Following information from
Op Crown Association

Subj: Crown Medal

Hi Chaps,

               I've picked up on what seems to be some mis-information that's going about, which is that only OCA members will receive the Crown Medal from the Thai's if they award it to us. I'm sure I'm right in saying that all the Brits who served on Crown for the number of days required to qualify, will be eligible for the medal which is morally right. The Aussies and Kiwis already have their medals from their own governments. The difference between OCA members and non-members is that one of the benefits of being a member, is that OCA will be doing the admin for them. Non-members will qualify for the medal but will have to apply for it themselves. I'm sure any non member contacting us will be pointed in the right direction of how to apply. Considering the positive news about the medal situation, that Mike told us of at the AGM, I think it's best we stop this mis-information/rumour from gathering pace. Perhaps could give it to Hank so he can put it up on his Facebook group if he wishes to, as I'll be doing on the OCA group. It might also be a good idea to send it out in a round robin email?

John Hamnett

For those of you interested in maybe 
receiving a medal

Received by Mick Norton 
From MOD


  1. I would like to say how much I enjoy this site as I have a long-term interest in Naval and Military history.

    Throughout the site it comes across, from reading individual accounts
    and perusing the many photographs, that even though building an airfield in the back and beyond of Thailand was back breaking work the majority enjoyed the experience.

    One question I would like to ask is why do the participants on this site feel they are entitled to a medal for their services. I have not read anything that would suggest that there was any military conflict that would have put the lads in danger. It is possible that I do not fully understand the situation; but surely some sort of commemorative lapel badge would suffice.

    In contrast to the above, in the news recently after seventy years the participants of the Artic Convoys are being recognised for their service and sacrifice, unfortunately the one’s that survived that hellish time in history have, but for a few, died in the interim years therefore it’s there children who will receive the medal on their behalf.

    To close I would ask you to read what you can about the Artic Convoys
    and ask yourself did these brave lads enjoy the experience.

    F. Scott.

  2. perhaps it had something to do with all the communist activity going on around us.(12 thai police murdered in the area and we didn,t have a weapon between us.we where protected by thai army with pump-action shotguns

  3. At least give your names guys please

  4. mines geordie bonner

  5. I think its because the aussies and n Zealand lads got theres and it was approved by the queen and a comment from mike stanbridge was that the airfield was to be used to fly in 28 brigade and not for local farmers produce as we where lead to believe and no way dose it compare with the lads on the artic run in ww2 but every operation in the forces is not the same as any other and like you hank I think any momento would be received well as we where promised years ago cheers lads and stay well Geordie h

  6. I have spent a fair amount of time looking into Op and Post Crown and have I believe a fairly rounded knowledge of both projects. I wasn't there until 1968. I don't have the memories as most contributors to this site and others do but I do have the skill to research.
    My understanding is that the Thai Prime minister that opened the tarmac runway in 1965 said that the chaps would be given a medal and as such it would be a foreign medal with which parallels can be drawn with the Pingat Jasa. Comparisons with the Aussies and New Zealanders are also unfounded as I understand they received a bar on their GSM, not a specific Thailand medal. However it does serve to irritate as the Brits have had zip and we share the same Queen as our Antipodean counterparts. Comparisons with Arctic Convoy lads and yet to be mentioned Bomber Command are also irrelevant. The quest is for a foreign medal I believe.
    Are medals awarded only for gallantry and acts of valour? I understand the answer to be "no". Happy to be corrected! My father was awarded a WW2 medal but I don't think he carried out any acts of gallantry.
    So in short it appears that there is a fair amount of misunderstanding, misinformation and erroneous comparison.
    Noel Jackson

    1. Mr. Jackson,
      Isn’t it a shame you haven’t shared more of your rounded knowledge no doubt gleaned from your excellent research.
      Apologies for repeating myself but I think you missed my point about
      the Artic convoys, no one was in any doubt that these men were heroes
      but it still took seventy years for the British Government to acknowledge them. As it is over forty years since Op Crown and the Thai Government
      to date have not issued a medal, is it possible they are struggling to justify
      a reason for it. The difficulty as I see it is that to maintain the integrity of awarding medals, governments must be seen to be doing the right thing.
      F. Scott.

    2. Mr Scott,
      Thank you for your response.
      I am always pleased to have a debate and share my information where I can (have never claimed it was "excellent"). All I ask is that people have an open mind, be honest in their intent and be prepared to listen to my side too. Not all of my knowledge is gained from pure research but also from being proactively involved with the contributors to this and other Op Crown websites as well as being a regular visitor to Crown and Post Crown.
      I believe you also missed my point. I understand medals are awarded for both gallantry and campaigns. I think the medal being sought from the Thai government as their representative alledgedly stated would be awarded would qualify as a campaign medal. As such personnel need to have served for a period of time. No acts of gallantry or justification required. If you were there for the required period you qualify. Khun Thanom has passed away now so he cannot be asked if he recalls his promise so the OCA are progressing the award as best they can. The only comparison I would make with the PJM is that they would both be a foreign award.

  7. Dear All,
    I served on CRE Works Crown and Post Crown Force, with Plant Troop, 54 (FARELF) Support Sqn RE for a total of 22 months, from 1966 to the day we departed on LSL Sir Galahad, on 1 May 1968. In 1966 Leong Nok Tha and its three neighbouring provinces were regarded by the Communists as "liberated." For the Thais in the North East at that time it was a very dangerous environment with the Vietnam War well underway, and Hanoi only 100 miles from Crown, as the crow flies. The Laos border was only 16 miles from the Post Crown roadhead.

    If you read, Parliament's Hansard reports of 1966 and 1967 the debate sees a need to remove the sapper contingent from N East Thailand asap. There were real concerns that the Vietnam conflict would spread across the R Mekhong and into Thailand, a development that Labour's Prime Minister Wilson was desperate to avoid. Wilson had turned down repeated requests from President Johnson of the USA for UK ground support in S Vietnam.

    Thailand, and Leong Nok Tha, was within the USA's combat zone for the Vietnam conflict and their servicemen received their respective medal awards. The USA's allies in Vietnam, Australia and New Zealand, sent troops into active service and these commonwealth governments issued their own Vietnam service medals. Similarly whilst the Australian and New Zealand Sappers served in Ban Kok Thalat, within the USA,s combat zone they qualified for a clasp, (Ban Kok Thalat) to their Australian and New Zealand Service Medals. Labour's Wilson gave a categorical "NO" for a restricted medal issue to the British contingent at "Crown."

    Interestingly I wrote to Lord Healey at the House of Lords in 2001 and asked him to recall events in Thailand with the Royal Engineers in the 1960s, when he was Labour's Minister of Defence, (Army). His formal response was incredible. "I HAVE NO RECOLLECTION OF A ROYAL ENGINEER COMMITMENT IN NORTH EAST THAILAND, WHILST I WAS MINISTER OF DEFENCE!" Contributors to this site should make their own minds up on Healey's comment.

    I do not subscribe to the nonsense that some ex far east sappers have stated that Crown was a means of 28 Commonwealth Brigade launching the British support to the US operations in Vietnam.

    Though The Labour Government of the day would have us believe that Crown did not occur I remember two SAS ex Sappers who appeared at Ban Hong Kong tented Camp, on the road project, in 1967, who regularly crossed the R Mekhong and spent extended periods in Laos gathering intelligence. 54 Sqn had personnel at Saigon's British Embassy, manning generators for some 3 years, during the Vietnam War but that would be the sum total of Brit Sappers in the conflict.

    The OCA have worked hard with the Thais for a retrospective award to those who served in Crown and it is believed that Thai Field Marshal Thanom Kittikakorn was keen that the Brits receiving some formal acknowledgement. In my view any such award, however welcome, cannot be compared with the issue of the Malayan Emergency PJM.
    Mick Norton BEM

    1. Dear Mr. Norton,
      I would like to thank you for your excellent input; it does make for better understanding of the situation.
      F. Scott.

  8. Hi Mick,
    Very interesting mate and good to read the truth, heard so many conflicting stories over the years..Thanks for that..
    Pete Marsden.

  9. Well done M. Norton for the explanation of our struggle for recognition of a job well done. Cheers mate.
    Frank Topham

  10. Well done Mick. I don't know how we go about it but is it not now possible to find out the truth of Healey's rather selective memory under the freedom of information act,after all nearly fifty years have passed.

  11. J. Smale- I was at Op Crown 65/66 but was officially posted to 2 Inf Wksp, Borneo. I have a Thai visa in my passport but no record on my documents. As the REME clerk I understood that we were there in an unofficial capacity. Indeed I see somebody said we had no weapons but they were kept in the armoury in boxes labelled Cat D8 spares. We regularly travelled outside the camp with loaded weapons,on escort duty, to pick up civilians that had been threatened by the Pathet Lao. Quite hairy. We also had coffins in the stores to be used for the bodies of those civilians murdered by the communists. There was an evening 10 o'clock curfew(regularly flouted).

  12. John Smale would you like to contact me direct with details so I can add you to roll call, really need email address for people I add.

  13. it would seem the MOD have a strange way of assessing what can be construed as a hardship posting, all personnel who served in Singapore and Malaysia during the qualifying dates are eligible for the GSM with Malaysia bar, the Hardships of Gilman and Tanendak must have been absolute hell, where as the tented camp and early hutted camp at crown was not difficult, in the MOD's opinion.Several time we in 59 where issued with weapons due to infiltrators from Laos and the Paradise bar, was the real sharp end, Butch Edwards 2trp 59

  14. I was stationed on OP Crown in Thailand in 1966 and twice more in 1967 with 59 Fld Sqn RE working on that airstrip at Ban kok talat when the Americans in their B52 bombers heading for Vietnam would refuel right overhead I agree with Butch Edwards that we were issued with weapons on several occasions due to infiltrators from Laos during our time there, so I agree we should have been issued with a medal for the qualifying period.

    1. Hello Eric Fawke. Thanks for comment please would you contact me via the Contact form so i can add you to the roll call. Thanks


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