Serving in Malaya an adventure

Last updated 05:00 24/04/2010
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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

Where soldiers go, women always follow.

About 140 brothels lined the 24km from Terendak Camp to Malacca, according to an Invercargill veteran.

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
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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

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Being fair to Colin Rooney, at no point does he admit visiting the establishments, but he says plenty did ... repeatedly.

Brothel creeping on R and R (rest and recreation) was a fact in Malaya, he says.

A private with 1st Royal Battalion New Zealand Infantry Regiment, Rooney left with 1203 other men in 1963.

For him it was an adventure. "I was pretty excited being a young fella, it was about meeting mates ... that was the big thing for me.''

They had plenty to bond over, a medic in B company, his platoon patrolled the Thai border looking for communist terrorists ... or their remains.

"B company was involved in bring those (communist terrorists) killed out of the jungle for identification.''

Dead were trussed to poles to be carried out it could take days, the soldiers had had to march deep into the jungle to engage CT, in the heat the task quickly became unpleasant.

When Indonesian President Sukarno decided to crush the new Malaysia, his company shifted back into the centre of the country to focus on Sukarno's paratroopers.

Like CT, they proved elusive.

"You could go out on patrols and not see anything, you might come across locals doing their thing ... it was unnerving, you didn't know why they were there or who they were.'' In 1965 he transferred to Borneo, firstly with B company before being shuffled into C company.

"I got into a bit of a scrap and they thought it was a better place to put me.''

- The Southland Times


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