Monday, September 3rd, 2012 - Department of Veterans’ Affairs
Australians are being asked this Malaya and Borneo Veterans’ Day, to pause and remember the courage and sacrifice of thousands of Australians who served during the Malayan Emergency, 1948–1960 and the Indonesian Confrontation, 1963–1966.

The Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Warren Snowdon, said parts of South-East Asia remained a theatre for conflict long after the terrible battles fought there during the Second World War.

“In response to the Malayan Communist Party’s (MCP) push to bring down the colonial British government, Australia’s military involvement in the region began in 1950, with the deployment of the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). They attacked guerilla positions, transported troops and supplies and dropped paratroops and leaflets. Australia also committed Navy aircraft carriers and destroyers to the region.

“By October 1955, troops from 2RAR had been deployed to defend against regular guerilla activity undertaken by the MCP. They were then replaced by 3RAR in 1957 and 1RAR in 1959, who continued the work of their predecessors in patrolling, ambushing the enemy, guarding villages and denying the communist forces a base of operations.

“The conflict ended in 1960, although Australian forces would remain in Malaya for a further three years, making it the longest continuing military commitment in Australian history, lasting 13 years,” Mr Snowdon said.

Sadly, 15 Australians were killed on operations during the Malayan Emergency and 27 were wounded.

The Indonesian Confrontation took place in Borneo between 1962–1966, when Indonesian forces attacked the newly-formed Federation of Malaysia.

“Australian forces from 3RAR, 4RAR, Special Air Service squadrons, artillery, engineers and Royal Australian Naval vessels were deployed to Malaysia, then sent to Borneo during the Confrontation, and participated in numerous operations,” he said.

RAAF aircraft and crew were based in Malaysia during the 1960's and throughout the Confrontation. The RAAF's contribution included Australian Sabres, Canberra bombers, Lincoln bombers, Dakota aircraft and helicopters. A Sabre squadron was also deployed to Darwin to protect the Australian mainland.

The nature of the conflict meant there was little attention paid to the Confrontation by the Australian media.

“It was the first post-Second World War conflict in which Australian national servicemen saw active service. We lost seven Australians during the operation, and another eight were wounded before the conflict ended in August 1966,” Mr Snowdon said.

Australian service is commemorated across the South-East Asian region, with official commemorations in Malaysia and many official and unofficial Memorials to the Missing established across Indonesia.

“Today, Australians will remember and honour those Australian Defence Force personnel who gave their all in the Malayan Emergency and the Indonesian Confrontation. Their service and sacrifice will never be forgotten,” Mr Snowdon said.

Contact Profile

Minister Snowdon: Lidija Ivanovski

P: 02 6277 7820 or 0407 108 935 or Marcus Butler 0417 917 796
M: Department of Veterans’ Affairs Media: 02 6289 6203
W: minister.dva.gov.au

Keywords

Malayan Emergency, 1948–1960 and the Indonesian Confrontation, 1963–1966.

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