Page 35 - Chiron Spring 2018
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Dog training in the early 1950s and Memories of Malaya 1951 – 22399925 Clive Nicklas RAVC By Major Caz Whiting
 Born in Hull, Clive was raised by his mother who owned a breeding and boarding kennels, at one time housing 70 + dogs. Though this early exposure and experience with dogs may have led him to a career with the RAVC, Clive was initially sent to Brudbrook Barracks and the Warwickshire Regiment. After a short spell he was transferred to the Leicestershire Regiment and shortly afterwards, the Gloucestershire Regiment.
Clive then moved to Germany where he started to train dogs. He quickly coined the reputation of ‘the bad dog man’, not because he was poor at dog training, but because he managed to turn difficult dogs around and not give up on them. One particular dog ‘Buckley’ took a dislike to Clive and decided to bite however Clive still continued to tell the dog off. Shortly after, Clive was chosen to deploy to Malaya.
The dogs chosen to deploy to Malaya had been sourced from Germany and therefore could not be accommodated with the rest of the MWD. Therefore, they spent the days preceeding the departure at the equitation side. The voyage left from Birkenhead; on its 33-day voyage. It called at Gibraltar and then passed Algers, Malta and Sri Lanka. 14 dogs made the journey and management of these dogs during the voyage was tricky as they were not able to walk on deck side as the surface was so hot.
Their job in Malaya was to protect Singapore from terrorists. Clive trained the dogs out in Malaya and then once trained, handed the dogs over to the Gurkha Regiment to use as protection dogs. Bandits were numerous and barely
a day went by without the camp or its personnel being targeted. The camps within Singapore were conveniently named ‘Happy Well’, ‘Old Well’ and ‘New Well’. An advantage of the remote location of the camps allowed majority of personnel to gain their motorbike licenses whilst deployed.
The conflict in Malaya started in 1950 and was over by 1953 with the loss of 500 troops (mixed nationalities). Though to all purposes it was a war, it was never formally called that, rather termed the ‘Malayan Emergency’. During the conflict, rubber
"Bandits were numerous and barely a day went by without the camp or its personnel being targeted"
trees were slashed in order to collect the rubber however if they were cut badly, the trees would suffer extensive damage for 6-8 years. Insurance companies were able to pay out for damage to the rubber plantations however had the conflict progressed to a ‘war’, this would have stopped the monetary reimbursements.
During his time in Singapore, only one dog was lost, sadly this was after his handler being shot which resulted in a loose dog which could not be controlled.
Clive left the military shortly afterwards and moved into plumbing, wiring and decorating property remaining in the East Yorkshire area where he still lives now.
Clive Nicklas in his younger days...
   ...and Clive Nicklas now!
  Trainer handler and dog
2nd and 10th gurkha rifles picture 1951

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