When we arrived on OP Crown from Malaya in 1964, we reported to Tipper Transport, when we saw the state of the Tippers we were going to drive, what a load of crap didn't think they would last a month. We were then shown around the camp, the loos were thunder boxes in a row no treats, no privacy, UGH!! Our basher was definitely not even a 2 star accommodation.
The two guys’ I went out there with were Driver Brown and Driver Tucker. I am afraid Tucker didn't last very long as he and another guy took a long wheel base land rover and were going to do a runner (as they were on released detention) they crashed the vehicle, Tucker died and the other guy was seriously injured and flown to Malaya.
I remember the outside cinema, which was definitely not the Odeon, but it was entertainment if you had no beer money left. After a few weeks I became friends with a Thai chap who offered to do mine and a few other chaps dobby if I took it to the gate. After a while we became friends and he invited me to his house to meet his family. One week he asked me if I would like to learn to use a blow pipe, we went off into the woods were he killed several lizards that were up in the trees, that was an experience!! he also caught a snake which he killed, we took the snake and lizards back to his house were his wife cooked them, she part cooked the snake then sliced it open and found two eggs as big as a little finger which she gave to there two boys as they said they were high in protein.
The next week I was called to the CO’s office (Lt Col. Orrell). Sgt major Yates told me I was to be the CO’s driver and what ever I saw or heard was not to be repeated, I agreed because that meant no more driving the crap tipper lorries. While driving the CO we got a message to say that one of the wooden bridges had collapsed under the weight of the scammell and its load, we went to see the damage, I think one of the scammell drivers was called John Docherty.
Once or maybe twice a month I had to drive Lt Col Orrell to Ubon, where he went or who to see I never knew. I was booked into the local hotel told to stay over night and meet him the next morning.
The Star mix which produced the Tarmac was over worked and it was only due to the sappers that it lasted so long, little did anyone know that the runway was to be dug up and replaced by concrete at a later date.
I don't know if anyone else can remember this but the first plane to land on the Tarmac runway was a 3-seater light aircraft flown by an American pilot, for the sole purpose of taking Lt CoL. Orrell to see the runway from the air, I also went up with the photographer who was taking the aerial shots. The next aircraft to land on the Tarmac runway was a British Canberra jet flown by the RAF, even that was a bit dodgy taking off and landing.
For the Opening ceremony I had to go into the village to the local Tailor to get the seats covered in white material ready for Thanom Kittikachorn the Prime minister (Kittikachorn was made up to Prime minister from Field Marshall in 1963) and Lt Col. Orrell. At the Time I was on Op Crown the OC in charge of RASC/RCT was a Captain Otterwell.
I would just like to say thanks to Hank for great site for the Op Crown guys and for getting in touch.
Hopefully this story will jog a few RASC/RCT memories of Op Crown during 1964/1965. My army no was 23983334
Regards Malc Thomas.