News, Culture & Society

British carry prisoner in ‘Malayan Emergency’ pictures

Colourised photographs of British troops fighting during in the Malayan Emergency show the brutality of the battle that claimed 10,000 lives.  

The conflict against communist insurgents was dubbed ‘Britain’s Vietnam’, and images show troops trekking through the tropical terrain of the former British-colony then known as the Federation of Malaya.

Other pictures depict some of the 35,000 British troops deployed in the conflict carrying what appears to be a tied up communist prisoner on a pole through the jungle, whilst another shows one of the troops relaxing in his hammock with a dog for company.

Amazingly, the battle was never branded a war due to insurance purposes. 

The prevalent rubber plantations and tin-mining industries had pushed for the use of the term ’emergency’ instead, since their losses would not have been covered by insurers had it been called a ‘war’.

A squadron of allied soldiers including British troops trek through the jungle with a bloodied communist soldier slumped and bound over a wooden pole. Taken from a conflict against communist insurgents known as ‘Britain’s Vietnam’, images show troops trekking through the tropical terrain of the former British-colony then known as the Federation of Malaya

British troops are led through shoulder-high water as they wade through the jungle's rivers in the brutal, drawn-out Malayan Emergency. 

British troops are led through shoulder-high water as they wade through the jungle’s rivers in the brutal, drawn-out Malayan Emergency. 

British soldiers land in Malaysia having been dropped off by a helicopter. Amazingly, the battle was never branded a war due to insurance purposes. The prevalent rubber plantations and tin-mining industries had pushed for the use of the term 'emergency' instead, since their losses would not have been covered by insurers had it been called a 'war'

British soldiers land in Malaysia having been dropped off by a helicopter. Amazingly, the battle was never branded a war due to insurance purposes. The prevalent rubber plantations and tin-mining industries had pushed for the use of the term ’emergency’ instead, since their losses would not have been covered by insurers had it been called a ‘war’

A British troop relaxes in a hammock whilst reading a book with a dog by his side. Described as a guerilla war, the Malayan Emergency was a conflict fought between the UK, Commonwealth and other security forces against Communist insurgents in Malaysia. It lasted from 1948 to 1960 and began after a period of sustained civil unrest in the region

A British troop relaxes in a hammock whilst reading a book with a dog by his side. Described as a guerilla war, the Malayan Emergency was a conflict fought between the UK, Commonwealth and other security forces against Communist insurgents in Malaysia. It lasted from 1948 to 1960 and began after a period of sustained civil unrest in the region

Described as a guerilla war, the Malayan Emergency was a conflict fought between the UK, Commonwealth and other security forces against Communist insurgents in Malaysia.

It lasted from 1948 to 1960 and began after a period of sustained civil unrest in the region.

The Malayan economy was left in turmoil following the withdrawal of Japan at the end of the Second World War.

Attempts were made by the British administration to repair the country’s economy, as revenue from Malaya’s tin and rubber industries were important to Britain’s own post-war recovery.

However, food was scarce and expensive, wages were low and unemployment was high. Significant labour unrest resulted in a large number of strikes between 1946 and 1948.

Protesters were dealt with harshly during the strikes, with many being arrested and deported. This resulted in protesters becoming more and more militant.

The Malayan Emergency was sparked on June 16, 1948, by the first overt act of war; three European plantation managers were killed at Sungai Siput, Perak, and retaliation against Communist insurgents was swift. 

British troops and their allies march through the jungle during the Malayan Emergency. The Malayan economy was left in turmoil following the withdrawal of Japan at the end of the Second World War. Attempts were made by the British administration to repair the country's economy, as revenue from Malaya's tin and rubber industries were important to Britain's own post-war recovery

British troops and their allies march through the jungle during the Malayan Emergency. The Malayan economy was left in turmoil following the withdrawal of Japan at the end of the Second World War. Attempts were made by the British administration to repair the country’s economy, as revenue from Malaya’s tin and rubber industries were important to Britain’s own post-war recovery

Three helicopters branded G, J and K fly over the dense jungle in which the 12-year battle was fought. Back in Britain, food was scarce and expensive, wages were low and unemployment was high during the battle. Significant labour unrest resulted in a large number of strikes between 1946 and 1948

Three helicopters branded G, J and K fly over the dense jungle in which the 12-year battle was fought. Back in Britain, food was scarce and expensive, wages were low and unemployment was high during the battle. Significant labour unrest resulted in a large number of strikes between 1946 and 1948

The photos we caringly brought into the 21st century by Electrician, Royston Leonard, 55, who discussed modern attitudes towards the conflict.

‘Unfortunately, the war is more or less forgotten today, it is not even known as a war, just an emergency of which there was 12 years of fighting,’ he said.

‘The images really bring to life just how tough the conditions were where the combat was taking place.

‘The original pictures were in poor condition and not of good quality so most needed repairing before I could begin the colourisation process.

‘All in all, to repair and colour the photos it took around 50 hours.’

The Malayan Emergency, which saw thousands of deaths, lasted from 1948 until 1960 and started after the armed wing of the Malayan Communist Party began wreaking havoc in the British colony.

A group of soldiers trek through the rivers of Malaysia. Anti-war protesters in Britain were dealt with harshly during the strikes, with many being arrested and deported. This resulted in demonstrators becoming more and more militant

A group of soldiers trek through the rivers of Malaysia. Anti-war protesters in Britain were dealt with harshly during the strikes, with many being arrested and deported. This resulted in demonstrators becoming more and more militant

Four British troops carry supplies up a hill on their shoulders (left) while soldiers inspect a local’s bag (right). The Malayan Emergency, which saw thousands of deaths, lasted from 1948 until 1960 and started after the armed wing of the Malayan Communist Party began wreaking havoc in the British colony

A soldier directs a bus, which has pulled up alongside a tank. The conflict was labelled as an 'emergency' because insurers would not have compensated plantation and mine owners, whose livelihoods were under attack from communist insurgents, had it been labelled a 'war'

A soldier directs a bus, which has pulled up alongside a tank. The conflict was labelled as an ’emergency’ because insurers would not have compensated plantation and mine owners, whose livelihoods were under attack from communist insurgents, had it been labelled a ‘war’

Malaya was granted its independence in 1957 and despite this appeasing many communists the combat continued for another three years until British and Commonwealth forces had freed most of the country from terrorist activity. It goes down as one of the few successful counter-insurgency operations undertaken by Western forces during the Cold War

Malaya was granted its independence in 1957 and despite this appeasing many communists the combat continued for another three years until British and Commonwealth forces had freed most of the country from terrorist activity. It goes down as one of the few successful counter-insurgency operations undertaken by Western forces during the Cold War

The conflict was labelled as an ’emergency’ because insurers would not have compensated plantation and mine owners, whose livelihoods were under attack from communist insurgents, had it been labelled a ‘war’.

Malaya was granted its independence in 1957 and despite this appeasing many communists the combat continued for another three years until British and Commonwealth forces had freed most of the country from terrorist activity.

It goes down as one of the few successful counter-insurgency operations undertaken by Western forces during the Cold War. 

 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


Do you like it? Share with your friends!


Comments are closed.