Medals, Discharge Certificate and a Testimonial

While sorting through the things in our cupboards recently, I came across three tarnished-looking medals that were kept aside with some yellowed documents that belonged to dad.

Dad [Third from Right] with his JB general
hospital colleagues and a Policeman [Right] 
[1950s when Policemen used to wear shorts!]

Conscious of the aged documents, I gently opened the fragile pages and took time to read them.

I smiled when I recognised the familiar font of a manual typewriter that was used to prepare the Release Testimonial issued to dad by the British General Hospital in Singapore.

The date, 16 January 1947, was hand-written along with the signature of the Officer-in-Charge (OC) at the BGH or British General Hospital.

There was more than one copy of this testimonial. The original was the top-most sheet with carbon copies – typed using carbon paper layered in between each sheet of paper – pinned together by a single long pin on the top left-hand corner.

It occurred to me that this document was more than 70 years old and staplers were probably not invented yet!

Dad's Release Testimonial pinned together 
with carbon copies
As I read on, my interest was piqued by the adjectives used to describe dad’s character and conduct.

The subject of the document was typed in capital letters, centered on top and simply read: RELEASE TESTIMONIAL

On the next line, dad’s name, his Private number and Royal Army Medical Corps, were underscored.

It went on to state his Military Character, which was: EXEMPLARY (In capitals!)

Dad’s testimonial read like this, and I quote the first paragraph:

“He has proved himself to be trustworthy, honest, sober, intelligent and conscientious; a diligent worker, willing and cooperative, has worked a year as Nursing Orderly, in which capacity he has been found to be knowledgeable and tactful, with excellent moral character.”

The next line in the final para read like this: “A straightforward, keen, stable type; good appearance, a non-smoker, good swimmer.”

Dad's Discharge Certificate and a covering note

I paused to digest how this Officer-in-Charge aptly described dad’s character and conduct. Then I read and re-read the document to ponder upon the descriptive adjectives.

I may be biased but I cannot help but agree with the OC that he was spot-on with his analysis of dad’s character and conduct!

A closer examination of the next document, the Discharge Certificate dated 30 March 1950, stated that dad was discharged from duties with effect from 29 January 1947.

His campaign and service abroad covered “Johore (spelling with an “e”) and Singapore.”

The Discharge Certificate and three medals

The Discharge Certificate was signed by the OC and the stamp affixed read as, “Officer-in-Charge, Overseas Record Office Singapore.”

Back then, Malaya and Singapore were one country…

Enclosed with this Discharge Certificate were Awards (three medals) and a document with the descriptions of a list of the medals.

The title printed on this document read: Campaign Stars, Clasps and Medals, instituted in recognition of service in the war of 1939 – 45.

I could match these tarnished old medals awarded to dad in recognition of his service, against this document which helped me better understand each medal. They were:

1] 1939/1945 Star

2] Pacific Star

3] War Medal

A list of medal descriptions
During World War Two, dad joined the Royal Army Medical Corps as a Nursing Orderly whose task as a medical first responder, was to rescue injured people and provide first-aid before sending them to the hospital.

Dad felt so fulfilled by this job that upon his discharge from the medical corps, he left Singapore and returned to Ipoh but was on the lookout for a similar job that would provide medical aid.

Not long after that, he saw a recruitment advertisement for Hospital Assistants with the Johor Baru General Hospital and did not hesitate to apply.

Overjoyed with his successful application, dad came to Johor Baru to join the JBGH (now Hospital Sultanah Aminah) as a trainee and qualified as Hospital Assistant (HA).

A rare shot of dad inside the dispensary in
Gelang Patah; This wooden building have
since been demolished.

Dad made JB his home when his career started in the JBGH and under the Health Department, he was later posted to work in various districts in Johor including Gelang Patah and Masai.

Looking back, it was no surprise that my dad and his exemplary work attitude with the Health services so inspired me to write countless stories about dad, his life and work including, My mentor, my dad, Going Back to Masai-chusetts and Travelling with Dad, published in my 2017 bestseller, My Johor Stories: True Tales, Real People, Rich Heritage, and My Johor Stories 2: Interesting Places and Inspirational People.

Note: My Johor Stories series of books are available from MPH bookstores nationwide and online from www.mphonline

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