Low’s Gully Storyboooks – in three different versions

In early March 1994, five members of a British Army expedition emerged from Low’s Gully, a five mile long hell hole falling away from Mount Kinabalu in the jungle of Borneo.

However, the achievement of the five – mostly fit and able young British non-commissioned officers – in being the first to conquer Low’s Gully was overshadowed by the fact that the other five members of their team – two relatively old and senior British officers and three young novice Chinese storemen and guards – were apparently still lost in the gully.

What had gone wrong and why had the group broken the golden rule for such expeditions – never split up?

They were:

  • LTC Robert Neill
  • MAJ Ron Foster
  • SGT Bob Mann
  • CPL Hugh Brittan
  • LCP Kelvin Cheung (HK)
  • LCP Richard Mayfield
  • LCP Pete Shearer
  • LCP Steve Page
  • PTE Victor Lam (HK)
  • PTE Chow (HK)

I was really surprised to find out that there are 3 books which tells us their story. The first book was written by the first team which emerged from the gully, the second book which was written by the senior officers and the third one, by a third person, who traveled around the world, trying to find the truth about the expedition. There were apparently some misunderstandings between the team members about the decision to go into the gully – and out of it.

Personally I have yet to read all the books – which are apparently difficult to get nowadays. The last time I checked, the only place that have the book (around Kota Kinabalu) is the Sabah State Library. Amazon.com have few copies of used books,but unfortunately they do not mail to Malaysia (even Singapore).

It’s like a collector’s series of book for Kinabalu lovers. I think that these books are really a gem to have as it as a collection as it becomes more difficult to get.

This book (SOS) is written by the two senior officers. Claimed to be the ‘answers’ of the book written earlier by two of the team members who managed to get out from the gully in 10 days.

This book (Kinabalu Escape) is written by two of the team members who was in the first group.

Richard Connaughton’s book is the most important book among those 3, as he traveled around the world to search the truth behind the expedition – by getting the information from both team members.

Happy reading!

3 thoughts on “Low’s Gully Storyboooks – in three different versions

  1. I will try to find out from Borneo Books at Wisma Merdeka. Maybe they have it there.
    Or, if you want to buy online, try Barnes & Noble. The last time I checked, they’ve got it, but not all.

  2. Hello Drizad,
    I lived & worked (for Malaysian Airlines) in KK from 1992 to 1995 & followed the unfolding drama of the British Army’s expedition down Low’s gully. After returning to the UK I subsequently saw two TV programs about the expedition and read all three books on the subject. Having been in the British Forces, RAF not army, I was intrigued by the dilema faced by the NCO’s of obeying the officer’s orders or following thier own analysis of the situation & acting accordingly.
    I also met Robert New (who descended the gully with Steve Pinfield) at the KYC once, briefly, but was not aware of his venture &he did not mention it.
    As you were in the medical profession i was wondering if you know Dr. Madeleine Piper? I met her when I helped with a WWF marine survey project in 1981 on the islands off of Sempona. At that time she was an anthropoligist & not a doctor.
    Like your blog & to quote Gen. McArthur, “I shall return”.
    Best wishes,
    Mike
    PS: I learn’t to love Sabah while I was there & I learn’ t to sing “Proton Saga Kalabu” in Kadazan/Dusun.

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