Private Roy Harding, 1st Battalion, the Queen's Royal Regiment, recalls the challenge of tracking Communist terrorists in Malaya in 1954-1957.
Roy Harding
Private Roy Harding

Then we went back to Selerang. From there then we left for the emergency up in to Malaya again where our HQ was at Tampin Tampin and the various companies were in various areas of Malaya which I can’t remember the actual place where we stayed but it was only on a small rubber plantation where we used to patrol round the rubber plantations where of course the communist terrorists would go after the rubber tappers which were mainly Tamils out there doing the rubber tapping, getting in the latex from the trees, and they used to, the terrorists used to petrify them for food, I mean they could get them clothing or anything they could get hold of so we used to patrol that, and then we used to do between, it could be anything from four days if you were going out for four days jungle patrolling then you would take four days rations which were built up with mainly tinned food, tinned corned beef, tinned bacon, sardines and then you had like tinned potatoes and things like that which you used to have to cook on a little tommy stove. When we went out into the jungle as I say we would take four days rations and then if it came to it, if we were going to stay in longer than four days we would take a air drop so we used to take these air drops and you could indent for certain things like your jungle boots, you only used to catch them on the thorn or something like that and they would tear quite easily especially your clothing would tear so you would indent for that as well. Jungle patrol we use to do, fan search, you would make a base and then a section you would say north, east, south and west. So one section would go out north and one section would go out east. Two sections would stay in base. Then the following day the two sections, one would go out south and the other would go out west and you would patrol for about two or three hours. I mean, see in the jungle it was quite thick in places. You can see the distance was not very clear so therefore you could get ambushed quite easily and you never sort of kept to tracks or anything like that, you just plough your way through and half the time you leave your hat behind because it got caught on thorns and things. Animals didn’t used to worry us. Didn’t see many of them. We always had Borneo trackers with us and they were up front just to pick up any tracks of communists. Occasionally we came across a camp that had been disused. We did come across one. They must have heard us coming because they fled quite quickly. They knew the back of the jungle like we know Piccadilly Circus.