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GLIDING through becalmed seas off the
fighter-bombers, all are thrown at the task force fated defence of the Malay peninsula in 1941-42 for ships... and not in Farnborough...).
Malay peninsula, this is the international
over the exercise’s fortnight. for the Taurus task group. More than 20 ships were open to the public
task force mustered for Commonwealth
“Modern global military operations are now Sailors from Taurus flagship HMS Bulwark during the show, including Bulwark and Ocean,
normally carried out in coalitions with other – which did not take part in Bersama Shield – plus their attached American destroyer, USS
war games. nations – it’s exercises such as this which allow paid their respects at Changi Museum and the Mitscher.
Each year, the UK dispatches one vessel to us to develop our ability to operate with allies and former Allied PoW chapel, and held a service of The visit to Singapore also coincided with the
the Far East to take part in Bersama Shield, a partners.,” said Ocean’s CO Capt Simon Kings, remembrance at Kranji cemetery. 100th birthday of naval aviation.
two-week exercise designed to test the abilities who was in charge of the five-power task group That sacred ground is the last resting place WAFUs are, apparently, never ones to refuse an
of Britain, Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia and for the duration of Bersama Shield. of 3,000 victims of the Japanese attack and opportunity to celebrate – and they did so in style
Singapore to work together. “This year’s exercise has been exceedingly occupation; a further 24,000 Servicemen and in the Far Eastern metropolis.
Typically the RN’s input is ‘just’ a frigate. beneficial to all involved validating this successful civilians who lost their lives during the war with There can be few more impressive locations
And there was one there this year too – HMS and enduring long-term defensive arrangement.“ Japan are honoured on walls of remembrance. for a mess dinner than the world-famous Raffles
Somerset. From war imagined to war real. In the middle Before knuckling down to Bersama Shield, the Hotel (pictured below).
She however, was rather dwarfed by helicopter of the exercise, Her Majesty’s Ships Ocean and British participants had enjoyed a two-week break Dressed in whites, the offi cers of HM Ships
carrier HMS Ocean and tanker RFA Wave Ruler. Somerset came to rest at 3˚33’36”N, 104˚28’42”E – in Singapore. Ocean and Somerset, RFA Wave Ruler and
The trio of British ships, plus the submarine- the site of the wreck of HMS Prince of Wales. Actually, when we say ‘break’ we mean HMNZS Te Mana plus 815, 820 and 847 Naval Air
hunter Merlins of 820 NAS, based on Ocean, Here in December 1941 the flagship of ‘maintenance’, ‘public duties’ and ‘defence Squadrons and 6 Squadron Royal New Zealand
broke away from the Royal Navy’s Taurus Far Force Z, sent east by Churchill to thwart Japanese exhibition’ (although, we believe, there was the Air Force sat down to an evening of fi ne food, fi ne
East amphibious task group to take part in the war moves in South-east Asia, was mauled by enemy odd opportunity to sample the nightlife in Clarke company and fi ne dits from a century of daring
games, which trace their roots to the Five- Power bombers. Quay and shopping in Orchard Road...). deeds by naval aviators.
Defence Arrangement signed back in 1971 to The battleship and her accompanying battle- The stopover at Sembawang handily fell No such celebration would have been complete
provide for the co-ordinated defence of Singapore cruiser Repulse succumbed to the Japanese during IMDEX Asia 2009 – a Far Eastern maritime without a hearty rendition of the A25 song –
and Malaysia. attack with the loss of 840 lives. defence exhibition held every year to keep it takes its name from the (long-winded) form
In essence, Bersama (joint) Shield is one long The wreath-laying ceremony over the leviathans’ navies and industry abreast of the latest nautical aircrew must complete if they have an accident
Thursday War – submarines, surface forces, wreck sites has not been the only echo of the ill- developments (think Farnborough Air Show, but – to bring the house down.
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