Improvised rafting on Sungei Muar DPR/TV/896

Accession Number F04224
Collection type Film
Measurement 6 min 15 sec
Object type Actuality footage, Television news footage
Physical description 16mm/b&w/silent
Maker Cunneen, William James
Place made Malaya: Malacca
Date made April 1968
Access Open
Conflict Vietnam, 1962-1975
Copyright Item copyright: © Australian War Memorial
Creative Commons License This item is licensed under CC BY-NC

Not the latest in water transport, but when time is short and means meagre, an improvised raft can carry a Land Rover down a river as well as anything. Taking part in a 14-day exercise, 2 Field Troop, Royal Australian Engineers built the raft on the Banks of the Sungei Muar in Central Malaysia, as one of their tasks. And just to prove its worth, they had to sail it two miles down the fast-flowing and snag-choked river. Watched by water buffalo and cheered on by Malay children, the troop had to push, paddle and pull the raft to the finishing point. The exercise was a competition between Australian, British and Gurkha Troops based in Malaysia and Singapore. The Australians, stationed as part of the 28th Commonwealth Infantry Brigade at Terendak Garrison, Malacca, won the competition hands down. Apart from rafting, the Troops had to build a bridge, a helipad, an aerial ropeway and complete several other combat engineering task. Time was a vital factor in the competition. In a little more than four hours, the Australians built a 70-foot span bridge across the river. Hard pressed, the sappers wrestled with the heavy fabrications of the bridge. The helipad was built on the top of a mountain in Negri Sembilan state. Royal Air Force Whirlwind helicopters brought in the engineers and their equipment. The task was completed 15 minutes before the deadline. One of the last tasks assigned to the Australians was the construction of an aerial ropeway. Built from the bottom of a valley to the top of a seven hundred foot hill, the ropeway had to take the weight of a Land Rover trailer. RAF helicopters, the aerial packhorses of the jungle, carried the cables and stores to the site. The Australians were the only troop to complete the task. (Also identified: Sapper Stephen Moyle of Blair Athol, SA; Sapper Trevor Shelly of Young, NSW; Sapper Geordie Stephens of Liverpool, NSW; Sapper George Wilson of Busselton, WA: Capt Frank Hickling of Cooma, NSW; S/Sgt Alan Reece of Mona Vale, NSW; Sapper Danny Ayoub of Wollongong, NSW; Spr Alan Christy of Auburn, NSW; Spr Erwin Forrest of Murarrie, Qld; Cpl Bruce Mackenzie of Gymea, NSW).

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