In 2008 Al Taylor, and his wife Yvonne, who live in Australia returned to Singapore for the first time in over 50 years. While there they visited the Tiger Brewery, home of the much beloved beverage which was served on tap in the RAF Seletar NAAFI's and Malcom Club. Al found that the bar in the brewery was decorated with dozens of plaques which showed the Crests of many of the various military units that had served in Singapore over the years. But not one for 81 Squadron, so Al contacted our Association Committee who quickly agreed that this situation should be corrected. Coincidentally, just after that the Association had a request from "Hani" Haniffa to become a member. Hani is a Singapore native and joined 81 Squadron there in the late 60's. He agreed to take on the task of getting a plaque made and presenting it to the Tiger Brewery. So in August, 2010, Al and Louise returned to Singapore to be present at the presentation of the plaque to the brewery. Al also had prepared a mounted brief history of 81 Squadron and its duties. The following photos were taken at the presentation:-
Hani presents the plaque to Michael Chin, General Manager - Tiger Brewery.
Al presents the Squadron history to Michael Chin.
Al, Michael and Hani are joined by Alina Boey of Tiger Brewery.
Now they are joined by Al's wife, Yvonne and Hani's son, Shah. Time for a quick pint, and toast.
SINGAPORE RE-UNION 2012
In November, 2012, Al Taylor from Australia,and Ron Holt from the UK joined Hani Haniffa and Eddie Tan, both from Singapore for a mini Re-union in Singapore. One of their objectives was to visit the Tiger Brewery and to view the Squadron Crest in situ. Following is Al's description of this occasion together some photos of our Crest, shown in a very prominent position in the Bar. Very aptly above the Crest, on the right, is the Crest of RAF Seletar where 81 Squadron was based for about half of its time in Singapore.
On the Friday 19th we headed off to the Hospital (Tiger Tavern) for some Medication (Tiger… what else) for the 81 Sqdn Assoc Far East Chapter Reunion, this was attended by Chico, Beth, Yvonne, Hani, Eddie, Mok Ly Yng, Guy Ho (the bloke who is writing the book on Tiger Beer), Peter Chan, Geraldene Lowe and her Hubby Ismail, Teng Teng and myself all of whom are passionate about Heritage and the part played by 81 Sqdn in Mapping and Aerial Intelligence in Singapore’s past, also in attendance ‘unofficially’ were a serving Grp/Cptn who is the British Air Defence Advisor to Singapore and another Pom who is a British Government GeoSpacial specialist in Singapore, and what a pleasure it was having both of these fellas who are very much interested in Mapping and Maps and both have become deeply aware of 81 Sqdn’s achievements and what is more important they are both full of admiration for the extremely high quality of the Photographic work carried out by 81 Sqdn.
We were warmly greeted by Siva the Tavern Manager who’s hospitality was second to none as he mingled and assured us Fresh Cold Medication was available at the bar, we all admitted that taking Medication is a hardship we just have to live up to the fact that we were there to remember our Mates and in doing so we in the best 81 Sqdn Spirit raised the first glass to missing Mates and those who could not be with us on the day.
Having absorbed the privileged position of the 81 Sqdn Potted History and Sqdn Crest as folks arrived and introductions over it was time for action.
With everyone kitted out with a Glass of Tiger (a couple did not drink so were on soft drinks) the questions were flying thick and fast, the Tiger Tavern keep our Glasses full.
I suggested we asked Hani and Eddie to lay a Grave Poppy under the 81 Sqdn Potted History followed by a non religious Minute of Silence in respect of the Fallen both Military and Civilians, I asked the Groupy if he would recite the Ode which he was surprised but very touched to be asked and performed well.
After the little ceremony he and the Geospacial expert surprised us all by donating a very rare and unusual gift in the form of a double sided Silk Map of Singapore and Malaya (Now Malaysia), the original map was taken by 81 Sqdn in 1957, can you imagine how Chico and I felt that all these years later a Photograph taken all those years ago during our time on 81 Sqdn would be so revered by the Mapping Fraternity.
Chico was delegated the Task of ensuring it’s safe passage to the UK. I assured the two gents the gift would most certainly NOT be ebayed BUT would be entrusted to the 81 Sqdn Assoc to be held at their discretion but I also indicated the day may come when it would be lodged with other 81 Sqdn memorabilia at RAF Cosford… However that is the decision of the 81 Sqdn Assoc.
As a small gesture I presented to Siva for inclusion in the Tiger Beer Archives my copy of the booklet celebrating 21 years of Tiger Beer given to me sometime during my three years in the 50’s when I had the pleasure of a tour of the then Tiger Brewery at it’s original processing plant.
Yvonne and I had taken a selection of Australian Remembrance Day Poppy Badges with us and these were laid out for all to select their choice as a memento of the little gathering.
All in all the little Reunion was appreciated by all and many new contacts were made.
Guy Hoh very kindly offered to take Beth, Chico, Yvonne and I in his car to an MRT station which very conveniently was not far from Bugis MRT.
What a great pleasure it was to meet with new friends and old Mates which was very touching, sad to relate that Chico was not only resplendent in his Jacket sporting the 81 Sqdn Crest but also wearing an 81 Sqdn Tie (show off) and was surprisingly on his very best behaviour.
A truly Memorable afternoon made possible by those who joined in the spirit but also made possible by the generosity of The Tiger Tavern for hosting the event.
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