Australian military vets arrive in Kuching to commemorate two post-World War 2 military campaigns

(From left) Don Cameron, Lieutenant-Colonel John Spencer OAM RFD (ret'd), Paul, NMBVAA committee members Jeff Hiscock of the Australian Army veterans (Confrontation) and Mal White of the Royal Air Force veterans (UK) (Confrontation).

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By Christopher Lidom

KUCHING, Aug 24: Australian military veterans of National Malaya & Borneo Veterans Association Australia Inc (NMBVAA) arrived in Kuching to join Malaysian, Commonwealth military and police colleagues to commemorate two post-World War 2 military campaigns.

They are also to conducted a combined Australia and New Zealand Service of Commemoration marking the 57th anniversary of the signing of the Malaysia-Indonesia Peace Agreement which brought to an end the Indonesian Confrontation with Malaysia.

National Malaya & Borneo Veterans Association Australia Inc (NMBVAA) president Major Paul Rosenzweig OAM (ret’d) said its members from NMBVAA South Australia and Northern Territory Branch will also take part in various important events, namely to meet with counterparts from Sarawak Veterans’ Association, including a private pilgrimage to Sarawak Heroes Memorial Park where a tree was planted last year in memory of the late Branch President Brian Selby (1945-2022).

“On Monday (Aug 28), the contingents of Australian and New Zealand military veterans and their families will join Sarawak’s veterans at the Sarawak Heroes Memorial Park in Kuching to hold a service of commemoration.”

Rosenzweig said that they also invited the living NMBVAA’s veterans to bring their children and grandchildren with them during this trip.

“We have not done this in the past and by doing so we hope that their visit to Sarawak will continue every couple of years into the future,” he added.

Rosenzweig (center) speaking during the press conference flanked by Don Cameron (left) and Sarawak Tourism Federation (STF) president Audry Wan Ullok (right).

According to Rosenzweig, the party will also travel to the Bau District as the branch has adopted three schools in the areas where Australian troops served during Confrontation.

He said during the visit, he and NMBVAA vice president Don Cameron will present a financial donation to each of the schools namely SK Serabak, SK Suba Buan and SK Stass as a reminde for the branch members of the support from the people of Sarawak in 1965 and 1966.

This will be followed by a visit to Kampung Gumbang, the site of the Australian military position ‘Bukit Knuckle’ in 1965, and a courtesy call on the Bau District Officer.

“The South Australian party would like to acknowledge with thanks the support and assistance they have received in the past from formerly Heritage Adviser, Sarawak Tourism Federation Dato Lim Kian Hock, Australian Honorary Consul to Sarawak Datuk Dr Philip Ting AM, Chair, STF Heritage Development Committee Fiona Marcus Raja and Lieutenant-General (retired) Datuk Steven Mundaw.

“Our ceremony is being generously supported through the Facilitation Fund for Heritage, Arts, and Culture.

“We wish to acknowledge the support of Minister for Tourism, Creative Industry and Performing Arts Dato Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah and his ministry,” Rosenzweig said.

On another note, in Sept 29, 2022, a special reunion took place in the town of Sibu between an Australian military veteran who served during the Confrontation and the family of an Iban tracker he served with in the mountains near Kampung Gumbang in 1965. — DayakDaily.