Mem­o­ries of a life spent in ser­vice to his coun­try

Our Canada - - Commemorating Our Men And Women In Uniform - Reg Couldridge, El­liot Lake, Ont.

Born July 2, 1939, and hop­ing to es­cape a work­ing class fu­ture, I en­listed in the army at age 18. Not yet un­der­stand­ing the army phi­los­o­phy of “never vol­un­teer,” I vol­un­teered for ev­ery­thing, in­clud­ing ad­vanced com­bat train­ing and an over­seas post­ing. Within a year, I was posted to Sin­ga­pore and saw com­bat in the jun­gles of Malaya, dur­ing the Malayan Emer­gency and once in Bor­neo, at the start of the Bor­neo Con­fronta­tion. I was later posted to South China and based in Kowloon and Hong Kong with tours of duty in the New Ter­ri­to­ries for pa- trolling the Chi­nese bor­der. For those tours of duty, I proudly wear the Gen­eral Ser­vice Medal (GSM Malaya), Gen­eral Ser­vice Medal (GSM Bor­neo), and the South Asia Ser­vice Medal (SASM).

Fol­low­ing com­ple­tion of the seven-year ac­tive com­mit­ment, and re­lo­ca­tion, I joined the Cana­dian Armed Forces Re­serve, where I served un­til the age of 60. Dur­ing my ser­vice with the Cana­dian Armed Forces, I re­ceived a Queen’s Com­mis­sion, and on com­ple­tion of my ser­vice held the rank of cap­tain, in train­ing sys­tems com­mand. For my ser­vice with the Cana­dian Armed Forces, I re­ceived the Cana­dian Dec­o­ra­tion (CD) and later the rosette ad­di­tion.

While proud of pre­vi­ous mil­i­tary awards, I was even more proud, and sur­prised, when, 50 years af­ter the event, and liv­ing a quiet re­tired life in Keswick, Ont., I re­ceived a phone call from the Malaysian con­sulate. I was ad­vised that the cur­rent King of Malaysia had or­dered a spe­cial medal to be cast to show his coun­try’s deep ap­pre­ci­a­tion for the ser­vice and deeds per­formed by cer­tain for­eign mil­i­tary per­son­nel, which re­sulted in Malaysia’s in­de­pen­dence. My name ap­peared on that list. A few days later, a small leather box ar­rived con­tain­ing the Pin­gat Jasa Malaysia (PJM) medal from Malaysia, a small brass plaque and a let­ter of grat­i­tude for ser­vices ren­dered.

I now live in the re­tire­ment com­mu­nity of El­liot Lake, Ont., with my mem­o­ries from a life of ser­vice to my coun­try.

Above: Reg en­listed at 18. Left: Reg as a com­mis­sioned of­fi­cer in the Cana­dian Armed Forces.

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