Friday, 10 June 2011

does anyone remember binky?

Letters of Note is one of my favourite websites. It's not published this one, though. It's from the Camberley News and Mail, 24 September, 2010. I wanted to put up a picture, as scanned in by Andrew, who tends a precious copy of the letter as if it were a rare orchid, but I would have to convert the file, and then I would still have to transcribe it anyway. I may get round to it, I may not. Anyway, the letter is quite long, but it's golden.
Does anyone remember Binky?

I wonder if your readers can help me trace a wonderful soldier and old friend?

His name is Leight 'Binky' Jenkins, and I had the pleasure of serving with him 55 years ago during the Malayan Emergency.

Binky and I were originally members of the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, a regiment sadly no longer in existence but once famed for its explosives expertise. However, during our time in Malaysia we were assigned to an airborne regiment which keeps its business to itself. We were providing 'technical services', accompanied by a small group of terrifying Ghurkas (handy to have around when taking technical services to the enemy), and a handful of Malay Freedom Fighters.

Binky was a top notch explosives technician. A story comes to mind which may prompt your readers' memory. One morning Binky was running through how to defuse booby traps. However, to defuse one, you have to make one. Azir, one of the Malay chaps, had brought in a sorry looking cat, found expired by the side of the road. While I hooked up the wires, Binky began to place a detonation cap in the appropriate location. as he approached the end of the operation he used his little finger to ram the cap home. This was obviously a finger to far for Kitty, which to everyone's surprise came violently back to life.

The Ghurkas, fearless, unsheathed their sacred 'Kukri' knives ready to kill it (again), while, in my utter shock my hand slipped on to the firing button setting the whole thing off with a frightful din. Binky's pinky went for a Burton, and Kitty bought it. It was a frightful mess until Binky piped up 'I should have tickled his chin first!'

The Ghurkas thought this top notch fun and offered an enthusiastic round of applause, while the Malays, as inquisitive as ever, promptly headed purposefully into the bush. They returned later with an assortment of the jungles's finest 'fur and feather' ready for the next day's lesson.

Luckily Binky was training to be a doctor in civvy street, and he had his finer (now minus tip) cleaned up in no time. Pussy took rather longer to clean up off the parade ground, but rest assured what was left of him was given a hero's send-off later in the day when he was buried (with considerably more dignity than he departed the world) in the commanding officer's garden. Later in the mess the chaps named him 'BamBam', quite a fitting name (and common in Borneo).

On returning to England Binky headed off to your neck of the woods and back to the witch doctor trade. I remember him pulling grenade pins rather than pushing in needles and your readers' help in fiding him is duly requested. Back then Binky was a muscular chap, 5ft 10in or so, useful with a 'Kukri', and deadly with a .303 to around 500 yards. Not a cat lover, and with the tip of his little finger missing on his right hand.

JAMES WELLBECK 'BADGER' CRICHTON
(Major Retired)
Ascott Residence
No 9 Jalan Pinang
50450 Kuala Lumpur
Malaysia

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