ID number S02861
Title Lieutenant General Lawrence George O'Donnell AC (Rtd) as a lieutenant exchange troop leader 1st King's Dragoon Guards, British Army, Malaya 1957-1958, interviewed by Colonel David Chinn MBE (Rtd)
Collection Sound
Object type Oral history
Date made 6 February 2003
Physical description sound tape reel; BASF SM 468; 15 ips/38 cm.s; stereo; 10 inch NAB
Access Open
Copying provision Copy provided for personal non-commercial use


O'Donnell speaks of his initial experiences on graduation from RMC Duntroon preparing him for exchange duty; the role of the British Commonwealth Far East Strategic Reserve in Malaya; the role of the security forces in the Malayan Emergency; the British Army and, in particular, its armoured units, in the Emergency commitment within the tropical environment; the operational role of his unit - its armoured vehicles; the level of training of officers and soldiers; the daily routine - communications, administration, discipline, vehicle servicing, paying officer 'by air'; the operational area of the 1st King's Dragoon Guards by squadrons, and the infantry brigades they supported; troop operations - convoy escort, food denial, crowd control and ambushing, clearing road verges against ambushes, the 'contact' in the pineapple plantation; weapon training, test firing before operations, types of weapons carried, grenades available; communication means - vehicle and man-pack radios - with both regiment and squadron headquarters as well as with Police Field Force units and Special Branch; the rules of engagement to eliminate or minimise the chance of firing on people other than on communist terrorists (CT); characteristics of supporting forces - Police Field Force, Home Guard, interpreters and Malay linguists; operational effectiveness and morale of some of the British Army units being supported; limited trying or testing times as a troop leader; events and actions affecting morale within the regiment; injuries and illnesses, medical facilities and sunburn; rest and leave periods; the pressures of vehicle serviceability, tropical weather, security of weapons and ammunition on the regiment; comparisons between the British and Australian armies particularly in leadership, discipline and initiative; the overall value of his exchange duty experience.

Please note: Oral histories are personal accounts recorded and/or preserved by the Australian War Memorial. The Memorial is not responsible for either the accuracy of matters discussed or opinions expressed by speakers, which are for the listener to judge. While we make every reasonable effort to ensure the accuracy of information, some content in this interview may contain inaccuracies or errors. It may also include historically or culturally sensitive sound recordings and text; such material does not reflect the Memorial's viewpoint but rather the social attitudes and circumstances of the period or place in which it was created.

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