Farewell to Sarawak, 1 RUR (Borneo Island)

Wednesday, 10 February, 1965

IWM (TR 23215)Following the relief of C Company in mid-January 1965 by the 1/6th Gurkha Rifles, the troopship MV Auby docked on 6 February at Kuching carrying the main body of the 1st Battalion The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders. The following day, the Argylls sent the first company by road to Balai Ringin, which then flew forward to relieve D Company. Later that day, D Company moved to Kuching and embarked on the Auby. B Company's turn was next on the 8 February. However, for twenty-four hours incessant storms over Kuching airfield prevented the helicopters from getting off the ground, and 6 Platoon remained marooned in their jungle base at Nibong. Eventually the weather cleared and out they came, with only hours to spare before the Auby was due to sail. Command then passed to the Argylls. By midday on the 10 February, 1 RUR was embarked and ready to depart.

(Above right; against the setting sun, three members of a patrol of the Royal Ulster Rifles led by Lance Corporal John McCarroll are silhouetted as they return to their company base camp after a hard day's patrolling against the Indonesian border terrorists in the jungles of Sarawak.(IWM TR 23215))

At 1600 hours the Brigade Commander came to the quayside to say goodbye. He was joined by the State Secretary, the Commissioner of the Sarawak Constabulary, the Resident lst Division and other dignitaries. At 1630 hours the chief Minister of Sarawak, Dato Stephen Ningkan, arrived at the dockside. He was met by the Commanding Oficer and walked down the ranks of a representative detachment from the Battalion paraded on the quay, while the rest of the Battalion looked on from the ship's side. He then presented to the Battalion a plaque on behalf of the Government of Sarawak, and in his speech thanked the Battalion for its service to Sarawak and to Malaysia. The Commanding Officer in return presented him with a Regimental crest as a token of friendship from the Battalion to the people of Sarawak. The parade gave three cheers - and an Irish one - and finally embarked. The Ministers and visitors came aboard to say their farewells, while two pipers of the Scots Guards played Irish tunes on the quay. At 1725 hours the visitors went ashore and five minutes later the Auby sailed for Singapore. The 1st Battalion's nine-month operational tour in Sarawak was over.