Borneo and Brunei
1962 - 1963
The 1st Battalion Queen’s Own Highlanders (Seaforth & Camerons), moved to the Far East on the 8th of April 1961 and journeyed to Singapore (Lion City) courtesy of Her Majesty’s Navy.
In Singapore they were part of the 17th Gurkha Division, and made up the British Battalion of the 99 Gurkha Infantry Brigade.
Their main role was internal security duties and aiding the local Police in preventing Piracy.
Equally important was their presence in that Theatre to deter the Indonesians from interfering in the North Borneo Territories.
On the 8th of December 1962 there was a revolt in the Sultanate of Brunei, where Azahri’s rebels attacked the Sultans Palace and other government establishments, including those operated by other European nations. The Rebels took many hostages and in the process seized the Shell oil field in a place called Seria.
The Battalion was immediately tasked to deal with the problem, namely; neutralize the Rebels - free the hostages! Battalion Headquarters and “A” Company moved from Singapore to Brunei by air while “B” company sailed at full speed on Her Majesty’s Destroyer “Cavalier”.
“A” company carried out its air assault and landed at Seria catching the rebels with complete surprise. The
aircraft was still rolling while troops spilled out the rear of the plane and immediately began to engage the Azahri’s rebels. After a swift decisive battle the Battalion cleared Seria of Rebels, and freed some 46 European hostages, without loss to our own troops.
The Battalion had taken part in its first active service since being formed, and that first success was spectacular one, an achievement any other Regiment would have been equally proud of.
The Battalion returned to Borneo in May 1963 to carry out long range patrolling of the Indonesian border, and to train local tribesmen as Border Scouts. A task they still carry out today, with that other famous Regiment that have their barracks in Stirling Lines, Hereford.