M A R K F O R S D I K E
H I S T O R I A N A N D A U T H O R
My second book on the Suffolk Regiment's part in the Malayan Emergency, was published by Pen and Sword books in May 2022.
In a similar vein to 'Fighting Through to Hitler's Germany,' it contains numerous first-hand accounts of the men of the Suffolk Regiment who served there interspersed with over 300 previously unseen photographs, drawn from numerous veterans personal archives over the past twenty years.
The 1st Battalion, the Suffolk Regiment waged a progressive and successful intelligence war together with their contemporaries in the civil powers in Malaya between 1949 and 1953, and carved for themselves, an enviable reputation for success against the communist terrorists they were sent to Malaya to eliminate. At the end of their tour, they held the record for the highest number of terrorists killed and captured - a record never beaten by any British unit serving in Malaya.
The vast majority of those who served here, were young 19 year-old National Servicemen who had been been conscripted from various counties in the east and also from London. It is the first detailed volume to be written on their part in the campaign since 1994.
You can read more about the men, the Battalion and their campaign by clicking on the photographs at the bottom of the page. If you would like to purchase a copy of the book, please click on the link below which will take you direct to Pen & Sword's website.
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“The best account of the emergency yet. An excellent impression of what life was really like”
"Mark Forsdike’s paean to the 1st Battalion, the Suffolk Regiment (the ‘Dagenham Light Infantry’ - many of its soldiers hailed from the north London suburbs) in Malaya dropped through my door today. The battalion served there for three and a half years between August 1949 and January 1953, covering the key years of the insurgency. Forsdike’s book tells the story of this battalion, and offers a range of photographs I’ve never seen before. Having spent the day with the book I must say that I’m very pleased with it. Why? Because while ‘we all know’ what brought about imperial victory in Malaya (the Brigg’s Plan, intelligence, ‘hearts and minds’, Gerald Templer and the successful resettlement of illegal Chinese settlers, the Malayan Scouts, or SAS and so on) it was to the hardy British, Australian, Rhodesian and New Zealand infantry battalions (and gunners converted to foot-soldiers for the campaign) that battlefield success in Malaya should be credited. None of the successful strategy of counter insurgency deployed over the 12-years of the Emergency would have mattered one jot without the PBI whose dogged perseverance and professionalism made it all happen. In the case of the Suffolks, they achieved everything that was asked of them, and more"
"What lifts this book from good to excellent is an outstanding set of pictures, some of them from Army archives but many provided by the soldiers themselves. They bring the story alive and help the reader to understand the jungle conditions, the brutality of the conflict and the bravery and camaraderie of the soldiers. Forsdike may not be a professional writer, but his narrative is always interesting and informative, and he has produced a book that is accessible both to military history enthusiasts and the general reader"
“This is a neat book about the Malayan Emergency”
"As a young historian, Mark Forsdike attended reunions, made friends and recorded interviews with the cohort of veterans who attended regimental reunions and other gatherings - his book is both testament and homage to these brave soldiers, many of them on National Service. My abiding memory of this extraordinary pictorial record is the youth of the soldiers and their enemies, many of the Suffolks had never left England, let alone travelled to South West Asia to operate in the jungle - that they did so with such success is a tribute to their generation and to their training and resilience. A fascinating book and well worth 5 full mushroom heads" (5* review from the ARRSE Forum)
“The Malayan Emergency is a solid addition to the Images of War series. These books succeed on their combination of text and photographs, and Forsdike has managed both of those very well. He allows the men who fought to speak for themselves as much as possible, and he weaves that into the context of the conflict. The photographs are mostly of the men whose memories we are reading, but they also give an atmospheric account of the conditions and climate they endured, and Forsdike does not shy away from including images of death on both sides”
Spectator Books of the Year 2022