Ambush of a sub unit of the Royal West Kent Regiment in Tanjong Malim - This was amongst one of the bloodiest battles of the Malayan Emergency
Wednesday, August 03, 2016
Having arrived at the scene a short time later, the police started their search of the plantation where the manager with his police guard had been carrying-out routine inspections. We in the scout car were able to cover the police from the dirt road as they searched the area.
It did not take long before the bodies of the manager and his guard were found, both brutally slaughtered. The police loaded the bodies onto the Gharry and returned to base. I was keen to get back and report the incident by radio to HQ knowing it would be a few hours before I could report to the platoon commander at the at RV pick-up. Had it not been for what had happened almost simultaneous that day, I am sure there would have been an immediate follow-up; the intelligence was good, numerous CTs had been seen in the area and the trail was red-hot.
After returning to the platoon base at Tanjong Malim and making what limited preparations we could for an immediate follow-up, should the platoon commander decide?
Leading up to the events of the RWK ambush.
It was about an hour later when Major V Dover MC from BNHQ arrived at the base, he said it was a matter of urgency to mobilise the platoon for an immediate operation of the utmost priority, although there was over an hour before the platoon was due for the pick-up.
I was ordered to make hast to the pick-up location to minimise any delay.
The platoon mustered at the base for immediate operations.
First, the major addressed the platoon and stated he had grave news. This morning No 11 platoon of ‘D’ Company had been ambushed on the Ulu Caledonian Estate at Ulu Yam. The battle lasted for over an hour and a half; and there had been many fatalities with the rest wounded. Medics had already been despatched to the scene with some supporting troops.
But you of No.1 platoon are the nearest available troops to carry-out the follow-up operation to search out the CTs and bring them to battle. He went on to say - The CTs did not have it all their way; they left a number of their own dead.
There was no time to lose; we left for Ulu Yam in a matter of minutes in a convoy of two scout cars, one upfront the other at the rear, with two 3-tonners and the Land Rover between. Only three men were left behind to guard the base with some assistance from the police.
The events of the estate murders were of low priority compared with the magnitude of the West Kent’s ambush, and unfortunately there were no resources available for a follow-up operation.
We arrived at Caledonian estate, the scene of the ambush perhaps an hour later. The drive along the twisting road had frustrated our urgency to get to the scene, but caution prevailed as the opposing forces could outnumber us, and perhaps try their luck again.
The ambushed vehicles, a 3-ton and a 15-cwt truck, with a scout car remained stationary where they had been shot-up - holed and bloodstained.