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Landslide Cameron Highlands 18 December 1956- Part 1

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Subject :Landslide Cameron Highlands 18 December 1956- Part 1
Published By : None 
Location : Malaya
Estimated Year : 1956
Media Type : Photograph
Source : see below
Remark : This series of photographs were provided by Anne and Dennis Mardsen (Dennis served in Ipoh with the 12th Infantry Regiment Workshop REME) and Bill Ashby, (collector of REME photographs). The latter kindly provided photographs that were given to him by the late Staff Sergeant David Davis who served in 13th Infantry Workshop REME, during the Malayan Emergency and took part in the recovery of the Saracen.

18 December 1956, was a day of heavy rainfall all the way from Tapah to Cameron Highlands. As the 2 Troop C Squadron of the 15/19 The Kings Royal Hussars (TKRH) were heading up in a 12-truck convoy the troopers in the leading Saracen Armoured Personal Carrier came across a big fall. Three troopers disembarked from the Saracen to guide the convoy through; as this was being done another landslide started and hit the side of their vehicle which then fell into a 300 feet deep ravine.

Two members of the 2 Troop C Squadron TKRH were killed in this incident, Corporal S W J Wells aged 20 and Trooper A G Walker aged 23. They are buried at the Taiping (Kamunting) Cemetery in Perak.

The Saracen is a heavy vehicle and recovery could only be effected by reducing the weight. Therefore the wheels and suspension had to be removed before the wreck could be dragged along the river bed to a position where a suitable ramp could be cut from the road down to the river. The task took 3 days and soldiers from the Gurkhas provided the cover guard, ensuring the safety of the engineers who were at risk of attack from communist terrorists. Once back on the road, the recovered Saracen was loaded onto a trailer and taken back to the Workshop. Whether it was ever repaired and returned to duty is not known.

From left to right the photographs show:

  • The landslide as seen from the bottom of the ravine, the road above collapsed.

  • The Saracen is ready to be towed. (Lying on the side in the stream after being hit by a massive landslide on 18th December 1956 along the Cameron Highlands road. Note the soldiers on the left of the photograph.)

  • Saracen in the river bed, note the missing gun from the turret and the open hatch on the right. The debris in the foreground originated from the landslide.

  • To go to Part 2, click here.

    To read an introduction to the Saracen Armoured Personnel Carrier, click here.

    To read about the role of REME and see a group photograph of the members the 12th Infantry Regiment Workshop REME, Gunong Panjang camp in 1956, click here.

    Filename : 20091014-001