Friday, July 16, 2010

My only neighbour the RAAF Base Butterworth

RMAF & RAAF at Main Gate 1970

Brief history dates of  RAF and RAAF Base Butterworth.

1941 October - RAF Butterwoth was commissioned.
1941 December 20 - The 25 Army of Imperial Japanese Army captured the
         RAF Butterwoth.
1945 September - RAF resumed control of the base.
1946 May - Resuming air operation of the base.
1948 - 1960 -Malayan Emergency. RAF, RAAF & RNAF played an active role
         against Malayan Communists.
1957 - RAAF took control of the base-No3 Sqn & 77 Sqn.(CAC Sabres).
1968-1983 - No75 Sqn of Dassault Mirage IIIs.
1988 June 30 - RAAF handed over the base Butterworth to the RMAF.
2008 as October - 5 Power Defence Arrangement (FPDA),still occupies with No324 Combat Support Sqn and a detachment of AP-3C Orion aircraft from No92 Wing RAAF located at the base.In addition, the Australian Army maintain an infantry company(designated Rifle Company Butterworth).

RAAF handed over the Base Butterworth to the RMAF
30 June, 1988

RAAF Flypass 1988 

RAAF Handling over speech 1988

The Parade 1988

The Parade 1988

The eye-witnesses 
All photos taken by WOII Mohd Ismail 1988

My first posting as an airman to RMAF Base Butterworth was in 1970, and that was after graduating from my Basic Supply Course (Logistic) at RMAF Kinrara Technical School, Kuala Lumpur. On arrival at the RAAF Base Butterworth, I felt like a foreigner in my own home land and only a handful of  Royal Malaysian Air Force personnel at that time sharing the same base with RAAF. Inside the base I lived at the Airmen's barrack, one of a few allocated for the Malaysian personnel and the rest were the Australian personnel who were there long before us. The unique part was the "aromatic smell" from the RAAF Airmen's mess which I will never forget every moment I passed in front of the building. The strong smell of Australian cookings made me hungry instantly and it was a total different from the smell of Malaysian cooking. However we had our own RMAF Airmen's mess and a cook house on the base. 

I normally walked on every working day right from the airmen's living blocks to my work place, the newly established RMAF Supply Squadron. At the squadron we had an RAAF representative by the name of  Flt.Sgt McGain attached to the RMAF supply squadron and he was responsible for the handed over Sabre aircraft's documentations for the RMAF logistic. A kind of jovial person around and he was not long then and later earned a posting back to Australia.

I was young then, in my early twenties and used to have numbers of Australian friends as we were there to share the only common base facilities. We were friendly among peers and grew maturity in friendship as time went by with the Airmen's Club lighted the night after sundown, and good facilities such as squash, basket ball, dolphin's swimming club, NAAFI, yacht club with some good beaches, golf club, motorcycle club, Officer's mess, Sgt's mess, ASTRA, and free RAAF bus ride from the base to Butterworth's ferry terminal and vice versa. Last but not least the sweet fabulous "Radio RAAF  Butterworth", "The voice of Royal Australian Air Force in Malaysia" on the air reaching as far as India and Sri Lanka. It was a favourite radio station served some 5,000 Australian personnel with transmission frequency from 1445 kHz. It was established on the 1 July, 1960 and officially ceased operation  in 1987, a 27 years of radio broadcasting in Butterworth. After six months of an enjoyable staying at the base Butterworth, I was then transfered to RMAF Base Labuan, Sabah a former RAF Base.

RMAF Base Butterworth's Swimming Pool

I came back for a second posting in 1977 to base Butterworth and stayed for another three years. This time lived at the Sgt's Mess and was attached to the No.3 Squadron RMAF Base Butterworth as an Aircrew-gunner. At the Sgt's Mess I have met numbers of Australian  here, a person  like Cpl Blue a RAAF assistant mess steward as I used to call him and he was nice to the Malaysian and the local liked him too. When I revisited the mess on my third posting in 1983, former Cpl Blue was already made a Flt.Sgt then and friends like Flt.Sgt Roger and many more to mentioned had gained a long lasting friendships with Malaysian. At the mess too local workers like the late Mr Alwa, Maniam, Ahmad, and others were at their best to serve us equally under a cosy breeze from the sea. It was really a beautiful view of the Andaman sea to the north west and Penang's island to south west when looked from the Sgt's Mess especially at sunset accompanied by Sgt's Mess lawn bowls session, players in whites attires playing under the overhead flood lights with fans surrounded holding canned and glassed drinks in their hands. Probably the best lawn bowl's rink since 1970 I've known.

Sergeant's Mess Bowl Rink  

In 1990, two years after RAAF handed over the base to the RMAF, there were strong nostalgic sign of  Aussie's touch, memoir and friendship felt by both RAAF and Malaysian alike living within Butterworth and Penang. With the reduction of RAAF personnels, some businesses within the base had taken a down-turn, with the closure of NAAFIs, and the Sgt's Mess lawn bowls became a dormant. I once said to myself, "The past was still the best memoirs and the future yet to be told". That same year I was transfered to RMAF Base Kuching Sarawak, my last base prior to my retirement in 1992.

Sign off : WOII(Rtd) Mohd Ismail Bin Mohd Hashim.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Graduation Day

The Armed Forces Air Intelligence Training Center
Lowry AFB at Denver Colorado,USA.

Col Donald W.Swain USAF (CO), WO Isa, Sgt(U) Radzali, Sgt(U) Mohd Ismail, Sgt(U) Hood.
Capt Travis USAF, and tutor Mr Jerry Hensel (Back row).

My graduation day  2 Aug 1983

Issued at Lowry AFB

Issued at Bergstrom AFB Austin, Texas.
On the job training(OJT).

Saturday, July 10, 2010


Chief Aircrew  
The Chief Aircrew of No7 Sqn RMAF Base Kuching, was responsible for both Alouette III and Nuri's Aircrewmen in archieving high standard on training and operational matters pertaining to RMAF instructions and regulations.

 Handing and taking over of  OC No.7 Sqn RMAF Base Kuching.
Maj(U) Darby Awin (sitting 7th from left)  to Maj(U) Mohd Repi (sitting 6th from left), 
and self sitting 1st from left. 
Photo taken in 1991.

F/Sgt(U) Ibrahim (Alouette Wing), Chief Aircrew WO II Mohd Ismail, F/Sgt Tan (Nuri Wing). 
(Sitting from left to right) 
Alouette III and Nuri Aircrewmen of No 7 Sqn (Standing) 
Photo taken in 1991.

Capt(U) Jaafar, Chief Aircrew WOII Mohd Ismail, Capt(U) Hanafi. 
(from left to right)
No 7 Sqn RMAF Base Kuching. 
Photo taken in 1991


Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Unexplained Phenomenon

25 November,1982
Alouette III-FM1318
Pilot: Capt(U) Hashim
Aircrewman: Sgt(U) Stephen
Crashed site: In a river near Santubung, Kuching,
Date crashed: 25.11.82
Photo: Alouette III underslunged by a Nuri helicopter.

In the early morning on Nov 25,1982 at 0700hrs as I was having breakfast at my living quarters at the Penrissen camp just about four kilometer from No7 Sqn.RMAF Base Kuching. My pet 'The Fish' had its breakfast too. Its my neighbour's pet anyway, given to me for a temporary custody while he was on leave back in the west Malaysia. I don't mind being a samaritan as a neighbour. After feeding the fish, my wife accompanied me to the door and I left for work and was supposed to fly with Capt(U) Hashim, aircraft Alouette III FM1318, a training flight Kuching-Santubong Area-Kuching. I arrived at the squadron early and was ready to fly then, but was stopped by my Chief Aircrew WO Thesigan due to another important duties that I have to performed and instead Sgt(U) Stephen had to replace me for that training flight.

As I was sipping my coffee in the crew rest-room, suddenly awakened by the operation room's call telling us that FM1318 had crashed. I looked at my wrist-watch, it was 1100hrs and SAR was activated by the base, Nuri's SAR airborned immediately at about 1110hrs, while we waited for the uncertainty information from the crash site at the base. After a short while, good news broke with joy that both of them were safe and sound and were sent to Kuching's General Hospital for an out-patient treatment. A visit by squadron personnel  were organised for both of them before lunch-breaks with cheers and laughters heard at the hospital while Capt(U) Hashim relating his story that he saw Sgt(U) Stephen was the last to emerged to surface of the water thinking that he was already drowned.

I went back home, to have lunch with my wife, as was about to seat down at the dining table, I noticed my friend's pet 'The fish' had died in its small aquarium. It was a surprised and unbelievable. While having lunch, my wife  told me she heard and saw the fish was struggling for something and died after that, and it happened at about 1100hrs. I stretched and lean my back against the chair, at the same moment telling her about the crash  and while at the dining table...I fell asleep for a couple of minutes or so and maybe I was too tired and my mind seemed to wander beyond the unexplained....  

About two weeks later, my neighbour came back from leave, and I handed over his emptied fish aquarium and apologetically told him the whole story. He smiled and tapped my shoulder and said "You are very lucky to be alive". He then told me his story's version of 'the fish' or 'ikan puyu' which suppose to bring good luck to anyone who kept it. I smiled at him as he walked away....and maybe someone would believed to such an unpredictable story.



Sunday, July 4, 2010

Aerial Photography

                            My photo taken at No.7Sqn.RMAF Base Kuching, Sarawak. 1991

Flight Detail
April 05, 1991-M2014-Ang457-Lt(U)Sahid/Self. - Aerial photography, Kuching areas-Duration: 3:45mins

An aerial photographic accomplishment over Kuching with a renowned photographer on-board, Guido Alberto Rossi in his  making of a book "Over Malaysia".


Photographer  Guido Alberto Rossi on the Alouette III starboard side.@ Copyright.

Tips on aerial photographic planning
By Mohd Ismail Bin Mohd Hashim  
  1. Photographer's  target choice. 
  2. Obtained photographic authorization.
  3. Briefing with pilot and aircrew.
  4. Cameras and equipments.
  5. Communication headsets.
  6. Weather consideration.
  7. Safety precautions.
  8. After flight debrief.

Have a good flying!

Aerial Photos of Kuching, Sarawak

Aerial Photo: Kuching township 1991@ Copyright.

Aerial Photo: Kuching by the river 1991@ Copyright.

Aerial Photo: Kuching stadium 1991@ Copyright.

Aerial Photo: A speed boat 1991 @ Copyright.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Voice Broadcasting

Self with 9mm Browning Automatic Pistol (Shoulder Holstered)
Operation Jala Aman, Sarawak - 16-23 April,1983

Voice broadcasting used by RMAF as to maintain public order and in awakening the communist terrorists in hostile areas to surrender. This was carried out within the operation areas in the west and east Malaysia and normally followed by leaflet drops that included government's advisory messages.

Flight Detail
Dec 30,1979
FM1303-W234A-Kapt(U)Yeow/Self.-Ipoh operation areas.            -1:20
Apr 10,1983
M2014-B94A-Kapt(U)Fong/Self.-Operation areas in Sibu,Sarawak.-1:30
Apr 18,1983
M2013-B757A2-        -do-         -                 -do-                            -1:35
Apr 19,1983
M2013-B757A-          -do-         -                 -do-                            -2:45

Friday, July 2, 2010

Alouette III Floatation Roles

Telok Melanok, Sarawak 1982.

The role's applications.
  1. Fresh and salt water landing.
  2. River, lake, and coastal search and rescue.
  3. Coastal surveillance.
  4. Deck Landings for ships and oil rigs.
RMAF Butterworth 
Feb 08,1980                                                                                 
FM1304 - Mej(U) Chin/Self - Duration 1:05 mins.
Feb 11,1980
FM1304 - Lt(U) Hashim/Self - Duration 0:45 mins.

RMAF Kuching
Dec 08,1981      
FM 1318- Kapt(U) Hashim/Self-Duration 1:15 mins.
Mar 02,04,1982
FM1317 - Lt(U) Adzli/Self - Duration 1:15 mins.                          
May 19,20,1982
FM1317 - Kapt(U) Hashim/Self - Duration 2:10 mins.
Location : Telok Melanok, Sarawak (See photo).