This picture was taken in the then Sarawak that is now part of Malaysia. It was during the time that Indonesia has designs in that part of the world trying to make the entire island of Borneo Indonesian.
The ‘confrontation’ between Malaysia and Indonesia in Borneo – the war against Indonesian raids over a 900-mile boundary – eventually included nearly 20,000 British and Commonwealth troops, with support from the air and the navy; and yet surprisingly little was reported by mutual agreement. This “secret war” saw the perfection of SAS-jungle tactics and daring secret missions deep in enemy territory, including the award to a Gurkha soldier of the only ‘living VC’ of the British Army for 40 years.
This photo had to show a patrol along the border. Such patrols lasted about a week and after the time the jungle took its toll on the uniforms, parts of the fabric were torn away.
In fact, no patrol would be so close together, because they could be killed with one burst of machine gun fire. But I had to close them up for the purpose of the photo.
The handy palm lovingly placed on the left actually held my journalist friend, Bernard Long, because we could not quite find it in the right place.