Army Museum Žižkov – Prague, Czech Republic

Prague - The Army Museum Žižkov

One of the World War One galleries at the Army Museum Žižkov

Undoubtably one of the highlights of my trip to Prague in 2015 was visiting the Army Museum Žižkov (Armádní muzeum Žižkov). The museum, located at the foot of Vitkov hill, was about half an hour’s walk from the Old Town Square and a little off the beaten track, but it was a must-visit site for me and I planned my route to pass The Military Shop  to see if I could find anything for my collection. Apart from a few contemporary Czech airborne patches, there was not much there for me that time as it is more of a surplus store than a military antiques dealer.


A much better option for older militaria is Vojenské Starožitnosti, which is in the opposite direction and much closer to the Old Town (Staré Mesto námesti). But I digress…

Prague - The Army Museum Žižkov

T-34 tank at the entrance to the The Army Museum Žižkov

Walking up the hill to the museum visitors are confronted by an old Soviet T-34 tank outside a very austere looking building and, when I visited, not many people around. Entry to the museum was free and the rather unforgiving exterior belied a treasure trove of artifacts which I found fascinating.  The museum exhibits covered the first World War, interwar Czechoslovakia, the second World War, persecution of members of the Czechoslovak army after the coup in 1948 and the anti-communist resistance. The museum was well laid out, with a range of very interesting uniforms and equipment exhibits accompanied by descriptions in Czech and English, it was easy to lose track of time as I encountered unusual wings and exhibits that fell directly into my own collecting areas. Of particular interest to me were the items belonging to Czech agents of the Special Operations Executive (SOE) who parachuted back into the country during the Nazi occupation and also some uniform items belonging to Czech expatriates who fled post war Communist rule and served with the US 77th Special Forces Group (Airborne).

Prague - The Army Museum Žižkov

US Special Forces green beret featuring US Army parachutist wings on the teal blue and yellow wing oval for the 77th Special Forces Group (Airborne). This is one of the items on display at the Army Museum Žižkov belonging to Josef and Cirad Masin, two Czech brothers who escaped the communist regime to West Germany and in 1954 joined the US Army. After completing basic training at Fort Dix, NJ they joined the US Special Forces, hoping to take part in the liberation of Europe from the Communists. Along with fellow Czech, Milan Paumer they served in the 77th Special Forces Group.


Prague - The Army Museum Žižkov

Two unusual examples of the British parachutist wings worn by Czech SOE agents who parachuted back into occupied Czechoslovakia to fight the occupying German forces during WW2. The wings on the lower badge may simply have faded over time, but the uppermost badge is definitely a unique variation that I had not encountered before.


Unfortunately the museum is now closed whilst a complete reconstruction takes place and I am told that it won’t reopen until at least 2020, but it will be interesting to see what changes are made. So, in the interim, here are some of the photos that I snapped on my iphone during my visit. Hopefully when the museum finally reopens these objects will be back on display because it really was a fascinating display of Czech military history.

Prague - The Army Museum Žižkov

Display in the First World War gallery at the the Army Museum Žižkov.


Display in the First World War gallery at the the Army Museum Žižkov.

French 75mm tank gun, 1916 Model, used in the first French Schneider CA-1 tanks.


Prague - The Army Museum Žižkov

Exhibition area showing the development of the Czech Armed Forces between the wars.



Prague - The Army Museum Žižkov

Armband of the Sudetendeutsche Partei, (SdP) Order Units. The SdP was a pro-Nazi party that existed in Czechoslovakia from 1933 until annexation in 1938.


Prague - The Army Museum Žižkov

Waffen SS NCO’s visor cap and label from the kennel of the SS Security dogs at the Mauthausen Concentration Camp.

Prague - The Army Museum Žižkov

Concentration Camp inmate uniform and identification patches. The inverted red triangle indicates that this was a political prisoner and the letter T identifies the prisoner’s nationality as Czech. “T” stands for Tscheche (Czech) in German.




Army Museum Žižkov /Armádní muzeum Žižkov                                                                   U Památníku 2,                                                                                                                                        Praha 3 – Žižkov,

Phone No: +420 973 204 924.


The Military History Institute Prague                                                                                  

“Bash on Recce!” – Ambush in Wolfheze

 “Bash on Recce!” – Ambush in Wolfheze is a great account of the clash between elements of  Freddie Gough’s Recce Squadron and Sturmbannführer Sepp Krafft who commanded the SS Panzer Grenadier Depot and Reserve Battalion 16 in the vicinity of Wolfheze shortly after the landing of the 1st Airborne Division on 17 September 1944. Jonathan, who authors the blog “Nine Days in September: Despatches from the Market Garden Battlefields” is also a battlefield tour guide and presents an account of the ambush that includes his own photographs from visits to the site of the action. Check out his blog and other posts for some interesting insights into this famous battle.


1st Airborne Recce Squadron jeep as used during Market Garden in September 1944.


Albany’s Princess Royal Fortress and National ANZAC Centre

Albany, located 418km south-east of Perth, is the oldest colonial settlement in Western Australia. Established in 1826 it was originally settled as a military outpost for the colony of  New South Wales as part of their plan to halt French ambitions in the region. In 1893 the first Federal fort, the Princess Royal Fortress, was built on Mt Adelaide and the town was the last port of call for Australian troops departing for service in the First World War. During the Second World War it was home to an auxiliary submarine base for the US Navy’s 7th Fleet in the event that the primary base at Fremantle was lost to the Japanese. So, with a long weekend giving me some spare time, I decided to take a drive down to Albany to check out the Princess Royal Fortress and the National ANZAC Centre.

Albany Barracks museum

Albany Barracks Museum at the Princess Royal Fortress

Albany overlooks King George Sound, one of the world’s finest natural harbours and during the 19th century the Australian states realised that the loss of this strategic port could be disastrous not only to Western Australia but to all the colonies. As a result, all the states agreed to pay for the construction of a fort and the British Government would supply the guns. The Princess Royal Fortress was dug into the hillside of Mount Adelaide with two gun batteries – Fort Princess Royal (2 x 6 inch guns) and Fort Plantagenet (1 x 6 inch gun) at nearby Point King. Neither battery fired a shot in anger and in 1956 the Princess Royal Fortress was decommissioned; the buildings initially being used as a hostel and holiday camp before being redeveloped in the late 1980’s as a heritage site. The fortress is now home to a number of interesting military sites including the Albany Barracks and Princess Royal Battery, the National ANZAC Centre, HMAS Perth Museum Interpretive Centre, Navy Heritage trail, the South East Asia Memorial, US Submariners Memorial and the Merchant Navy Memorial.

6 inch gun at the Princess Royal Fort

6 inch gun at the Princess Royal Fort

Albany Barracks museum

Artillery uniforms, circa 1890’s

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Cap and jacket detail of an artillery officer of the Fortress Princess Royal battery circa 1890’s

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Albany Barracks Museum

6 inch gun at the Princess Royal Fort

6 inch gun at the Princess Royal Fort

Princess Royal Fortress Command Centre built in 1942.

Princess Royal Fortress Command Centre built in 1942.

HMAS Perth Museum

HMAS Perth Museum & Interpretive Centre

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HMAS Perth Museum

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Royal Australian Navy (DPCU) uniform worn by CMDR Michael Manfield who had previously commanded the submarine HMAS Waller. HMAS Waller was the third Collins Class submarine to enter service. It was named after Captain Hector “Hec” Waller, DSO and Bar of the HMAS Perth I which was lost during WW2. HMAS Waller’s patch, seen on the right shoulder, features the Stuart rose which references Captain Waller’s service on HMAS Stuart whilst the Oak Leaves represent Captain Waller’s three Mention In Despatches during his career. The field of black and blue signifies the night battles at sea during WW2 in which his flotilla was engaged. I am not sure why the curators decided to add the Chief Petty Officer’s rank slides to the uniform.

Bofors and other artillery pieces on the Navy Discovery trail

Bofors anti-aircraft gun and other artillery pieces on the Navy Discovery trail

USN Submariners Memorial

USN Submariners Memorial commemorating the WW2 submariners who remain on eternal patrol

Entry to all the museums and sites, with the exception of the National ANZAC Centre is free and are definitely worth a visit presenting some interesting pieces of memorabilia at the various buildings and displays.

The National ANZAC Centre was opened on the 1st of November 2014, a century after the first convoy of Australian and New Zealand troops departed from King George Sound, bound for the Great War. Visitors assume the identity of one of 32 servicemen who served in the war and follow their experience of the conflict from recruitment through active service to their return (for some). Their stories unfold through interactive displays, artefacts, photos, film and audio recordings. The content, curated from the Australian War Memorial and the Western Australian Museum, is interesting and engaging. A visit to the centre is definitely worth the Au$25 entry fee.

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The National ANZAC Centre with the USN Submariners Memorial in the foreground.

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National ANZAC Centre

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New Zealand and Australian uniforms at the National ANZAC Centre

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Ottoman identity disc, 1915. Official historian Charles Bean recovered three examples of these identity discs in the Lone Pine trench system in 1919. This example has been cut into a heart shape, possibly by its owner. Unfortunately the low light made it difficult to get a really clear image with my iphone.

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Foreign service helmet, Pattern 1902. Often referred to as the Wolsley or sun helmet, this example was worn on Gallipoli by Ballarat farmer Sergeant Cuthbert Stanley-Lowe of the 9th Light Horse. Stanley-Lowe was hospitalised on 15 June 1915 with ‘rheumatism and headaches’ caused by ‘exposure and strain in the trenches.’ He was evacuated to Lemnos and Egypt before being returned to Australia as medically unfit in early 1916.

National ANZAC Centre, Albany.

This British 1916 Mk 1 helmet was worn by Major General (later Lieutenant General) Sir Joseph Talbot Hobbs throughout his service on the Western Front. He has fixed an Australian rising sun badge to the front of his helmet. Major General Hobbs, commander of the 5th Australian Division, is best known for orchestrating the night attack on Villers-Bretonneaux on 24-25 April 1918, which recaptured the town.

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German helmet, gas-mask, wire cutters and pistol on display at the National ANZAC Centre

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Australian trench raiders clubs and revolver at the National ANZAC Centre

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Interactive display relating the stories of individual participants in the Great War at the National ANZAC Centre

Princess Royal Fortress

Forts Road, Albany, Western Australia 6330, Australia

Ph: +61 8 9841 9369
Open 0900 – 1700 every day except Christmas Day.

Admission is free to all areas and buildings except the National ANZAC Centre which costs Au$25 for adults, Au$21 concession, Au$11 for first child (5- 15 years old) and $Au6 for every child thereafter.

National ANZAC Centre:
Ph: +61 8  6820 3500

Photos of the Princess Royal Fortress during WW2

Albany visitor sites:

The Liberation War Museum – Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Pakistani troops during an operation against India during the 1971 Liberation War. Photographer unknown.

Opened in March 1996, the Liberation War Museum (Muktijuddho Jadughor) is located in Bangladesh’s capital, Dhaka. The museum commemorates the Bangladesh Liberation War, which took place from 26 March to 16 December 1971 and resulted in East Pakistan becoming the independent nation of Bangladesh.

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The Liberation War Museum at 5 Segun Bagicha Rd, Dhaka. Photo: Julian Tennant

Currently housed in a colonial era white-washed building, near the National Institute of Neurosciences Hospital, the Liberation War Museum is best reached by one of the cage-like, gas powered, CNG taxis as it is some distance from most of the tourist hotels and guesthouses used by international visitors. There are plans to relocate the museum but this has been delayed and in its present location it has six galleries plus a small bookshop and tea stall in the back courtyard. The first room documents the customs, culture and traditions of Bengal and the country’s struggle against colonial control.

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Panoramic view of the galleries in the War Liberation Museum, Dhaka. Photo: Julian Tennant

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Weapons display at the War Liberation Museum, Dhaka. Photo: Julian Tennant

The second gallery focuses on the period of Pakistani rule from 1947 until 1971, highlighting the plight of the Bengalis and their growing resistance to the economic, political and cultural oppression from the government in Pakistan. The third gallery documents the genocide of 1971, as well as the resistance and declaration of independence.

Hand sewn flag from March 1971 when Bangabondhu Sheikh Mujibur R

Hand sewn flag from 1971 made around the time Bangabondhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman called for resistance to the Pakistanis on the 7th of March. The Bangladesh Liberation War began 18 days later and these flags were produced as a symbol of opposition to the Pakistani forces and to identify the liberation fighters. Photo: Julian Tennant

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Liberation fighter propaganda poster on display at the Liberation War Museum, Dhaka. Photo: Julian Tennant

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Dusty display cabinets showing bones, ammunition boxes and other artifacts relating to the atrocities carried out by the Pakistani troops. Photo: Julian Tennant

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Human skulls gathered from one of the two ‘Killing fields’ in Dhaka. Photo: Julian Tennant

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Documentation detail from the War Crimes Fact Finding Committee. Photo: Julian Tennant

Galleries four to six document various aspects of the military struggle against the Pakistanis including weapons, cameras and swimming fins used by a Bangladeshi ‘commando’ diver when planting limpet mines on Pakistani shipping. There is also a selection of human remains recovered from one of the two ‘Killing fields’ that existed in Dhaka during the struggle.

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Graffiti left behind by Pakistani troops and described as being extremely offensive to Islamic teaching by some Bangladeshi’s. Photo: Julian Tennant

Books and camera used by Sector-2 commander Major Khaled Mosharr. Photo: Julian Tennant

Books and camera used by Sector-2 commander Major Khaled Mosharr. Photo: Julian Tennant

Photography is forbidden within the museum and I had to leave my camera at the desk. The staff were not to concerned about my phone though and I was able to sneak some pictures of the artifacts. Unfortunately the quality of these images is quite poor due to the low light, dust covered display cases and the need to photograph quickly and discretely. However the pictures will give you some idea of what is on display.

Fins and photo of Naval Commando Zainal Abedin who was involved

Fins used by Zainal Abedin a ‘commando diver’ who planted limpet mines on Pakistani ships. Photo: Julian Tennant

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Cap and photograph of Major M.A. Khaleque, a Bengali officer commissioned into the Pakistani Army and later executed by them on suspicion of aiding the resistance struggle. The caption states that he was an Intelligence officer however the cap badge indicates Artillery corps. Photo: Julian Tennant

Like some of the other museums that I have visited in the region, budget constraints, climatic conditions and a lack of properly trained conservation staff mean that it an ongoing uphill battle to preserve the artifacts that they exhibit. Cabinets are covered in a thin film of dust and the artifacts, particularly the paper and textile items are showing the effects of poor display conditions despite the best efforts of the staff. The majority of the military related objects are documents, plus a selection of weapons and some equipment items. Captions are in English and provide some interesting insights into the experiences of the resistance movement and the struggle. A new museum site in Agargaon (Dhaka) was acquired in 2009 but construction of the new facilities has fallen behind schedule and the move has not yet been completed.

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Some of the various rusting and antiquated WW2 period weapons on display at the War Liberation Museum, Dhaka. Photo: Julian Tennant

The Liberation War Museum (Bengali: মুক্তিযুদ্ধ যাদুঘর Muktijuddho Jadughôr) is located at

5 Segun Bagicha, Dhaka-1000, Bangladesh

Phone: +880-2-9559091

Fax: +880-2-9559092

The Liberation War Museum (Bengali: মুক্তিযুদ্ধ যাদুঘর Muktijuddho Jadughôr)

The Liberation War Museum (Bengali: মুক্তিযুদ্ধ যাদুঘর Muktijuddho Jadughôr). 5 Segun Bagicha, Shahbagh, Dhaka.

Entry is 100Tk (US$1.20 approx)

The Museum is open everyday except Sunday between
10:00 AM to 6:00 PM.
In winter it is open between
10:00 AM to 5:00 PM.
Ramadan Time (রমজান সময়সূচি)
10:00 AM to 3:30 PM.

Mukti Bahini liberation fighters pull their rickshaw to the side of the road as an Indian Army Engineer unit passes by. Photographer unknown.

Mukti Bahini liberation fighters pull their rickshaw to the side of the road as an Indian Army Engineer unit passes by. Photographer unknown.


Melbourne’s Shrine of Remembrance galleries


1 Commando Regiment beret belonging to Private Greg Sher, KIA during a rocket attack in Uruzgan Province, Afghanistan 04 January 2009.

I’ve just returned from a weekend trip to Melbourne and on Sunday afternoon, just before heading to the airport I found that I had a couple of hours to kill whilst ‘she who must be obeyed’ spent some time with her sister. I was at Flinders street station so decided to take a walk down St Kilda Road to the Shrine of Remembrance. The walk takes about 10 to 15 minutes and is quite a pleasant stroll, but in retrospect I should have taken the 5 minute tram ride (‘Stop 19 – Shrine of Remembrance’) as it would have given me more time to explore the new Galleries of Remembrance which were still under development last time I visited, back in mid 2014. But, it was a spur of the moment decision and whilst I regret not having more time to look at the exhibits it gave me a taster for my next visit.


The Eternal Flame near the footsteps of Victoria's Shrine of Remembrance.

The Eternal Flame near the footsteps of Victoria’s Shrine of Remembrance.

Built in 1934, the Shrine is the Victorian state war memorial. It was built to help a grieving Victorian community which lost 19,000 of it’s 114,000 enlistees killed in the First World War. They were buried in distant graves at a time when most Australians did not travel abroad. The Shrine provided a place where Victorians could share their individual and collective grief for the lives that they had lost. Designed by architects Phillip Hudson and James Wardrop, both World War 1 veterans, it is located in Kings Domain on St Kilda Road and was opened on the 11th of November 1934.
The Galleries of Remembrance were opened to the public on 11 November 2014. It utilizes 1600 square meters in a cathedral-like chamber beneath the Shrine and exhibits over 800 items illustrating the Australian experience of war from the 1850’s until the present day. Because of the time limitations I had, I did not go into the Shrine itself this time, but instead opted to check out these displays. Unfortunately the picture quality isn’t the greatest as they were just snapped on my iphone, but they will give you an idea of what is on the display.

Ballarat Rangers Helmet c.1880 in the Pre-Federation Gallery.

Ballarat Rangers Helmet c.1880 in the Pre-Federation Gallery. This helmet is a rare example of the type worn with the distinctive green uniform of the Ballarat Rangers. Formed on 26th July 1858, the unit was originally known as the Ballarat Volunteer Rifle Regiment but changed its name a month later.

Gallipoli landing lifeboat in the First World War Gallery.

Gallipoli landing lifeboat in the First World War Gallery. Lifeboat No. 5 landed on Gallipoli on 25 April 1915 at around 4.10 am. The lifeboat carried men of the 12th Battalion, the 3rd Field Ambulance and the 3rd Infantry Brigade Headquarters


Australian Flying Corps pilot’s brevet with officers pips and farriers trade badge in the AFC and 4th Light Horse display in the First World War Gallery.

WW1 Aviators helmet, goggles and jacket in the First World War G

WW1 Aviators helmet, goggles and jacket in the First World War Gallery.

Australian uniform as worn on the Western Front circa 1917.

Australian uniform as worn on the Western Front circa 1917.

First Word War Gallery display.

First Word War Gallery display.

Italian, German and French uniforms in the Second World War Gall

Italian, German and French uniforms in the Second World War Gallery

Australian Kokoda / New Guinea display in the Second World War G

Australian Kokoda / New Guinea display in the Second World War Gallery.


Shirt worn by Alf Argent (3RAR) as part of the 28th Commonwealth Infantry Brigade, Malaya c. 1960.


Viet Cong embroidered propaganda pendant of Ho Chi Minh in the “1966 The year that changed the world” temporary exhibition.

'Khats' by George Gittoes (March 1993)

‘Khats’ by George Gittoes (March 1993). Australian artist George Gittoes spent time in Somalia with the 1st Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment (1RAR). He accompanied soldiers from 1RAR on night patrols in Baidoa and was fascinated by their electronic night vision goggles. He observed that; “People through their goggles lose their humanity… it is like playing a virtual reality game…” Meanwhile a local man experiences his own state of altered reality by chewing the stimulant plant, khat.


Plaque from Rwanda c. 1995 presented to WO2 Robert Burgess (UNAMIR II) and UNTAC (Cambodia) patches collected by Private David Jess in 1993.

Australian patches related to Iraq 2003 - 2008.

Australian patches related to the Iraq deployments 2003 – 2008.

Afghanistan & Iraq gallery.

Afghanistan & Iraq gallery.


Disruptive Pattern Desert Uniform (DPDU) shirt worn by Sgt Ricky Morris whilst serving as an engineer in Afghanistan from 2008 to 2009.

The Shrine of Remembrance is located on Birdwood Avenue and St Kilda Road, 1.3km from Flinders Street Railway Station. It can be reached by a nice 10 minute walk or by any St Kilda road south bound tram except route number 1. Disembark at tram stop 19 or the Domain Road interchange. If you are using the Melbourne Visitor Shuttle bus, disembark at Stop 13.

Admission is free and it is open from 10:00 until 17:00 (last entry 16:30) everyday except Good Friday and Christmas Day.  For more information visit the Shrine of Remembrance website here.

Australian ANZAC Day Iraq 2016 patch


Close up of an Australian helmet featuring the Taji ANZAC Day Iraq 2016 patch at the dawn service held at the Taji Military Complex, Iraq. 25 April 2016. Picture by Cpl Jake Sims (ADF)

On 25 April 2016, Australian and New Zealand Defence Force personnel deployed to Iraq with Task Group Taji commemorated the Task Group’s first Anzac Day at the Taji Military Complex, Iraq. This year’s Anzac day marks the 100th anniversary since the first Anzac Day service in 1916. To commemorate the day a special one-off patch was produced by a Sydney based company for the troops serving with Task Group Taji.


Australian Army soldier Private Andrew Lawrence from Task Group Taji commemorates Anzac Day at the Taji Military Complex, Iraq. The ANZAC Day Iraq 2016 patch can be seen on the helmet and the issue Task Group Taji patch is visible on his right shoulder. Picture by Cpl Jake Sims (ADF) 

Task Group Taji ANZAC Day 2016 patch

ANZAC Day Iraq 2016 patch produced for  the first ANZAC Day commemoration service at the Taji Military Complex in Iraq.

Personnel from Australia and New Zealand based at the Taji Military Complex in Iraq are part of the broader international Building Partner Capacity (BPC) mission training members of the Iraqi security forces. The training includes weapon handling, building clearances and obstacle breaching techniques; as well as training in the Tactics, Techniques and Procedures for squad through to company-level operations to use in their fight against Daesh.

Task Group Taji 2016 patch

General issue, Australian manufactured, Task Group Taji patch worn by Australian & New Zealand personnel serving with the Task Group as part of the mission designated Operation OKRA by the Australian Defence Force.

Task Group Taji’s BPC contribution is part of Australia’s broader Defence contribution to Iraq, codenamed Operation OKRA, which includes a Special Operations Task Group and an Air Task Group.


Australian Army soldier Private Andrew Lawrence from Task Group Taji commemorates Anzac Day at the Taji Military Complex, Iraq. 25 April 2016.  Picture by Cpl Jake Sims (ADF)

Malaysia trip report #1- Two days in KL.

For my latest trip to Vietnam I decided to fly AirAsia and stop over in Kuala Lumpur for a couple of days to check out some of the military related museums and also see if I could find any interesting bits of militaria for my collection. Browsing the net I identified the Royal Malaysian Police Museum, the Royal Malaysian Air Force Museum and the Malaysian Armed Forces Museum as places of interest. I wasn’t able to find much information on militaria or antique dealers worth visiting, but fellow collector Sin Cheng Soon came to the rescue and suggested a couple of places which may be worthwhile.

Day 1. The Royal Malaysian Police Museum. First stop was the Royal Malaysian Police Museum, which is located at Lake Gardens, adjacent to the KL Bird Park, National Planetarium and a short walk from the Islamic Art Museum. Whilst walking past the latter I noticed an advertisement highlighting their arms and armour collection so decided, if time permitted, to include it on my itinerary.

Royal Malaysian Police Museum

One of the many interesting armoured vehicles found in the grounds of the Police Museum, the “Armoured Wickham Trolley” (AWT) armoured car was used by the Federation of Malaya Police during the emergency from 1953 until 1960 as a pilot train and guard vehicle. It carried up to six policemen at any one time.

Entry to the museum is free but photography is forbidden within the exhibition areas. The restriction on photography was a disappointment as the museum is extremely well planned and executed, with some very interesting and unusual artefacts that will be of interest to all militaria enthusiasts. I was able to discretely take some photos on my iphone, but they really do not do justice to the museum.

Royal Malaysian Police Museum

As can be expected, the various regional as well as Federal police forces in Malaysia played an important role in the ‘Emergency,’ which was in reality a guerrilla war but so named because of commercial concerns regarding the terminology and its effect on insurance policies. The museum is divided into four principle areas. The grounds surrounding the building feature a number of the larger exhibits including armoured vehicles, numerous artillery pieces, a police boat and fixed wing Cessna aircraft.

Royal Malaysian Police Museum

Pre Federation uniforms and plaques in Gallery A of the Police Museum.

Royal Malaysian Police Museum.

Federated Malay States Police Cap, 1920

Royal Malaysian Police Museum

‘Songkok’ (cap) used by the Deputy Commissioner of Johore Police

Entering the first exhibition area, Gallery A, you can see the various uniforms and insignia worn by the different regional police units since formation in Penang in 1807. There are also weapons, artefacts and a good overview of how Law & Order was maintained in the Malacca Sultanate era, through conquest by the Portuguese in 1511, then Dutch and finally British rule.

Royal Malaysian Police Museum

Improvised ‘hand guns’ made by chopping down .303 Lee Enfield bolt action rifles.

Royal Malaysian Police Museum

Quite an unusual item in Gallery B. A very rarely seen grenade launcher built on to an M-2 Carbine. Up until seeing this example in Gallery B I thought that the only option for this weapon was the M8 type launchers.

Gallery B continues the historical timeline and also includes the weapons gallery, which includes a very interesting cross section of small arms used by the police forces and also seized during the Emergency. There are some interesting examples of modified and home made weapons, including .303 SMLE rifles that had been ‘chopped down’ and converted to pistols as well as firearms ‘scratch-built’ by the Communist guerrillas in their secret workshops. There are also displays of medals and contemporary police uniforms within this gallery.

Gallery C features displays from the ‘Emergency period’, the ‘Confrontation’ with Indonesia as well as more displays relating to general policing and criminal activities. As with the other galleries, there are interesting ‘case histories’ throughout the exhibits giving insights into criminal gangs and specific incidents. I found the Royal Malaysian Police Museum to be extremely well planned, the exhibits to be well preserved and presented.

Royal Malaysian Police Museum, 5 Jalan Perdana, 50480 Kuala Lumpur. Open 10am to 6 pm everyday except on Mondays. 10am to 12:30pm and 2:30pm to 6pm on Fridays. Tel: +6 03 2272 5689

Pertama Complex

A selection of current Malaysian badges in the shop window of Uni Karisma Dagang shop at the Pertama Complex

Militaria Shops. Fellow collector Sin Cheng Soon suggested a couple of places that I could check out. First stop was the Malay Trading Company a military tailor’s shop that has been around for some time. It can be quite difficult to find and even my taxi driver had to ask for directions to confirm its location, so if you’re a first time visitor planning to visit, print out a map, the address and take a taxi. Whist there are still some faded 1950’s era posters, featuring British rank and qualification insignia on the walls, stocks of any of these are long gone and the shop only has a limited range of contemporary Royal Malaysian Armed Forces uniform items available for sale. They do still manufacture many badges and all their metal insignia has their MTC logo stamped on the reverse. I was able to pick up some generic Malaysian parachutist and pilots wings for my collection, but no specific unit insignia.

Malaya Trading Company

Exterior of the long running ‘Malaya Trading Company’. Because of its slightly hard to find location, I’d suggest using a taxi and take a map. My driver had to stop twice to ask for directions to the exact location.

Malaya Trading Company

TSG Malaysia Trading SDN. BHD, formerly known as the Malaya Trading Company.

TSG Malaysia Trading SDN. BHD (Formerly known as Malaya Trading Co.) 93 Jalan Medan Bunus Jalan Masjid India 50100, KL Ph: +60 3 2698 5825

Location of Malaya Trading Co and Pertama Complex military tailors

Using my map I was able to walk from the Malaya Trading Company to the Pertama Centre, which is one of KL’s older shopping malls. Squeezed in the left corner on the bottom floor are a couple more military tailor’s stores which feature more of the same, although the selection is somewhat larger than the MTC and includes some camouflage, field gear and equipment items. If you are chasing contemporary Malaysian military items and you know precisely what you are looking for, including the Malaysian names then these guys may have it, but once again, only contemporary issue items and I was unable to find any older obsolete insignia. The larger of the two shops is

Uni Karisma Dagang GF 06, Imej Ceria Pertama Complex Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman, 50100 Kuala Lumpur Ph: +60 3 2694 1229

Pertama Complex

Uni Karisma Dagang, tucked away in the bottom corner of the Pertama Complex.

Day 2. The plan was to visit the Royal Malaysian Armed Forces Museum (Muzium Angkatan Tentera Malaysia) that according to the information gleaned from the Internet was supposed to be located within the Army base at Jalan Padang Tembak. However upon arrival I was told that the museum had been relocated to the town of Port Dickson, so nothing to report here.


Aircraft hanger at the Royal Malaysian Air Force Museum

Royal Malaysian Air Force Museum.  Next on the list was the Air Force Museum, which was quite easy to find as it’s located at the old KL airport which can be seen from the freeway as you drive in to Kuala Lumpur from the International Airport.


Royal Malaysian Air Force Museum

I was particularly interested in the uniform and insignia exhibits, however these were all closed for renovation and when I asked when they would be reopening, the Air Force Duty Officer said that he did not know as they were awaiting a budgetary allocation to commence the refit. So, instead I had to be content with the aircraft hanger containing the various obsolete aircraft that had been used by the RMAF over the course of its history and the selection of rusting hulks in the field outside. Worth a visit if you are an aircraft buff, but at the present time, there is nothing else of interest as everything apart from the aircraft hanger is closed to the public. If you are an aviation patch collector you can buy examples of all the RMAF Squadron patches for RM10 each at the entrance gate.

The selection of RMAF patches available for sale at the Air Force museum.

The selection of RMAF patches available for sale at the Air Force museum.

Royal Malaysian Air Force Museum c/o RMAF Base Jalan Lapangan Terbang Lama, 50460 KL Ph: +60 3 241 1133 ext 4129 / 4198 Open: 10am – 4pm Saturday – Thursday Closed: Fridays and public holidays.

National Museum Negara

National Museum Negara. The small selection of items related to the Japanese occupation of Malaya during WW2.

So, with a bit of time on my hands, I decided to head to the Islamic Art Museum to check out their Arms & Armour collection. Along the way I stopped off at the National Museum Negara, which details the history and peoples of Malaysia. Like the Police museum this is a first class museum with good exhibits that are well presented and preserved. There isn’t a great deal of military items on display, I was hoping for more about the Colonial period and Japanese occupation during WW2 (a bicycle, Jap helmet and a few swords) but it does exhibit some interesting examples of Malaysian Kris’ and other regional edged weapons.

Islamic Art Museum Malaysia. Another well-presented museum where photography is prohibited, the museum, as it’s name suggests, details the art and design related to the Islamic faith. I particularly enjoyed looking at the scale models outlining significant mosques throughout the world and their small selection of arms & armour dating back several centuries is well worth a look.

Islamic Art Museum

Islamic Art Muesum. Ottoman Turk double-barrelled flintlock pistol with concealed dagger. Walnut woodwork inlaid with silver and overlaid with gold. Circa 19th Century.

Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia Jalan Lembah Perdana 50480 Kuala Lumpur Ph: +60 3-2274 2020 Open: 10am – 6pm everyday Admission: RM12 (adult)

Overall, I found that with some planning, the two days transit time that I had before heading to Vietnam were more than sufficient to cover the areas I wanted to see, plus still have time to relax with a cold beer and escape the oppressive humidity. English is widely spoken so there is no difficulty in communicating or reading the descriptive plaques at the museums. I mostly used a taxi to commute between locations and I would suggest that if doing the same, only take one where the driver is prepared to use the meter, in my experience these guys are more honest and helpful than the taxi’s loitering near the tourist traps who insist on outrageous fixed prices and are quite reluctant to find specific locations if they’re not immediately known to them. On my return journey I’ll pass through Malacca where I visit the Royal Malaysian Navy Museum and return to KL via Port Dickson so that I can see the Armed Forces Museum.