28 ANZUK Brigade Hq & Signal Sqn, Singapore.
As the insurgency in Malaya and the "confrontation" between Indonesia and the newly formed Malaysian State tapered off it was obvious that Britain would reduce the numbers of troops stationed here in the Far East. The British Labour Party began talking about cuts in 1966, then, in July 1967, the Labour Government announced substantial reductions.
This decision was not entirely surprising, but what did shock people was the announcement in January 1968 that Britain would withdraw completely by 1971. This immediately posed the familiar question "What will happen when the British go?" The first tentative steps towards finding an answer were taken by Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand and the UK at conference in 1968 at which the Malaysian Prime Minister proposed that control and maintenance of the British bases become a joint Five Power responsibility after 1971. Although this suggestion came to nothing the British Conservative Party eventually decided to oppose the Labour policy of withdrawal, and Mr Heath, the British Prime Minister, began talking about a "new and equal partnership, between five Commonwealth governments".
In 1970 an election in Britain returned the Conservative Party to power. This led to an announcement on 16 February 1971 that Australian, New Zealand and British troops would remain in Singapore and Malaysia under an Australian commander of "two star" rank.
So it was in July 1971 that I found my self as part of of the force sent out to form the new 28 ANZUK Bde and remained so until December 1973.
|The Brigade Signal Squadron in 1972. To see a larger version of this photo & names click HERE|
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