Telling their stories

21:48, Apr 22 2012
Southland Times photo
Bill South holds his medals.
Southland Times photo supplied by Bill South
Bill South centre in dress uniform with fellow kiwis in Terendak camp.
Southland Times photo supplied by Bill South
A kiwi soldier wades through a Borneo swamp, the conditions were fairly typical for soldiers serving in Borneo, Bill South says.
Southland Times photo supplied by Bill South
Members of Bill South's platoon struggle through the mirk and undergrowth of a Borneo swamp.
Southland Times photo supplied by Bill South
Members of Bill South's platoon struggle through a Borneo swamp.
Southland Times photo supplied by Bill South
The Tiger Brewery in Singapore: its beer was enjoyed (sometimes too much) by Kiwi soldiers right throughout the New Zealand troop commitment to Malaya and Borneo.
Southland Times photo supplied by Bill South
Kiwi troops including Bill South (seated at left) tuck into Tiger Beer on the beach, the occasion marked their last day in Malaya before shipping out to Borneo.
Southland Times photo supplied by Bill South
Kiwi troops including Bill South celebrate their last day in Malaya before shipping out to Borneo.
Southland Times photo supplied by Bill South
Troops speed up river.
Southland Times photo supplied by Bill South
A kiwi soldier tucks into a pineapple in Malaya after being forced from the jungle by shelling. "We all developed scabby mouth after that from the little barbs in the fruit,'' Bill South says.
Southland Times photo supplied by Bill South
Bill South takes a cigarette break from training before leaving for his service in Malaya. "That shot's typical,'' he says. "You can see we were still wearing World War II webbing.''
Southland Times photo supplied by Bill South
Troops in a floating transport bound for Borneo.

Veterans are a tough interview. Their experiences are kept between themselves, they rarely tell others. With patience, from a cold start they warm up and tell their stories. After all they were there. Jared Morgan reports.

There's a sense of brotherhood among Southern veterans of Malaya and Borneo.

That kinship, forged in the jungle, is not without sibling rivalry.

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The Malayan Emergency was long, compounded by the Indonesian Confrontation, the New Zealand experience spans almost 20 years, but concentrated between 1957 and 1966.

Those that went first are irked by later troops who call themselves "The Originals''.

The Battalion that arrived in 1963 was given the label simply because it was the first to have the word "Royal'' added.

And between the 1st, 2nd and 1st Royal battalions disagreements exist over who saw the most action. Put the disagreements aside and you get the southern story.

Here the veterans are candid, speaking openly about action on, and off, the frontlines.

Our coverage includes stories, photographs and audio slideshows. If you see a familiar face in any of the photos, feel free to share that person's story by leaving a comment on the story.

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