French submarines, cruiser call
Published on: Saturday, March 27, 2021
By: British North Borneo Herald
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Scenes from the past: Destruction in Jesselton due to allied bombings during the war. However, Atkinson clock tower was spared. – Australian War Memorial. Pic for illustration only.

The French Cruiser Lamotte Picquet arrived on Sunday, the 18th September at 12.30 p.m. with Admiral Le Bigot on board. On arrival the District Officer made an official call. 

The Admiral and staff were entertained and the men enjoyed themselves sight-seeing, swimming, and football. 

A football match took place on the padang between Kudat and the Cruiser resulting in a win for the Cruiser with a score of four goals. 

On the evening of the 19th the Admiral and staff were guests of District Officer and Mrs Longfield at dinner, and on the following evening all the European residents in Kudat were guests of the Admiral at dinner on board the Cruiser, except, Dr Clarke who was absent in the ulu attending to the needs of the natives. 

On the afternoon of the 19th seven bus loads of men from the ship went to the sea beach at mile 5 for a swim, a similar number of men going there on the next day also. 

The French Submarines Le Tonnant and Le Conquerant arrived at day break on the morning of the 21st. 

After remaining in Harbour for about five hours they left at 11.10 a.m., and the Cruiser Lamotte Picquet left an hour later. 

Mantanani visit

Kota Belud

We paid a visit to Mantanani Island early in the month. 

Bad weather caused our stay there to be extended for five days, and a diet of papayas and rice, although wholesome no doubt, became rather tedious. 

Sailing back, the best the Binadans could was to land us at Teburan. The District Agricultural Officer arrived in Kota Belud on 22nd to carry on injecting ponies. He is still there at the time of writing. 

So far it appears that the first injections had effect in that the percentage of "positives" now found is considerable less. 

Visits by surgeon


2nd November 1938  

The District Surgeon completed his tour of Ranau and Tambunan districts during August. His clinics were reported as generally successful and well attended and at last it does seem that the people are beginning to regard his visits as "lent" as far as tapai drinking is concerned. 

"More power to our elbows" is perhaps the natives outlook but we hope not. 

Having forcibly prevented the Tandulu River from flowing into the shops we hoped all was well again. 

However a fine flood came down this month and the river has now changed its mind and decided on the station as the best spot to do some damage. 

We now leave it to our successor to persuade this stream to flow decently and sedately down the middle. 

His visit happily coincided with a very minor race meeting organised as part of the farewell party to our predecessor. 

As we only gave five days notice of the races, we were pleased to see over 20 ponies turn out amid considerable enthusiasm. 

After dark, in spite of a slight drizzle, the usual "dindang" took place and went with a swing. 

The Tandulu River has at last condescended to flow in a decent manner under the bridge provided for it — but now the said bridge apparently in a fit of pique at twice nearly having been left high and dry, has developed a vast sag in the middle, presumably in an effort to fall into the river in revenge for past indignities received. 

Tandulu river

Kota Belud 

At Tambunan we remember often reviling the Tandulu river for its disconcerting manners but the Tempassuk here does even more extraordinary things. 

At present the river is down to a comparative trickle and is flowing cheerfully past the month of the Gorong-Gorong. 

Unfortunately at least 60 per cent of the trickle then retraces its steps and flows upstream into the old cut.

Until padi planting is finished we are relying on the buried Kijan heads to stop this. 

Visits to Tungku

Lahad Datu 

We recently spent a weekend in Tungku. 

Such visits to Tungku are rare, and in fact we were rather led to believe that most visits of the same nature as ours are crowded into the space of a few hours. 

After sampling three days' worth of Tungku this became understandable, but in this particular instance there was the wedding of a prominent local Arab trader, which turned out to be a very ramai affair, to add interest to this otherwise rather quiet and lonely little spot. 

A walk of about two hours inland through the jungle brings one to a number of adjacent Dusun villages with vast ladang clearings. 

From the verandahs of several of these Dusun communal houses one gets a splendid view out over the padi fields to the huge massif of Bukit Tungku, or the Bagahak range, which rises to nearly 3,000 feet in two tremendous ridges. 

The sand flies were very bad and the bathing very good, though possibly the latter didn't quite make up for the former. 

Finally there was the experience of being rowed out in a very wobbly little Chinese tongkang to clamber aboard s.s. Kinabalu out at sea at 1 a.m. in the morning. 

Readers who are familiar with then East Coast trip and who have regretted the noise of the Kinabalu siren at 1 a.m. on these occasions when she calls at Tungku, may be surprised to hear that it was to one prospective passenger in this instance a most welcome sound.

Semporna’s only road


The fortnightly visits of our new District Officer (Mr Abbott), Lahad Datu, makes Semporna's sports enthusiasts more active in every game. 

Football is becoming the daily sport, followed by tennis and badminton. Matches at these games are always planned before the District Officer's visit. 

It is nice to see Semporna producing new amateur stars through our new guru who coaches the players in a modern way. 

Heroism was at last noted in the town, when the Customs Examiner Andong saved Ah Ha (f), Macao, from drowning in the sea on the 11th October. 

The woman was taking her sea bath near the wharf and tried her skill against the tide, but found her swimming ability futile. 

The strong tide carried her away and her rescuer dived in with his clothing, saving her life. 

The Commissioner of Customs and Excise was a recent visitor to the Station, who stayed two days checking customs books. 

The owners and managers of all shops in town met the Commissioner and asked him to lower the export tariff on certain goods which we hope will be approved. 

Semporna's only road is fast improving. Although asphalting is a long way off it is now nicely rolled and not muddy on rainy days nor do bicycles jump when going over it. 

Again the slope going down to the Customs is under repair to double the present width, and all these improvements are being made from the Town Fund. 

2ND MARCH, 1940 

Vignettes of Nature 

We started out at daylight one fine morning taking a picnic breakfast with us. As we tramped along with our haversacks slung over our lightly clad shoulders we were overtaken at frequent intervals by motor buses laden with market produce. 

As the loaded vehicles rumbled and rattled past we heard the grunting of pigs, the squawking of protesting pigs, the raucous voices of Hakka women going to work and the intermittent explosions from dirty exhausts. 

The air was pregnant with the smell of burnt petrol. 

After an hour's brisk walking we reached the branch road, and with a sigh of relief watched a clattering ‘bus round the distant corner out of sight and sound. 

We turned down the wide road, its sandy surface gentle to our feet, the tall jungle trees affording us shade from an already hot sun. 

Cool rippling streams ran parallel to the road on either side, bubbling and frothing where a fallen tree trunk dammed their smooth, gliding flow. A brown lizard disturbed by our approach scuttled away into the grass with a gentle rustling sound. 

Far away up in the tree tops the wahwah's hooted at us excitedly with their birdlike notes. 

No smell of petrol here, only the sweet refreshing perfume of the little wayside flowers. 

On we walked through a tropical stillness broken at intervals by a bird's song' the creaking of the wings of a pair of hornbills flying high above our heads, their necks stretched ludicrously forward; or the sharp tap, tap, tap of the elusive woodpecker. 

We selected a suitable spot for breakfast, dabbling our feet in a cool stream the while, then reluctantly turned homeward, leaving the shad) branch road to join the main road once more, its metalled surface now hot to our tired feet. 

The 'buses still rattled along, and added to the smell of petrol was now the colour of warm tar. 

The sun was getting high overhead, so we mounted one of the passing vehicles. 

As we turned the last corner out of sight me looked back regrettably at the crossroads and the tall green jungle trees, promising ourselves another such picnic soon.

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