The British Empire Library

Tales From The Godown

by Cecil Gutteridge

Courtesy of OSPA

Simon Hutchinson (Malaya and Borneo 1948-67)
Cecil Gutteridge has produced a readable, modestly written, autobiography of which the greater part deals with his seventeen years as a customs officer in Malaya. It is evident, though he is far too modest to make such a claim, that he was an outstanding officer frequently given special tasks and always ready to go beyond the routine performance of his duty. Although he did his fair share of routine revenue collection duties and administrative work he had a flair for preventive work and his description of the well-nigh impossible task of preventing cross-border smuggling along the whole length of the Thailand/Malaya border makes good reading. Equally interesting is his brief but very active service as a locally commissioned RNVR officer in 1942 culminating in capture by the Japanese Navy after the sinking of his ship and an increasingly awful four days clinging to wreckage. The Japanese Navy treated its prisoners moderately well, unlike the abominable Japanese soldiers, though still well below civilised standards and with scant regard for the health of their prisoners. All this is well told without bitterness or self pity. He ended his service when Malaya achieved independence as head of all preventive work in the north western part of Malaya and although he adapted well to enforced retirement and made a great success of a career in commerce at home he, like many others, was never so satisfied as when serving the Government and people of Malaya.
British Empire Book
Cecil Gutteridge
The Author


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