Date: 08 June 2007 17:27

Hi Hank,
Nice to hear from an ex operation crown hand. I can't say that I remember your name but I would probably remember your face. I had a few mates in 58a, including Hans Morgan, Pete laws, Tiggy Wheeler, and others on the same ONC course that I was on.
How did you like Ban Kok Talat? (The name has changed now to Ban Kok Sahm 
Lahn) I must admit that I was never the same again after my 2 1/2 years out there. I became a Thailand fanatic for years. Even learnt to read and write the language, learnt Thai boxing (ouch) and rode around the northern borders along the river Mekong on a push bike (6 weeks).
    I still go out there on trekking holidays whenever my wife lets me. I have revisited the airfield many times in the past but now I go trekking in the north west of the country. In Mae Hong Son. Where my ex work mate owns a Guesthouse. I sent him on holiday there and he never came back, now his brother
is living over there as well.
I arrived at crown after you. I was the replacement electrician for Sapper  Jenins (?) who got electrocuted on the overhead lines. They had just finished the light air craft landing strip on what was to become the parking area.
I would love to see a copy of any old photos you have of Harrogate/Beachly,
Etc. I never took a single picture of boy’s service. Unlike most other ex-boys
 I look back on those 3 years with horror. The food!! The accommodation and the NCOs were definitely not to my liking. But I had some terrific mates learn the basic lessons of life. (Don’t let the bastards grind you down).
Anyway that's enough about me. Have you been back to the airfield? There is a reunion most years on the end of the strip. I've never been to one myself, 
I mostly travel alone.
Hope to hear from you soon.
All the Best Ken Clements (Clem)

message@contactify.com to me
show details 14/06/2007

Sent to Link Number: b7fb5
Sender Name: dick keens


      I was in 11 indep from 1966-70 was up in post crown for 6 months. Ex chepstow 61B then borneo, malaya,st kilda !,gibraltar, left in 73 to do some real work.  Dick

derek sandilands to me
show details 18/06/2007

hi Hank,  thanks for your contact today my names derek sandilands  59 ,sqn  . i also gave your address to another mate of mine  keith tullett who was also in kok ta lat  54 sqn ,he will be in touch with you shortly . have you been ''on line ''long  Hank ?? if you haven't i can supply  address  of  RE and military  sites for you to look at ,should you be interested ?


derek sandilands to me
show details 20/06/2007

hi Hank , ''ref '' contact details for Bill Lewis and myself , please use our email address for first point of contact  as this seems to be standard procedure  for all military sites that we have used . hope you are enjoying setting up your new venture , REgards .


keith tullett to me
show details 18/06/2007

Hi Hank ,

I got your address from Derek Sandilands who has recently made contact with you via your blog site 11 fld sqn,
 I was in crown camp in 1967 twice, I was with 54 fld pk, sqn Singapore from 66. To 69.
The first time I was working in the joiners shop and on the road building bridges, & culverts ,
 My second tour I was on the R P staff ,  I also showed the film's in crown camp & up country where the camp was on the road building project.
I used to get flown up there by bell helicopter stop over night & back the next day.
 I did my B 2 joiners course in Kluang as well.
 I have a fare amount of photos from that time the same as Derek.

I am also in touch with Willy Bach who was 11sqn and at crown,   he now lives in Australia ,  he came over last year to visit and spent a night at my home

Hope to hear from you  re any information  Derek & I can help you with,

Regards  Keith EX RE 1961 to 1972.

message@contactify.com to me
show details 12/06/2007

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Was a survey engineer from 1965 -1968.
 Worked on Long Nok Tha Airfield and
 the Ban Kok Tolat Rd.Would like to hear from any other sappers who were out there
Jim Curtis to me
show details 29/06/2007

Hi Hank,
I served with 59 Field Sqn from their formation in Maidstone in 1963 until I was demobbed in 1966.
My dates in Thailand were from Jan 1964 (at the tented camp) until July 1966, but during that period I escaped from Op Crown several times.
The first time was to Chatham, UK, on a "Plant Op" trade course. That took approx 3 months, then back to the dreaded BFPO 656. The second time was to the Ghurka Regiment in Kluang, Malaya on a B2 upgrading course. There were many other BOR's from my unit as well as 11 Ind Fld Sqn, 54 Fld Pk Sqn and the Aussie unit in Penang on that course and I still have a photo of the people on the course. Maybe when I get near a scanner I will be able to send you a copy.
Currently I am touring the UK in a caravan until October which is when I go back to Thailand again for the winter.
Best wishes,

message@contactify.com to me
show details 26/06/2007

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Sender Name: Pete Alexander

Hi Hank

Good on you for setting up this site. I served with 11 Sqn from June 67 until Dec 69 in the Plant Sect. Also the Crown Project Aug 67 until Jan 68. I would appreciate it if you could enter my name on the lists. It would be great to hear from any of the lads


Michael Norton
June 2007
          Thank you for the opportunity to view your 11 Ind Fd Sqn site, it's very good.
As an ex 54 Plant Op from 1966-69 i formed many friendships with 11 Sqn guys, both in Thailand and Malaya.  I've commented on the "Ex Thailand", any units blog, and look forward to seeing the site develop.  I'm going to (cc), this to my ex far east contacts.
As Chairman of the REA (Plant Branch) I hope I'll spot a few ex planties who might wish to join our newly created national branch.
Best Wishes

message@contactify.com to me
show details 10/07/2007

Sent to Link Number: b7fb5
Sender Name: harry (geordie) ramsay

hi hank, could you please add my name to the unit lists.I served with 11 sqn.from january 1966 to july 1968 on op.crown 66 and 67/68. Best wishes to all  Harry.

Hank Lawrence to Chris
show details 07/07/2007

Hi Chris
I have today let George Smart know about you and doing same for you .

hi hank
me again  i was looking thru your site and noticed a guy from 59 called chris barret i think i know chris would you have his e mail adress and i could e mail him
i can only remember one chris barret in 59 and it would be great if it was him. 

derek sandilands to me
show details 07/07/2007

hi Hank, hope your well and enjoying setting up the new site , yes i can give you some tour dates at crown  camp .At the airfield 13-5-66-to -12-10-66 and again building the road  to ban nong phok  19-1-68--to-10-5-68 where it linked up with the national highway system .   did you know Ron Silk  in 11 sqn ?  i new him in 3 sqn tidworth  stayed with him and his wife Brenda  for  xmas  in Terendak had a great time took a few mates with me in a mini cooper i hired in singapore  also payed a visit to see him again in merton seaham  near Sunderland  in the early 80's he was driving buses then .  if i can help in any other way let me know , best wishes ,
Vince Vincent
July 2007
Hi Hank
          So sorry about the delay, but our? computer would not go on line, with the consequence that it had to go into the local information technicha place in our local big town.
Anyway as soon as I can have it for 5minutes(if I can prise it away from my wifes clutches,see? mark) I will scan those photographs and send them as soon as I can. I was in Thailand on the airfield from 1965 to 1967and in 1968 I was on the road based in Hong Kong camp.
I dont know if you remember big Nobby Clarke11Sqn black bloke,anyway one time in Ubon in the Yankee air base, a group of us decided to go into the bar that was solely for coloureds, the barman tried to stop us. When he was told that there was no colour bar in the British Army he let us in. So there we were about 30 of us 11Sqn,59Sqn with a couple of other nationalities thrown in having a good time, when in comes these two Phantom air force pilots(white) they then started to spray white shaving foam over all the coloured blokes and when they tried to spray Nobby he stood up and faced them, upon which the Major Domo told them to get out.He then asked Nobby what was he going to do, he said me, not a thing, the Major Domo then noticed that the whole group of us had stood up behind Nobby we hardly paid for a drink all the time that we were there that day.
Anyway thats enough reminiscing,as I said I will get those photos off to you as soon as I can. By the way next time you speak to Mick Norton ask him about the revue we put on in Hong Kong camp and how did he get away showing his hairy legs.
Speak to you soon
                             Vince 23884613


July 2007
Roger Makin
Hi Hank. I was one of the original crown crew. We were all detached from units in uk & baor in August 63 and assembled at the depot (kitchener bks) under the guise Operation Mukdahan . There were 10 of us . Left uk 2/12/63 to Singapore , stayed in Gilman Bks . 8 went to Bankok by ship [Ben Morh }23/12/63 . I and one other ended up on the landing ship (maxwell brander) with 59 sqn on28/12/63 , Arrived Bangkok on 2 /1/64 and drove with heavy convoy to crown camp arrived about the 12/1/64.
i was one of the crane ops. We were attached to 59 sqn for admin and 54 sqn for work. I was one of the wild bunch that were frequently in trouble. I think I was the only one to get ROPs in the first 8 months . Left crown in august 64 for leave and RTU. I belonged to 65 CFPS in Osnabruck. The names i can remember of our crew
Hippo Hall soils mech. CPL Nesbit (jock or geordie) surveyor .Johnny Higgins,Charlie Charlston. Nick Fensom. Terry Healy. all Plant operators. Hope i have not been to long winded but not many remember those outside the main units.
Rod Lofty Stone
, Hi Hank I was with 54 but did spend time at 11 Sqn on detachment with some plant the sqn had on loan from EBI Singapore. I even played basketball for 11 Sqn one night. I was on Crown and Post Crown untill late 67. Regards Rod (lofty) Stone
July 2007
Roy Blakemore
Hi, Hank. Thanks for the photos and links to Malaya. Some brought back memories of exercises in the 'Ulu'. We'd wear black jungle kit with red trimmed bush hats, and go in two weeks before exercises, dig in and wait for 3 Commando Brigade or the Ghurkhas to find and attack us. Of course we always knew when that would be, cause 'Endex' was always known to us. Being Sappers we always booby trapped the area well, and made some 'special' stinking ones strung up in trees

I really loved Singapore. 59, 54 and a survey squadron, were stationed in there in Gillman Barracks, working out of Cloutman lines. I also got to Hong Kong were myself and Smiler Milward helped the surveyors on the Plover Cove road project for 3 months. Also Brunei, Borneo, Phillipines with US forces, and East Pakistan. Looking back, my life was very interesting serving with 59 - if only I'd appreciated it then.


Aug 2007
Peter Melia 
I served 1962 to 84 and was in the Far East from 67 to 69 with 54 Farelf Support, as you probably know 54 was accorded the privilege of finishing off the Thai project. I was never in 11Sqd but did of course work with many 11 Sqd guys throughout my sojourn in Singapore , Malaya and Thailand
Had a look at your site and the names attached and quite a few are familiar. I am bad with dates and putting faces to names but the cobwebs do move eventually, my last recollection of 11 Sqd was delivering rations from Singapore during a bit of unrest with the locals rioting and under a curfew can’t remember the exact year, never could work out why it was OK for us to move up from Singapore with two of us in two wagons but no one could leave from 11 Sqd. I was pleased however on arrival to be met by Olly Olliot who showed us to the Bar and oblivion. Keep in touch I have your site on my favourites list and will keep looking in to see how it develops and hopefully will start to recall names as they are added

From Mick Allen
Received 3rd September 2007
Hi Hank,
 You don’t know me but we trod the same ground in Thailand and probably in Malaya too! 
John Hamnett put me onto your site and I just wanted to say what a brilliant site, very clear and to the point, in fact a bit like an "O" group! For once I have found someone who has his facts right about Op. Crown and hasn’t forgotten that there was a tented camp (in the beginning)
 My name is Mick (titch) Allen and I served in Thailand with 59 @ 34 Sqdns.1964-67
How well I remember arriving after a journey by sea and road from Singapore to find that we had tents but no poles! Spent first night under the stars running to the boreholes after scoffing many watermelons.
 Being a young, new Squadron to the Far East I think we were a bit in awe of the sun bronzed warriors of 11 Sqdn. who seemed to know what they were doing (did they?) being new boys we got sited near the entrance to the camp, plenty of dust from passing vehicles and plenty of abuse from wandering squaddies trying to find their way home after a night on the Mekong and coke in the village which was still virtually untouched at that time. Was it 11 or 54 who later went on the rampage in a much changed village (sex and booze) at a farewell party before returning "down south" for a well earned rest (even more sex and booze) except in more civilized surroundings. Mad Mack was not best pleased; probably saw his M.B.E. going up in smoke, like parts of the village!
 Anyway, Hank your site and the photo’s brought back good memories of good times and good mates, some of whom I have managed to contact after more than 40 years, it really makes the phrase
"get some time in " come home!

          Best wishes for you and your site mate,
From Buck Brown
21 Aug 2007
Hi Hank
 The following email is the one I originally tried to send:
 Many thanks for responding to my initial email about 59 and Op. Crown at the same time my apologies for not replying sooner only I have been helping my youngest son move house.
 As I said in my email 3 old mates and myself have just attended the last 59 reunion before the Squadron is absorbed into 24 Commando Regiment RE next year. At the reunion we discussed the possibility of having a reunion in the UK of ex 59 Op Crown mates as a follow up of the one that was held in Thailand in 2005. To date I am in regular contact with Chris Barrett, John Hamnett and George Smart all three are on your list and I have also sent Jim Curtis an email, but have still to receive a reply. I am also in contact with Trevor Letford who lives in Cyprus and Michael Allen. We were all in 59 when it first formed up in Shorncliffe as well as being on the advance party up to Thailand and began life on Op. Crown in the tented camp.

Trevor, who is in contact with several others, has emailed me to say that those he is in contact with are not interested in meeting up, which I think is a shame but still not to worry. So Hank any others that you know of and are in contact with as well as any help you can offer in tracing old mates it would be greatly appreciated.
It would be nice to hear from you.
 Well I’ll close for now but hope to hear from you soon.
 Best wishes

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