Tigers’ band and drummers kept spirits high in jungle war

The Corps of Drums from the Hampshire Regiment outside their basha in Malaya, January 1955
The Corps of Drums from the Hampshire Regiment outside their basha in Malaya, January 1955
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These pictures will bring back memories for men of the Royal Hampshire Regiment who fought in the Malayan Emergency of the 1950s.

They were taken at the end of their deployment there in 1955 and 1956 shortly before Malaysia became independent.

Royal H Regiment Band and Corps of Drums marching through Kuala Lumpur, 1956

Royal H Regiment Band and Corps of Drums marching through Kuala Lumpur, 1956

They show the regiment’s corps of drums and come from Desmond Simpson, of Shirrell Heath, near Fareham, who points out that many of the men were National Servicemen.

For those who served their country in the sweltering heat of the Malayan jungle it is a forgotten war.

Soldiers from the Royal Hampshire Regiment were sent to the British colony to defeat Communist terrorists in December 1953.

For the next two-and-a-half years they were killed and maimed by a ruthless enemy with local knowledge on their side.

Malaya 1956: Back row: Drummers R Tizzard, RG Gissing, RF Rowsell, EBP Wilson, AF Timms, RHV Randall, PJ Summers, DN Simpson, EFP Price.

Malaya 1956: Back row: Drummers R Tizzard, RG Gissing, RF Rowsell, EBP Wilson, AF Timms, RHV Randall, PJ Summers, DN Simpson, EFP Price.

The Communist bandits knew every twist and turn of the unforgiving landscape.

As well as enemy bullets, about 1,500 Hampshire troops and their fellow soldiers from more than 100 regiments nationwide had to avoid impaling themselves on sharp bamboo shoots cut into spikes.