Bits and Pieces Volume IV


By clicking the paragraph required, you will be taken direct to that subject.  When finished, simply click 'Back to Top' ready to click on the next subject of interest

1.    The reason why BALD sailors had to be good swimmers at the beginning of the 20th century!
2.    The Royal Yacht Britannia
3.    Is this a "stone wall frigate"?  Its made of concrete!
4.    Getting on in years? Ever thought about being buried at sea when you cross-the-bar?
5.    Answers to my current crossword
6.    Naval CEREMONIAL - The Queens Colour and The White Ensign - as it was in the 1960's!
7.    RUM ISSUE - Up Spirits 1950 style!
8.    SINGAPORE in the 1960's!  Did you have an accompanied draft, sea or shore, to Singapore 40 years or so ago?  If so, this will bring back memories.
9.    The NAVY OF TOMORROW - the story of HMS ILLUSTRIOUS and the 1950 launch of the aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal.  See also HMS Eagle.
10.  The seamanship manual for 1932
11.  A major port for deep ocean cargo ships yet it is 2343 miles from the sea - the Atlantic Ocean.
12.  A MAJOR NAVAL History read.  Well worth a visit to this interesting naval action/social web site.






1.  {Tongue in cheek} 

Instructions for saving drowning persons by swimming to their rescue.
Taken from the Seamanship manual of 1907.
NOTE: I have highlighted in red what I consider to be the funny parts

1.  When you approach a person drowning in the water assure him with a loud and firm voice that he is safe.

2. Before jumping in to save him, divest yourself as far and as quickly as possible of all clothes; tear them off if necessary, but if there is no time, loose at all events the foot of your drawers if tied, as, if you do not do so, they will fill with water and drag you.

3. On swimming to a person in the sea, if he be struggling, do not seize him then, but keep off for a few seconds till he gets quiet, for it is sheer madness to take hold of a man when he is struggling in the water, and if you do so, you run a great risk.

4. Then get close to him and take fast hold of the hair of his head, turn him as quickly as possible on his back, give him a sudden pull, and this will cause him to float; then throw yourself on your back also, and swim for the shore, both hands having hold of his hair, you on your back and he also on his, and of course his back to your stomach.   In this way you will get sooner and safer ashore than by any other means, and you can easily thus swim with two or three persons; as an experiment, this has been done even with four, for a distance of forty or fifty yards in the sea.  One great advantage of this method is that it enables you to keep your head up, and also to hold the person's head up you are trying to save.    It is of primary importance that you take fast hold of the hair, and throw both the person and yourself on your backs.  After many experiments it is usually found preferable to all other methods. You can, in this manner, float nearly as long as you please, or until a boat of other help can be obtained.

5. It is believed there is no such thing as a death-grasp, at least it is very unusual to witness it.  As soon as a drowning man begins to get feeble and to lose his recollection, he gradually slackens his hold until he quits it altogether.  No apprehension need therefore be felt on that head when attempting to rescue a drowning person.

6. After a person has sunk to the bottom, if the water be smooth, the exact position where the body lies may be known by the air-bubbles which will occasionally rise to the surface, allowance being of course made for motion of the water, if in a tideway or stream, which will have carried the bubbles out of a perpendicular course in rising to the surface.  A body may be often regained from the bottom before too late for recovery by diving for it in the direction indicated by these bubbles.

7.     On rescuing a person by diving to the bottom, the hair of the head should be seized by one hand only, and the other used, in conjunction with the feet, in raising yourself and the drowning person to the surface.

8. If in the sea, it may sometimes be a great error to try to get to land.  If there be a strong "outsetting"  tide, and you are swimming either by yourself or having hold of a person who cannot swim, then get on to your back and float until help comes.  Many a man exhausts himself by stemming the billows for the shore on a back-going tide, and sinks in the effort, when, if he had floated, a boat or other aid might have been obtained.

9. These instructions apply alike to all circumstances, whether as regards the roughest sea or smooth water.

{A point of view!  All bald men should be rescued by this and all body parts should be recommended for the grabbing and the pulling}


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Just about everyone knows that the former Royal Yacht Britannia is now a non profit making charity,  based on Leith, the seaport serving the city of Edinburgh, and is open to the paying public:   But do you know where  some of the former Yacht's furniture and paintings/objets d'art are?  In a Royal property but which one?  Click on

Incidentally, there is a WONDERFUL book on the YACHT written by a good friend of mine who was a member of the Royal Yacht Service for many many years.  His name was DANNY BROWN who sadly passed away a few years ago.  He amassed a great number of intimate photographs of the Royal Family when aboard the Britannia and over the years, his many friends, me included, tried to get him to document this extremely rare and historic collection.  Finally, when living in St Helena, the home country of his wife Olive, he 'grasped the nettle', sought and got the permission of Her Majesty to put the collection into a book, which would tell his own story of being a crew member.  He called the book "A ROYAL YACHTSMAN", and he lived long enough to see it be a commercial success in many countries.  Try and source it.  It is not only a good read, the pictures are stunning.  My copy has a place of pride on my book shelf!  Danny signed it by saying "Godfrey Dykes. An old friend and a good boss. Danny Brown 1999"  .  The ISBN is 0 620 23999 9 and it was first published in 1999 by Danny Brown and printed by National Book Printers Cape Town South Africa.

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Look here and, what about this

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4.  Burial at sea.

Unless the Royal Navy can help, and in many cases I doubt it, being buried at sea is not as easy as you might think.

However, this is what the Royal Navy has to say about funerals at sea.

Firstly, under notes, that:-
"a.  Cremated remains are accorded full funeral honours if they have not been afforded at the cremation service.
  b.  Ashes are not scattered.  The urn containing the ashes is committed to the deep and it must be arranged that it will sink.
  c.  Wreathes should be dropped by appropriate mourners when all ceremonies have ceased."

Secondly, the main guidance script, namely:-
"Burials at sea may either be of those who have died or have been killed at sea and are subsequently buried, or of those who have died ashore and are subsequently buried at sea.
The paramount requirement for a burial at sea is that, on committal, the body shall instantly sink.  The bodies of those that die at sea are heavily shrouded and then sewn up in strong canvas.  This task is traditionally that of the Boatswain assisted by the Sailmaker.  Heavy weights must be included to ensure the corpse sinks.
A man who has died ashore will be encoffined by an undertaker.  Few undertakers are aware of the problems involved in burial at sea and they require considerable advice.  In order to withstand hitting the sea from the deck without disintegrating, the coffin must be more stoutly constructed than usual.  This together with its overall dimensions gives it much more buoyancy than the canvas shrouded corpse.  It therefore requires much more weighting.  This must be only slightly biased towards the feet or the task of the bearers is made difficult.  The extra weight will also require extra bearers.  It is usual to drill holes in the feet end and lid of the coffin to ensure quick flooding and sinking.  This can only be done if the state of the corpse will permit.  Its effect is often nullified by the padding and lining of the coffin expanding into the holes as soon as any water enters unless care is taken to prevent this.  The coffin is covered by the Union Flag.  In burials ashore this is removed before the coffin is lowered into the grave.  For burial at sea the Union Flag can either be removed {with cap and sword of an officer} immediately before committal, or arrangements can be made for the Union Flag to be secured to the committal platform so that the coffin slides into the sea from under the Union Flag. {The latter procedure is recommended when the corpse is not in a coffin but shrouded in canvas}."


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St Pauls - Frances - cockpit - copenhagen - villeneuve - victory - norfolk - santa cruz - trafalgar - hamilton - forty seven - sicily and vertically, seige of calvi



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6.   Click to enlarge 


THE SOVEREIGNS COLOURS know as either the KING's or QUEEN's COLOURS collectively or just COLOUR if referring to a specific Command e.g. that held by C-in-C Portsmouth, the Submarine Service etc.

The awarding of a Colour dates from ancinent times. However, 1925 saw the introduction of the current system as shown in thisTimes newspaper cutting. Note in this cutting, under the sub-heading of "Colours and Procedure" that there is no mention of the British China Station!  See below this snippet for the reason why?

Date Line is 1957, thirty two years after the other Commands/Theatres received theirs, which included the Old Commonwealth navies plus the Royal Naval New Zealand Division.. 

The Queen's Colour was shipped out to Singapore in HMS Diana from Devonport in 1956, and was presented on the 23rd September 1957. At 1900 on Saturday 2nd October 1971, the Far East Queen's Colour was transferred from HMS Terror to HMS Eagle for passage back to the UK where it was laid-up in Portsmouth's Dockyard in St Anne Church, referred to as the Navy's [or naval] Cathedral.

Other COLOURS were issued to New Commonwealth Nations and here I show an example of the Royal Indian Navy receiving their Colour in 1935, and subsequently losing it when in 1950 they gained their independence and became the Indian Navy.


This was the procedure in the 1960's.  Has it changed in the 2003's ?

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Taken from the Naval Ratings Handbook dated 1951

Click to enlarge  Click to enlarge

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8.          SINGAPORE IN THE 60's. 
A look back to the past of 40 odd years ago!

These pages come from the Families Handbook which was issued to all accompanied personnel drafted to Singapore shore jobs or to ships, submarines, and other armed forces based in Singapore with families. The handbook is packed with adverts which today, in the 21st century, are causes to smile and see how unsophisticated we were with our state-of-the-art gadgets.  The pages give a good history of the Far East, with the problems of those times - the very ones we were there to sort out [see my script below for more detail].  Additionally, they carry data on financial matters which affected us all, and how we were to set about protecting our families especially for those like myself, who regularly went to sea.  It was an excellent guide for driving motor cars and getting about in general.  Looking back, we had so many facilities that many a small town in the UK would be envious of.  Whether you were lucky enough to get an accompanied here or not, there is much on these pages which is of general interest to all who have had the pleasure of being in Singapore.



USE YOUR MOUSE TO POINT TO THE PICTURE OF A PAGE TO REVEAL ITS NAME OR NUMBER BEFORE OPENING. To assist you with reading these pages look to the bottom right corner of your screen [above the task bar] and there you will see a magnifying glass with the words 100% alongside it. Click on it and then increase the zoom factor as necessary.  Remember to put it back to 100% when there is no further requirement for it.

Handbook cover picture showing HMS TERROR, Fleet Landing, HM Dockyard [over to left] and the sea way [Johore Straits] separating Singapore from Malaysia.     

Click to enlargeinside front cover.jpg page 1.jpg Introduction and Mappage 2.jpg Advertpage 3.jpg [Contents Page]page 4.jpg Advertpage 5.jpg Contents continued. Also Advertpage 6.jpg Advertpage 7.jpg Introducing Singaporepage 8.jpg Introducing Singaporepage 9.jpg Introducing Singaporepage 10.jpg Advertpage 11.jpg Introducing Singaporepage 12.jpg Advertpage 13.jpg HM Naval Basrpage 14.jpg Advertpage 15.jpg H M Naval Basepage 16.jpg Advertpage 17.jpg Amenitiespage 18.jpg Amenitiespage 19.jpg Amenitiespage 20.jpg Amenitiespage 21.jpg Amenitiespage 22.jpg Advertpage 23.jpg Financepage 24.jpg Finance. Also half-page advertpage 25.jpg Shore Accommodationpage 26.jpg Shore Accommodation


page 27.jpg Shore Accommodationpage 28.jpg Advertpage 29.jpg Educationpage 30.jpg Advertpage 31.jpg In Town and Aroundpage 32.jpg In Town and Aroundpage_33.jpg In Town and Aroundpage_34.jpg In Town and Aroundpage 35.jpg In Town and Around plus half-page Advertpage 36.jpg Health and Welfarepage 37.jpg Health and Welfarepage 38.jpp Health and Welfarepage 39.jpg Health and Welfarepage 40.jpg Health and Welfarepage 41.jpg Health and Welfarepage 42.jpg Health and Welfarepage_43.jpg Health and Welfarepage 44.jpg Health and Welfar plus half-page Advertpage 45.jpg Health and Welfarepage 46.jpg Health and Welfare plus small Advertpage 47.jpg Health and Welfarepage 48.jpg Health and Welfarepage 49.jpg Health and Welfare plus half-page Advertpage 50.jpg Health and Welfarepage 51.jpg Health and Welfarepage 52.jpg Health and Welfarepage 53.jpg Health and Welfarepage 54.jpg Motoring Informationpage 55.jpg Motoring Information


page 56.jpg Motoring Informationpage 57.jpg Motoring Information plus half-page Advertpage 58.jpg Generalpage 59.jpg Generalpage 60.jpg Generalpage 61.jpg Generalpage 62.jpg Generalpage 63.jpg Generalpage 64.jpg General                       Tchew or Choo, our lovely, friendly  Chinese Amah with our two young sons, Phillip in arms and Steven with his ice cream.  Buckets of tears were shed when it came time to say goodbye. Tchew was married and had two young children.

The original Amah's were in fact wet-nurses who used to feed the babies of the family with their own breasts, hence the name wet-nurse. The Chinese were always the best and it paid to stay clear of Malays although there would have been exceptions to that rule. The other type of women, all of them young barely out of girlhood and all Chinese, were labourers, coolies in the old language and these were called "Denger Girls". Wherever labourers were required, one would see these girls, but mainly on road sides and on building sites. Despite their youth making them unsuitable as Amah's none of these girls spoke English whereas Amah's could at least get by.


amendment 1.jpg amendment  2.jpg amendment  3.jpg amendment  4.jpg          SINGAPORE ALL YEAR ROUND WEATHER


My wife and I with our two children left 49 Jalan Lengkok, Singapore 27, forty eight years ago at the end of 1967. When we moved in, the whole estate was brand new purposely built for Europeans and specifically for naval and British dockyard personnel. As I will show you, the estate is still there, only with a third road added. Instead of the estate access road coming off the Nee Soon Road, that has been renamed Sembawang Road and the English pub is now called Ayza's  Restaurant:  just below it, is a McDonald's. In our time our address was "Singapore 27", now it is "Singapore D27" the 'D' meaning district. Although the estate is some miles from the original village of Sembawang [which was immediately outside the naval base boundary] Jalan Lengkok now is assigned the address of Sembawang.

In this map, you can see where Jalan Lengkok was, which is shown by the purple coloured exclamation mark


Next comes the road infrastructure and access point for the estate. The former ordinary road [Neesoon Road] is now two separate roads [Sembawang Road].  Jln [short for Jalan] Lengkok was just the two roads which you see to the left and right of the access road, with the new road [Platina Road] added on the far left of the estate. In all directions around the estate was jungle or lush greenery but devoid of buildings, except for a small Chinese burial ground across the road to near where it says "wang Rd" i.e., at the top right of the picture. Unlike what you see here [to be explained in a moment] the estate was bungalow-land and both roads had bungalows on either side of it. In this picture, ignoring the houses both sides of Platina Road, the houses appear to be or irregular [asymmetrical] shape, whereas, as stated, all the bungalows were of the same basic design and size. Since our time there in the 1960's, they have bulldozed the whole estate, and in its place, they have built luxury very desirable houses of mixed design and size, some bungalows, some detached, some semi's in the price range of S$2.6M to S$4.8M which in our money is from 1,248,000.00 to 2,600,000.00, and that my friend, is real 'money'. See below to get a feel for the place.

This is what you see when coming down the access road from the Sebawang Road and turning right and this[below] is No 65 Jalan Lengkok as we lived in No 49. The first turning right off this road leads to he gates of one of the properties.

However, not all is [or can be] rosy! When we Brit's left the Island the whole defence estate was up for grabs, the main dockyard becoming Sembawang Ship Yard, Changi the main civil airport whilst other airfields became housing estates inter alia. With the new Singapore Navy now positioned down south at Changi, its Army in various places including Neesoon, the Air Force needed its space. They chose that area which had been RNAS HMS Simbang just down the road from the Jalan Lengkok complex, and that became their military airfiled and air base. Remember that the purple exclamation mark is the Jalan Lengkok area with sometimes over two million pound homes there, note just how near the air base major runway and smaller runways come to the boundary fence of the estate! Remember also, that Singapore often took part with other nations in major exercises and this often involved aircraft from US, British, Australian and New Zealand armed forces using this airfield. Not sure that I would want that, and the jungle we had, although noisy at times, was much better.

Now look here

They say that no part of Singapore has escaped modernisation in the last 50 years. I am sure that this is the case!

    LINKS CONCERNING SINGAPORE:       Regrettably, a former website which was excellent, is no longer up and running   It was written by a woman {Nora} who was born, not just in Singapore, but in SEMBAWANG itself.  If you were SERIOUS about Singapore nostalgia then this site WAS A MUST It was warm, comprehensive, sincere and crammed full with photographs of all the places most of you would recognise.  It is 37 years since I used to jump into my old Zodiac car [SL6693] and drove from Jalan Lengkok [the estate behind the Crown and Anchor on the Neesoon road] to Sembawang to order Nasi G..... in banana leaves from one of the mobile food carts for our supper.  When I opened Nora's web site, I could instantly smell and taste not only that gorgeous food, but the jungle and the vibrant atmosphere of that little village.  It was one of the safest places on earth to be, and one can say that both the locals and us sailors knew  'which side of our bread was buttered' [notwithstanding the obvious rip-offs], and our common respect for each other rarely, if ever,  was other than genuinely spontaneous.  My wife and I are in the early planning stages for our 2005 holiday.  We plan a 'haunted' holiday visiting some of our/my old 'haunts', and Singapore is firmly on the list along with Hong Kong, NZ, Oz and San Diego.  

Singapore in the Volatile 1960's, and why the likes of you and I were stationed there - apart from it being an extremely nice place to be stationed!

1.      The Japanese attack on Malaya [which included Singapore]  in the second world war, defeated British Rule in two quite distinct ways.  The obvious way was militarily at the hands of the Japanese warrior, with a less obvious [and subsequent to the war] defeat by the people of Malaya.  This second defeat was subtle and as history has shown us, a much bigger defeat which led to the total and permanent loss of a large part of our Empire.  That the British lost Malaya militarily is not surprising given the enormous size of the country and the countless hundreds of routes a powerful enemy could invade through, but to lose the island of Singapore with only one small road connecting it to mainland Malaya without a real fight, could be considered a tactical blunder especially when one considers that the Japanese army took the island and not the Japanese navy.  That the British lost post war Malaya is also not surprising given what follows in 2., below.

2.      In September 1945 the British returned to Malaya having played the major part in defeating the Japanese on mainland Asia. They set up the British Military Administration.

Ethnicity was a major political issue after World War II. The 19th century Anglo-Malay treaties had obliged the British to preserve Malay interests and traditions. But in keeping Malay society much as they had found it and doing little to help the community progress, the British had inadvertently left the Malays behind economically. The result was a two-tiered British Malaya comprising a traditional, feudal Malay society on top of a more vibrant modern commercial layer peopled mostly by non-Malays.

The British wanted to try and integrate the two worlds. When they returned to Malaya in 1945, they came with a plan for Malayan Union all worked out in London during the war without consulting the Malay sultans. It was a radical plan that essentially ended the privileged position of the Malays and treated all races equally. Non-Malays with enough years of residence could apply to be citizens and enjoy all the rights of citizenship including the right to vote and therefore the right to decide who would be in power.

Giving non-Malays political rights meant that on top of economic power, non-Malays could well end up with political power, given the small Malay majority in Malaya. The consequence would be the eclipse of the Malay identity and they could stand to lose their political dominance. The very idea galvanised Onn bin Jaffar, a Johore Malay aristocrat, into forming the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) in 1946 to oppose the Malayan Union plan. For the first time, Malay disaffection with the British and the other communities solidified on this issue of Malay privileges and the granting of equal citizenship rights to the other races.

Without mass Malay support, Malayan Union could not succeed. The sultans could be sweet-talked into signing the treaty necessary to create Malayan Union but the leaders of UMNO could not be persuaded. Malayan Union lasted just two years and was replaced by the Federation of Malaya Agreement in 1948. This Agreement safeguarded the position of the Malays through preferential treatment and special rights and also by limiting the grant of citizenship to non-Malays.

3.     In December 1945, Singapore got its first political party, the Malayan Democratic Party [MDP].  By April 1946 the British Military Administration had ended, and Singapore only returned to civilian rule as a Crown Colony.  As mentioned above, the rest of Malaya [99% of it] became part of the Malayan Union albeit for such a short period of time, a bitter blow to the British.

4.     In late 1947, there was much muttering about the draft constitutions of Singapore and the Federation of Malaya.  Communist became active and menacing.  In the interim between the Japanese surrender and the return of the British to reassert control over the population, the Malayan People's Anti-Japanese Army (MPAJA) which was mostly pro-communist and Chinese, came out from the underground and began taking revenge on supporters of the Japanese. Later, the MPAJA changed into an anti-colonial communist army and began an undeclared war against the British in Malaya. The result was the Emergency, declared in 1948. To help control communist activity, identity cards were issued. Everyone of legal age was required by law to carry their identity cards and anyone found without one was a suspected communist.  This period saw a large increase in British Armed Forces, particularly the Army and Air Force, fighting the communists in the Malayan jungles, which sadly, despite its great significance, is a forgotten campaign.  Many of these British fighters would find themselves fighting Chinese communists in Korea not too many months ahead [1950-53].

5.     In 1951, Singapore became a city within the Commonwealth.

6.     Throughout the 1950's there was much unrest in the Colony and in the Federation with the communists being seen as an ever growing threat.  There were strikes, riots, bombings and civil disobedience.  In 1957 Lee Kuan Yew entered government.  The British had their hands full and thousands of servicemen and women were involved in the maintenance of law and order.

7.     By 1958, Malaya had become independent; and the House of Lords had passed the State of Singapore Act in London.

8.     In May 1959, Singapore had its very first General Election.  Lee Kuan Yew refused to become the Prime Minister until politician, who had won seats in the elections but who where in prison for subversive activities, were release so that they could take-up their seats.  This done, Lee Kuan Yew became the first Prime Minister and Singapore started its own self rule.

9.      In December 1959, Singapore got its own Flag and National Anthem

10.    July 1960 saw the end to the emergency in Malaysia and Singapore.

11.    In May 1961 The Federation of Malaya considers the formation of Malaysia.   There is much talk and excitement about Singapore becoming a member of Malyasia.  The idea was popular and lead to a referendum. Lee Kuan Yew takes a high profile lead in support of his country joining.  The communists in the Singaporean government [PAP members] were against merging and becoming a part of Malaysia because it would bring them under the control of the Federation of Malaya, which had done much, with the British, to rid Malaya of communism.

12.    Talks between the Federation of Malaya and others, agrees that Singapore can retain control over education and labour, whilst defence, external affairs and security would be in the hands of the government of Malaysia.  In late 1962 the referendum is held and Lee Kuan Yew travels widely drumming up support.

13.     In February 1963, a big security sweep codenamed Operation Coldstore arrested 113 prominent pro-communist politicians and trade unionists, among them Lim Chin Siong and Fong Swee Suan, pro-communists within the PAP. The Internal Security Council had ordered the arrests because of fears of the Brunei Rebellion spreading to Singapore. Earlier, Lim had been seen by the Special Branch with A.M. Azahari, a leftist who had led the Brunei Rebellion against the Sultan of Brunei in December 1962. An important consequence of Operation Coldstore was to give Lee and the PAP moderates a clearer field in the September 1963 General Election. Lee Kuan Yew declares de facto independence for Singapore within Malaysia.

14.     The 16th of September 1963 saw the Proclamation of Malaysia; it was also Lee Kuan Yew's birthday, and shortly afterwards a General Election was called.  Philippines and Indonesia break off diplomatic ties. Indonesia declares Confrontation.

Regional neighbours Indonesia and the Philippines were not enthused by the merger proposal between Singapore and Malaysia. It meant an expansion of Malayan territory and influence into Borneo, and Indonesia and the Philippines had a vested interest in the area.

Rising Tension

In 1962, the Philippines laid claim to Sabah and in May 1963, Indonesia seized the disputed territory of former Dutch West New Guinea, now West Irian. President Sukarno announced plans to turn his attention to the British Borneo territories though he denied territorial ambitions. The Borneo territories, he said, should be given independence first then the formation of Malaysia could be discussed between Indonesia, Malaya and the Philippines.

In June 1963, the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaya met in Manila and mooted the idea of a confederation to be known as Maphilindo. Philippines and Indonesia also agreed to accept the formation of Malaysia provided the United Nations determined the will of the people of Sabah and Sarawak to merger. Malaysia Day was then put off to 16 September while the UN team toured the Borneo territories.

Despite the UN team coming up with a pro-Malaysia report, Sukarno still maintained an anti-Malaysia stand. On Malaysia Day, Indonesia broke off relations with Malaysia. Demonstrators gathered outside the Malaysian and British embassies shouting 'Crush Malaysia!' In retaliation, crowds outside the Indonesian embassy in Kuala Lumpur threw stones and burnt a picture of Sukarno.


Numerous incidents of sabotage followed in the period that was to be known as Konfrontasi. Most of these took place in Sarawak and Sabah but there were incidents in Malaya and Singapore as well.

In September 1963, a bomb went off in Katong Park. It was to be the first of several bomb blasts, one of which killed three people and injured 33 others in MacDonald House in early 1965. Two Indonesian agents were arrested for the sabotage, tried and sentenced to death. They were executed only in 1968 after the Singapore government turned down appeals for clemency. In protest, several hundred students sacked the Singapore embassy in Jakarta and the homes of Singapore diplomats. The Philippines also broke off diplomatic ties with Malaysia.

In August 1964, Indonesian agents landed in Johore and 16 armed men were captured. On 2 September, Indonesian paratroopers landed in Labis, Johore. That same day, an old trishaw rider was found stabbed to death opposite the Geylang Serai market. A driver was attacked and some cars stoned. In a week of what the press described as Indonesian-inspired communal clashes, 13 died and 109 were injured.

Confrontation affected Singapore's trade with Indonesia because, with the cutting of diplomatic ties, official trading came to a standstill. However, Indonesia's trade blockade was not 100 per cent effective partly because small-time barter traders, whose trading ties date back to colonial times, kept the links open unofficially.

In October 1965, the Indonesian army overcame the Indonesian Communist Party, bringing Suharto to power. It also ended Indonesia's communist-inspired anti-Malaysia stand. Indonesian Confrontation ended in June 1966.

This is why my submarine and all submarines stationed in the Far East in the 60's had a big 4 inch gun sited on the casing.


15.     For the next few months there is political confusion and general unrest.  Government leadership is unsure with the communists winning many more seats than hitherto.  Among students and teachers there are boycotts.  Street and building bombings take place, and as always as a common theme throughout these paragraphs, our troops were engaged, and when not so, they were confined to barracks.

16.     By July of 1964 the situation is bad.  Communal riots are a daily occurrence.  Politics are now little better than local politician supporting local/parochial things where minds are changed on a whim of scoring an advantage.  In September Lee Kuan Yew orders a week of bonding between culture, religions, creeds and political thought hoping to get the country to pull together and avoid destruction.  The troubles boil over into 1965.

17.      In May 1965, a  Malaysian Solidarity Convention is formed with the aim of achieving a non-communal, multi-racial "Malaysian Malaysia". The concept raises the issue of immigrant rights. This issue is taken as an attack on Malay special rights  [see reason for failure of the British Plan for Malayan Union in paragraph 2 above].  At an UMNO General Assembly, delegates call for Lee's arrest. Tungku Abdul Rahman [of the Federation] is subjected to increased pressure to have Singapore separate from Malaysia.

18.     On the 9th of August, Singapore leaves Malaysia.  Lee Kuan Yew is heart broken.  He has spent much of the recent months begging, imploring, writing letters, having meetings to try and save the situation, of his country remaining in Malaysia.  His point was clearly obvious to all who were outsiders looking in.  Everything that Singapore had was held in common with surrounding countries - the two areas fitting hand-in-glove and were natural partners.  He was betrayed by member of the Singapore Government, and also by the lack of goodwill from the old Federation politicians who failed to seek a  compromise on an issue which was surmountable.

19.    In conclusion, whatever ones view on Singapore, it cannot be refuted that Singapore is today what Lee Kuan Yew was yesterday.  He bounced back from that period over Malaysia and through his efforts, he gained world wide respect for himself and all Singaporeans.  He built a tiny country into a world player, and set standards which many other countries might do well to adopt.  Finally, and be honest with me and yourself, when you were endeavouring to drain the largest vat in the Tiger brewery each night, were you aware of the potential time bomb ticking away under your seat [wherever you were seated]?  Of course you were not!  If you had been, would dear old Singer's have been such a desirable place to be?

Let us raise our glass to all Singaporeans, present and past.  Good cheer!

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THE NAVY OF TOMORROW - The story of HMS Illustrious from commissioning in 1940 to her role in 1950 and the 1950 Launch of the aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal. Also a mention of HMS Eagle, an old ship of mine

[The story of HMS ILLUSTRIOUS from 1940 to 1950]
By Captain Frank Shaw Royal Navy

In early 1950 when aged 71 years, Captain Shaw landed on the deck of HMS Illustrious in a Sea Fury - a fighter plane, as a passenger.  At that time, Illustrious was undergoing secret trials off the Isle of Wight testing jet propelled aircraft for deck landing procedures. He was hosted by the Commanding Officer of Illustrious, Captain E.G. Clifford Royal Navy and he was there to see first hand a modern capital ship going through its paces at sea.  Captain Shaw had served prior to WW1, through it, and for a lengthy period after it. He wrote many books about the Royal Navy.  From his deep knowledge of the Navy; his experiences of being at sea in Illustrious, and from contemporary sources, he wrote the book "The Navy of Tomorrow".  I was given this book in 1953 during my first Christmas in the Navy.  Regrettably, it is now out of print, but were it to be obtainable, it is a book which covers life in the wardroom and on the lower deck both in wartime and in happier post war periods.  The book tells the story of HMS Illustrious from first commissioning in 1940 until 1950, the time of his visit.  It is fascinating and a must for all naval personnel but especially for those who have served, or who are serving now in the current HMS Illustrious.

HMS Illustrious was one of the stars of the second world war, and she was much loved by the general public and its sailors were treated like heroes: indeed, they were heroes.  Her most famous role was that she and her aircraft attacked the italian surface fleet in taranto harbour effectively putting the heavy capital ships out of action for good.  later, the italian air force took revenge  and she was bombed repeatedly in open seas but managed to stay afloat - unlike her fellow carrier the ark royal, which at a different time, was sunk in the mediterranean, fortunately with the loss of just one life, but one too many.

Although it was not known at the time, this action was to spell the death of the battleship and naval air power would eventually replace it. The aircraft carrier would be the chief naval weapon of the future'

In the last chapter of his book, Captain Shaw considers the future of the Royal Navy post 1950 which had seen the launch of HMS Eagle and was seeing the launch of HMS Ark Royal. I served in HMS Eagle, which was the heaviest [fully loaded for war] and largest warship we ever had, albeit, just a couple of cans of herrings-in heavier than Ark Royal - they were both giants at or around the 40,000 ton mark.

Now, we are promised two new carriers in the 70,000 ton region, both to be based at Portsmouth.  They are to be called HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales [first time mentioned in the public domain 25th November 2003] I am looking forward to seeing that event.  Image the sight we will see when one remembers that our current carriers weigh in at 20,000 tons approximately although the biggest ship in the navy currently [November 2003] in HMS OCEAN at 21,000 tons - note: many would have you believe that the Ark is the biggest, but they would be wrong!.  Outside the USA, our carriers will be the largest in the world, and fitting so too, for a Navy which is the best in the world!  However, I wonder how we will greet them at twice the size of the old Eagle Click to enlarge [click here for the web site of the mighty Eagle - - look at 'names' and then 'second commission'] and Ark Royal?  [I have a piece of each ship hanging on the wall of my study].  Do you think we can do better than the launch of HMS Ark Royal in May 1950 - I really do hope so.  I hope that you enjoy the last chapter of Captain Shaw's book, and I apologise for some of the skew whiff pages shown: a most unforgiving and rigid book spine!  Also, imagine that a Captain RN., is to write a book about, say, the current Ark Royal to coincide with the 2012 greeting of the first of the new carriers, emulating what Captain Shaw did with the Illustrious and Ark Royal.  What do you think his final paragraph would say on The Navy of Tomorrow, i.e., post 2015?

Best regards. Jeff Dykes.




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DULUTH Harbour is 2343 miles from the Atlantic Ocean, its nearest sea, at the entrance to the great St Lawrence River Seaway System.
Duluth is in Minnesota, its fourth largest city,  which is a  mid-west state of the United States of America, and nestles on the edge of Lake Superior.  Duluth is the worlds largest inland seaport. Taken as a whole, the great lakes cover an area bigger than the whole of the UK.  Minnesota is the home of the great Sioux Indian tribe and of course Minnehaha and Hiawatha. 

Duluth shares the area with another city/seaport, called Superior which is in the state of Wisconsin.  Together they are known as the 'twin ports' [as opposed the more well known 'twin cities' in Minnesota of Minneapolis and St Paul] and between them, they are leading bulk cargo ports on the Great Lakes as well as being being amongst the busiest ports in the USA.  Approximately 30 to 40 million tons of cargo are shipped through the ports each season and the total tonnage has reached 75 million  tons in some years.  The port is in the heartland of the mid west and handles grain, iron ore, stone and coal.

Duluth/Superior harbour has 17 miles of channels, 45 miles of frontage and dozens of commercial docks, including some of the largest and most modern in the world.  The ports serve nearly 200 foreign-flag vessels each year, along with an average of a 1000 Great Lakes freighters - "lakers" - that includes 1000 foot long super freighters carrying over 60000 tons per trip.

In nautical speak, it can be considered as one of the great wonders of the world!!


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12.  Have you got a few hours to spare browsing? If you have a BROADBAND CONNECTION then why not spend some wintery evenings reading this site. It is an EXCELLENT READ, a work of SIGNIFICANCE packed with all kinds of interesting NAVAL material  THEN,   ON NAVAL

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