Friday, January 30, 2009

Nanga Gaat :Wessex Helicopters

Picture on the left shows Nanga Gaat of the 1965 and on the right that of 1995. In the early days of Malaysia, this site, where Sungei Gaat meets Sungei Balleh was the base for Wessex Helicopters.

Present day, it was utilized as a log pond for a logging company. Not much change for the landscape.

As part of Britain’s response during the Confrontation with Indonesia, HMS Albion deployed to the region with Royal Marines and 845 and 846 Naval Air Squadron embarked. 845 NAS deployed to Sibu in Sarawak and also established a forward operating base at Nanga Gaat in November 1963. Detachments from 845 NAS served at Nanga Gaat from 1 November 1963 until 23 June 1965 and 848 NAS from 23 May 1965 to 15 September 1965. HMS Albion arrived in the area in November 1962, handed over to HMS Bulwark in February 1964, but returned later in 1965.

Initially, 845 NACS had four Wessex mark 1's and a Whirlwind 7, based at the Gaat, with six pilots and some twenty ground crew. In June 65 when 845 NACS was relieved by 848 NACS, from HMS Albion, the Wessex mark 1 was replaced with Wessex mark 5. This was a blessing as the Mark 1 had a single engine and the Mark 5 a double engine.

There was of course the unfortunate incident of the mid air collision over the Gaat.


newbiesblogger said...

huhu, nice historic picture, how nanga gaat today? there is any development into a city? Show new picture between that 196? picture and now 2009, If there is no development is being done there why?

p/s: thanks for visiting my blog.. and please if you love my blog comment on the topic please, please please

Mike said...

A nice historic snippet. Being a Brit I know a little of the history here. What is it like now?

xlordjohn said...

I was there in 64 65 as aircrew.
Helicopter B bravo crashed shortly
after your photo in an incident of ground resonance at SIBU.I was in
contact today with aircrewman involved. I have photos of crash


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