The site of the Barracks was formely Glugor House, plantation home of the Browns, a wealthy Scottish family who owned nutmeg and clove plantations in the area. The Glugor Barracks were renamed Minden Barracks after being converted in the late 1940s. As Local Government was established in George Town in 1800, Mr John Brown fulfilled the roles of Provost, Sheriff, Gaoler, Coroner, Bailiff, Constable, Police Officer and Secretary to the Committee of Assessors. Mr David Brown, another wealthy land-owner was also on the Committee. His nutmeg and clove plantation the subject of the artwork shown here by Daniell Smith.
A new building was erected at Minden Barracks in 1960/61. The school
was situated downhill from the married quarters, and not far from the
movie theater, and was approximately 10 metres wide and 25 metres in
length. The name "Minden" is apparently after the Battle
of Minden, or the Seven Years War of 1759 in Minden, North
Germany. The combatants of that war were the British, Hanoverians, Hessians
and Prussians against the French and Saxons.
A number of events led Great Britain to play a direct part in the affairs of the Malayan peninsula. There was conflict between Chinese settlers, who worked in the tin mines, and Malays; there were civil wars among the Malays; and there was an increase in piracy in the western part of the peninsula. Merchants asked the British to restore order. RAAF and British squadrons were committed to South-East Asia for a quarter of a century, from 1950 to 1975. Subsequently there were also the problems of the Japanese occupation of Malaya from 1941-1945, the Malayan Emergency from 1948 to 1960 and subsequent conflicts including the Indonesian Confrontation from 1963 to 1966. The Western bloc nations were apprehensive about the spread of international communism.
During the war, the Japanese occupied the barracks. The barracks were then occupied by various regiments of the British Army and RAF, during the Emergency. The KOYLI (Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry) serving in Malaya from 1948 and used the barracks as their headquarters until they left in 1951. Only the band and the bugle platoon were permanently based at the Barracks. At this time there were just four barrack rooms, the officers' and sergeants' messes, married quarters and an AKC (Army Cinema Corporation). Other Rifle companies on operations against the communists on the mainland also used the barracks, but only for rest and rehabilitation. The 1st Bn, The Royal Greenjackets were also based at the barracks, at least from 1962 to 1965.
2nd Battalion 10th Princess Mary's Own Gurkha Rifles (10GR) moved into Minden Barracks in mid 1967. Following the British Government's decision in 1966 to reduce the strength of the Brigade of Gurkhas, the 2nd Battalion amalgamated with the 1st Battalion at Minden Barracks on 19th September 1968. 10GR was the last field force unit to be stationed in Minden Barracks, and indeed Malaysia, and departed in November 1970 under the British government's 1966 Defence White Paper withdrawing forces from East of Suez.
(Above para courtesy Douglas Fox)
Australian battalions were sent to Malaya as part of the British Commonwealth Far East Strategic Reserve (FESR). FESR comprised British, Australian, New Zealand, and Malayan troops. The Royal Australian Regiments 1RAR, 2RAR and 3RAR were deployed to Malaya from September 1955 in efforts directed against the Communist terrorists. While in Malaya, the battalions were stationed at Minden Barracks, although they rarely spent any length of time there as operations in the jungle lasted for days or even weeks at a time, and breaks between operations were brief.
(Courtesy Muzium & Galeri Tuanku Fauziah)
The image shown above is of the Army Hospital at the Barracks (note Army ambulance parked out the front), otherwise known as the British Military Hospital Penang, which incorporated the British Military Maternity Hospital.
With the departure in November 1970 of 10GR, the last field force unit to be stationed in Minden Barracks, the Barracks closed in 1971. The complex was taken over by the University of Malaysia.
The school was called “Minden Barracks”, because it was located at the Minden Barracks. It encompassed the BACS (British Army Children’s School), or the BAFS (British Armed Forces School), and was for children of Armed forces servicemen, Army and RAF children, as well as any civilians working with the Forces. At secondary school level children had to go to boarding school in Singapore, although some actually went to a UK school. Children of Armed Forces servicemen were sent to either Slim School in the Cameron Highlands or Bourne in Kuala Lumpur, at about age 12 after sitting an exam of sorts. Those who went to Slim School enjoyed it immensely. Bourne was almost all British, and not uncommonly regarded by the students as the best school days of their teen years. It schooled children from the USA, Australia and New Zealand.
Schooling was conducted 5 days per week but in the mornings only. Twice a day students were provided with chocolate or strawberry milk – which always nice and cold. The desks were the long style, where students would sit side by side, and slates were used. Some students remember attending the RAAF school for Sunday School classes.
By 1962 when the RAAF School opened and those children travelled to
school by bus, the Army children were travelling to school at the Barracks
in an ‘antique’ British truck with Ghurka guards as conductors. The
BAFS school at the Barracks had woven walls and a “palm” roof. No fans,
but large windows which were cantilevered open with sticks.
Sports houses of the day were Nightingale, Baden Powell, Bader and Cook. Each year there was a swimming gala at the pool on the Barracks site.
Only a couple of names have been received so far, that of Mr Grindrod, the Headmaster Mr Beadle (only had one hand), Mr Ramsden, Headmaster (63-69) and Mr P J Wootton, Headmaster 1970.