Kiwi soldiers held in high esteem

21:49, Apr 22 2012
Southland Times photo
Brian Duncan holds his medals.
Southland Times photo supplied by Brian Duncan
Private Brian Duncan poses in his 1st Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment beret.
Southland Times photo supplied by Brian Duncan
Kiwi soldiers duck for cover during an ambush in Malaya.
Southland Times photo supplied by Brian Duncan
Company officer Lieutenant Dickie Dundas tucks into some food in the Malayan jungle.
Southland Times photo supplied by Brian Duncan
A New Zealand platoon marches.
Southland Times photo supplied by Brian Duncan
Lieutenant Dickie Dundas locked, loaded and ready in the jungle.
Southland Times photo supplied by Brian Duncan
Kiwi troops take time out at the Sairoosa Inn in Port Douglas while on R and R.
Southland Times photo supplied by Brian Duncan
A New Zealand platoon talks tactics in the Malayan jungle.
Southland Times photo supplied by Brian Duncan
Private Bill Perry eats lunch in the Malayan jungle. Perry is now a lawyer with the Waitangi Tribunal.
Southland Times photo supplied by Brian Duncan
A New Zealand private takes a cigarette break during patrols in the jungle.
Southland Times photo supplied by Brian Duncan
Kiwi soldiers in the jungle.
Southland Times photo supplied by Brian Duncan
A Kiwi soldier watches for communist terrorists.
Southland Times photo supplied by Brian Duncan
Private Brian Duncan (front left) does his bit in the casevac (casualty evacuation) of a fellow platoon member.
Southland Times photo supplied by Brian Duncan
In the jungle.
Southland Times photo supplied by Brian Duncan
Prince Phillip (right) meets with the military command at Terendak Camp Malaya.
Southland Times photo supplied by Brian Duncan
Private Brian Duncan (left) lights the cigarette of Ron Rattray in the officer's mess at Terendak Camp. The young private got access by taking a job behind the bar.
Southland Times photo supplied by Brian Duncan
Kiwis relax in the barracks at Terendak Camp.
Southland Times photo supplied by Brian Duncan
Private Brian Duncan (left) presents arms at Terendak Camp.
Southland Times photo supplied by Brian Duncan
Brian Duncan (right) outside his barracks at Terendak Camp.
Southland Times photo supplied by Brian Duncan
New Zealand troops get transported into the Malayan jungle.
Southland Times photo supplied by Brian Duncan
Soldiers casevac a fellow platoon member out of the jungle to a waiting helicopter.
Southland Times photo supplied by Brian Duncan
"Recreational notes'' handed to troops in Singapore. The guide included such useful information as "where to find sheilas'' Brian Duncan says.

Brian Duncan says he never realised the esteem held for Kiwi soldiers in Malaysia until he returned to the South-East Asian nation three years ago.

The Invercargill man and wife Linda went back in 2007 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Malayan independence.

"They treated us like returning heroes until then I was unaware what they thought of us xx--xx so many thank yous.''

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Forty-four years earlier, Duncan followed two brothers-in-law to Malaya, one who had served in the original SAS, the other had been part of the first battalion.

In 1963 it was his turn, going in November into Malaya with the 1st Battalion of the New Zealand Regiment. The name would change to 1st Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment "just as President Kennedy got shot'', he says.

"We were the last to go into Malaya as a battalion, after that it was reinforcements.''

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The D company private was stationed in Terendak, outside of Malacca, with most of his and his platoon's service concentrated around the Thai border chasing communist terrorists.

"We caught quite a few too.'' It was here he fired his first shots when confronted by a man trying to sneak into the camp.

"I spoke to him in Malay and he ignored me ... it turned out he did the laundry for us and was sneaking back in without a pass ... I got in trouble for missing him.''

In 1964, conflict in the region escalated, he says.

Indonesia would not recognise the new Malaysia and dropped paratroopers on the Malay peninsula and into Borneo.

Mundane jungle patrols punctuated with the odd contact with communist terrorists (known as CT), became more intense jungle warfare on operations against the Indonesians.

The Southland Times