Top photo notes read: Members of the Second Battalion Singapore Infantry Regiment (SIR) in the jungles of Johor, Malaysia. The SIR was deployed to combat armed Indonesian infiltrators in Malaysia.
Bottom photo notes read: An ambush by the Indonesians at Kota Tinggi led to the deaths of eight SIR soldiers. Suspected Indonesian infiltrators are escorted from a mangrove in Pasir Panjang on 29 December 1964. Local security forces working in close cooperation with British forces succeeded in rounding up many infiltrators and saboteurs and in keeping terrorism generally under control.
As a NS recruit, I did not know much about the Kota Tinggi details but later as a staff officer I had the opportunity to meet these personnel from 2SIR during the usual Friday Tombolo Night.
At that time when Singapore was a part of Malaysia our two SIRs were renamed as 1MIR and 2MIR. 2SIR was operationally responsible for the Singapore and southern Johore area. 2MIR (2SIR) was raised in 1962 and billeted at Holland Road Camp.
According to my superior who was then a young 2LTA in 2 SIR, Dalgit Singh was already a platoon commander, together with LTA Mejar Singh. 2SIR's CO was a Colonel Campbell, a British seconded from the British Army.
It was the crack Indonesian paratroopers from the "KKI", an elite Guards unit from Jakarta which was sent on this mission. The Malaysian police post at Kota Tinggi were alerted of the parachute-landing and the nearest infantry garrison to Kota Tinggi was 2 SIR in Singapore. 1SIR at that time was deployed to the Sabah border with Indonesia.
One platoon of 2SIR was sent inside the jungles of Kota Tingi. For those who have ventured into Kota Tinggi (which I did as a child and as a teenager), it has a waterfall as the key attraction. The killing zone was north of the waterfall.
2SIR made no contact with the Indonesians for about a week. However, unknowingly the Indonesians were tailing one of the SIR sections. Not finding them for a week, that section grew tired and went for a bath at one of the nearby Kota Tinggi streams. Everybody left their weapons at the riverbank with no personnel on sentry-duty.
For those trained in the SAF doctrine, you are not supposed to do this and at all times, your rifle must be with you. The Indonesians pounded on our boys but one injured personnel managed to sneak away and ran for his life into Kota Tinggi Town. All this time, there was "radio silence" because this was a mission. It was only after the injured personnel emerged from the jungle that the incident became known. When the dead were recovered, their bodies were infested with maggots and were very gruesome
Reinforcements were rushed up from Singapore. On that mission were names like James Teo (who was the 5SIR CO for BERSATU PADU in 1971), Jimmy Yap (CO Officer Cadet School), Mahinder Singh (Dy Director SAFTI) and Dalgit Singh (CO 3SIR). They were “young lieutenants” then. James Teo was the unit signals officer. This time, the Indonesians scattered in different directions. It must have been somewhat of a surprise that no Indonesians were caught alive. I leave it to you to guess what must have happened next because I saw some of the photographs taken at that time. Don't forget our jungle-weapons also included the machete. The two Singhs were later involved in the Labis incident and again credited with many enemy killings.
The decomposed bodies were brought back to Holland Road Camp for the Malay burial rituals. The slain men were given a full-military burial.
Photo of the funeral at Bidadari Muslim Cemetery. Men wearing songkok were Malaysian regulars working side by side with their Singaporean counterparts in 2 SIR
##Akan Datang (Coming soon): The bridge that I 'blew up' twice - Lam Chun See