transported up the chain of command the next day.

It has always surprised me how detached we all were about the incident and able to make it into a source of amusement to hide our real feelings.

© Copyright Tom Blair 2012 ....All Rights Reserved


These are the photos taken at the time about what Tom is referring too.

Click on photo to enlarge repeat to shrink


The story behind it was that the Padre was making pre-Christmas visits to various locations which had a strip. He was travelling by light aircraft (something like an Auster or some such) While on this side of the border and flying over the jungle it was spotted by an Indon who opened up a burst and with a lucky few shots hit the pilot and killed the Padre.

A couple of Ibans heard the shooting and legged it into the jungle to try and find the shooter and later came back with a head, supposedly of an Indon Officer. I think they would have been disappointed with regards to a reward since it was not policy to pay for bits.

Patrick Walker