The British Empire Library

Malayan Patrol

by E.T. Boddye

Courtesy of OSPA

Review by Roy Henry (Colonial Police - Malaya, Sarawak, Fiji, Hong Kong -1948-67)
This novel relates the experiences of a young National Service Army Officer from his Basic Training days in late 1950 through Cadet Unit and then, in the major part of the book, his eighteen months as a Second Lieutenant in charge of a Platoon during part of the First Emergency in Malaya. Names of persons, units and places are fictitious but the events throughout are clearly authentic.

The Emergency is seen through the eyes and experiences of a junior Infantry Officer who regarded his Platoon, most of whom were conscripts, with great pride and affection. How true - and amusing - are the descriptions of Private Gingell, the worst driver in the world, the mad scamper to escape 'friendly' mortar fire, the Scout Car accidental collision with a pig, as are accounts of moments of danger when infrequent contact was made with the enemy, and, of course, week after monotonous week of uneventful patrolling in primary jungle, undergrowth and rubber estates.

This well written novel is couched in a very descriptive style with an almost total absence of conversation. Not only will it be of interest to those with experience of the Malayan First Emergency but also to those who are attracted to British Army history.

British Empire Book
E.T. Boddye
The Pentland Press


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