The Beacon

This was a periodical produced by 84 Field Survey Squadron RE
This is a reproduction of the first edition.


The Beacon

Thinking that the left hand might like to know what the right hand was doing, a bulletin of this nature was suggested. The response has far exceeded expectations, and this first attempt is indeed encouraging and should surely stimulate those of us who have not as yet made our contribution.
Our hope is that contributions will be spontaneous, thus the Beacon will be published from time to time when material sufficient in quantity and diversity, has been collated. In this way we hope to achieve flexibility, concentration and surprise

Major T.R. Burrows RE

Sqn HQ

We welcomed 2LT Hoadley on 15 Aug 59 who has now taken over 2i/c duties from 2LT Mackie. Mr Mackie left us for demob on 17 Aug after. completing a ten month's stint.
We also had a very short but pleasant visit from Col D MacDonald, the Director of Survey (Designate) Aust Army on 28 & 29 Jul, He was accompanied by no Svy FARELF Maj J.E.Nolan R.Aust Svy,
Sprs Ritchie and Lettice (chippy) recently arrived decided to get themselves temporarily posted and are presently playing hermits at Kinrara. It is not known as yet if they are taking full advantage of their vacation and refusing their four day's remission.
L/Cpl Morris and Spr Broderick are now qualified projectionists, but have not yet displayed their prowess, both being hospitalised. L/Cpl Morris strained himself ,jerk lifting two light - weight blankets, but is expected to be fit to renew acquaintance with his pitchfork on RHE. He is at present in BMH Kinrara, while Broderick is undergoing treatment in BMH Singapore.
We have had a change on the RAPC front, welcoming Pte Roberts who has taken over from Cpl Watson. The latter left us a few days ago for demob.
The SSM having recently been taught how to squirt water and do battle with foam extinguishers has singled out a trained play - mate in Jock Kerrigan. They are now Unit Fire Officer and NCO respectively - merely a blind in order that they may play officially.
On Thursday 20 Aug, all ranks and their families assembled in the Recreation Room to pay their last respects. That happy institution has now, alas, gone dry by kind permission of “higher authority". The OC with due deference to the seriousness of the occasion called the LAST DRINKS and is still trying to reconcile the numbers present with the size of the bill.

M.T. Section

Transport !!! stacks of it. REME workshops can now have a holiday as all outstanding repairs and modifications have been completed. However, after some of our drivers have been turned loose on the road for a few days, with just a little assistance from Redford, this no doubt will soon be remedied and Workshops will be back in business.
The problem for a change is not "have we a vehicle" but "have we a driver "? Broderick is under treatment in BMH Singapore, Ritchie vacationing for 28 days at MCTC Kinrara (at the OC's invitation) and the recent return to UK of Fridge, Caple and Daley. Also, Cpl Seville has the week off, as he is being taught by 27 Coy how to repair a puncture in three easy lessons in preparation for his BIII trade test. Another course in the offing is a three months sweat for Spr Knight. He is off to. Singapore for AII VM trg. Will probably come back with a distinct REME outlook on life. It's bad enough with Cpl. Seville and his RASC ways, carrying a tin of Red Lead around with him,
News from the Detachment at Tanah Merah is scarce so apparently transport is still functioning They have now learnt how to make out an AFP 1922 and are making full use of their knowledge, much to the dismay of HQ REME at Seremban„


We are taking just a little longer nowadays to performs miracles,- and allowing the impossible to pend until happier days are here again. We are very short staffed with. L/Cpl Morris at BMH Kinrara and Spr Lettice, the chippy to the uninformed, keeping Ritchie company for some 28 days the MCTC Rest House, Kinrara. Fortunately Cpl Hayburst is back on the job again after having his tonsils decarbonised at BMH recently.

We suffered a grevious loss last June when L/Cpl Parker left for cooler climes and civvy street. Parker will be remembered by all as the Unit chippy, surveyor, clerk, computer, storeman, draftsman etc etc. The latest addition to the Q Staff is a son to SQMS & Mrs Hibbett on the 15 . Heartiest congratulations to the proud parents from all ranks.
We have just received 17 sterling machine carbines. These were most welcome to the field troops being collapsible and much lighter than the stens. We are also expecting a Browning in the near future to mount on one of the Scout Cars. Six Negretti and Zambra Altimeters have arrived. three of these are in Borneo and the other three still undergoing field trials at Sqn HQ. The OC has designed a collapsible whirling psychrometer to go with the altimeters and Cpl Hayhurst is currently manufacturing them. Very little is known of the B & H Whirling Psychrometer, Hand, Collapsible MK 1 59 Pat, One usually reliable source reports that the prototype looked a bundle of sticks, but emits soft fluting Pooh like noises accompanied by puffs of blue smoke at regular five minute intervals.
Only one major problem has been encountered this week and most satisfactorily solved. One of our big footed detachment requested Jungle boots size 11. No Jungle  Boots size 11 available but 4 pairs of size 3 dispatched immediately.

Carto Tp

The pencil power of the Squadron is maintaining its fantastic record of sheer hard work, efficiency and all round brilliance. Not for Carto Tp the glamour and comfort of jungle patrols, Cook's tours of tropic isles and virgins of Borneo. They certainly serve who only stay at Sqn HQ and work, Not that life here is all work and no play; why only nine months ago Carto Tp had half a days' stand down when the electricity supply failed.

At present 12 members of Carto are attached to 570 Map Repro Tp in, the wilds of Singapore. This is a TOP SECRET detachment about which and of whom little is known. However the last smoke signal received informed us that Fairchild and Craine had both scrambled onto the bottom-rung of the ladder and are now Lance Corporals, As Sir William Slim would say "every soldier carries a field marshals baton in his Bergen".

The only other recent elevation was that. of M. Maunder from Corporal to Sgt. This chap by the way has only been with the-Sqn for six months and ready pining for the joys of East Africa from whence he came.

Multiplex of course forms the nucleus of the Tp and Spr Elcombe left that happy band only last week to return to Civvy St and Ordnance Survey. This leaves L/Cpls Taylor, Gordon, Sprs Callow and Donnelly battling for the pleasure of working the 0100 - 0700 hrs shift. The first three by the way are currently slaving for their AII trade classification.

The remainder of the Tp come and go with some abandon altho we have had Marsh and Jones 4D amongst us for some time. The rest are generally happy types living in semi-retirement until that happy day when they can go on detachment. However, good use has been made of these poor lost souls and they can now wield pen and ink with the best of them.

Sgt Kirk of course goes on forever and has recently proved his mettle by issuing works instructions to the Multiplex gang by telephone in the middle at the night. Unfortunately the next morning he couldn't even remember the telephone call, let alone what instructions he gave. Subsequent events showed that his instructions were OK, which must prove something! He has also become the HQ interpreter having successfully completed a Malay language course recently.
Only one new boy lately, Spr Talbot on 1 Aug 59. He is a draughtsman type and may eventually find his way down to Singapore, but in the meantime is compiling madly.

Hill Life by E.L.Woolley

Borneo is a very mountainous country, with swift flowing rivers and jungle covered hills. In the Northern part of Borneo these hills are inhabited by Dusuns or Kadazans as they prefer to be called. We have recently been working in the most mountainous areas about forty miles from Jesselton-and have come into close contact with these hill people. The hill Kadazan is a short, powerfully built person, with black hair and a light brown skin. They are very strong walkers when young, and can run up and down the narrow jungle tracks, which often are along rivers, like goats.
Their diet consists of Hill Padi, which is grown in a ladang cleared in the jungle - often on an incredibly steep slope, and Tapioca. They balance this with fish or game caught in the rivers or jungle and with some vegetables, usually a type of cucumber or  limes. However they glean many types of edible plants and fruit from the jungle.
Game is numerous in these areas and the locals are adept at making traps for rats and monkeys (usually found on fallen logs) and for catching wild pigs. One of the traps for the latter is now forbidden by the Government, since it consisted of. a very sharp piece of bamboo sprung back on a path. The trap was so designed that anything walking along the track would be pinned through the body. If a pig, through the shoulder, if a human being, through the thigh. Because of many accidents caused to people the trap was forbidden, however one still comes across these traps in remote areas.
It is amusing to watch one of these people cut down a large jungle tree. They make a rough platform of two sticks and one or two cross struts joined by creepers, then they run up, on to the platform and. start cutting with a short handled axe; however in a while one hears a loud cry and sees a little figure running back up the hill. The tree gives a loud groan and- then hurtles down the hill taking smaller trees and branches with it. These areas used to be much more densely populated, but during the Japanese occupation the people could not get salt or medicines and as result many of them have goitres or are crippled in some way. They live in bamboo houses usually high above a valley bottom, and keep pigs and poultry around the house. They have few things to amuse themselves. The main musical instruments are the Simputan, a kind of bamboo bagpipe; the Tongongah, a bamboo stringed instrument which sounds like a gong; gongs made of bronze; the Binkou, resembling a Jew's harp; and one also sees a nose flute occasionally.

They make alcoholic drinks from rice which they call Tapei and also from Tapioca and coconut sap they make Baah; all of these arc fairly strong and they drink them in large quantities. One must be careful not to sup too strongly in a kampong for the tracks go straight up and down the hills and one fall may be your last:
The Hill Kadazan is a friendly, honest and hardworking man who manages to do everything with the aid of a parang and bamboo


Hong Kong Detachment

A detachment commanded, by :- Captain R.M.Mangles RE and comprising
LCpl Taylor D.R.
Sprs     Bates
and     Jewsbury

Shed the warmth and security of Squadron Headquarters for 'Foreign climes’ , embarking Singapore 17 Sep 58 on the TT "'Oxfordshire" for Hong Kong.
Met at Kowloon, by the Regimental Survey Officer, 49 Field Regt RA, the detachment were accommodated at Sek Kong Camp under the auspices of 49 Field Regt. RA.
With Sek Kong Camp as its Base HQ, the detachment set about its task and the only recorded matters of interest during the settling in period were (a) the admission to Hospital of Spr Bates and (b) LCp1 Taylor's promotion to Acting Cpl.
On the 25 November the detachment moved and made its HQ at WHITEFIELD BARRACKS,, KOWLOON, again with the 'Gunners' - Hosts this time being NO 3 independent Amphibious Observation Troop RA.
Sprs Dunbar and Dunlop pulled LCp1 on 25-Dec-58, (what a nice way to say “Merry Xmas")- and in that rank LCpl Dunbar left the Orient for the UK and Civvy Street. Cpl Taylor did likewise on 9 Feb 59 and Spr Bates followed, on 5 May 59.
In early May, SSgt Whalley left Sqn HQ and joined the detachment, eventually taking up the reins from Captain Mangles as ic Detachment.
Here let us stand for the customary 3 minutes silence in memory of bachelor who joined the ranks of the "Harassed Henpecked Husbands" when on the 23 May 59 in Hong Kong, Captain Mangles and Miss Mary Rose Hodgen became man & wife. To the happy couple, hearty congratulations and best wishes from all ranks.
On handing over to SSgt Whalley, Captain and Mrs Mangles said goodbye to Hong Kong and after a brief stay in Kuala Lumpur moved on to Jesselton where Capt Mangles took up the appointment of Oic N. BORNEO DET.
For one Spr Jewsbury June 59 was a happy month with his appointment to LCpl on the 11th and the arrival, from UK, of Mrs Jewsbury on the 5th. We trust that, by now, Mrs Jewsbury has settled dawn in her new home and is enjoying life to the full in the FAR EAST.
Work on this Detachment is so Top Secret that nobody knows what they are doing,

Tanah Merah Det

Map covering this detachment

Location: Kelantan. Within 40 m of Kota Bharu on nearly continuous made up road.
Population: Predominantly Malay.
Activities: Typical
Entertainment: Tanah Merah Talkies
Transport: Three trains a week or Cpl Dunn's car


0i/c Detachment Capt R.M.Kennedy RE
2ic Lt Mustapha Yusoff RPC
Detachment Troop Sgts Sgt Usher, Sgt Aziz, Sgt Chin

The detachment is housed in a white boarded compound just out of the town of TANAH MERAH.  The compound was originally built as a fairground so some of the accommodation is under wooden framed asbestos roofs whilst the remainder is under canvas. The trig office, detachment office and armoury are housed on the stage with a yellow parachute hung from the apex of the roof to shield the occupants from the sun.,
The food for detachment in purchased in Kota Bharu mainly from the Cold Storage so the standard of meals is very high. Quite often however the Ration truck gets held up enroute at the GUILLEMARD Bridge over the S.KELANTAN. This is a magnificent iron grinder railway bridge which only recently has been tarmaced between the track to allow road transport to use it as well as Malayan Railways. However considerable delays are experienced by all road users as at least 15 minutes has to be allowed before trains are due as well as single way traffic when in use. The bridge is officially closed to road traffic at 6.30 pm every night which rather hampers night revels in Kota Bharu.
Just outside Kota Bharu, is the well known Beach of Passionate Love; a truly excellent beach of golden sands and Coconut palms. A nearby restaurant has a dance on Thursday evenings which is well attended by the local beauties (and the B.O.R’s).
Since the arrival of '84' in Tanah Merah there are one or two items of news that are worth recording to interest the more detached detachments.

Visitors :
Col D.MacDonald R.Aust Svy
DAD Svy Maj Nolan
Maj T.R. Burrows
Maj Silk

Capt Kennedy spent about one week in Kota Bharu hospital after being bitten by hornets on way to trig station.
Cpl Dunn and Pte Tait have had their first day in the Ulu on a re-supply party to L/Cpl Pilcher on Bukit Kemahang. It may be added they no longer found the surveyors lot an easy one and that driving was certainly not more strenuous.
The last party to go out went by train and then boat to the point. This in itself is surely enough to make the 'older' surveyors turn grey.
The next point to be visited will see the theodolite set up wither on a lighthouse, locally constructed wooden tower or a gantry.
Sprs Holden and Craigs have been out on operations since 7 July and are expected out in about a fortnight meaning all the scheduled points will have been visited.
Capt Kennedy took part in the Sultans Birthday Parade on the Padang in Kota Bharu last week.
Capt Ratnam left Tanah Merah on Thu 13 Aug 59 for UK where he will be going on a small Arms Course at Hythe.  Lt Mustapha arrived few days before to complete the handover.
The detachment's fire power has now been increased with the arrival of six Sterlings. These have been found very compact and convenient especially when carrying full bergens.
A recruitment drive is now going full swing with the result that quite a few of the 'unconverted' are seriously considering an extension of their tour in the Royal Engineers.
L/Cpl Taylor is now in the Cameron Highlands recovering from a recent stay in BMH Kinrara. His place with the troop has been filled by L/Cpl Pilcher.
Cpl Deering is the most recent arrival with the idea perhaps, that with an eye on the recruitment drive, the way to the men's heart is through their stomachs!
A few BOR's are now attending church in Kota Bharu regularly and are looking forward to possible-visits the Padre and also the priest from K.B.
Pte Tait holds the 'demob stick' up here with less than nine weeks remaining of his two years in the A.C.C.


The detachment is now living. at KASIGUI, a small town six miles SE of Jesselton, and at present consists of
Oic Capt R.M.  Mangles
Cpl M.H. Vickers
LCpl P.D. Wood
Spr G.M. Norsworthy
“      J.R. Saunders
"     J.W. Bradley
"     A.R. Thomas
"     E.L. Wooley
Pte S.A. Hagemeyer
of the original party of five who arrived at Kudat in February only three remain. S Hyslop is bow happily settled in civilian life, and Lt Todd, the original Oic has returned to Malaya to supervise family life. Whilst on this subject our congratulations are again extended to Maj and Mrs. Burrows and Lt and Mrs. Todd on the arrival of their respective children.
On the 31st of May we bade farewell to I.A. (Jock) Fridge who will by now be a civilian, his replacement is G.M. Norsworthy, a newcomer to the Far East, who has spent the last 2½ years arduously employed in a TA, (holiday) camp at Brighton. Another newcomer to North Borneo is Capt R.M. MANGLES who accompanied by his wife, arrived on 28 June to take over command from 2/Lt J.M. URE. The latter left us on 9 Aug returning to KUALA. LUMPUR prior to UK and civilian life once more.


This is a comfortable camp consisting of a PWD bungalow overlooking the Moyog river-and Penampang Police station with a clear view on some days of the Crocker range and Mt Kinabalu and Gunong Alab. Designed to accommodate one man the bungalow now holds ten, mostly on the floor, but nevertheless pretty comfortable with dunlopillo, electricity, water etc. NAAFI supplies from 67 Sqn at Kota Belud keep spirits up and the price of beer down. The main recreation in the evenings is bridge; this seems to have almost the whole detachment in its grip and for some has become almost an obsession, although we have yet to see a Facit on the bridge table
At week ends there is, cricket, swimming and badminton in Jesselton of course the Sports Club to which we all belong as honorary members.
On the technical side, the work is probably known to most of the Squadron by now - a mixture of trig and photo annotation. The main difference to Malaya are the greater-ease of access to the hills, the lack of communications and the necessity for living off the land without air supply. This last is made possible by the comparatively large number of kampongs where the headmen or "orang tuas” always provide a hut for the night and are generally extremely helpful. The hills are generally_ much higher here than in Malaya, averaging about 5500 feet   Mt Kinabalu, a primary trig point, is 13,400 feet. All ranks are now familiar with the life and habits of the hill Dusans and in some cases have adopted their customs and speak their language so well as to prefer them to their own! Not a bad thing since we rely on the Dusan for our porters and guides and on their hospitality and friendliness for shelter and information.
We are all agreed here that this is a most pleasant part of the world to live and work in, not only because of the interest of an undeveloped country and the reasonable climate, but mainly because of the cooperation and genuine friendship of the people both European and native.


Whilst we were still at TUARAN we issued a cricket challenge to the Jesselton Sports Club which was promptly accepted. We were able to field 8 players and the deficiency was made up by members of the Jesselton Sports Association. Our team toiled nobly for about 5 hours but were eventually beaten (no scores mentioned) Notable in the batting was E.L. Woolley's chanceless 48 which raised our hopes of at least making a game of it. The belief that all Australians are Don Bradmans was quickly disproved by Lt Todd's performance with the bat. It is regretted that the Scots were little better. This match had comprehensive coverage in the national daily press ie. The Sabah Times, and compliments were passed on the teams performance.
Because of the good performance shown in this match, invitations were extended to all members whenever available, and consequently 3 or 4 members per week have found their way to the sports club.

A match was played at Tuaran against Kent College, the local teachers' training centre. All available members of the detachment participated in an extremely exhausting and rather wet 70 minutes football. A noteable display of unorthodox goal-keeping was given by Lt Todd. After a cracking first half with the score at 1 - 1 a sudden storm washed away our chances and we finally sank 4 - 1.
It is hoped that members of this detachment will, whenever possible, play for Jesselton Recreation Club during the forthcoming season. Negotiations for this are in progress.

Table Tennis
An evening was spent at Kent College where were the visitors in a table tennis match. It is regretted that two separate matches were lost, though this was chiefly through lack of practice. The scores were 5 - 0 and 3 - 2 S. Hyslop and J.R. Saunders winning, their singles matches.

During the Queen's Birthday celebrations a match took place between H.M.S. Cheviot (representing the Royal Navy) and Jesselton Town. Two members of the detachment played for Jesselton, 2Lt J.M. Ure being prominent in the Jesselton back division whilst several glimpses of the mangled limbs of E.L. Woolley were obtained in scrums and loose mauls. Despite the formidable appearance of the Cheviot's record, who played a Scottish international Scrum half Jesselton played extremely well to win by 9 pts to 3 pts in a fast and enjoyable game.

Mr Ure and E.L. Woolley recently visited, as guests, the house of a member of the Radio Sabah Musical Society where a concert of classical records was heard. The programme included works by Mendelssohn, Schubert, Tchaikovsky and extracts from Von Suppe's light opera "Boccaccio". The evening's music was very much appreciated after months devoid of similar entertainment.

Several members of the detachment, though not professing to be photographers, nevertheless possess cameras. The country is ideal for landscape photography and some good shots have been achieved. Both J.R. Saunders and A.R. Thomas have cine cameras so that eventually a full length film may be compiled for the viewing of all.

Social Life
We have been extremely fortunate in our contact with the civilian population, and at times members. have been able to lead a very full social life.
Whilst at Tuaran a farewell party was held in our honour by the District Officer Mr. D. Eisenhowor and his wife. Many eminent people in the area attended a good time was had by all.

Mr D.Price, the Deputy Principal at Kent College, Tuaran, also threw a party in our honour and his fine collection of records and. liquid refreshment overwhelmed us all. It is regretted, since he is now on leave in England, that Radio Sabah has lost its No 1 disc jockey,

Talking Shop
The M.T. section reports that he went into North Borneo Motors Ltd for a ¼" bolt and was told they would have to send away to Singapore for one (oh for the efficiency of HQ MT)

We are pleased to announce that in addition to the luxuries we already enjoy we can now boast our own portable "transistor" radio.

Money from the swear box and funds from fines for minor misdemeanours will soon enable us to buy our own helicopter to assist in field checking.
It is hoped that we will have a dog - variety unspecified - as detachment mascot in the near future.

With the arrival of the various units to the Kota Belud Training area we have now got concessional rates of postage so that we now pay 10c instead of 75c for mail to England. Also we can now get cheaper beer and cigarettes through the NAAFI much to everyone's relief.

Some survey work is also being done when time permits.

The last Word

Well, there it is The Beacon has now become the unofficial organ for unofficial organ for Squadron news, complaints, moans and groans with, we hope, please the odd bouquet thrown in. The members of the Borneo Detachment deserve special mention because this bulletin was originally their idea.

They retained the initiative and were also the first and most prolific of our correspondents.
The Squadron Seniors rallied grandly to make this first issue possible, but it is your paper so don't leave it up to them for future issues. Remember our motto - you write it, we will print it.

With thanks to  Tim Walker for the original scans for this contribution.