Veteran: I was young and bullet-proofSave
By Angela Woods
A local veteran says he went to war in Malaya because he was "young, silly and absolutely bullet-proof".
Dick Frew volunteered with the New Zealand Army in the Malayan emergency from 1959 to 1961.
"[I had] a sense of adventure, was young, silly and absolutely bullet-proof."
Mr Frew said he realised soon after arriving in Malaysia that he was not immune to harm.
More than 1300 New Zealanders served in Malaya between 1948 and 1964, and 15 were killed.
British, Australian, Fijian and Rhodesian armed forces also served in the conflict.
The war was fought between Commonwealth forces and the military arm of the Malayan Communist Party both before and after the country's independence from the UK.
The British and Commonwealth forces won the conflict after 12 years of fighting when most of the Communist guerrilla fighters withdrew into southern Thailand.
The Royal New Zealand Air Force and the SAS (Special Air Service) were deployed first, and a regular New Zealand Army battalion only in 1958.
The emergency was declared over in 1960, but troops remained for the next four years as part of counter-insurgency operations.
Mr Frew describes his role as "hunting communist terrorists in the jungle".
"Not only were there terrorists in the jungle, there were tigers and snakes."
He had one close encounter with a tiger, which fortunately ran away.