RUR prepare for 'Confrontation', Sarawak.

Thursday, 30 January, 1964

In January 1963, President Sukarno’s government of Indonesia announced that it would be pursuing a policy of Konfrontasi following British proposals for an amalgamation of the Federation of Malaya, Singapore and British Borneo (North Borneo and Sarawak). Sukarno sought to explain the expansion of this new amalgamated Malaysia as nothing other than a continuation of British colonial influence in the region. However, he viewed the expansion of a Malaysia supported by the British as an obstacle to his regional power ambitions. In addition to sponsoring local political oppositions, and insurrection and revolt in Brunei and Sarawak, Sukarno took the decision to directly involve Indonesian forces and on 12 April 1963, a police station in Sarawak was attacked.

IWM TR23216The Royal Ulster Rifles, commanded by Lt Col C W B Purdon flew to Hong Kong in January 1964; it was the beginning of what would be a twelve month unaccompanied tour of duty. During the three months spent in Hong Kong, rifle companies attended the Jungle Warfare Course at Kota Tinggi to prepare the Battalion for operations in Sarawak on what, from July 1964, would be officially known as Operation CLARET.

(Left, Rifleman James Linton, a member of a patrol of the Royal Ulster Rifles, shows an Iban child his Light Machine Gun. The patrol was resting at the Rumah Jarup longhouse on the Kanowit River near Sibu, after completing a five day patrol against Indonesian border terrorists in the jungle of Sarawak.)
(© IWM (TR 23216))