Main Page
Stories Page

40 Royal Marine Commando

Based at Burma Camp Malaya

1962 to 1966


River Patrols

By Cpl Tom Blair 6 Troop B Coy


As boats Cpl it was my job to run, maintain, and keep the two assault craft ready at all times. I was given Pansy Potter as the other cox`n.  Seradong Laut was the most active time ferrying troops up and down the river to troop locations, patrols and the like. Despite being well upstream the river was tidal and would rise above the riverbank. On one occasion I was sent down stream  to find a person, lets call him the AE Sunray , who was in difficulties on the river on his own. Somehow he had rigged up two 40 hp outboards on the one boat . The tide was high, the bend was tight, the speed was too great and it all went horribly wrong and he ended up in the ulu. I recovered him and his kit leaving the boat to others to sort out.

Nosh Parker( Cpl Sigs) was acting as my escort on a run up river to collect a patrol that had been out for a few days. I was proceeding gently along when Nosh stood up and aimed his rifle into the riverside ulu. He said go round again. It was then I saw what had drawn his attention. It was a large crocodilian of the genus crocodylus. It was sunning its self over a tree that was semi-submerged.  I asked him did it have a long narrow snout? Were the fourth teeth either side visible when its jaw was closed? He said he was  not interested in its zoological status  and he was going to put a round down its gob the next time it opened it. I said you can`t - think  of the noise, he replied, think of the handbags! As it turned out it had gone when I returned to the spot later with the section having told them of our derring do with the croc. Yorky Light the Sec Cdr said what croc?  We walked through the elephants shit yard, some turds were still steaming. 

Boat work at Kalabakan was less active mainly ferrying blokes to a position called the `Neck`. This position, on  a raised bend on the river, gave a commanding view of the boat landing area and most of Kalabakan. Long before we arrived  a Indon raiding party had killed about fourteen Malay soldiers. Gurkhas had been sent in to pursue the Indons and eliminate them. This they did. As a consequence of this we were told that a very high member of the Malaysian Government was to plant coconut palms in rememberance of their soldiers. We were told to keep out of the way until it was all over. I was called to the Coy Office and told to take  a Mne and relieve the sentry at the Neck. I of course complied and did the change over. On the way back I asked what had happened ? The sentry who had been relieved said " I dont know maybe something I`ve  said over the radio". I took him  to the Sgt Maj who just shook his head. I  listened to events from the Coy Store next door. They went something like this.  March him in Sgt Maj.....What is the charge......Conduct  prejudice......( Good old Sect 69.   I thought.  The catch all Sect of the Army Act, the NDA is also Sect 69 for conduct....prej.) In that he called a party of government officals a bunch of nignogs when reporting activities at the landing jetty. It went on for a few minutes and  it transpires the party had included  Tunku  Abdul Rahman the Prime minister of Malaysia. He was told quite firmly that he was not to call that person that name again .  I took him back to the Neck after he had been found guilty and fined. About an hour later I was in the Coy office when I heard to my horror over the Coy net," Tunku Abdul Rahman the Prime Minister of Malaysia and sixteen other nignogs have just left the landing jetty ". The outcome was that he visited the Coy Office a second time that day and gave more cash back to the MOD.

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