The History of the

4th and 7th Royal Tank Regiments

 

1964 - 1966

Far East Recce Regiment

In September 1964 the Regiment replaced the QRIH as the Far East Recce Regiment. 4 RTR (-) was at Paroi Camp, Seremban in Malaya, B Sqn had a half Sqn in Singapore and a half Sqn in Brunei, A and C Sqns rotated every six months between Seremban and Sarawak.

Straits of Malacca

It was the time known as "Confrontation" in which Indonesia sought to annex Eastern Malaysia (Sarawak, Sabah) and Brunei from Kalimantan, and disrupt the Malaysian mainland by infiltration across the Straits of Malacca.

Initially

The Seremban Sqn was under command 28 Commonwealth Brigade based at Terendak. Tps were involved in coast patrols and follow-up operations when insurgents came ashore as for example sixty did at Molimau close to the Malacca/Jahore Border.

The Singapore Sqn worked for both Singapore District and 48 Gurkha Bde in Brunei.

The Sarawak Sqn was under command 99 Gurkha Bde (West Bde) based at Kuching with Tps at Sungei Tennang, Bau, Serian and in sp of 1/10 Gurkhas on border operations.

The Regiment had moved from sand to lush jungle, and operationally from the frying pan into the fire. Paroi Camp, just outside Seremban, was the base for 4 RTR (-) and was also a much used air strip. The Regiment had its own integrated Flight of Austers and later Sioux helicopters., The fixed-wing Austers and Beavers, when landing, had to pass over the officers mess at the far end of the runway at chimney top height and invariably clipped a tree alongside the mess!

The Guard Room, Paroi Camp, Seremban Paroi Camp, just outside Seremban

Map of Seremban, Negri Sembilan, Malaya.

Seremban, Negri Sembilan, Malaya.

Indonesian ‘Confrontation’ was hotting up.

Newspaper article. Headline - Britons in Hunt for Landing Force Newspaper article. Headline - British Tanks Fight Indonesia Invaders

C Sqn near Port Dickson

C Sqn near Port Dickson on the West Coast, a favourite venue for insurgent infiltration across the Straits of Malacca.

Brigadier Peter Vaux OBE

The major event in September was the arrival of the first sixty families in Seremban and twenty five in Singapore. All members of the Regiment had been unaccompanied throughout the twelve months in Aden/Sharjah and most in the preceding months in Edinburgh.

The members of A Sqn had fared worst because they went to Borneo for the first six months unaccompanied. It says much for the quality of the families that these prolonged periods of separation, in some cases nearly two years, were borne so stoically.

It was a singular pleasure for 4 RTR (-) to serve under Brigadier Peter Vaux OBE as Commander Malaya Area. Those who have studied the earlier chapters will know how strong a part he had played in the Fourth's war-time history.

Mrs Jean Vaux, wife of Brigadier Peter Vaux presents the prizes at Paroi Camp

Mrs Jean Vaux, wife of Brigadier Peter Vaux presents the prizes at Paroi Camp.

B Sqn based in Singapore with troops in Brunei and Sabah.
Major John Blackwell SSM "Chalky" White

Lt Gen Sir Alan Jolly arrives to inspect B Squadron in Nee Soon Barracks, Singapore 1965

B Sqn based in Singapore with troops in Brunei and Sabah Lt Gen Sir Alan Jolly Nee Soon Barracks, Singapore 1965

All squadrons were involved in patrols by river, by road, on foot and...

Patrols by road Patrols by road Patrols by river Patrols on foot

...and in the air.

OC, Major Lindsay Smith (4 RTR) Sioux Helicopter

4 RTR Air Sqn flew hundreds of hours, often over many miles of jungle where there was no possibility to let down in emergency. Here the OC, Major Lindsay Smith (4 RTR) climbs out of Dragon which flew 192,800 miles before replacement by Sioux.

4 RTR Sioux in action

4 RTR Sioux in action. Among the pilots was Capt David Mallam 4 RTR, later 2/ic A Sqn and, in due course, CO of an Army Air Corps Regiment...

7 Tp (Lt Mike Rose and Sgt Levesconte) in Sarawak 1964.

7 Tp (Lt Mike Rose and Sgt Levesconte) in Sarawak 1964.

Patrols by road

Lt Galloway and Dazzling looking for trouble.

B Sqn Base at Bareo

B Sqn Base at Bareo

General Sir Alan Jolly KCB,CBE,DSO visits RHQ and C Sqn in Seremba

In late October 1964 General Sir Alan Jolly KCB,CBE,DSO visits RHQ and C Sqn in Seremban as Colonel Commandant and as GOC FARELF. Here, accomapnied by Major Whitfield and the CO, he speaks with SSM Ansell.

B Sqn (Major Mathieson MC) in Singapore.

He then goes on to B Sqn (Major Mathieson MC) in Singapore.

b_0_180_0_00_images_rh6466_rh9_14.jpg b_0_180_0_00_images_rh6466_rh9_15.jpg Tprs Nicholls and Robinson bogged on the road to Beaufort, Sabah
Tprs Nicholls and Robinson
bogged on the road to Beaufort, Sabah

Patrolling went on in Sabah despite frequent flooding.

Cpl Jess leads a patrol from Bau Camp.
Bau Camp Cpl Jess leads a patrol from Bau Camp Map of Bau
"Hearts and minds" was also a major responsibility of all ranks.
"Hearts and minds" "Hearts and minds" "Hearts and minds" "Hearts and minds"

L/Cpl (later SSM) Lang with a notorious team, jungle-bashing to make space for a re-bro station.

jungle-bashing to make space for a re-bro station

b_280_0_0_00_images_Tanks_4and7rtr_tanks_00017.jpg

Cpl Richard Nichol’s Saladin at Sengitengi, Sarawak, on the Borneo border, with L/cpl Mc Donald (operator) and Tpr George Vevers (Driver)

Two further awards for gallantry in Radfan operations were announced in April 1965.

Awards for gallantry in Radfan operations Awards for gallantry in Radfan operations

 

The Arras Dinner at Seremban 21 May 1965

The Arras Night Dinner

Sarawak Sqn moves centre of operations to Wompadon

In mid 1965 the Sarawak Sqn moved its centre of operations to Wompadon, and came under command 6 Inf Bde.

Accommodation was rudimentary but practical

Accommodation was rudimentary but practical.

Road linking Kuching with Simmangang

The only road linking Kuching (the capital of Sarawak) with Simmangang at the eastern end of Second Division (where the road ended) ran parallel with the border, so that the Squadron had the sensation of always being broadside on to any potential trouble.

Saladins

Frequently the Saladins put down 76mm HE rounds onto pre-determined targets.

The Duke of Edinburgh visits the Sarawak squadron

The Duke of Edinburgh visits the Sarawak squadron and is briefed by Lt John Wright. Behind the Duke is General Sir Walter Walker, Director of Ops Borneo.

Cambrai Day 1965 - The Regimental standard is trooped at Paroi Camp

Cambrai Day 1965. The Regimental standard is trooped at Paroi Camp by S/Sgt (later RSM Mann), WO II Ansell and S/Sgt Smith.

Padre Lytleton receives the Standard from WOII Ansell

Padre Lytleton receives the Standard from WOII Ansell. Behind him L to R can be seen the Area Commmander, Brigadier Peter Vaux OBE (partly obscured by the Standard) and Mrs Vaux, Mrs Cowgill and the CO, the two escorts to the Standard, and (extreme right) the 2i/c, Major Richard Vickers MVO, MBE, who went on to command the Blues and Royals and to become a three star General.

Captain Nick Cocking with RSM Smith, RQMS Ansell and RHQ Tp

Captain Nick Cocking had been Adjutant throughout Aden, until handing over to Captain Simon Williams in Seremban in May 1966. He is seen here with RSM Smith, RQMS Ansell and the 1965 Cadre Course  of which Richard Bellamy Brown, second from the left in the centre row, passed out top.  He was eventually commissioned within the Regiment. Those in the front row are Cpl Clark, Sgt Smith, WO1 Smith, Capt. Cocking, WO2 Ansell, WO2 Hadley and Cpl Leftwich.

aptain Dick Murrell well pleased with his Regimental team

Captain Dick Murrell well pleased with his Regimental team.

26th Anniversary of the Arras Counter-attack

On 20 May 1966 in Seremban the Regiment celebrated the 26th Anniversary of the Arras Counter-attack. Lieutenant General Sir Alan Jolly KCB,CBE, DSO, Commander Far East Land Forces, Colonel Commandant RTR and a previous CO of 4 RTR, took the Salute.

Here he arrives with ADC Lt John Wright to be greeted by the 2IC, Major Richard Vickers MVO, MBE.

S/Sgt Wheatley, RQMS Ansell and S/Sgt Gibbon Parade List  

The Standard Party drives past, left to right S/Sgt Wheatley, RQMS Ansell and S/Sgt Gibbon.

No 3 Guard march past

No 3 Guard march past.

Brigadier Peter Vaux

Brigadier Peter Vaux left Seremban before the Regiment did. We were therefore able to say farewell at Seremban station with a deputation including "Diligence".

Great Britain Rifle Team

Despite the disruption of the move from Malaysia to Herford the Regimental Team acquitted themselves very well at Bisley in June 1966. Team Captain, 2/Lt (later Lt Col) Colin Cheshire would go on to Captain the Great Britain Rifle Team five times in the 90s.

L to R: Tpr Cook, Lt Henry Puren, Tpr Steel

In August 1966 the Fourth bade farewell to Malaysia and to three years of operations.

L to R: Tpr Cook, Lt Henry Puren, Tpr Steel.

Tim Turner

Tim Turner – wondering if Deutshe Welle will be as entertaining as Radio Singapore ?!

Soon Malaysia was only a memory

Soon Malaysia was only a memory.

KAPE team includes Tpr Sim, S/Sgt Gibson, Tpr Townley, Tpr McDonald and Cpl Bryce

It was also time to get back to some serious recruiting in Scotland. Here the KAPE team includes Tpr Sim, S/Sgt Gibson, Tpr Townley, Tpr McDonald and Cpl Bryce.

officers Mess The park bench was all that was left to recall that we had ever been there  

Thirty years later the air strip was still there but the officers Mess looked as if a plane had finally hit it. The park bench was all that was left to recall that we had ever been there.

Badge

In Chapter Ten we see the Regiment in the Armd Recce Role in Germany and in the Infantry role in Northern Ireland.



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