RAF Helicopter Pilots in Action
Indonesian Confrontation 1962-66
By Roger Annett
Pen and Sword (www.pen-and-sword.co.uk)
RRP GBP £25.00
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The Indonesian Confrontation during the mid-1960s is generally overlooked and there is a sparse amount of literature on it when compared to other post World War 2 operational theatres. In many cases it is simply ignored. However this outstanding volume re-counts the history of the RAF pilots who were involved in this campaign.
The terrain in Borneo is difficult as it comprises of mountains and dense jungle. In the 1960s there was an insufficient road network and this proved to be a big challenge to the British military operations. Helicopters were the answer to this problem and the book describes the story of these workhorses of the British and Commonwealth Forces.
The “Borneo Boys” traces their journey as new recruits at boot camp, through flying training and then onto Borneo itself. These men created those bonds of camaraderie that can only be formed under battlefield conditions and their histories served as the impetus for this interesting book.
They had to undergo theatre familiarisation and nurse Whirlwind 10s over the mountainous terrain of the Malaysian jungle. The author puts these anecdotes into the larger context of the conflict and he notes how the Far East had colonial tensions. These tensions and antagonism eventually manifested itself into open conflict. Cross-border raids became more frequent and they bred a fever of revolt against the UK and its Commonwealth Allies.
The “Borneo Boys” is about these men, far from their homes, who were called upon to fly and fight in such conditions. They had daily adventures and adrenaline rushing experiences. The author was one of these brave men and he brings to life the stories of his colleagues.
This book is the best I have seen on the operations of helicopter pilots in this campaign and definitely deserves shelf-space for any student of the Borneo conflict.