Hello everybody, my name is Frank Malone. During 1960 which was the last year of national service I was called up to do my two years’ service with the Grenadier Guards. I reported to Caterham for my basic training, then onto Pirbright for further training. After the passing out parades I joined the 1st battalion Grenadier Guards. I spent a short time as a Bren gunner with 3 company, before being sent to the signal platoon. I must admit the signal platoon was a great bunch of lads and I was happy to be in their ranks.
During the early months of 1961 it was posted on orders that the battalion were being sent to the Cameroons in West Africa. Like most in the battalion we had never heard of the Cameroons.
We boarded the troopship Devonshire and incidentally this was my first time out of England. A couple of weeks at sea and the ship reached the Cameroons. Barges took us in sections to the dockside where a number of 3 ton Lorries transported us in a long overnight journey to the tented camp at Bamenda.
Not long after arriving at Bamenda and having not much time to settle in. I was sent on a course for horse riding and how to look after the blessed things. One has to understand the roads were none existent, So patrols with horses was better as far as I was concerned than foot slogging over the hard countryside. I remember going on horseback to a place on the French Cameroon border named Sante Customs. The custom building had been burned down by terrorists’ months before we had arrived.
I was the signaller with Sergeant Biddick’s when our Company attacked a terrorist camp in very hostile country. With Sgt Biddick we set up a radio on the edge of a bamboo forest overlooking an escarpment.
We spent a very sleepless night before the attack on the terrorist camp. The shooting and shouting lasted only a short time and sadly John Lund was killed and the camp was empty of occupants.
We stayed in the terrorist camp for an hour or so. I was told that I was stopping behind with my radio along with a rifle squad .All men with 9mm ammo for a sterling were to fill my pouches ,I was not too sure about this, but after a short time this order was rescinded. We all then made the long tab back. This was very gruelling long march over some hard country; finally we arrived at a tent first aid station staffed with doctors and RAMC personnel. Resting for a short time we were loaded into 3 tonners and back to camp.
I did a few more patrols after these both on foot and on horseback before returning to the UK and public duties and eventually demob.
I would like to wish all my former comrades in the Grenadier Guards all the best and good health wherever you may be.