On the 20th of August 1948, the troopship Dilwera left Southampton bound for Singapore carrying 35 officers and 817 soldiers of the 4th Hussars. The vast majority of the regiment had plenty of active service experience, although, of course, not in this theatre or role.
The enemy was almost wholly ethnic Chinese Malayan Communist Party (MCP), who had already spent upwards of three years in the jungle engaged in a war against the Japanese invaders.
After a short stay in a transit camp in Singapore, the 4th was deployed all over Malaya as the situation demanded – troops were often over 100 miles from squadron headquarters and even further from RHQ, which was based towards the north of the country at Ipoh in Perak state.
The regiment’s primary role was to keep open the roads and major tracks for the free passage of both civilian and military traffic, and to that end squadrons stationed at Raub, Taiping, Kuala Lumpur and Kuantan commanded more widely dispersed troops.
Troops in their turn were widely detached from their squadrons, giving their troop leaders considerable responsibility and scope for initiative.
In late 1949 the 4th Hussars were ordered to send a squadron to Hong Kong to bolster the military strength in the colony as its regular garrison became depleted by the need to send infantry battalions to the war in Korea.
New tactics for dealing with jungle bandits were worked out with considerable success and a special establishment of four squadrons, adding one from within the Regiment, was adopted.
During the tour of Malaya, the 4th Hussars lost one officer and twenty-one other ranks killed in action or died, and four officers and twenty-eight other ranks were wounded.
One notable action took place on the last day of 1948 when a troop of ‘A’ Squadron, 4th Hussars, commanded by Lt MG Questier, was ambushed at Sungei Siput, a few miles north of Ipoh. Lt Questier and several of the troop were killed but 2Lt JL Sutro took command with such resolution that the bandits were driven off leaving six dead and ten wounded.
Why not find out more about The Ambush of 4th Troop, ‘A’ Squadron, 4th Hussars.
The 4th Hussars left the Far East in the winter of 1951, arriving in England 12 days before Christmas.
The General Service Medal (GSM) 1918-1962 was awarded to army and RAF personnel who met the qualifying criteria for service in any of the following geographical areas:
South Persia, Kurdistan, Iraq, North West Persia, Southern Desert Iraq, Northern Kurdistan, Palestine, South East Asia 1945 to 1946, Palestine 1945 to 1948, Malaya, Cyprus, Near East, Arabian Peninsula, Brunei, Canal Zone.
- South Persia
- North-West Persia
- Southern Desert Iraq
- Northern Kurdistan
- South East Asia 1945 to 1946
- Palestine 1945 to 1948
- Near East
- Arabian Peninsula
- Canal Zone