Sid Miles M.M.
I did my Basic Training at Aldershot, then moved on to Blandford Camp for driver training. Whilst there, we were told that we were off to Watchfield for an eight week Air Despatch Course. Whilst at Watchfield, I remember seeing the American film star, Alan Ladd, who took part in the film, ‘The Red Beret’, being filmed there.
After my training, I and others were sent to 55 Coy RASC (AD) in Malaya. There I spent two and-a-half years. We arrived in Singapore on Christmas Day 1952, the boat trip from England taking 32 days. We were taken to Nee Soon before moving up to Kuala Lumpur and 55 Coy.
We were told that we were there because of the Emergency and uprising in Malaya. Apart from the Malayan and Police Forces, we were to see arriving the SAS, Hampshire Regiment, Gurkhas and others. Many of these would be involved in jungle patrols.
During my time with 55 Coy, I became a Corporal i/c an AD Crew, and then took charge of the Kemar Shift.. On my return home in 1955, I had completed over 300 sorties over the jungle. This experience at young age provided excitement and danger on many sorties.
The crews we had at 55 Coy were kept together for long periods. The crew I had always rose to occasions, playing their part with great teamwork, whether it be supply or leaflet dropping, or dropping sacks of rice to villages during the monsoon season.
In 1954, I was awarded the Military Medal for my service in Malaya, and in 1956, I went to receive the medal from Her Majesty , Queen Elizabeth.
Even now, I still think of the sad losses of Despatch and RAF crews in plane crashes during and after my time in Malaya. But, we came to Malaya to do a very important job, and did it well.