Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Held in High Esteem

One of the Ibans Royal Marine Commando
David Lagan and his Tracker Dog
Presentation of a Green Beret (RM Commando) to a Sarawak Ranger by CO of 42 Cdo RM, Lt Col B.I.S Gourley, in Semenggo Camp, Kuching in 1963. This soldier has just recovered from a wound.
An ex 40 and 42 Commando Royal Marines, David Lagan, stumbled into me in The Manchesters website where I'm a member. The Manchesters was one of the British Regiments where the Iban Trackers and Sarawak Rangers were attached to during the First Emergency in Malaya 1948 - 1960. The site is my source of information. Indeed, the guys, like Apai George, who are ex Manchesters themselves have fond memories of the Ibans attached to them at that time. David Lagan who was 18 years old then, was involved in the mopping up operation of the Brunei Rebellion in 1962, together with soldiers of the Sarawak Rangers. The Royal Marine Commandos held the Iban soldiers in high esteem. According to David Lagan, "The Ibans are a part of Commando folklore and are regarded as the loyalist comrades we ever worked with." David Lagan wrote, " When the Commando Brigade left Malaya all the Ibans were presented with a green Beret. British Army personnel were not able to serve with the Commando Bde unless they had completed the Commando course. It says a lot about the esteem they were held in by the Brigade!"


  1. This is interesting. Being reliable and fighting trackers the Ibans deserve their green berets.Real stories like this are hardly highlighted by our Malaysian "national" historian writers in our academic school syllabus. Thanks for giving the other side of the story.

  2. Thanks Yussop for dropping by. This is also an information that we did not know about as nobody had ever talked or write about.

    I was lucky to have bumped into an ex-commando who was involved with the Sarawak Rangers and knew the inside story.

  3. Hi Colonel...Rano here, how are you and long time no hear...regarding the brave story about the Sarawak Rangers, unfortunately none had been taken account into Malaysian's military history.

    I believe the Malaysian Army only perceived that the Rangers only 'officially' in the Malaysian military scenario since 16 September 1963 and not before 1963 EVENTHOUGH the Rangers had been in Malayan Emergency Campaign since 1948.

    Its very sad to me that the only group of people who really appreciate the Sarawak Rangers are her former British fighting units that fought alongside them such as SAS, Manchester Regt, Royal Marines etc.

    Col, during my one week tenure at PULADA Ulu Tiram, Johor (for my military module)in late 2004, I had opportunity to visit the survival training unit's area there. Unfortunately, many of the survival instructor were from Malay Regiments and didnt see any from the Rangers. I also witnessed that the big colourful 'terabai' that was used to hang up at the survival entrance was left on the ground and rotten...I believe that the big 'terabai' was built by our Rangers when they were dominating the survival training centre there.

    My point Colonel is this, that we should start documenting these stories of the Sarawak Rangers and do our best to publish it. What you do now is actually the first step towards it. Keep up the writing, Colonel! God helps us...


  4. Hi Rano,

    I'm fine. Our Op Ngerapuh is a bit stuck at the moment. Not much help from our top leadership. I have written a letter to Jabu more than 3 months ago, suggesting he write a letter to the Federal Government requesting for assistance to undertake the big task in Semenanjung. No action taken. So I wrote the letter to nthe Defence Minister - in my capacity as the organsing Chairman. Still no response. I'll keep on pricking those people concerned.

    Once I get a reply, I intend to launch our fund raising campaign in kuching.

    What you said about the Rangers is very trueb indeed. It is very clear that the Sarawak Rangers are only seen during a time when we are required up in the front line to fight. The other infantry units would hide behind them to save their own skins. Now, as you have seen, during peace time they are slowly being pushed behind and forgotten! Our own senior Ranger Corp Officers are not doing enough to fight for their rights.

    This is sad but true. I hope I can highlight what the Rangers had achieved and that they should not be forgotten.

  5. nice to see you posting again sir. we shouldn't rely on our politicians for help. we have to do it ourselves. perhaps you can kickstart the fundraising campaign.

  6. Thank you for stopping hy. As I must have the support of the Federal Government, I must have their attention and support.

    I'll push for their attention.

    What I need is actually somebody in high position to push the project. On reflection, I actually have these personalities - the CM of Sarawak as the Patron and the Deputy CM of Sarawak as the Advisor. The sad part is that they seemed not very "interested", though they have pledged their support for the project.

  7. Squad,

    As what you had suggested to me before, contact your reporter friends. Or, ask MPs to bring this matter in the Parliament. As you're fully aware by now, my struggle to get an allowance for the recipients of JPP, PTU and KPK was discuss in the Parliament on 11 Dec '09. It was 'rejected' but to me, it was an achievement.

  8. Squad,

    If there is no response and support from anybody, I will have no choice but to do that.