Remember the Home Guards? Here we have troop-in-training. The gentleman in white shorts is our donor’s father – M L Bernacchi. I’m sure some of you remember seeing the Home Guards on patrol, especially if you were one of those who lived in the New Villages during the Malayan Emergency.
Scorpio on the Dragon’s Demise – The True Stories of the Special Branch During the Second “Emergency”
This, the fifth book in the Scorpio Series covers the period of the second Malaysian “Emergency” from 1970 to 1990 and Special Branch operations that not many people are aware of. By 1970, the Communist Party of Malaya had re-grouped in southern Thailand and trained about 2,400 reserve troops. They were ready to make a return to Malaysia.
But the Government was ready for them, having received information about their plans and the Special Branch put into place eight schemes to counter the communist terrorists, one of which was Operasi Bamboo to curb their influence among the orang asli.
The author of this, and the earlier series of four books is the former Special Branch deputy director of operations Datuk Dr Leong Chee Woh, who retired from the police force in 1984 after 44 years of service. Thus the stories come direct from the horse’s mouth as he was directly involved in the planning and execution of the various Special Branch projects that culminated in the collapse of the CPM in 1989.
This book may be ordered from the author Datuk Dr. Leong Chee Woh, contact 0193124759 or firstname.lastname@example.org at RM50 per copy plus postage and packing (RM5.00 to Malaysia). Payment vide his Maybank account, the details being provided when you place the order. For overseas purchasers please enquire about the postage to the above email.
You may also buy his other books: Scorpio the Communist Eraser, Scorpio Against the One-Eyed Dragon, Scorpio on the Dragon’s Trail and Scorpio in the Dragon’s Playground at the same time when postage charges will be much reduced.
This series of four books has just been reprinted and they are now available direct from the author singly or as a set of four. They cover, in fascinating detail, the Special Branch activities during the first and second Malayan/Malaysian Emergencies and in China thereafter.
The first book “Communist Eraser” is a 366 page personal story of the author who served in the Special Branch of the Royal Malaysian Police Force for a third of a century and from where he retired as its Deputy Director of Operations. A full review may be found here. The book costs RM55 plus RM5 post and packing within Malaysia.
This is followed by ‘ Against the One-Eyed Dragon”. Among the insurgents was a central committee member – the highest rank in the communist hierarchy – known only as the “One-Eyed-Dragon”. This is the true story of how Scorpio, leading 12 Special Branch Officers, tracked him down and eliminated him. A full review may be found here. The book (167 pages) costs RM25 plus RM5 post and packing within Malaysia.
Next is “On the Dragon’s Trail”, 259 pages which relate Scorpio’s operations against the Communists after they assassinated the Inspector General of Police in 1974, while being driven to his office in broad daylight. There are detailed descriptions of the planning and execution of all his operations in the jungle, estate areas or the streets and alleyways of a big city, A full review of this book may be found here and it costs RM40 plus RM5 post and packing within Malaysia.
Finally “In the Dragons’ Playground” relates an entirely different but true story. After the second Malaysian Emergency, Scorpio’s duties included organising the briefing and debriefing of visitors to China and when he learned that a Malaysian Trade Mission was to pay an extended visit to China he managed to get himself included in it, suitably disguised as an official in the Ministry of Primary Industries. Before leaving he was asked by his father to trace his relatives in South China and a Commonwealth liaison officer asked him to try and find a ‘mole’ with whom his Embassy in Beijing had lost contact. He succeeded. To read more about the story click here. Again this book of 261 pages costs RM40 plus RM5 post and packing within Malaysia.
The books may be ordered from the author Datuk Dr. Leong Chee Woh, contact 0193124759 or email@example.com. For a full set of books there will be a reduction in postage costs. Payment vide his Maybank account, details being provided when you place the order. For overseas purchasers please enquire about the postage to the above email.
These books are recommended as easy reading, true history of Malaya/Malaysia’s fight against the Communists over more than 30 years. They should be read by young and old. Leong Chee Woh is a great author and he knows the truth for HE IS SCORPIO.
Yes it is John De Lucy and his twin brother having fun in their garden pool under the supervision of their Amah, but of course this was during the Malayan Emergency and so the ever-present armed guard is also in the picture. As John himself relates in our earlier blog, eventually they had to leave Malaya (in 1952) as the Communist attacks became too strong to ensure these youngsters safety.
This second picture again shows the twins happily posing for their photograph, but in this case the ominous feature is the armoured Ford V8 car that they are sitting on at the entrance to the estate.
Now for our younger readers who enjoy the security and good living in today’s Malaysia I would ask you to consider how different your life would be if the communist threat had been allowed to have its way and turn us into a communist satellite of China, back in the 1950’s. Should you not be too aware of what happened in those times then I would suggest you click here to find out a little more about the Malayan Emergency and those that saved our country from the Communist threat.
For those who wish to know more of the detail of the Emergency thre are over 300 historical entries, the majority with photographs, that may be accessed from our database here. Many of these have come from those who fought in the jungle for the future of our country as a democratic entity.
We thank John De Lucy for sharing these photos with us.
The Home Guard was part of a defence strategy during the Malayan Emergency. Their role was a ‘static local defence’, and ‘manning of checkpoints’ to cut of supplies to CTs, particularly in the area of the New Villages. The Home Guard were said to release the police and military for counter-terrorist ops.
Here we have two women from the Kinta Valley Home Guard, taken on the 2nd of March 1953 (the one on the right is holding a Bren gun). These were trained at a camp in Ipoh and were specifically for guarding the tin mines in Perak. They were all Chinese and founded by Towkay Lau Pak Kuan, as President of the Perak Chinese Tin Mining Association, with permission from General Templar, the British High Commissioner. Formed in 1952, some 4000 members were recruited, trained and armed by the government. In 1954 it is recorded that 323 different mines were defended by this “Chinese Home Guard”. They were operational until the end of the Emergency.
(If I were a CT, I’d know better than to get in their way!)
Although this meeting in Beijing is not directly related to Perak, it is a fact that it was Perak in particular that continued to suffer from the communists for several years after the Malayan Emergency was declared over.
As there has been much press about Chin Peng recently, I thought a picture of him might be appropriate.
Two memorial boards can be seen at the entrance of Elphil Estate and Sungai Siput Estate (which was formerly known as Phin Soon Estate) with the details of the tragic murders on 16 June 1948. A good intention.
But it’s so sad to see the board at the Elphil Estate. The name of the planter, Mr. A.E Walker was mispelled as A.E Walter. It seems that the person who was in charge of putting up the board, didn’t care much about the history which led to the Malayan Emergency.With this major error, definitely will mislead the readers in future about what actual had happened especially the person who was murdered.
Something we want bring to your attention. The following is an extract from a notice posted by the MPOA.
….the Malaysian Palm Oil Association – Perak have decided to construct a monument and gallery at Sungei Siput Estate.
The cost of construction is estimated to be in the region of RM$100,000.00. The little Acre Sub Committee hopes to raise sufficient funds from voluntary donations from their members, other well-wishers and Corporations, so that the monument and the gallery can be built in good time to enable participants and supporters of their next Commemorative Ceremony can make arrangements to visit the ‘Historical Site’.
The main purposes of the Memorial project are :
- To commemorate those planters, miners, police personnel, Australian British and Commonwealth troops who rallied to the support of ‘Malaya’ / ‘Malaysia’ to curb and eradicate the CT menace- many making the supreme sacrifice in the course of their duty.
- To preserve this place of deep historical interest for the benefit of posterity.
- To provide and preserve historical information / records / (photographs) about the Malayan Emergency (1948 – 1960).
Donations should be forwarded direct to –
The MPOA – Perak Secretary, Mrs Tan Seow Peng, 7 Jalan Hussein (P.O Box 424), 30750 Ipoh, Perak Darul Ridzuan, Malaysia.
During the Malayan Emergency from 1948 to 1960 Communist attacks on roads and railways were a regular part of living in Malaya, particularly where transfer of cash was concerned.
Consequently the railways introduced the Wickham Armoured Railcar as protection, but for the military and police isolated from the rail service it became normal to fly in the payrolls as the picture shows. There is a post on the Wickham Railcar already on this blog (Search ‘Wickham’) and also on our database archive.
But can anyone identify the aircraft?
When the Japanese invaded Malaya in the Second World War, John Davis’s service in that country could have ended. Determined to help the land he had come to love, however, he transferred from the Federated Malay States – M16 – and then, in 1942, to the Special Operations Executive (SOE).
Escaping to India by fishing boat as Japan established its grip in the Far East, Davis set about planning the infiltration of Chinese intelligence agents and British officers into the Malayan peninsula. In 1943 he entered Occupied Malaya by submarine, as Mountbatten’s representative in charge of the Resistance mission, known as Force 136. After striking up a friendship with the youthful Chin Peng, Davis led negotiations at the end of 1943 with the Anti-Japanese Forces and the Malayan Community Party under the enigmatic Lai Tak. Their Agreement effectively enabled the British to return unopposed in 1945.
From 1947 Davis held key positions in the Malayan Civil Service, was Mentioned in Despatches, and was awarded two Malay honours for his contribution to Malaya’s security, to add to his British wartime CBE and DSO.
In the twelve-year Emergency Davis pitted his energy and know-how with increasing success in the jungle war against the Communist forces, in which Chin Peng, as General Secretary of the Malayan Communist Party, had become Britain’s Public Enemy No 1. However, memories of their wartime friendship survived. In 1955 the two met under a truce at Baling, and in 1998, the fiftieth anniversary of the Emergency, the Communist leader visited John at his home in England.
Radical, sometimes a maverick, and a man of strong convictions, John Davis was more than an extraordinarily courageous hero of the Second World War: he became an iconic figure in Malaya’s colonial history. Now his story can be told for the first time and is illustrated by photographs from his personal albums.
The book’s ISBN (Hardcover) is 978-0-7509-4710-7
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.
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.
These Malayan Railway railcars designed by the Brtish and named the Wickham Armoured Railcar, were used during the Malayan Emergency 1948-1960 to carry bullion and other valuables to protect them from the Communist terrorists (CTs). Subsequently they were used as Public Works Department Inspection Trolleys. One example is on show at the Royal Malaysian Police Museum in Kuala Lumpur. It’s a place well worth a visit.
Published by Media Masters, Singapore and Authored by Sybil Kathigasu, Chin Peng and Ian Ward and Norma Miraflor, Faces of Courage stands as the first in-depth study of Malaya’s legendary war-time heroine, Sybil Kathigasu, and the impact her dauntless decisions and actions had on the members of her immediate family.
An essential aspect of this book is the personalized historical background and insight on the Japanese occupation era provided by former Secretary General of the Communist Party of Malaya (CPM), Chin Peng. It was Sybil’s association with the Perak People’s Anti-Japanese Army (PPAJA) – the communist-controlled guerilla organization in which Chin Peng played such a leading role – that provided the very foundation on which the Kathigasu legend eventually emerged and flourished.
Faces of Courage throws fresh light on a quite extraordinary story that became caught in a politically-induced, post-World War II time warp.
Sybil’s book, No Dram of Mercy, in which she recounts her horrific experiences as a prisoner of the Japanese Kempeitai, was completed several months before her death in June, 1948. But the manuscript was withheld from publication until 1954. British colonial interests deemed nothing good should be said about the communists in Malaya while Commonwealth forces still struggled to gain supremacy in the bitter jungle war known as the Malayan Emergency.
So often the cursory re-telling of legendary tales creates ill-conceived myths. The Sybil Kathigasu story is a case in point. And here the effect has only been compounded by Britain’s original propaganda ploy.
Faces of Courage is a book within a book. Sybil’s personal record, No Dram of Mercy, constitutes the opening section of this three-part volume. As such it provides a ready reference point for the revealing research, observations and reflections that follow.
Jerry Francis is a former Journalist with the New Straits Times and was Regional Editor based in Ipoh for a good many years. Travelling with his photographer Thomas Wong Tuck Keong they were known as ‘Tom and Jerry’ by everyone. They as a press team had gone to a great extent and as well as high personal risk to cover the actions against the communist terrorists from 1973 to well after the Peace Accord in 1989. They were in fact at almost every flashpoint and security operations in Perak and South Thailand to file in reports to the group of newspapers they represented. There is no need for elaboration on the security situation during the turbulent years in Perak. Those, who had resided and served in Perak in those years, would remember how dangerous the situation was in the State and in South Thailand. Ambushes, assassinations, sabotages and terrorist activities frequently occurred at the height of the second wave of terror launched by the Communist Party of Malaya (CPM), Communist Party of Malaya-Marxist-Leninst (CPM-ML) and their splinter groups in their bid to make a come back from 1969 to 1989. Though, many years have passed, those incidents and experiences are still vividly in their minds because of the impact they had in their lives. This book is a compilation of some of the events and action, involving the members of security force, civilians and communist terrorists encountered by the press team through the passage of the Turbulent Years in Perak.