22 SAS Burrows, Ian Hamilton (Buzz)

John Robertson

Staff member
Ian Hamilton (Buzz)
  • UNIT
New Zealand Squadron
  • RANK
Military Cross, Negri Sembilan Conspicuous Gallantry Medal
Malaya 1956
parent unit New Zealand Regiment
born 11.11.1930, Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand
father Brigadier James Thomas (WWII Veteran)
attended Waitaki Boys High School, Oamaru, New Zealand
married Judy Jenkinson
married Elsie Hamilton Wilson
son also served SAS
served Malaya, Borneo, Vietnam, Indonesia
later Major
Colonel Commandant of NZSAS (1987-1997)
22.07.2006 died Auckland, New Zealand (Aged 75)
buried North Shore Memorial Park Cemetery, Auckland, New Zealand
Brigadier Ian Burrows, OBE, MC. Died aged 75.
Ian Hamilton Burrows was awarded a Military Cross for bravery during his time with the New Zealand Special Air Service in Malaya from 1955 to 1957.
But had the young soldier thought a little longer about his career when he left school, he might well have taken up portrait painting instead.
Burrows (nicknamed Buzz for his short, fuzzy hair) joined the army in 1950 and spent the next four years at the Royal Military College of Duntroon in Canberra. He was following something af a family tradition.
His father, "Gentleman Jim" Burrows, was a former All Black and a highly regarded soldier during battles in Crete and at Monte Cassino in Italy during World War II. He too reached the rank of brigadier. Later he was rector of Waitaki Boys High School, where Ian Burrows was educated.
The younger Burrows was awarded the Malayan Conspicuous Gallantry Medal for his efforts during that conflict. On his return home, he married Judy Jenkinson and the couple had three children by the time he was sent off to fight in the jungles of Borneo for two years. When Burrows retired after 32 years in the regular army, he had served variously as commander of NZ Army Land Forces, commander of NZ Forces in Southeast Asia, and commandant of the Army Schools in Waiouru.
Retirement brought the chance to devote time to painting, and Burrows acquired the skills he needed at the Auckland Society of Arts.
He remained involved in the community, however, joining the board of the Outward Bound Trust, and serving as president for a time.
He was also chairman of the Rothmans Foundation, which sponsored sports such as soccer, cricket, athletics and softball in New Zealand.
Brigadier Burrows was awarded an OBE in 1979. He is survived by his wife Judy, daughters Joanna and Wendy, sons Jamie (also a former member of the SAS) and Tony, and their families.


Military Cross : Lieutenant Burrows is a jungle leader of outstanding quality whose skill on operations has become a byword in the Regiment.

Since 27th April, 1956 he has been personally responsible for three successful deep jungle patrol actions in which a total of four Communist terrorists were eliminated.

On 27th, April, 1956, after two and a half days of skillful and patient tracking, Lieutenant Burrows led a dawn assault against a Communist terrorist camp killing both occupants, one of whom was a ranking Communist terrorist of considerable importance.

On 28th May, 1956 Lieutenant Burrows ordered his patrol to halt for the night. During the previous two or three days patrolling a number of fresh Communist terrorist signs had been observed and Lieutenant Burrows was convinced that a Communist terrorist camp was nearby. Wile the bulk of the patrol was preparing the night halt position, Lieutenant Burrows set off with one man to have a final look round the immediate area. Shortly before nightfall he saw a lone Communist terrorist and killed him at a range of sixty to seventy yards. He was joined instantly by his patrol and an occupied camp was found a few hundred yards away. The Communist terrorists covered their withdrawal with fire and, in spite of an immediate and vigorous assault, Lieutenant Burrows was prevented by darkness from achieving further success.

During the afternoon of 17th October, 1956 Lieutenant Burrows received aborigine intelligence that two Communist terrorists were located in a temporary camp about nine to ten thousand yards from his base camp. In spite of being semi incapacitated by an injured foot, Lieutenant Burrows immediately formed a patrol and moved off with only two hours of daylight remaining. The route traversed extremely thick jungle and a ridge over four thousand feet in height. Lieutenant Burrows and his patrol covered nearly seven thousand yards of the journey by night in ten hours of heart-breaking effort, much of it on hands and knees with members of the patrol tied together with lengths of parachute rigging line. The patrol reached its objective at first light. Although he and his men were in a state of utter exhaustion, Lieutenant Burrows mounted a quick attack killing one Communist terrorist who was on he point of leaving. The second Communist terrorist was in dead ground and made good his escape.

In these three actions and in all his other operational activities Lieutenant Burrows has displayed outstanding tactical sense and powers of leadership. He commands the unqualified trust and respect of his men and has done more to instill confidence into aborigine groups in the Fort Brooke area than any other officer of man in the Regiment.

Place : MALAYA
Date of Action : 27th April 1956 to date
How Employed : Troop Commander 22 Special Air Service Regiment




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