Immediately granted the rank of Acting Sergeant, and following initial service at No.2 School of Recruit Training, he embarked for the Far East in Nov 1949, serving with No.95 Rifle Squadron RAF Regiment (Malaya).
As the NCO (now Flight Sergeant) in charge of A Flight, 95 Squadron engaged in anti-insurgent operations in the Sungei Besi district of Selangor Malaya. He was awarded the Military Medal for inspirational leadership under the most trying conditions conducting a great number of patrols and ambushes. His citation states that Flight Sergeant Harris displayed tremendous keenness, fortitude and fearless leadership, far beyond the call of duty. He received his Military Medal from Her Majesty the Queen at an investiture at Buckingham Palace on 10 Feb 1953.
Harris said “I was at times guilty of some bravado in an effort to draw out the cunning enemy, such as sometimes standing in the section truck when passing through a regular ambush point and shouting a challenge in Malay – like a dog baying at the moon! It never worked”.