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Saving Yesterday For Tomorrow

 POLICE LIEUTENANT M R LIVINGSTONE

KILLED IN AMBUSH IN TEMENGGOR

25 DECEMBER, 1950
At approx 10.00 a.m. on the 25th December, 1950, a party of seven police constables of the Police Frontier Force under the command of Police Lieutenant. M R Livingstone proceeded from Kampong Temenggor to the Temenggor Tin Mine in the Grik area of Perak to investigate a report that the mine had been destroyed by fire.

About 1½ miles from the tin mine the police party was ambushed by an armed gang of bandits estimated at fifty to seventy strong. During the subsequent engagement Livingstone was shot in the head and killed instantaneously. Two police constables were also killed and the remaining four others wounded. A follow-up party of Police and Royal Marines were unable to locate and recover the body of Livingstone until 27th December, 1950.

The funeral of Livingstone took place at a jungle patch near Kampong Temenggor one and a half day’s walk from Grik at 5.15 p.m. on 27th December, 1950. The funeral service was conducted by ASP P J D. Guest of District Police, Grik. The Form of the Service had been sent to ASP Guest, by wireless, by the Church of England padre of the Royal Marines.

The simple but impressive service was attended by members of the Police and the Royal Marines stationed in the vicinity for operations. A salute was fired at the graveside by a Royal Marines guard of honour.

Livingstone had served with the Police Force for only three and a half months but during that short time he had won for himself the respect and confidence of his subordinates and superiors alike. His devotion to duty was of a high order and would have assured him a very successful career in the Police Service.

With the aid of the Military Authorities, the remains of the late Police Lieutenant Livingstone were recovered from his jungle grave and re-interred in the Christian cemetery in Taiping on 8th December, 1954.

The recommittal ceremony was conducted by the Rev. Lewis, Chaplain to the Forces and Vicar of All Saints Church, Taiping. Present were OCPD Taiping and Mrs. Turner, Police Lieutenant J W Wells and a contingent of rank and file. Wreaths were laid by the OCPD on behalf of the Perak Contingent, Federation of Malaya Police, and by Mr. Wells on behalf of Mrs Livingstone, the mother of the deceased, now Mrs E Wharton of Upton, Wirral, Cheshire.

  1. jeya says:

    We shall not forget the contribution of British and its Allied Armed Forces, protecting and defending our nation with a lot of courages and bravery, although Malaya wasnt their birthland. Hats off.

  2. felicia says:

    Hi Aaron. a good suggestion, but alas…many of the streets that were named after British colonials have been changed now.

  3. Gill says:

    Thank you for the article on Michael Livingstone, he was my Uncle and died long before I was born, but I always knew about my Uncle Michael and my mother carried the small newspaper cutting of his death in her purse. If anyone has any more information or photographs of him or his grave I would appreciate seeing them.

    • Ken Guest says:

      Dear Gill,
      As the post I have stumbled upon dates back to 2009 I am uncertain if the subject is still active. When I saw the reference to Police Lt. Livingston my attention was hooked. My late Father, Peter J. D. Guest also served with the Royal Federation of Malaya police (1948-63). He was also based in Grik, N. Perak as the Assistant OCPD and was there when your uncle, Police Lt. Michael Livingston, served in the same post and told me that they had been friends.

      As I understand a report came in about a fire at the tin mine and Police Lt. Livingston was assigned to investigate. This was at a point in time when Police Jungle Squads, unlike military ones, were not issued with radios. This made them reliant on runners hand carrying messages as their only means of communicating information. An unconfirmed report came in that there had been an incident but details were sketchy. A newly arrived Police Lt ‘Jock’ Auld was tasked to conduct a follow up and offer what support Livingston might need.

      After Auld departed another Police Jungle Squad led by Peter J. D. Guest returned from a two week patrol. Hearing about the report of a fire at the tin mine, that Livingston had been dispatched, an unconfirmed report of an incident and Police Lt Auld’s patrol sent in support Guest had concern the tin mine fire may have been started deliberately as a bait in order to lay an ambush.

      Guest immediately ordered his own Jungle Squad to grab a quick meal, resupply and be ready to leave in an hour. He then went to the 40 Commando Royal Marine camp near by to request additional support. As a former Royal Marine himself he had a good relationship with them and it was agreed to send a RM patrol out as well. Back in the Grik Police Station Guest’s Jungle Squad was ready and they departed immediately, with the Royal Marine patrol not far behind.

      By speed marching his Jungle Squad Guest was able to catch up with Auld and to together they made a cautious approach and discovered the ambush site where Police Lt. Livingston and two other Malay Police had been killed.

      The RM patrol now arrived, having been delayed by an incident of their own on the way. They had with them the body of Sgt. Orr RM, who had been accidentally killed when another member of his patrol had a negligent discharge with a Sten gun. This weapon had notoriously weak back spring assembly, making negligent discharge not uncommon due to something as simple as bumping the butt on the ground. Tragically the stray round took Sg. Orr’s life. He, like Livingston had been a friend of my Father, who described him as had being a popular man and competent Jungle Fighter. On one occasion Sgt. Orr had taken charge when a patrol officer had been shot an incapacitated and led a very effective counter charge which saved the day.

      Police Lt. Guest was able to use the RM radio set to request a copy of the Form for the Funeral service and conducted a joint funeral service. I have a photo taken at that jungle burial service, please let me know if you would like a copy?

      All best regards,

      Ken Guest

      PS
      A very young Lt. Jeremy Moore RM was at this time with the RM detachment near Grik. He went on to fame later on as Commander of Land Forces during the Malayan Emergency. Some years later, when his children did a sport parachute jump my younger Brother Andrew, another former Royal Marine, was their instructor and dispatcher at Dunkeswell in Devon. Small world.

      • Ken Guest says:

        PLEASE NOTE, typo error
        Jeremy Moore went on to later fame as commander land forces during the 1982 Falklands war, not the Malayan Emergency

        • ika says:

          Thank you for the additional details Ken. Our posts always remain live and we are happy you stumbled across this one.

          Do take time to do some more stumbling here or on our database, db.ipohworld.org, there is a lot more about the Police Lieutenants of the Federation of Malaya Police there.

  4. ika says:

    Hi Gill, Welcome to ipohWorld. I am afraid we do not have a photograph of your uncle, but I will see if any of my contacts can find one. It may take a while so don’t hold your breath!.

    Best wishes for 2011. Come back soon.

  5. Steve says:

    I am Gill’s brother and also found the article very interesting and moving. Michael Livingstone was not only my Uncle but also my Godfather and I still have the Christening cup he gave me. One day I would like to come and see his grave and pay my respects. Does All Saints Church still exist and would be grateful if someone could take a photograph of his grave and send it to Gill and myself. RIP Uncle Michael

  6. S.Sundralingam says:

    Steve, I would be provide u some links, u have to further proceed with them. U can contact the former Secretary of Taiping Heritage Society, Mr. D.M. Poonusamy, a well verse man of Taiping’s history. He can be reached at 013-3878830.

    The All Saints’ Anglican Church of Taiping which was opened in 1886 is on the way to the Taiping’s Perak Museum and the
    Taiping Goal(prison). U can never miss if U are in Taiping.

    There are two graveyards for the British soldiers and police force, one is located at the foot of the Maxwell Hill and the other is along Jalan Kamunting. Hope it would helpful.

  7. ika says:

    I make no promises, but I am due for a trip to Taiping soon and if I get there I shall see what can be done about a photo.

  8. Ken Guest says:

    PLEASE NOTE, typo error
    Jeremy Moore went on to later fame as commander land forces during the 1982 Falklands war, not the Malayan Emergency

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