A cameo of life in Malaya at the time of 'The Emergency'
79 pages, Paperback, 146mm x 208mm.
Price: £ 5.75 UK Postage and Packing:
A book depicting a cameo of life during the Malayan Emergency has been published to mark the 50th anniversary of the declaration of the Emergency in 1948, as a tribute to all who served in the country in any capacity.
Peter Thomas of Oswestry and his late wife Kathleen wrote "Ulu Tiram" as a short novel based on their own first-hand experience. Part of the profits will go to SSAFA (Soldiers', Sailors' and Airmen's Families Association) in Shropshire, England. It starts in 1952 when Geoff Farrer, a young officer on active service in Malaya, is forced to shoot a wounded pregnant terrorist to end her agony. He does not know that he is being watched by her lover who vows to kill him. When Geoff returns to Malaya as a rubber planter on the Ulu Tiram estate with his young wife Sarah, he finds himself the target of several murderous attacks, though he is assured that the vengeful terrorist is dead...
The Emergency: It was in February 1948 at Calcutta that the Russian-controlled World Federation of Democratic Youth met and delegates from South East Asia were instructed to start armed rebellion when they returned home to Malaya, French Indo-China, Burma and the Philippines - thereby spreading Communism and linking up with Mao Tse-tung's successes in China. In Malaya, members of the Communist Malayan Peoples Anti-Japanese Army, which had been stood down after the war, returned to their jungle hideouts and secret arms dumps to prepare for insurrection. Waves of strikes, attacks on tin mines and rubber estates and the indiscriminate murder of managers, foremen and workers took place daily and in June a State of Emergency was declared giving wide powers of detention and arrest to the police. The meagre forces available initially had to be used in a defensive role.
"Thanks largely to splendid planning by General Briggs, the rapid expansion of The Malay Regiment, training of Special Constables and Home Guards, plus the battalions of British and Commonwealth troops all under the dynamic leadership of General Sir Gerald Templer, the campaign was won," said Peter. "Malaya became one of the few countries in the world to defeat an armed Communist attempt at takeover."
Peter Thomas enlisted in The Queens Royal Regiment in July 1945 at the age of 17 and was selected to be an officer cadet for the Indian Army in March 1946. The end of the war and Indian independence closed that channel and he was eventually commissioned from 163 Infantry OCTU (Artists Rifles) into The Royal Artillery on the day before his 19th birthday in May 1947. He arrived in Malaya in 1948 after the Emergency had been declared and was in action in an infantry role in Johore by 1949. He was engaged in jungle campaigns and in the protection of the civilian population from the terrorists. In 1952, whilst on leave in the UK, Peter met his wife-to-be Kathleen. While he returned to Malaya to the 2nd Bn The Malay Regt and eventually the 6th Bn, she waited stoically and wrote almost daily for three years. Peter was Mentioned in Dispatches in 1955 for distinguished services in Malaya. The couple married at Liverpool in 1955 and returned to Malaya to plant rubber before the New Year of 1956. They were happily married for 41 years until Kathleen's death in 1996.
The distinctive "bamboo" typeface for the title on the front cover was designed especially for "Ulu Tiram" by Patricia Kelsall.