Wednesday, January 14, 2009


MALAYAN NAVAL FORCE (Service Entry 1948-1952)

At the outbreak of the First Emergency in 1948, the British saw an urgent need to reactivate the Malay Navy. The Malayan Naval Force was legislated into being and many former members of the Malay Navy disbanded the year before were re-enlisted and formed the core of this newly established force together with new recruits. In this turbulent period much has been written about the role played by the Police Constabulary and Army but very little or almost nothing is mentioned of the role played by the naval element. The General Orders issued by General Templer involved action by the naval forces. Albeit small, the naval elements played a very important role as back-up for the transport of army personnel, food and equipment to river mouths, providing naval gunfire support and maintaining vigilance in cutting off supplies to terrorists across waters, especially along the then Malaya’s common borders with Thailand and Indonesia. The MNF also conducted anti-piracy, anti smuggling and fishery protection patrols. In May 1950, the Royal Navy presented the deactivated Battleship HMS Malaya ship’s bell to the MNF as a mark of honour and appreciation for their service. In August 1952, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II bestowed the title “Royal” upon the Malayan Naval Force in recognition of its sterling service during the Malayan Emergency thus extending the proud existence of the Malayan Naval Force into a full navy unit. Thus from then on, the Malayan Naval Force evolved and became known as the Royal Malayan Navy. Below are the ships that help gained that honour.

1. NAME : HMS Test Ex -HMIS Neza
TYPE : Frigate -River Class (Training and Accommodation ship)

HMS Test was one of six River class frigates in the Royal Indian Navy WW-II service but was returned to the Royal Navy in 1947. Being surplus to the Royal Navy's needs, she served as an accommodation ship in Singapore from 1948. However in 1949, she was loaned to the newly created Malayan Naval Force as a training frigate until hulked a year later. She finally met her fate at the breakers in 1955.

Type : Short range type River class frigate
Displacement : 1450 tons standard, 1960 tons full load
Dimensions : 92 metre x 10.9metre x 3.6 metre
Guns : 2 x 101 mm Mk 5, 4 x 20 mmOerlikon, 1 x Hedgehog ASW Mortar, DC throwers and rails
Electronics : Type 286 AW RDF and Type 271 SW, 144 sonar
Propulsion : 2 x boilers with 5500 hp to 2 shafts
Speed : 20.5 Knots, range 10000 Km at 15 knots
Crew :107

2. NAME : HMMS Sri Melaka Ex HMS Malaya, HMS Pelandok Ex LCT 341

Originally named as HMS Pelandok but renamed two months later as HMS Malaya, she was one of two remaining LCT Mk 3 remaining in the Royal Navy service in 1947. The vessel was brought to Singapore during World War II and was then refurbished after the war for duties in Malayan waters. She initially served as a maintenance repair craft for the Royal Navy but was later converted to a training and accommodation ship before entering service into the Malayan Naval Force on 18 April 1949, to serve as a training ship like her namesake. As of January 1957, she was still listed as the maintenance repair craft HMMS Sri Melaka in the RMN vessels list.

Displacement: 640-ton normal, 940 ton full load
Dimensions : 58.5 metre x 9.1 metres x 1.1metre
Guns : ?
Propulsion : ?
Speed : 9 Knots, range 5000
Crew :12

3. NAME : HMMS Sri Perlis Ex HMMS Pelandok Ex LCG 450
SERVICE DEACTIVATED : 1959 –stricken-

Landing Craft Gun(Large) LCG 450 was handed over to the MNF in June 1949 by the British Admiralty in London and named HMS Pelandok. She was capable of naval bombardment with her 4.7-inch guns and provided naval gunfire support in the form of large-scale coastal bombardment of communist infested areas. With her guns and very small draught, she proved very useful in this role. On 31 August 1958, the newly transferred RMN decided to change all her vessel names to Malayan state names and the HMMS Pelandok thus became the HMMS Sri Perlis until she was stricken in 1959.

Displacement: 306 ton normal, 640 tons full load
Dimensions : 58.5metre x 9.4 metre x 1.6 metre
Guns : 2 x 4.7 in gun, 2 x Oerlikon 20 mm Cannon after conversion
Propulsion: Paxman Diesel with 920 bhp to 2 shafts
Speed : 10.5 knots
Crew : 35

4. NAME : KD Sri Kedah, KD Sri Trengganu, KD Sri Negeri Sembilan, KD Sri Perak, KD Sri Selangor, KD Sri Pahang, KD Sri Kelantan (HMMS previously)
PENNANT NUMBER : 3501, 3502, 3506, 3507, 3509, 3505, 3508
SERVICE ENTRY : 1949 for first 5 units, 1950 for last two units
SERVICE DEACTIVATED : 1959 (scrapped), 1970 (stricken), 1966 (sale list), 1966(sale list), 1961(scrapped), 1965 (scrapped), 1965 (scrapped)
TYPE :ML 1000 Type Seaward Defence Motor Launch (SDML)

The main function of the MNF was coastal patrol and in order to equip the force for the task, seven SDML's were progressively transferred from the RN's 200th Patrol Squadron in Singapore. These SDML's became the Malayan service's patrol force backbone until the RMN's Vosper Type patrol boats gradually replaced them in the sixties. Nevertheless, the last SDML still remained in RMN service until 1970 before being stricken. In service, these SDML's had the honour of participating in the first RMN Royal fleet Review in 1958, where five units represented the patrol squadron. The units continued to serve gallantly in many roles until they could no longer meet the navy's operational requirements. Nevertheless, these vessels will be remembered as the RMN's first naval combatants.

Displacement : 46 ton normal, 54 ton full load
Dimensions : 21.9 metre x 4.72 metre x 1.62 metre
Guns : 1 x 40 mm, 1 x 20 mm, Depth Charges
Electronics : Type 978
Propulsion : 2 x Diesels totalling 320 hp to 2 shafts.
Speed : 12 knots, range 4074 Kilometres at 10 Knots
Crew :14

5. NAME : HMMS Laburnum Ex-HIJMS Wakataka
SERVICE DEACTIVATED : 1956-deactivated-
TYPE : Minelayer-Hatsutake class

The second HMMS Laburnum was a 1941 built former Japanese minelayer called Wakatake captured in Surabaya Indonesia at the end of WWII, the sole survivor of her class. She was initially used for repatriation service and then reparated to the Royal Navy on 17 October 1947. An odd unit in the Royal Navy's fleet, she subsequently entered service with the MNF until she was deactivated from active service in 1956. However, she continued to serve as a drill ship for the Singapore Naval Volunteer Force (SNVF) under RN control. At the time of Singapore's separation from Malaysia in 1965, she was transferred and served as headquarters ship for the SNVF, to form the nucleus of the new Singaporean navy. She was berthed at Telok Ayer Basin and renamed RSS Singapura.

Type : Imperial Japanese Navy Hatsutaka class mine/netlayer
Displacement : 1608 ton normal, 1890 ton full load
Dimensions : 85 metre x 11.3 metre x 4.4 metre
Guns : 2 x 80 mm, 4 x 25mm, 4 x 13.2mm HMG, Depth Charges rail
Electronics : Radarset
Propulsion : 3 x boiler totalling 6000 hp to 2 shafts.
Speed : 20 knots, range 5556 Km at 14 Knots
Crew : ?

6. NAME : HMS Panglima
SERVICE DEACTIVATED : 1956-stricken-
TYPE : Motor Fishing Vessel

HMMS Panglima was the second vessel to be so named, a 27.4 metre motor fishing vessel built in England for the Royal Navy. When World War II came to an end, this ship was transferred over to the command of the re-established MRNVR as a replacement for the earlier vessel. However, being made of wood(1), it proved to be unsuitable for use in the tropical waters of Singapore. The high salinity and humidity of the local waters meant that the wooden hull would begin deteriorating faster than it would in colder climates.
The first Panglima was a 23 metre motor launch built in Singapore in 1937. It was used for the training of naval officers and ratings in the Malayan Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve (MRNVR). During World War II, the ship was involved in the evacuation of British and Australian troops from Johore, escort duties and patrol duties. However, in February 1942, while evacuating troops from Singapore, it was bombed and sunk.
Note : Edited 24 June 2009

7. NAME : HMS Simbang
SERVICE DEACTIVATED : 1951? -reassigned by RN-(Korea)-
TYPE : Torpedo Recovery Vessel
ERRATUM : After further research, I have found that HMS Simbang served in Korea as a naval aircraft repair section disembarked from HMS Unicorn. This explains why I have never managed to find HMS Simbang listed as an Royal Navy Vessel. Instead HMS Simbang was the Royal Navy Air Station based in Sembawang, Singapore commissioned from 15 December 1945 until 31st December 1947 and recommissioning and decommissioning a few times until finally being paid off in September 30th 1971. Nonetheless Mr John Hooper, an MRNVR officer (1948 to 1959) informed me via email that the HMS Simbang (an ex-RAF torpedo recovery launch) was one of the MRNVR ships together with HMS Panglima and HMS Pelandok above. This may be why it is not formally listed as a navy vessel. This error in research is regretted.
Last edited 25 June 2009

1 comment:

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