I’ve spent the Christmas holiday busily working on my next book.
I only have 25,000 words this time to write about 1 Suffolk’s three and a half-year tour in Malaya between August 1949 and January 1953 and to give an introduction and conclusion to the campaign as well. However, it’s going much better than I anticipated.
By using more personal reminiscences in this volume (that contain everything from leeches to Tiger beer and snakes and swimming pools), I’m trying to tell the personal side of this intense, and highly personal jungle war, fought in the majority by young National Serviceman, whilst at the same time, trying to chart the evolution and learning that made them the most successful British Battalion that served there.
I’ve been sorting through pictures again and going over old notes of interviews from many years ago on another journey of rediscovery. Things that I filed away years ago, are now seeing the light of day again and despite having looked at many hundreds of photographs of the time, those I thought I knew well are still yielding clues and snippets of information that I have not spotted before.
As this will be a picture book, getting the balance has been the hardest part. Telling of patrolling as well as camp life, and striking a good balance of photographs has been difficult, but I like a challenge.
One thing is clear about 1st Suffolk in Malaya, there were a lot of posers!!!