BURROWS Ian Hamilton
Brigadier, New Zealand Army
Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire Gazetted 24 May 1957, Supp 41079, p3156 In 1955 he was selected to deploy to Malaya as a Troop Commander with the newly formed New Zealand Special Air Service Squadron. On 27 April 1955, Burrows led a patrol, which after two days tracking, located a communist terrorist camp. The patrol conducted a dawn assault against the camp, killing the occupants, which included Malaysian Communist leader Li Hak Chi. On 17 October 1955, Burrows led a patrol, which after an arduous ten-hour move through thick jungle and over steep terrain, mounted an immediate attack which killed a terrorist.
Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE)
General Service Medal 1918
New Zealand Armed Forces Award and bar
Negri Sembilan Conspicuous Gallantry medal (Malaya)
Born 11 November 1930, Christchurch, New Zealand
Died 22 July 2006, Auckland, New Zealand
Brigadier Ian Hamilton (Buzz) Burrows OBE MC, retired Land Force Commander, died in Auckland on 22 July 2006.
BRIG Burrows was born in 1930. The son of BRIG JT (Gentleman Jim) Burrows, DSO, he was educated at Waitaki Boys High School. He entered the Royal Military College, Duntroon, in January 1950, and in 1953 he graduated into the Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment. BRIG Burrows served as an instructor with Compulsory Military Trainees at Burnham until 1955 when he was selected for service with the New Zealand Special Air Service Squadron. The SAS Squadron was deployed to Malaya as part of the newly formed 22 SAS Regiment, with BRIG Burrows commanding 3 Troop. During his tour of Malaya, BRIG Burrows was awarded the Military Cross and the Negri Sembilan Conspicuous Gallantry medal. He was also instrumental in the fatal ambushing of communist terrorist leader Li Hak Chi. BRIG Burrows returned to New Zealand in 1957 and became an instructor at the School of Infantry at Waiouru. Following this he served as Aide de Camp to the Governor General, Lord Cobham. He then served for two years as the Adjutant of the Nelson Marlborough West Coast Regiment. In 1963 BRIG Burrows deployed to Malaya and Borneo, as a Company Commander during the Indonesian confrontation. Returning from operations in 1965, BRIG Burrows commanded the NZSAS Squadron at Papakura Military Camp. During this period he also attended and graduated from the Royal New Zealand Air Force Command and Staff College at Whenuapai. Promoted to Lieutenant Colonel, he served in staff appointments in Wellington including the completion of an initial reconnaissance for the deployment of combat troops to the Republic of Vietnam. In 1970 BRIG Burrows assumed the position of Defence Liaison Officer in Kuala Lumpur. Upon returning to New Zealand in 1973, BRIG Burrows was appointed Commandant of The Army Schools in Waiouru. He held this position for two years before attending the Joint Services Staff College in Canberra. In 1975 BRIG Burrows became Director Army Training. BRIG Burrows was promoted to Colonel in 1977 and assumed command of the 3rd Task Force Region in Burnham and was awarded the OBE in 1979. In 1981 he was promoted to Brigadier as the Commander Land Forces, then based in Auckland. In 1983 BRIG Burrows was posted to Singapore as the Commander New Zealand Forces South East Asia. He was posted back to New Zealand as the Commander Land Forces once again in 1985, then retired from military service. In 1987 BRIG Burrows was appointed the Colonel Commandant of the New Zealand Special Air Service, a position he held for 10 years. In 1987 BRIG Burrows replaced Colonel (Rtd) Frank Rennie, CBE, MC, as chairman of the Rothmans Sports Foundation, remaining in this position until the foundation ceased. Also, in 1987 he was elected to the council of the Outward Bound Trust. In 1989 he was elected Vice President of the Trust and later became 1st Vice President and then President (1990 and 1991 respectively). He remained a Councillor of the Trust until 1998. BRIG Burrow's interest in sports and outdoor education followed him throughout his life. At school he had been in both the Rugby first 15 and Cricket first 11 and had been a junior tennis champion and a boxer. He continued to play rugby at times during his military career and also took up golf. BRIG Burrows was also a fine painter of portraits. He was largely self-taught, not undertaking any formal art training until his release from the military. He has exhibited his paintings on occasion and has completed over 100 portraits.
BRIG Burrows was a well liked Colonel Commandant of the New Zealand Special Air Service, popular with both officers and soldiers he was a real gentleman, like his father before him. His nickname “Buzz” is alleged to have derived from his short fuzzy hair during his early days.
Brigadier Ian Burrows is survived by his wife Judy, their two sons and daughters, and their families.
Article Courtesy NZ Army News 2006