Gathering of Veterans


It was time again for military and police veterans from Commonwealth countries and Malaysia to gather for the annual remembrance services. The services, spread over a three-day period and in three different locations – Taiping, Ipoh and Batu Gajah – were well attended by both local and foreign veterans. Each location bears its own significance, characteristics and sentiments.

The Kamunting Christian Cemetery in Taiping is where British, Australian and New Zealand troops who were killed in harness are buried. Ken McNeil, President of the National Malaya and Borneo Veterans Association of Incorporated Australian States, paid tribute to his fellow countrymen who were interred at the Kamunting graves.

The service held on the morning of Thursday, June 9 was a poignant reminder of the contributions made by Australians in the defence of Malaysia during the Emergency (1948 to 1960) and Confrontation with Indonesia (1962 to 1966).

McNeil, in his closing remarks, alluded to the uniqueness of military service by declaring emphatically that, “No matter what the danger is, the duty of a soldier is the achievement of the military mission. When engaged in the battlefield, the danger must be faced and the consequences accepted whatever they may be.” This is what separates men from boys and the weak from the strong.

Services in Ipoh were held on Friday, June 10 and Saturday, June 11, respectively. The cenotaph in front of the railway station, unveiled on Armistice Day, November 11, 1927, is to remember military personnel who fell during the Great War (1914-1918) and the Second World War (1939-1945). The Gurkha Cemetery in Kem Syed Putra (Tambun Camp), where a hundred Gurkha soldiers and family members lay buried, is the other location.

The memorial service at God’s Little Acre in Batu Gajah is the origin of the annual services in Perak. Held on the morning of Saturday, June 11, it brought friends and relatives of the dearly departed from near and far. The service is dedicated to planters, miners and policemen who were killed during the Emergency and buried in the cemetery.