Research on RCB Commanders Diary Notes

Its a marvelous invention the internet, it allows us to research and to communicate effectively.I have done a little research and have documents titled Commanders Diary Notes – 6RAR for the period 1971 – 1973.

During this period 6RAR were stationed in Singapore as part of the tri nation 28 ANZUK Brigade.
There are two documents which are of relwevance to our cause, the first is a document titled CT Mine and Booby Trap Markings and Indicators.the second sets out the objectives for D.Coy deployment to Butterworth in Jan 73 direct from Singapore,

The argument that I am trying to put across is that whther it was ANZUK Brigade service or RCB service there was an inherant danger which the government knew about, yet it did at the time sell the service as normal training activity.These documents clearly expose the fact that we were placed in harms way with an expectation of casualties.As follows:

Document a

Instruction of 5 pages
Annex N to 6RAR – R841/1/61
Dated October 1972
CT Mine And Booby Trap Markings and Indicators

The first paragraph sets out the purpose of the instruction, which no doubt was issued by intelligence to 6RAR Comand.

1he purpose of this instruction is to provide a means of identifying CT mine and booby trap marker indicators.

2 The markings and indicators described in this instruction have been found throughout South Vietnam and SE asia, a knowledge of which may prevent friendly casualties.

The instruction goes through a wide range of situations regarding types of markers and indicators however the following highlites the possibiity of danger.

(n) Vehicle Track Markers. The CT have capitalised on our habit of following old vehicle tracks by placing mines into these tracks.The mines may be under the marker or up to 400m away.
(p) an M1A1 anti tank mine with approximately 25lb TNT was discoverd under this marker.The mine had been marked with sticks at each corner and two sticks forming an X over the mine.
5 Placement Procedures. ——————————The best preventive measure so far is to develop in conjunction with local populace an effective inteligence system to discover enemy plans for mining.This will enable friendly forces to conduct ambushes and destroy or capture CT attempting to lay mines.

Conclusion —————Friendly forces are constantly being menanced by CT mine placementsImproved or unimporoved roads,road shoulders,trails,and any probable avenue of approach are subect to mining.The only doctrine that has appeared concerning the placements of mines requires the CT units to know the location of mines within theiir operating area.Mine indicator are only those which have been reported to date. Many more are suspected and if any new mine indicators or mine markings are found they should be reported as knowledge of these markers by friendly forces will aid in the reduction of mine and booby trap casualties.

It is very clear from reading this document that anybody whether or not it be with ANZUK brigade or with RCB were placed at risk when operating in training mode in Malaysia.Malaysia was at war internally and we were placed into a country riddled with mine and booby trap placements, the government was aware of this,yet coninued to exploit the situation.It was very poor risk management to say the least.How would they have explained a casualty to the Australian public, it would possibly never have been revealed to the public.

The second document reinforces the intent of the government to maintain an Australian Army presence in Malaysia knowing full well that Malaysia was at war and that an inherant danger existed not through direct contact with the CT but indirectly through mine and booby trap placements.Have no doubt we were all placed at risk.

AWM 95
Item No 7/6/68
Item 6 Battalion Royal Australian Regiment
1 – 31 December 1972

Deployment of D Coy Group to Butterworth – General Instructions.

The objectives of the deployment is to
1 Provide an Australian Army presence in Malaysia
2 Supplement normal protective security of Air base Butterworth and RAAF families when aproved by 29 ANZUK Brigade.

OC D coy has power of detachmeny command for duration of deployment.
10 The company is the only representative Australian Army organisation in Malaysia and also on RAAF base.
11. The company group is subject to the following standing orders.
a Formation standing Orders
b Base squadron standing orders
c 28 ANZUK brigade standing orders
d 6 RAR company Group staning orders
e 6 RAR staning orders

12 The Coy group is also to be fully conversant with the Base Defence Plan.

Annex B to DCoy
R 841/4/2
Dated December 1972


Prepare for and move to Butterworth using Excercise name of Mountain Stream
Introduction to Butterworth Air Nase
Introduction to RAAF
Introduction to Butterworth / Penang
The Threat
Base Defence Orientation
Mirage Introduction/ familiarisation
Orentation Butterworth / Penang

Once again it is clearly obvious that a threat existed , we were lectured on the threat by 65 Liason Group.

I think it would be important for us to fully exploit the issues that arise from these documents, simply because they are factual and recorded which leave the people like Feeny nowhere to go but other than to listen.


#Research conducted by a former RCB soldier.


  1. Franz Hagl says


    I have been reading all of the comments that have been posted to date and we all seem to have been involved in some incident(s) whilst stationed at RCB. I can recall several incidents which occurred during my tour of duty in 1976, however, as I’m not in contact with personnel I served with at RCB, I have no-one who can corroborate my recall of events. There will of course be others out there in the same situation.

    Most of us are reporting that during the period from 1970 to 1989 when the CT’s were active in Malaysia we carried weapons with live ammunition, we all knew our responsibilities and were fully conversant with orders in relation to what actions had to be taken if an incident occurred during one of our patrols.

    I applaud George Lovett and other ex-members (who have a greater knowledge of the internet than myself) that are conducting extra research which is good for our cause. Also, what about all the ex-Officers that served in Malaysia? I know most Platoon and Company Commanders kept notebooks and or diaries (in one form or another). Also, the Company Duty Room kept daily occurrence/incident/callout registers/books. What has happened to these records? Surely these registers/books should still be archived somewhere (or maybe converted to digital format) and would show records of incidents which had occurred on and around the airbase. As George has shown this is the type of evidence required to back up the RCB Review Groups case for the award of the AASM.

    Also I’m disappointed by some persons comments that RCB being awarded the AASM would demean the whole honours and awards system. This I cannot believe to be true, because many of you have commented that we were sent to Malaysia on “active duty, active service or war service” (whichever terminology one wishes to use, basically they all have the same meaning) and in the meantime the Australian Government has introduced a medal for active/war service (being the Australian “ACTIVE SERVICE” Medal) which covers the period 1970-1989. Then yes, I believe members of RCB (due to the nature of their service) should be entitled to receive this award and any benefits (if applicable).

    So, I urge more ex-RCB members to add their comments and support this worthy cause. The more help the RCB Review Group can get would in the long term be beneficial to us all (both Army and RAAF).

    We have repeatedly been pushed aside and denied the recognition that should rightfully be ours. The RCB Review Group has put forward a most compelling case. We the ex-service members all know why we were in Malaysia, however, most civilians I have spoken to are unaware that we even had troops in Malaysia in the 1970’s and ’80’s (as this was apparently not widely reported in those days). So why has the present Government not made available the documents pertaining to the then Government of the day (no matter how highly classified they may have been) and inform the public as to the real reason Australian servicemen and women were stationed at Butterworth? As for being in Malaysia for ‘training purposes’ (a Government argument which really is beginning to wear a bit thin), can anyone actually recall conducting any joint training exercises with the Malaysian Military Forces between 1970 and 1989? The Malaysians didn’t have time for joint exercises as they were busy conducting real operations against a real enemy not a pretend one.

    So, Gentlemen let us all band together to keep the pressure on to make the politicians listen so that we can secure the recognition that the RCB (and not forgetting the RAAF) rightly deserve. Then maybe finally this issue (which should never have been allowed to happen in the first place) can be put to rest and more importantly, we must not let this issue just fade into oblivion (which is obviously what the Government wants) as other similar issues have in the past. If we allow this to happen then all of the hard work conducted by the RCB Review Group plus the other Organizations involved and the likes of our friend George Lovett would have been all for nothing.

    Thank You George and keep up the good work.

  2. Mark Fulcher says

    I served in RCB in 1982. Yes we had a training excercise with the Malaysian Army. The way it was explained to us was the Malays rotated their battalions through operations, rest and lead up training for operations. We joined the Malays on their lead up training, which was conducted near the Thai border. We had 2 Malay soldiers attached to our section and 2 of our guys went with Malay sections. The Malays with us were always on edge and told us the area we were excercising in was known to harbour CT’s. It wasn’t only the Malays who knew, our command also knew, why else were we issued magazines and link of live ammunition to carry with us on this excercise? We were also given a code word that if heard over the radio meant we were switching from exercise to operations and we were to load our live magazines and be prepared to fight. It was the only excercise I had ever been on where the CSM checked we were carrying our bayonets before we left. Most of us didn’t carry them because they were all painted up for parades, but if we didn’t have them on our webbing we had to put them on. Like I said, our command knew something we the soldiers only suspected.

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