Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Succesful search for records

I am keen to find relatives of civilians murdered by communist terrorists during the Malayan Emergency during the nineteen fifties and to learn the experiences of families who received the news of their loved one`s death.
I had often wondered if there was any official British or Malaysian record of the death of my brother, Alan Saunders Cockram, who was murdered by communist terrorists in Malaya in May 1950. In September 2007, I made concerted efforts to find out. The General Register Office, Southport, England, could find no registration, neither could the National Registration Department of Malaysia.

At the end of May 2008, I sent an enquiry to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London and received a reply within a month. This was by email with attachments of extracts from the Burial Register at Cheras Road Cemetery, Kuala Lumpur, and very recent photograph`s of Alan`s grave there. The cause of death is shown as `Gun shot wounds`. The grave appeared well kept, which I am sure is due to assistance from the British Embassy in Kuala Lumpur. So, with thanks to its representatives, after fifty-eight years I and the rest of Alan`s family had some sort of closure.
Please reply to this blog if you have a family record of a similar death to that of my brother.

Saturday, 13 October 2007

New National Armed Forces Memorial, National Memorial Arboretum

Yesterday, the Queen opened the National Memorial honouring the service-men and women killed on duty or as a result of terrorism since 1948, including those who lost their lives in Malaya. My earlier blog has included reference to my brother, a civilian assistant manager on a rubber plantation, who was murdered by terrorists during the Malayan Emergency. I wonder if any survivors who served in this conflict were in the area of the Telemong Estate, Bentong, during May 1950. My brother, Alan Saunders Cockram, was killed when driving his car along the Estate road early in the morning of May 8th. We were told that he was given a military funeral the next day. He was buried in the Cheras Road Cemetery, Kuala Lumpur.

I have been unable to establish which regiment was involved with the funeral and perhaps it was just a local military detachment which happened to be in the area at the time.

Any information or comments would be much appreciated.
If you wish, you can email me at:

Thursday, 27 September 2007


How much do you know about the death of your planter relative during the Malayan Emergency? My brother, Alan Saunders Cockram, was murdered by communist terrorists on 8 May 1950, aged 26. He had served two-and-a-half years of his four-year contract as assistant manager on the Telemong Rubber Estate, Bentong, Pahang, and I have always wondered if his death was registered in England, his home country. Recently I have ascertained that it was not and am now awaiting a copy of his death certificate from Malaysia.

Also, recently I have obtained copies of my brother`s service record from when he first joined the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve during World War II to the time that he was demobbed in 1946. This is very comprehensive and I have found that a mention of his murder in Malaya is entered in pencil on the last page. It seems to be the only record of his death on any official document in this country, but then simply in pencil.

If you lost a relative in similar circumstances, what has been your experience in gaining knowledge of what happened and of what records there are, other than newspaper cuttings?
How did your family receive the bad news and what were the consequences?

It would be good to share knowledge. This can be just a start, even at this late stage! Members of the armed forces who served in Malaya are to get a medal after all these years. How often are the civilian casualties mentioned in anything official?

Sibyl P.