General Sir Gerald Templer (left) testing a .45 inch De Lisle bolt action silenced carbine during a visit to 1st Battalion The Gordon Highlanders, Perak, 1952
Photograph, Malayan Emergency (1948-1960), 1952.
In February 1952, following the assassination of the local High Commissioner, Templer (1898-1979) was sent to Malaya to assume control of both the civil government and military operations. There he faced a communist insurgency led by the Malayan Races Liberation Army. Templer combined vigorous military operations against the insurgents' jungle bases with political reforms designed to win the 'hearts and minds' (Templer is credited with coining this phrase) of the racially divided Malayan community. He continued his predecessors' policy of building new settlements for the marginalised Chinese population and promised independence once the guerrillas had been defeated. This won him the support of many nationalists.
He also involved the local population in the fight against the guerrillas by increasing the number of Malay battalions and strengthening the Home Guard raised to defend the new villages. These measures helped unite the population against the insurrection. The campaign was a striking success, and it is still studied today as model of how such operations should be conducted. When he relinquished his post in October 1954, government control over most of the country had been re-established.
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National Army Museum, London
National Army Museum, Study collection
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