Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Mosquitos And Singapore

We are pleased to announce the publication of Mosquitos And Singapore, a memoir by Ted Wilkins.

This memoir covers the three years in the 1950s during which a young RAF serviceman was called up for National Service and transported to Singapore from war-torn and rationed England for a “tour of duty” on 81 Photographic Squadron at Seletar Airbase in Singapore. 

Based on diaries, notes and letters written at the time, Ted Wilkins describes life on the Squadron and the aerial survey work concerning the “terrorists” during the Malayan Emergency. His autobiography also captures all the flavours and excitement of life on this fantastic island during the early fifties. Reminisces include a Malayan wedding, a visit to the Tiger Balm gardens, the Mosque at Johor Bahru and a picnic trip to adjacent islands. Through these pages, the author warmly describes how he embraced the customs and livelihoods of the island’s pleasant, always smiling people. 

Written in a humble manner, this book brings to life all the excitement of exploring a new and fascinating country, so far removed from the author’s previous country life at home. The climate, the people, all the hustle and bustle, the flowers, the clothes and colours of this “magical glamorous island”, are all lovingly captured in a remarkable way.

About Ted Wilkins

Ted Wilkins was born at Ruishton nr Taunton. His family moved to West Chinnock, then Bridgwater and finally to the small country town of Crewkerne in Somerset. Educated first at St Bartholomews School and after passing the Eleven Plus exam, he moved on to Crewkerne Grammar School where he attained his School Certificate. 

Ted joined the Air Training Corps and upon leaving school, joined Westland Aircraft Ltd as an apprentice aircraft engineer. He became involved in many activities in the town, playing cricket for the Town club and winning the Area Cup doing Amateur Dramatics but all this was interrupted when he was called up for National Service. Not ever having been out of Somerset this became a real adventure as he suddenly found himself posted to the other side of the world, to Singapore. There, he joined the elite 81 Squadron who were busy doing aerial surveys of the Far East as well as being involved in Operation Fire Dog. 

When demobbed, he returned to Westlands, but then left for Blackbushe to work for Airworks, a civil aviation firm. Returning once more to Crewkerne he changed to the upcoming plastics industry and studied at Yeovil Technical College as well as becoming an active member of The Royal Observer Corps. He joined Peter Hodge and Associates as their site engineer and became responsible for overseeing the production and erection of cladding panels on such challenging buildings as Mondial House in London, the Radio Chemical Centre at Cardiff and the American Express Headquarters in Brighton.

Lastly, he joined W&J Tod Ltd, the well known glass/fibre boat builders. Here he was instrumental in the introduction of new production techniques using autoclaves and pre-impregnated woven fabrics for use in aviation products. He retired from W&J Tod Ltd after having suffered a stroke.

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