This article is an eye-witness personal recollection of the circumstances in which Lima Company , 42 Commando, Royal Marines freed eleven hostages taken by rebels during the Brunei Rebellion in December 1962.
The hostages had been held in the small town of Limbang in neighbouring Sarawak. The Royal Marines were transported upriver overnight to this task by a dozen sailors from HM Ships FISKERTON and CHAWTON, using requisitioned civilian ramp loading river ferries.
All hostages were released unharmed, though they had been roughed up and frightened. The rebels had threatened to execute them if their demands were not met by the Government of Brunei.
Five Royal Marines and 19 rebels were killed in the action and over 30 rebels taken prisoner. Over 200 rebels fled into the jungle but most were rounded up by civilian police soon after, as they had returned to their family homes. Their leader was captured in a swamp by a Gurkha patrol two years later.
Confrontation gradually extended along the jungle-clad land border between Indonesia and Malaysia on Borneo, resulting in all elements of the British Army re-learning the art of jungle fighting as patrols re-assured local tribes people and penetrated the border to engage with Indonesian forces.
The conflict also extended into the coastal waters of both countiries as Indonesian forces attempted landings in peninsular Malaya, but all were rebuffed. Many attempts at incusion were halted by actions at sea, chiefly conducted by minesweepers and patrol craft of the Royal Navy, Royal Malaysian Navy, Royal Australian Navy and Royal New Zealand Navy in short but fierce, gun actions, by day and night, in the coastal waters of Borneo and Malaysia.
Confrontation ended in July 1966, with the fall of Indonesian President Sukaerno.