Australia’s Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) Contribution to the Malayan Emergency – 1952-1962

The Malayan Emergency began with an insurgency by the Malayan Communist Party against the British colonial government. Australian military involvement started in 1950, and anti-insurgency operations continued until 1963.

During the Malayan Emergency, Australian Army Signals Operators were deployed to help with the important search for Malayan Communist transmissions.

In 1952 a detachment of Australian Army Signals Operators from 101 Wireless Regiment was deployed to the British Far East Station in Singapore. This detachment of one Officer and eight other ranks, was deployed to support the search for Malayan Communist transmissions.

By May 1955, there were 30 Army operators in Singapore and Malaya and 20 Air Force operators in Labuan. The following year six operators were detached from Singapore to Malaya to search for and collect Malayan Communist Party communications.

In 1959 the detachment increased to 13 and transferred to Batu Uban on Penang Island, where they remained until the site was closed in 1962.

The Malayan Emergency highlights just one of the ways signals intelligence has been used throughout history.

To read more information about Malayan Emergency 1952-1962, visit the Declassified section on the ASD website.

Malayan Emergency - SGT Jock Richardson and platoon exiting truck - AWM HOB/56/0749/MC