Colin Henry Swinbourn as a platoon sergeant in a rifle company 2nd Battalion The Royal Australian Regiment, Malaya 1955-1957, interviewed by Brad Manera

Accession Number S03351
Collection type Sound
Measurement 2 hr 24 min
Object type Oral history
Physical description digital audio file; wave; 96kHz; 24 bit
Maker Swinbourn, Colin Henry
Manera, Brad
Australian War Memorial
Preston, Lenny
Date made 18 November 2004
Access Open
Conflict Malayan Emergency, 1948-1960
Copyright Item copyright: © Australian War Memorial
Creative Commons License This item is licensed under CC BY-NC
Copying Provisions Copy provided for personal non-commercial use
Description

Swinbourn speaks of family, educational and military background; joining Transport Platoon 2nd Battalion The Royal Australian Regiment (2 RAR) at Enoggera Queensland as a corporal in early 1955; training at the Jungle Training Centre (JTC) at Canungra, Queensland in preparation for Malayan service; the types of vehicles operated both in Australia and Malaya; lack of briefing on conditions and commitments in Malaya; movement to Malaya in MV Georgic in October 1955; Minden Barracks on Penang Island and jungle training there for three months; the Transport Platoon supporting the companies dispersed on operations around northern Malaya; weapons used in Malaya; transfer to C Company as a platoon sergeant; rifle company and rifle platoon working on operations; platoon radio communications; the communist terrorists' (CT) evasiveness; following CT signs of movement when patrolling; resupply on operations; a soldier's load carrying on operations; 24-hour ration packs issued for platoon operations; weekend leave after operations of 10 days or longer; families housed on Penang Island; comfortable personal relationships between the commanding officer (Lieutenant Colonel J G Ochiltree), other officers and platoon sergeants; memories of his time in Malaya - the camaraderie, the sweating and experience of 'dying of thirst'; health and hygiene, daily medication (anti-malarial), the few serious illnesses; burials of 2 RAR personnel in Taiping Cemetery; at the end of his two-year tour, transfer back to Transport Platoon to handle return of some vehicles to the British system, others to 3 RAR; return to Australia with his family by air in late 1957; posting to the Special Air Service (SAS) Company at Swanbourne, Western Australia; posting to 17th National Service Training Battalion near Perth as a sergeant instructor; posting to RMC as an instructor; joining 2 RAR as the CSM Support Company for the tour of duty in South Vietnam in 1967-1968, comparison of preparedness of 2 RAR for service in Malaya and South Vietnam; the nature of operations in South Vietnam; high morale, effective casualty evacuation and hospital treatment; his family situation while he was serving in South Vietnam; working with South Vietnamese and United States units; comparisons between the Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese Army units and the handling of prisoners of war; the return of 2 RAR to Australia; his being the RSM of 2 RAR at the time of its linking with 4 RAR; his perspectives of the wars he served in, in comparison with the two World Wars, and the need for recognition of the continuation of Australian Army traditions and standards.
A transcript of this recording may be available. For further information please contact the Sound section.

  • Listen to Colin Henry Swinbourn as a platoon sergeant in a rifle company 2nd Battalion The Royal Australian Regiment, Malaya 1955-1957, interviewed by Brad Manera
  • Listen to Part 2 of Colin Henry Swinbourn as a platoon sergeant in a rifle company 2nd Battalion The Royal Australian Regiment, Malaya 1955-1957, interviewed by Brad Manera
  • Listen to Part 3 of Colin Henry Swinbourn as a platoon sergeant in a rifle company 2nd Battalion The Royal Australian Regiment, Malaya 1955-1957, interviewed by Brad Manera