Alan Bond (1937-2019)
Alan Bond was born at Grantham in July 1937.
He joined the Royal Lincolnshire Regiment in 1955. At the end of his two years’ National Service, he signed on with the Regular Army.
After the Japanese Army retreated from Malaya they left the economy in ruins. There was high unemployment, low wages, scarce and expensive food, and the Malayan Communist Party was clamouring for independence from colonial rule.
Between 1946 and 1948, there were many strikes in the tin and rubber industries and these culminated in the murder of plantation managers. The British introduced emergency measures. The Malayan National Liberation Army (MNLA) armed themselves with weapons and ammunition that they had hidden in the jungle during the Second World War in the fight against the Japanese.
Employing guerrilla tactics, they terrorised British and native inhabitants, sabotaged installations, attacked mines and rubber plantations and destroyed transport and infrastructure.
The British High Commissioner, Sir Henry Gurney, was ambushed and killed in 1951. Under his successor, General (later Field Marshal) Sir Gerald Templer, close co-operation between the civil and military authorities began to undermine the terrorist threat and the Emergency ended in 1960.
The RLR proved a most effective force.
They quickly became experts in jungle warfare. Their patrols drove the guerrillas deeper into the jungle and cut them off from their supplies. Captured guerrillas said that they regarded the Battalion as among the most dangerous opponents in the conflict.
Bond served in Malaya with the 1st Battalion between May 1956 and April 1958. He was a proficient section leader of a rifle platoon and an NCO of the battalion mortar platoon.
During the two years, he took part in more than 100 anti-terrorist operations, either with fighting patrols or setting up ambushes in the jungle and swamps. He could be away from base for weeks at a time.
The heat was stifling, and where bamboo was thickest it had to be chopped away with a machete. Unwelcome companions were leeches, red ants, scorpions and venomous snakes. Additional hazards were malaria, scrub typhus, dysentery and jungle ulcers.
On one occasion, Bond’s platoon attacked a camp occupied by 30 Communist terrorists (CTs). On another, he and his men were in contact with three CTs, one of whom was wounded. His initiative, courage and leadership qualities were outstanding on both occasions.
The citation for the award to him of a Military Medal stated that he was a supremely fit and courageous NCO, a fearless young leader who had mastered the techniques of jungle craft and set the finest example possible to members of his platoon.
His men, it added, were ready to follow him anywhere.
After leaving Malaya in 1958, Bond served in Germany and Aden before resigning in 1964.
He became an interior decorator until an injury to his leg made physically demanding work impossible. He then concentrated on breeding racing pigeons and won many prizes. He also regularly attended regimental reunions.
Alan Bond married his wife Pamela in 1959; she predeceased him. Nearly 500 people attended his funeral, at which the Last Post was sounded.
Information courtesy Daily Telegraph