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RAF Tengah - Singapore

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Not quite sure where exactly to post this thread, as it contains all sorts of bits, not just MV’s but uniforms, people and places,etc. The one common theme is history,about 60 years ago to be precise, when me Dad was a lad, as they say in someparts.


Me Dad is the person in question, the old fella passed away earlier this year having clocked up a good run of 82 years. Had just sat down for breakfast, halfway through his first mug of tea. Heart gave out they said, dead before he knew it.


Anyway, sorting through his estate I knew he had 2 big photo albums hidden away somewhere, full of pictures taken during his service with the RAF, I remembered seeing them when I was a small boy, but that was 40 or more years ago.


Eventually found them in the back of a cupboard, and spent the next few hours going through some fascinating pictures I didn’t know existed. These pics need sharing and over the next few weeks I intend to post a few more each time I get a few minutes to add captions etc. I would welcome any additional info, comments on the pics.


Some shots are a bit fuzzy, but they were taken on a Box Brownie camera, developed into little 2” square pictures, and then scanned onto my computer, so be patient.


First off a bit more about the bloke who took most of thephotographs. One Alfred George Smith,born 1930, left school at 14 and went straight to work in the local shipyard with most of the rest of his class.


National Service was alive and well in those days, but word was those who joined early got a better deal than those who waited to be called up. With this in mind he signed up with the RAF in 1948. I don’t have the exact date at the moment, as I haven’t got his service record.


Guard of Honour 3July1948.jpg

I have got this picture which is dated 3 July 1948 on the back. Looks a lot like a passing out parade, but I’ve no idea where, and it looks like an American officer taking the salute.


After basic training he volunteered for fire crew training and sent to the RAF Fire School at Moreton in Marsh, Gloucestershire. Wikipedia states it is now used as a college for the countries’ senior fire officers, but back then the RAF had it.


Again I’ve no real idea how long he stayed there, but I do know he left as a fully trained Driver/Mechanic/Firecrew, ready to do his bit for King and country. From here his first posting was just up the road at Little Rissington.


As any historian will tell you the Malayan Emergency was kicking off about now and anyone who was anyone got invited to join in. October 1951 saw Leading Aircraftsman Smith on a boat to Singapore and 45 Squadron RAF Tengah


On Boat out.jpg

I don't think this is himself, could be one of his mates,caption on the back just says on the boat out.

Edited by Zero-Five-Two
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I think you may be right Richard, and that is a Lincoln in the background. Both 45 Sqn and the Austrailian Air Force used them at that time. One thing is for certain, it wasn’t this one.


Lincoln Crash 2.jpg


Caption on photo says “First crash” and is dated 31/11/51. (I’m guessing he meant 31/10/51)

Lincoln crash Tengah 31Nov51.jpg

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This beast features in a lot of the photos, so I assume it was one of the main section vehicles. A friend of mine reckons it is an American Dodge truck, but I’ll wait to be corrected on that one.

Fire Truck.jpg

14 AG 18 Polished.jpg


It even gets polished up now and again, this must have been done for a parade of some sort.


14 AG 18 in Ditch 3.jpg

It’s not all good though! Looks like the star in the reasonably priced fire truck went off at the first corner. I guess that’s him leaning against the back wheel

14 AG 18 in Ditch 2.jpg

14 AG 18 in Ditch 4.jpg

14 AG 18 in Ditch 5.jpg

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Rob fantastic shots !!! The truck in your posts is an International K-8. A number- thought to be 150- were shipped to the Middle East from the USA along with a number of Federals. Post war, one went to the Far East and this is it . post 1949 there were still 35 in RAF service and they received the xxAGxx style registrations, 34 of them were with middle East units and this sole example at Tengah. your posts have answered a long term question was their a hose reel behind the tank ? clearly there wasn't I will see if I have any other shots of this truck your Dad might be on them ; The bulled up shot is possibly nothing special, in those days firemen both civvy & military took great pride in both the function and appearance of their trucks

regards TED

International Tengah 1944.jpg

International TENGAH 1950.jpg

International 2.jpg

Edited by ted angus
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Next instalment of pictures. These look posed especially the one with the casualties. Could be a training exercise, but the damage to the two vehicles is real enough





Accident 4.jpg


I have a name for one of the casualties. A W Richards, on the back of the photo, and an address in Holloway, London.

I haven't been tempted to try it, not sure if I should or even if I want to

Accident 2.jpg

Accident 3.jpg

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Selection of planes, some good some a bit poorly.


First 2 at RAF Seletar which was at the waterside, especially for these magnificent Sunderlands


Sunderland at Seletar.jpg


Sunderland at Seletar 2.jpg


Back at Tengah.


Vampire Crash RAF Tengah 29Dec51.jpg


Vampire Crash RAF Tengah 29 Dec 51(2).jpg


Caption states Vampire crash 29 Dec '51


Vampire Crash 1.jpg


Vampire Crash 2 29 Dec 1951.jpg


These 2 are also shown as Vampire on the same date. Looks more like a Mosquito to me


Looks like he left the telephoto lens behind for this one


Two Cranes Lifting Plane.jpg


But then got a bit too close for this. Spitfire judging by the shape of the canopy


Plane on a Crane.jpg


Not sure what this one is, but the stylish curve on the propeller says it didn't quite land how the pilot would have liked. Looks like my Dad in the jeep


Jeep Towing Plane.jpg


Last one for this batch, looks like it missed the runway altogether, but made a reasonable landing. The damage to the rear end would suggest they've been upsetting the neighbours again


Plane not on Runway.jpg

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Hi Rob,

The aircraft with the cranes, not a Spitfire, look at the length of the canopy. Think it is a Royal Navy Firefly


Second that RN firefly, the 2 engined prop job wheels up is a De Hav Hornet , the final picture of the twin fin job is a Bristol Brigand, both types used in the ground attack role against the commie insurgets



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Next round of pictures, mostly Bedford QL. I assume they are water or foam bowsers rather than refuellers


Bedford QL Bowser 2.jpg


Bedford QL Bowser 3.jpg


Bedford QL Bowser x 2 by Office.jpg


Bedford QL Bowser x 2.jpg


Bedford QL Bowser.jpg


Jeeps keep popping up now and again


Jeep 28 AA 95.jpg


Hose trailer is the right size for towing by a Jeep


Hose Trailer.jpg


Is this just a big hose truck or a complete fire engine


Hose Truck.jpg


CO's Driver! Short term Regimental Duty, wear civvies, drive nice Morris.


Dad With Morris Commercial.jpg


M.T. Garages and Vehicle Hangar


Fire Truck and Bedford QL.jpg


MT Garages RAF Tengah.jpg

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The Bedford OYs were 350 gal water bowsers to replen the foam tenders; or provide water for brush fires or structural fire fighting; the later Fordson foam tenders carried about 100 gal compound and 300 gal water, about 25 gal compound to each 300 gal water, so they could roughly take 3 bowsers full of water before the compound ran out. Your Austin K6 6x4 was a CO2 tender it didn't carry foam or water; The trailer pump is a Coventry Climax FSM ( I own an ex army one ) it would normally be towed behind one of the Bedford water bowsers, The light truck you have called a Morris is a Fordson WOT2 15 cwt ; I was fairly sure on looking at the picture then confirmed it in my list of registrations. Post WW2 the RAF had virtually no Morris Commercials in that area. What a fantastic collection thanks for sharing these- as a total fire truck anorack they are priceless ! and the final shot is an AEC 0854 6x6 refueller.

regards TED

Edited by ted angus
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