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The Malayan Emergency (Paperback)

The Crucial Years: 1949-53

Military Photographic Books

By Mark Forsdike
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Series: Images of War
Pages: 256
Illustrations: 250 mono integrated
ISBN: 9781399082242
Published: 9th May 2022



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From 1948 through the 1950s British and Commonwealth forces fought a ruthless communist insurgency on the Malay peninsula. Thanks to sound generalship and the dedication and resilience of the officers and men, the security forces eventually broke the terrorists’ resolve.

1st Battalion The Suffolk Regiment was just one of many British units involved in this successful campaign, known as the Malayan Emergency. Their tour between 1949 and 1953 coincided with the most crucial years when the future of the country and, arguably, the South East Asia region lay in the balance.

As this book describes in words and superb contemporary images how the Battalion, the majority of whom were National Servicemen, operated under the most demanding jungle and climatic conditions, earning itself an enviable reputation. The Battalion’s experiences are well recorded here and typify those of tens of thousand servicemen whose efforts secured a unique victory.

Review as featured in

Historical Miniatures Gaming Society, October 2023


Article Highlight: '... a treasure trove of photographs... with a fine narrative...'

The Spectator

5 out of 5

His book is both testament and homage to these brave soldiers.

Read the Full Review Here

Army Rumour Service (ARRSE)

After both World Wars there was a period of several years when local conflicts took place, as nations and states attempted to change the status quo in their region. After WW2 the British Army was involved in many of these conflicts, such as Greece, Palestine, Korea, Cyprus, Kenya, and Suez. Memory of these events has become blurred over the years, as is the case with the Malayan Emergency, the subject of this excellent book.

What lifts this book from good to excellent is an outstanding set of pictures, some of them from Army archives but many provided by the soldiers themselves. They bring the story alive and help the reader to understand the jungle conditions, the brutality of the conflict (the pictures of bodies of dead ‘bandits’ are not for the faint hearted) and the bravery and camaraderie of the soldiers.

Forsdike may not be a professional writer, but his narrative is always interesting and informative, and he has produced a book that is accessible both to military history enthusiasts and the general reader.

Historical Association - The Historian

I enjoyed this book and learnt a good deal more about the successful British Malayan Campaign, which did in the end lead to an independent state.

Read the Full Review Here

Military Model Scene

By focusing so closely on a single unit- the viewer can really immerse in the conflict- and notice nuances. The gamer gets a lot of inside info- there are two times a "typical patrol" shows off the various weapons carried - spoiler alert- Owen Submachine Guns!- and lots of scenario ideas. The Modeler gets a tonne of detail for builds and dioramas - the Regiment's vehicles were all named after battle honors from their flag-not always perfectly spelled.

The Military Enthusiast gets this great up close view of a single unit's contribution to a little remembered conflict- a much deeper engagement in a way than the usual survey Images of War Book. I was charmed by the prose and pics- and enjoyed being immersed in the conflict this way.It was also fun to see the Vets at play-there are pictures from reunions, so an intriguing package, well worth a read.

Martin Koenigsberg, Good Reads

"...a very nicely done book and one that manages to provide a lot of information on a subject about which few are really aware."

ModelingMadness.com, July 2022


AMPS Indianapolis

The Malayan Emergency is a solid addition to the Images of War series. These books succeed on their combination of text and photographs, and Forsdike has managed both of those very well. He allows the men who fought to speak for themselves as much as possible, and he weaves that into the context of the conflict. The photographs are mostly of the men whose memories we are reading, but they also give an atmospheric account of the conditions and climate they endured, and Forsdike does not shy away from including images of death on both sides.

Beating Tsundoku

About Mark Forsdike

Mark Forsdike has strong links with the Suffolk Regiment. His grandfather served with the 4th Battalion in the Second World War spending three and a half years as a Japanese prisoner of war. Mark is proud to be an honorary member of the Old Comrades Association, Standard Bearer of the Ipswich Branch, a volunteer at the Regimental Museum and administrator of theg He is the author of Fighting Through to Hitler’s Germany - Personal Accounts of the Men of 1 Suffolk, 1944 – 1945 (Pen and Sword Military, 2020)
An engineer by profession, he lives in Ipswich with his wife and two children.

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