West Wales War Memorial Project West Wales War Memorial Project

Malayan Emergency, 1950-1969

Following the end of WW2, the economy of Malaya had slumped, causing considerable unrest. On 18 June 1948 three estate managers were murdered by Malayan Communist guerrillas at Perak, thus beginning a state of emergency which would last for years. No operations were launched to counter the insurgency until 1950, and that year the British High Commissioner of Malaya was murdered. This brought British and Australian troops into war, but it took ten years to bring the threat under control. For more details on the Malayan Emergency, please read the excellent piece on the Wikepedia website.

Vernon Bowen, Sergeant (Navigator), 1654380, Royal Air Force. Vernon was born at Cross Hands on 20 September 1923. Details of his service are not known, as the World War 2 service records are as yet unobtainable, but Vernon was serving at Singapore, based at RAF Tengah, as a Navigator with 45 Squadron, Royal Air Force during the Malayan Emergency. The Malayan Emergency was a guerrilla war for independence fought between Commonwealth armed forces and the Malayan National Liberation Army, the military arm of the Malayan Communist Party, from 1948 to 1960. The Royal Air Force flew Avro Lincolns and Bristol Brigands from Singapore on bombing raids over Communist Malaya. Vernon was Navigator of a three man crew of a Bristol Brigand, consisting of Pilot Alan Martin and Radio Operator Peter Weston. On the morning of 15 June 1951, the crew were asked to do an air test on their Brigand VS857 (OB-K), and took off from Tengah just before lunch. The aircraft was headed north and climbing when what seemed like a massive explosion rocked the aircraft, and sent it out of control over Changi Creek, where it crashed moments later. Alan Martin and Peter Weston had survived, but sadly Vernon had been killed in the crash, his body being found underneath the wreckage of the fuselage. A later investigation found that a propeller had broken loose- a common problem on Brigands, and it was that which had made the aircraft lose control. Vernon was 27 years old when he died that day, and his body was interred at Kranji Military Cemetery.

George Royston Evans, Fusilier, 22910228, Royal Welch Fusiliers. George was born at Garnant on 14 June 1935, and served with the 2nd Battalion, Royal Welch Fusiliers. The battalion served during the Malayan Emergency, in support of the Malayan Government against the Malayan Communist uprising. George was killed in Malay on 19 January 1955. He was just 19 years old, and is buried at Cheras Road Christian Cemetery, Kuala Lumpar, Malaysia.

Christopher Edward A. Hobbs, Private, 23219756, Royal Army Medical Corps. Christopher was born at Saundersfoot on 10 March 1936, the son of Ernest and Caroline Hobbs. He served with the Royal Army Medical Corps. Christopher died at Singapore on 4 November 1956, aged 20, and is buried at Kranji Military Cemetery, Singapore.

Arthur John Rosser, Flying Officer, 607156, Royal Australian Air Force. Arthur was born at Swansea on the 16 September, 1929. He was educated at Llandovery College, and joined the Royal Air Force, where he was awarded his Pilots wings on 19 February, 1950. Arthur was posted to 77 Squadron, based at RAF Iwakuni, just 8 miles from Hiroshima in Japan. Arthur was attached to the Royal Australian Air Force, and had fought during the Korean War. He died on Saturday 28 March 1953. Arthur is buried at Terendak Military Cemetery, Malacca Malaysia, and is commemorated on the Commonwealth Memorial at the United Nations Memorial Cemetery, Pusan. He was 23 years old.

News Items

9 April 2014. After having been forgotten for 97 years, Llanelli man, Ernest William Sherwood, has just been accepted for commemoration by the CWGC. Please see the Uncommemorated Men page of the website for further details.


5 April 2014. After two years and three months of being sat on a desk in the MOD, I have received the welcome news today that another local man, Edward Idris Evans, of Kidwelly, has been accepted for commemoration by the CWGC. Please see the Uncommemorated Men page of the website for further details.

7 February 2014. After a long battle, Gunner Robert Corfield, of Aberystwyth, has finally been accepted for commemoration by the CWGC. Please see the Uncommemorated Local Men page of the website for further details.

27 January 2014. Finally the work on uploading photographs onto the Carmarthenshire section has been completed. The only problem I’ve found is that there is a maximum number of ‘elements’ which can be loaded onto each page, which necessitates the spreading of some of the larger memorials over several pages, which isn’t ideal. The Llanelli pages have so many men on that I can’t load all of my photos on. As a result I have had to make do with just the portrait shots that I have, and have left the photos of the memorials and headstones off the Llanelli WW1 pages.

13 January 2014. A new section has been added to the tabs on the top banner of the website, entitled Local Gallantry Awards. All of the gallantry winners from the three counties will be commemorated in this section, and so far I have added the Boer War, Victoria Cross winners, and WW1 gallantry award winners to the site. More will be added as time allows, and the WW2 awards will also follow in time.

19 September 2013. I have just received confirmation from the CWGC that they had wrongly displayed the date of death for Skipper W F Reid, of Milford, and are amending their records to suit, following evidence sent in by myself. He was shown as having died in 1940, while he actually died in 1946. Please see the Milford Haven WW2 page for more details about him.

5 September 2013. At last there is some good news regarding the hundreds of cases of un-commemorated servicemen that have been piling up on a desk with the MOD. Today it has been announced that the MOD have come to an agreement with the National Army Museum for the NAM to approve the outstanding cases on behalf of the army. Within the total of around 450 outstanding cases, are eighteen cases of men from West Wales which have submitted by the WWWMP. It looks as if the two pronged campaign by the In From the Cold Project and the WWWMP has paid off at last, and it will be nice to see these men finally accepted as casualties of war.


20 August 2013. I have been working with the CWGC for several weeks regarding the incorrect commemoration of Lieutenant Henry Thompson White, a Carmarthen officer who was killed on the Somme on 8 September 1916. Since the 1920's, Henry has been recorded on the Jerusalem Memorial, Israel, which is the incorrect location. He should have been recorded with the other Welsh Regiment Somme casualties on the Thiepval Memorial, but for one reason or another this mistake occurred. The CWGC have today confirmed that my evidence was correct, and because the Thiepval Memorial is full, Henry will be commemorated on the new France 1914-1918 memorial which is currently being planned.

8 August 2013. After puzzling for some time why Private Thomas Jones, of Talybont, a member of the 15th Welsh, was shown by the CWGC as having been killed on 1 July 1916, I purchased his death certificate to find that he had been killed on 11 July at Mametz Wood. This has been sent to the CWGC and the date has recently been amended by them. (Sadly too late for me, as I had written him into Carmarthen Pals as being the battalions first Somme casualty, which I now know to be incorrect!)


6 August 2013. This new website has been launched which incorporates all of the material already published on my three previous sites.

These websites have now been taken offline, as all of the written material has been transferred over.

Presently the majority of the photos of the men and their war graves or memorials have not been added to the site. I am looking into the possibility of photo galleries, but will keep any changes posted here.

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