Carting gear through jungle a hard slog

BY JARED MORGAN
Last updated 05:00 24/04/2010
stimes anzac10 logo
 

Relevant offers

Southerners at War

Looking to the future Region marks Anzac Day 2013 War memorials of the south The Blue Line We remember the forgotten conflicts A nation born Anzac audio slideshows Anzac Day 2012 around the south Fighting for recognition Thousands attend Anzac Day services

Tuatapere man Rangi Rickard's gear out-weighed him, he says.

Carrying reconnaissance and communication gear was the role of his 1st Battalion New Zealand Regiment signal company in Malaya.

ANZAC 2010, soldiers of South-East Asia
We remember the forgotten conflicts
Fighting for recognition: 'The forgotten army'
Telling their stories: A sense of brotherhood
Service left a mark: Malaya, Gordon Branks
Kiwis held in high esteem: Malaysia, Brian Duncan
Memories will go to the grave: Malaya, Ken Barton
Health problems: Borneo, Neil Hogan
A hard slog: Malaya, Rangi Rickard
Work hard and play hard: Malaya, Fred Ryan
Serving an adventure: Malaya, Colin Rooney
Plenty of eyes in the jungle: Malaya, Des Weavers
Families well looked after: Malaya, Graeme Henderson
Fancy an overseas trip?: Malaya, Alan Waldron
Memories of ambush remain: Malaya, Clive Locker
'Emergency' dragged on for 12 years
Not all are allowed to wear their badge of honour
 

Ad Feedback

For Private Rickard it was hard slog often a three-day march carrying equipment in the oppressive heat of the jungle.

Signals were pivotal in the field, meaning he and his fellow soldiers lived on constant stand-by.

"If anything happened anywhere else we we the first to be called and the first to go in ... we would be shipped out from wherever we were.''

In volatile South-East Asia post-World War II that was a real possibility.

He arrived on the Malayan Peninsula in 1961 based at the then "brand-new'' Terendak Camp.

After training "all the bloody time'', he took part in his first border operations against communist terrorists in August 1962.

"The CTs (communist terrorists) were setting up near the border trying to get back in and cause havoc.''

Spending up to three months on border operations meant living with jungle wildlife.

"There was every bloody thing you could think of.'' Supplies dropped by parachute provided the answer, with the chutes used as hammocks, he says.

"Everyone slept about three feet up.'' When his two year tour finished, Rickard stayed on for a further three months after volunteers were called to make up platoon numbers finishing his service as conflict sparked by Indonesia erupted.

"I just missed Borneo.''

Service in Malaya and Borneo differed from earlier conflicts soldiers were forced to pay income tax on their earnings, he says. "If you were casevaced (casualty evacuated) you were carried on your own blanket they then docked the cost of the blanket from your pay.''

- The Southland Times

Comments

Special offers

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content