An Ambush Story From Kuala Selangor in 1951
British Police Lieutenants Street and Allmond were posted to Kuala Selangor within days of their first arrival in Malaya. They reached that town without incident and spent the night there. The following morning they were issued with weapons and were informed that they were to be stationed at one of the local Rubber Estates.
A land Rover and escort of four Special Constables arrived from the estate, which was to be their destination and they were sent on their way. All went well until shortly after the vehicle had turned onto the gravel road leading into the estate when the vehicle was ambushed by a skilfully-led group of Chinese and Tamil terrorists. There was no escape.
Allmond and the driver of the Land Rover together with one or more of the escort were killed during the first burst of gunfire. Street, who had been sitting alongside Allmond, was uninjured but covered in blood from his dead companion, leapt out of the vehicle and made a dash for cover. As he did so a bullet shattered his left kneecap and he collapsed on the road. The shooting eventually stopped and the terrorists emerged from concealment and began stripping the dead of their weapons. At this stage Street realised that he was the only survivor and that his only chance for survival was to play dead. Hardly daring to breathe he shut his eyes and hoped for the best.
Street’s predicament was compounded by the fact that he had fallen face down and could not therefore see what was happening. Having been in the country for less than a week he spoke not a single word of Malay, Chinese, or Tamil and had no idea of what the terrorists were talking about as they went about their business of stripping the dead. A group of them then approached, talking among themselves as they did so, and one, putting his foot under Street’s body, turned him over so that he was facing upwards.
Obviously deciding that his shirt was too bloodstained to warrant removal, one of the terrorists proceeded to cut off his buttons and badges of rank whilst administering the odd kick or two. A considerable amount of discussion was going on between the terrorists and, although he could not understand what they were saying, Street guessed that they entertained some doubt as to whether he was dead. Terrified at the prospect of what would follow if they decided that he was alive’ he breathed a silent prayer and concentrated on proving that, if not exactly dead, he was very close to being so.
He heard the sound of a match being struck and a few seconds later felt an excruciating pain as one of the terrorists stubbed a lighted cigarette on the bridge of his nose. Somehow or other he managed not to flinch or cry out with pain. This seemed to convince the terrorists that he was beyond recovery and he was picked up and deposited with the bodies of Allmond and four dead Special Constables on the back of the Land-Rover which the terrorists set on fire before departing.
Street managed to extricate himself from the bodies on the vehicle and fell onto the road unable to move because if his shattered kneecap.
About three hours later a police party, which had been sent out from Kuala Selangor to investigate why his group had not reported at their destination, found him. He was subsequently taken to Bangsa Hospital in Kuala Lumpur where, after a number of unsuccessful attempts to repair his knee, doctors finally had to amputate his lower left leg.
Such was the life for the more than 500 British Police Officers that served in the Police Force during the Malayan Emergency, many of them not as lucky as Police Lieutenant Street.