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

Description

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.


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