These photographs and galleries cover the barracks, life at the barracks and the BACS school. See the Class Photos and sports links to the right and other photos on this page for school information. All relevant contributions are invited - thank you..
Thank you Robert - your efforts are so appreciated. See the images by clicking on the link, right-hand-side of this page under 'Galleries'. (Gallery updated 3 September 2012)
An excerpt of Robert's article follows:
Posted: 3 September 2012
"Penang in the Malayan Emergency 1956/57 – Some Recollections of Fort Auchry and Minden Barracks
My father WO1 Les Hildebrandt of the RAEME Corps was posted to Butterworth airforce base in October 1955 to manage equipment maintenance for the army and airforce serving there. He travelled alone initially and after finding a family billet in Fort Auchry located at the North end of the island of Penang, he called for our Mother, Shirley and his two boys Rob (5 years) and Rick (3 years) to join him. After an exciting trip on a Qantas Super Constellation from Sydney to Singapore (and an overnight stay in Raffles) we completed the journey to Penang on a rickety old Douglas DC3 and arrived in June 1956." Read more...
In 1959, when I was eight years old, my father was posted to Malaya with the Australian Army and so I attended the British Army Children’s School (BAC School) Penang. At first this school was located in a large colonial building with sweeping grounds. There were main 2 floors and several outbuildings where I remember the art rooms were located. The colonial mansion must have been impressive before it became our school. The huge front room on the ground floor was our assembly room with a stage area . Two things I remember about the stage; on it we performed a musical play “The Rose of Joy”, and we once had visiting native performers who wrestled with a huge python in front of our eyes. One man let the python wrap itself around his body and the other man stood barefoot on the coiled snake’s body to try and free his partner. Us kids watching were absolutely mesmerised by this performance with a python.
Upstairs one classroom I was in was located at the front of the building so it led out onto the balcony. I remember in this class we had to write letters to penfriends in Rhodesia ( I don’t remember receiving a reply to my letter). Also we all became members of the Gould League of Bird Lovers and were given Gould League badges.
In about 1960 our school was moved to modern purpose-built school buildings in Minden Barracks. An army bus picked us up every morning outside the NAAFI store at 7.30 am as school started at 8 am. The NAAFI store was just diagonally across the road from our house in Jalan Gajah and it was the store where the military families did all their grocery shopping and posted their mail.
By lunch-time it was considered too hot for us (and the teachers) to work so we all went home, though we did go to school 6 days a week to make up the hours. I actually went into Minden Barracks by bus 7 days a week as I attended Sunday school at the garrison church.
Above: Three friends in the playground at Minden Barracks school
Above: Miss Mair
Miss Hall took us for needlework and I still have the red and white gingham ‘shoe bag’ I made and embroidered with cross-stitch, although I have never used it as a shoe bag! Our school uniform was a green and white sleeveless gingham dress, with a gathered skirt, trimmed with white bias binding around the neck and armholes, with a pocket on the left breast sporting the school emblem. I remember all my teachers while at the school; Miss Edna Marsh, Scottish Miss Mair and Mr David Nicholson. The male teachers all wore a uniform of white shirt, white shorts and long white socks. The women wore cool cotton frocks.
With Mr Nicholson we went on a school excursion on the ferry to Butterworth and we had to write and illustrate a booklet on our experience. I got the prize for the best book, a tin of Macintosh toffees.
Above: Miss Mair and Mr Nicholson (centre)
After Mr Belson, Mr Richardson became our headmaster and his wife was also a teacher at the school. One time some kids on the bus were singing rude songs and they were reported to Mr Richardson by the bus prefect. Unfortunately I had been singing too, but not the same songs as they were singing. Anyway, I was marched into Mr Richardson’s office with all the recalcitrant singers and I can remember him berating us for ‘singing filth on the school bus’. I must have been uncharacteristically brave as I spoke up and said “I wasn’t singing the same songs as them”. “What were you singing?” Mr Richardson asked. “I was singing a song Mrs Richardson taught us” I replied. I think I saw a twinkle in his eye at that answer! He let me off.
Whenever the bus was out of action, we went to school in an army truck. I loved riding in the truck. Just climbing up into the back of it was an adventure. And being more open than the bus it was so exciting, especially on rainy days. Driving to school we passed by lots of Malay villages of attap huts on stilts, with chickens, ducks and dogs all running around and often with naked children washing themselves in full view of passers by at the only tap in the village.
I really enjoyed my time at school in Penang, it was a wonderful experience.
Some more photos...
1970 - Headmaster Mr Wootton's message from the last school magazine
Two 1958 report cards.
Some general photos taken in 1957.
1968 to 1971
I was with the RAF at 1125 Marine Craft Unit, Glugor, 1959—1961.
We used to visit Minden Barracks daily to pick up our food supplies from the RASC they were inside the main gate on the right-hand-side.
Our families used the swimming pool and the NAAFI shop at the barracks.
We lived on Green Lane, number 603.
The RAF had two Dakotas at Bayan Lepas, (Voice Flight) the staff were accommodated at the barracks.
For children it was a place of exciting experiences and exotic scenery. I was a bit of a tomboy, generally attired in shorts, blouse and flip-flops. I loved climbing the magnolia tree outside our home and watching the Minah birds. I also remember the chitchats (small lizards) that climbed the walls indoors, darting from behind picture frames to catch insects.
We had an Amah, as did all of the families, who helped with domestic duties. She was a kindly young Indian woman who I remember made clothes for us on occasions and also for my Cindy doll.
Other random memories I have, which are definitely from a child's perspective ...
scrumping soft prickled, rosy-red rambutans, catching guppies using a small fishing net straight out of a large monsoon drain, witnessing numerous squashed toads on the roads in the mornings, the lovely cool, smooth marble floors of our house, where I would sometimes lay with my dog.
Although some of my memories are vivid I cannot say that I remember everything accurately and maybe I have confused the cold Storage with somewhere else that we may have dined as you say it was a store. I do remember eating somewhere that was cool and had live crabs I think in tanks.
Unfortunately as my parents are not around any more I cannot check up on any of these facts or add to what is hazy. Maybe there will be others who will continue to add to your site. I hope so. Thank you for all your efforts in setting up the site.
The view from their house, which was a ground floor apartment. "The school was way down on the right approached by the lower road. Beyond the palm and coconut trees was a very big hill, which had rubber trees on it I think."
The photo shows Susanna Hall's father, Ronald Hall, second from the right. Taken at the workshops.
13 February 2014
Life in Linden Barracks, Penang island 1965 -1967
My father was offered a posting to Malaysia while we were living in Winchester. Fortunately, he accepted and the family went through a rigorous vaccination program aimed at avoiding tropical disease. We left England on a BOAC propeller powered aircraft and landed at Istanbul, Bombay and lastly Butterworth airforce base...
My dad, Sgt Ron Claret, was on his second posting to Malaysia (his first one was before I was born) and we were there from April 1964 to November 1966. He was a Coxswain with the RAF 1125 Marine Craft Unit. Our family consisted of my dad, of course, and my mum, Jean; I’m the eldest and then there was my younger sister, Susan. My mum was pregnant when we went out there and my youngest sister, Lisa, was born a few months later.
- From Robert Hildebrandt
- From Carol Shearim
- From John Cole
- From Ann Walkden
- From Bob Price
- From Nicky Hudson
- From Mick Craner
- From Susanna Hall
- From Cavan McCann
- From Jackie Claret
From Robert Hildebrandt View gallery…
From Steve Hudson View gallery…
From Tony Bright View gallery…
From Cliff Phillips View gallery…
From Kevin Cragg View gallery…
From Paul Cocker View gallery…
This early picture of Minden Barracks is from the site www.diggerhistory.info