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Last Updated: Saturday, 14 April 2007, 16:46 GMT 17:46 UK
Malaysia honours Irish veterans
More than 130 medals were handed out
British Army veterans from Northern Ireland and the Republic have been honoured by the Malaysian Government for service in the 1950s and 1960s.

The veterans received the prestigious Pingat Jasa Malaysia Medal for the Malaya and Borneo conflicts.

More than 130 members of the National Malaya and Borneo Veterans Association (NMBVA) and the Royal Ulster Rifles Association received the award.

The ceremony was held at Lagan Valley Island in Lisburn on Saturday.

British soldiers battled communist guerillas during the Malayan Emergency between 1948 and 1960, and against Indonesian incursions into the Malaysian part of Borneo between 1963 and 1966.

Established last March with just nine members, the NMBVA Ireland branch now has ore then 100 former servicemen from the north and south of Ireland.

It means so much to an ex-service man or woman to see their efforts rewarded
Major Roy Walker

On Saturday, 78 of its members were recognised for their tours of duty.

The Royal Ulster Rifles Association had 56 members, who served in Borneo in 1964 and 1965, receiving the medal.

"Civilians don't realise the great ethos of medals," Major Roy Walker, regimental secretary said.

"It means so much to an ex-service man or woman to see their efforts rewarded."

Major Bob Hayden, NMBVA Ireland Branch chairman, said it was an honour for his members.

Medal being awarded
A veteran is given a medal

"We are very pleased that after all these years there is recognition for us," Major Hayden said.

"In Malaya we were fighting the communist terrorist, so we spent a lot of time in the jungle. Everybody that is involved is very appreciative of it."

A number of representatives from the Malaysian High Commission attended the ceremony, along with members of Lisburn City Council.

A cadet guard of honour and bugler greeted the Malaysian guests, service veterans, and their proud families at the all-Ireland presentations.

Jungle fighters get medals

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