A VETERAN of a now-forgotten 'secret war' in Malaysia was prompted to publish a book of poetry about the fighting after suffering a heart attack 50 years on from the conflict.

But retired economist Trevor Morgan is so outraged at the Government’s treatment of fellow veterans that he has ordered the book should never be published in the UK.

Mr Morgan, aged 70, of Lower Foxmoor Road, Rockwell Green, has even stipulated in his will that no UK publisher should ever be allowed to print it.

Instead, it is being published in Malaysia by the Sabah State Library

The book The Saga of Sabah relates ‘the emotions, not the history’ of the ‘Indonesian Confrontation’ of 1962-66.

More than 100 British and Commonwealth Servicemen lost their lives in the conflict as they battled Indonesian insurgents in the jungles and swamps of Malaysian Borneo.

The first lines of poetry were actually written as Mr Morgan lay in the mud of Borneo’s mangrove swamps in 1963, where he served as a radar operator aboard HMS Albion.

Mr Morgan said: “The Saga of Sabah gets across the fact that for all those involved in a ‘little war’ there is actually no such thing as a ‘little war’.

Poems for The Saga of Sabah have taken Mr Morgan decades to compile, and he was spurred on in 2004 when the Malaysia Government offered the ‘Pingat Jasa Malaysia’ medal for British veterans of the conflict - only for the UK Government to refuse to allow people to accept it.

It was not until Armistice Day 2011 that British veterans were officially allowed to wear the Malaysia medal.

Mr Morgan said: “It was deplorable for our politicians to behave like that after British Service personnel gave their lives for what was deemed by our politicians to be a noble cause in the jungles of a country on the other side of the world.

“I was so incensed at the way the politicians treated us that I knew I had to get the book finished and that I would never let it be published in a country which so disrespected its brave Service people.”

Interestingly, Mr Morgan’s research for his book found that official communications about the action in Sabah are locked away under a 100-year secrecy rule, so the full truth about the conflict will not be known to the public for another 50 years.

One of Mr Morgan’s more evocative pieces, titled ‘Able Seaman White’, relates the true story of how a young Naval rating swapped watch duties with him in order to photograph the sunrise, and was promptly shot dead by a sniper.

“There but for the grace…,” said Mr Morgan. “Even now, I still have dreams of him waking me up and asking could he take my watch.”

Sabah State Library depository division head Vui Yin Wong said: “We are very grateful to Trevor and his fellow countrymen who helped us so much and even fought and died for us during the Indonesian confrontation.

“This part of history will never go away, but unfortunately less and less Malaysians of Sabah know about it, and that is one reason why I was so eager to get this published.”

Copies of the book will be given to local public libraries and to the Fleet Air Arm Museum, Yeovilton, as well as to public libraries across Sabah state, in East Malaysia.