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The RAF in Malaya

The RAF operations in support of the anti-Communist insurgent campaign were run under the code name 'Firedog'. The Campaign initially consisted of mainly ground attacks by Mosquitos, Beaufighters, Ansons and Sunderland supported by Dakota transports. Photo reconnaissance Spitfires and mosquitoes also photographed large areas of the peninsula until replaced by Meteor FR.10s, the PR version of the Meteor F.8 fighter bomber in November 1953. Another jet fighter bomber which joined the Meteor in Malaya was the de Havilland Vampire in its FB.5 and FB.9 versions.

Among the piston engine aircraft involved in the far east were the De Havilland Hornet, which was the fastest piston engine aircraft to serve with the RAF. Alongside the Hornet in the ground-attack role was the Bristol Brigand, and leaflet raids were conducted by the Avro Lincolns deployed there in two Squadrons, One RAF and one RAAF.

The voice aircraft were deployed in Malaya were firstly Army co-operation Austers fitted experimentally with speakers, which was followed by the Dakota which would fly at 2500ft just above stalling speed in a box pattern, so that the message could be rendered audible for periods of thirty seconds. The Dakotas were replaced in the early 1950s by Vickers Valettas which was tasked with supply drops to active ground forces in the jungle.

The Search and Rescue and CASEVAC (Casualty Evacuation) missions, as well as supply drops were carried out by Royal Navy and RAF helicopters, see below.

The list below is NOT complete
Squadron Type Period Deployment Base(s)
7 Lincoln January 1954 to April 1954
July 1954 to October 1954
Tengah
9 Canberra March 1956 to June 1956 Butterworth, Changi
12 Canberra October 1955 to March 1956 Butterworth, Changi
28 Spitfire FR18 26 January 1948 to 11 May 1949 Semabawang
33 Tempest F.2 to January 1951
Hornet F.3 May 1951 to March 1955
9 August 1949
10 September 1949
13 October 1949
18 March 1950
30 May 1950
7 August 1951
5 January 1952
Disbanded 31 March 1955
Changi
Butterworth
Changi
Tengah
Butterworth
Tengah
Butterworth
45 Brigand Met 3 until June 1949
Brigand B.1 October 1949 to February 1952
Hornet F.3 January 1952 to May 1955
Vampire FB9 May 1955 to January 1956
Venom FB1 October 1955 to November 1957
Canberra B2 November 1957 to December 1962
16 May 1949
5 December 1949
31 March 1955
15 November 1957
Kuala Lumpur
Tengah
Butterowrth
Tengah
48 Dakota to May 1951
Valetta C1 June 1950 to September 1950 & May 1951 to December 1957
Hasting C1 & C2 June 1959 to October 1960
24 April 1946
1 June 1949
12 December 1949
Disbanded 1 Apirl 1967
Changi
Kuala Lumpur
Changi
52 Dakota to September 1951
Valetta C1 June 1951 to April 1966
Dakota November 1959 to July 1960
30 July 1947
21 November 1948
31 May 1949
27 August 1949
12 July 1950
12 January 1951
1 August 1959
Changi
Kuala Lumpur
Seletar
Changi
Kuala Lumpur
Changi
Kuala Lumpur
60 Spitfire F18 January 1947 to January 1951 & March 1950 to November 1950
Vampire FB5 December 1950 to March 1952
Vampire FB9 March 1952 to August 1955
Venom FB1 April 1955 to April 1957
Venom FB4 April 1957 to November 1959
Meteor NF14 October 1959 onwards
24 January 1948
31 August 1949
15 October 1949
6 December 1949
31 May 1950
Sembawang
Tengah
Butterworth
Kuala Lumpur
Tengah
61 Lincoln December 1950 to April 1951 Tengah
81 Mosquito PR34 until December 1955
Spitfire PR19 until January 1950
Spitfire FR18 July 1948 to March 1950 & November 1950 to January 1951
Anson C.19 October 1949 to June 1951
Spitfire FR19 January 1951 to June 1954
Meteor PR10 January 1954 to July 1961
Pembroke C(PR)1 December 1955 to August 1960.
1 February 1948 to 16 March 1950
16 March 1950 to 1 April 1958
1 April 1958 onwards
Tengah
Seletar
Tengah
83 Lincoln September 1953 to January 1954 Tengah
84 Beaufighter X to October 1948 26 September 1947
1 February 1948 to 11 October 1948 when sent to Middle East
Changi
Tengah
88 Sunderland GR5 to October 1954 September 1946
24 June 1951 to 1 October 1954 when Disbanded
Detachments to Iwakuni & Seletar from Kai Tak
Seletar
97 Lincoln April 1948 to June 1948
March 1950 to June 1950
Tengah
100 Lincoln May 1950 to December 1950 Tengah
101 Canberra February 1955 to June 1955 Butterworth, Changi
110 Dakota to May 1952
Valetta October 1951 to December 1957
Whirlwind HAR4 June 1959 onwards
2 July 1948
20 November 1948
27 May 1949
27 August 1949
11 December 1949
12 July 1950
19 July 1951
26 October 1951 to 31 December 1957 when disbanded
3 June 1959 Reformed
1 September 1959
Kuala Lumpur
Changi
Seletar
Changi
Kuala Lumpur
Changi
Kuala Lumpur
Changi
Kuala Lumpur
Butterworth
148 Lincoln October 1954 to February 1955 Tengah
155 Whirlwind HAR 4 September 1954 to June 1959 1 September 1954
Merged with 194 Squadron to form 110 Squadron.
Kuala Lumpur
detachments to Seletar & Kluang
194 Dragonfly HC2 February 1953 to June 1956
Sycamore HR14 April 1954 to June 1959
2 February 1953
1 May 1953
Disbanded 3 June 1959 merged with 155 squadron to form 110 squadron.
Sembawang
Kuala Lumpur
205 Sunderland GR5 June 1945 to May 1959
Shackleton MR1A May 1958 to September 1962
15 September 1949
1 March 1958
Seletar
Changi
209 Sunderland V to January 1955
Auster AOP6 November 1958 to March 1959.
Dakota November 1958 to November 1959.
Pembroke C1 November 1958 to February 1960.
Pioneer CC1 November 1958 to December 1968.
Twin Pioneer CC1 March 1959 to December 1968.
1 November 1958
1 October 1959
Kuala Lumpur
Seletar
267 Dakota February 1954 to November 1958
Auster AOP6 February 1954 to November 1958
Pioneer CC1 February 1954 to November 1958
Pembroke C1 September1954 to November 1958
Harvard T2B November 1954 to December 1956
15 February 1954
1 November 1958 disbanded
Kuala Lumpur
656 Auster AOP5 June 1948 to May 1951
Auster AOP6 July 1950 to April 1956
Auster AOP9 September 1955 to September 1957
29/6/1948
15/7/1948
17/8/1949
12/4/1950
1 September 1957 Transferred to Army Air Corps
Sembawang
Flights to Taipang, Seremban, Kai Tak, Kuala Lumpur, Temerloh and Muar.
Changi, flights to Taiping Kuala Lumpur, Kluang, Temerloh and Muar.
Kuala Lumpur, flights to Taipang, Changi, Benta, Sembawang, Ipoh, Johore Bahru, Kluang, Seremban, temerloh and Port Dickson.
617 Canberra July 1955 to November 1955 Butterworth, Changi

ChopperMalaya saw one of the first operational deployment of an RAF Helicopter unit when a flight of four Westland-Sikorsky Dragonfly HC2s, was dispatched to Singapore for casualty evacuation duties in Malaya. Apart from the obvious military benefit of being able to fly troops to hospital in a very short time after they had been wounded, taking only hours for journeys which could have taken days or weeks through thick jungle or by meandering rivers, the availability of the helicopter to take sick civilians to hospital, or fly in medical supplies or doctors and nurses, also played a major part in the campaign to win the hearts and minds of the local population, denying the terrorists the opportunity of gaining support in the remote rural areas. On their arrival in Singapore in June 1950, the RAF helicopters were based at Changi, and were soon being operated at full stretch. Possibly one of their most unusual passengers was the wife of a Communist bandit leader, found in the jungle only ten miles from the border. The hard pressed Dragonfly's were supplemented by RNAS No.848 Squadron and its Sikorsky S-55 (Later licensed versions would be the Westland Whirlwind) which arrived in Singapore on 8th June 1953.

Recommended Links:
Helicopter Operations (Malaya Emergency) Association
Incorporating FEAF Casevac Flight, 194, 155 and 110 Squadrons
Royal Air Force. And info on the RAF Seltar Association

Also see
Aircraft used in Malaya

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