- General Service Medal 1918-62
Privates WE ‘Dixie’ Dean, RA Bebb and Joe Newton were friends who served together with the 1st Battalion during the ‘Malaya crisis’ in the 1950s. Dean later wrote an account of an ambush in Tampin in which he was involved.
“After a period of near-misses, it was decided following the murder of a planter on 17th August to redeploy platoons to semi-permanent bases in the company’s troubled areas.
Before first light on 22nd August, an ambush party moved into position… Hours went by and nothing happened until late afternoon. Suddenly I looked up and there, less than five feet away from me, was a terrorist.
Then I saw [a] second terrorist, he saw me and I’ve never forgot the look on his face. I was aiming at his chest. We both fired at the same time… The terrorist dropped dead on the track, suddenly I saw a third terrorist, he turned to run back the way he came. When the second terrorist fired at me his shot knocked a large chunk out of a tree just a few inches from my head.
Several months later, the first terrorist who escaped from the ambush, surrendered to security forces and we were told later he mentioned the ambush and said another group were behind but hid in the jungle when the shooting started and watched us take away the bodies of their dead comrades but made no attempt to attack us.”
All three Privates survived their tour of duty in Malaya. Their medals were all donated in May 2008 are displayed together in the museum’s Medal Room.