Joint operation against communist terrorists

Name: Barry Caligari
Date: 1959
Unit: 3RAR
Location: Malaya

In the latter stages of the Malayan Emergency, members of 3RAR (Old Faithful) continued to carry out patrols against the Communist Terrorists.

Private Barry Caligari was a member of a joint Australian-New Zealand operation which went into action on Anzac Day, 25 April 1959, under the command of Major R.D. Yetton.

The operation, code-named ANZAC, was to support a strong group of police in an assault on a large terrorist camp. They took up positions along a track used by the terrorists to cut off their retreat.

A patrol led by Private Caligari ambushed two terrorists, killing one, while a second escaped into the dense jungle.

During the two years 3RAR was in Malaya it was credited with killing 14 terrorists and capturing 32. It lost one man killed in action and two who died of illness.

Private Caligari celebrated his 21st birthday in Malaya, with his mates laying on a special breakfast for him. His invitation came in the form of a hand carved wooden key. The Invitation read: "You are cordially invited to attend a breakfast in your honour on the occasion of your 21st birthday. Breakfast to be held at 672-158 on the Kuala Kangser Map."

Private Caligari was later promoted to Sergeant and took part in the Indonesian Confrontation in Borneo, returning to his old stamping grounds at Terendak Camp with his family. He then received a direct commission after attending an officer qualifying course at Canungra Jungle Training Centre in Queensland, and was appointed a 1st Lieutenant, serving with 7RAR in Vietnam in 1967/68 and later became CO of 1RAR.

Following in his father's footsteps, Barry's son John graduated from Duntroon in December 1982 and served in the same Battalion (1RAR) at the same time as a Platoon Commander. He later became CO of 1RAR in November 1999, which was the first time a father and son had commanded the same battalion.

Lieutenant-Colonel John Caligari is now leading the 1000 strong 1RAR on operations as part of the United Nations force to East Timor. He had earlier served in 1RAR as Operations Officer in Somalia in 1993.

The material for this article was supplied by Mrs Christine Caligari of Queensland

Last updated: 4 June 2019

Cite this page

DVA (Department of Veterans' Affairs) (2019), Joint operation against communist terrorists, DVA Anzac Portal, accessed 25 September 2020,
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