55 Company RASC (AD)
Ken ‘Brummie’ Wall
I did my National Service from 1954-1956 at Aldershot, for basic training, then onto Blandford Forum in Dorset for RASC Driving Instruction, while there and after passing my driving test, I was offered the choice of being an Air Despatcher. On to Watchfield in Wiltshire for Air Despatch training, which I enjoyed very much. After that I was then informed that I would be posted to 55 Coy in Kuala Lumpur Malaya, for the rest of my service.
I sailed out of Liverpool on the troopship Devonshire. This was quite an epic trip for me; I was fourteen years old, before even going to the seaside in England with Mum, Dad & family. Travelling to the Far East onboard the troop ship was very exciting, through the Mediterranean, Suez Canal, Aden, Ceylon, then on to Singapore.
I spent a short time at Nee Soon, where I had a tattoo done by the famous Johnny Ghurkha, then away by train up through Malaya to 55 Kuala Lumpur. I had a great time at 55 Coy. We were always busy, keeping supplies going, flying all over Malaya to various drop zones, I remember Maj Grierson, Sgt Branreth, CSM Knight, CQMS Dando, Sgt Rose, Capt O'Brian and Capt Symses. Like most of the other lads I had some hairy moments whilst flying during my time in 55 Coy.
I joined the Coy tug-of-war team. Being trained by Sgt Rose as often as time would allow. Sgt Rose would send out for teams to challenge us, but we were never beaten in fact we were champion tug-of-war team of Malaya at (88 Stone) during my time at 55 Coy. I think I was in Iskander or Kemar Billet. Sports days were always great fun, so was Christmas, being waited on by the officers, at one point I had a short leave in Singapore with some of the lads. We stayed at the Union Jack Club, almost opposite Raffles Hotel.
Towards the end of my time at 55 Coy. the CO suggested to me that for the last couple of months of service would I like to be company carpenter, he knew that in Civvy Street I was a cabinet maker. I jumped at that offer. At one end of the workshop was the home of Bhola Singh, an Indian man, who was also the Company Bearer. He cleaned the officers Sam Browns etc. He also appears on many Coy. Photos. The workshop was also shared with “Wally Yuill”, the company sign writer.
I have kept in touch with several of the lads who were with me, Bob Bland, who wrote an article in Volume 3, July 14th, also Ken Law, Pete Steward and Bill Taylor. I used to go to all of the Association meetings at South Cerney, RAF. Camp with my wife, who sadly passed away in 2009. At these meetings I would meet many of the lads I served with in 55 Coy. I have not attended any events at Coventry for a variety of reasons but do go to the National Arboretum. I live just about 10 minutes away and meet some lads there ‘as and when’.
My time with 55 Company was fantastic, I have been back to KL, Malaya and Singapore three times over the last few years. Also back to the R.A.F. camp, which we were attached too, which is still there, the last time in 2014, that being the third time (Ed: The camp is now gone and the area being re-developed). I cannot believe it’s been over 60 years on since then, I am now 80 years plus.