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"As The Sun Goes Down" - Aden, The SAA & Armed Police Mutinies of June 1967 (***RECOMMENDED)

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Aggressive night patrolling by infantry with armoured car support was conducted against diminishing opposition.

The SAA appeared to be peaceful again, & all Armed Police weapons were reported to be back in their arms kote. Desperate to organise a defence against the British attack which they mistakenly believed was imminent, the Armed Police had handed out 400 weapons to civilians in Crater. 399 were stated to have been recovered, & 11 of the 200 plus prisoners freed from the criminal jail back in custody.

General Purpose Machine Gun (GPMG), "Gimpy" to British troops), Crater, June 1967

Edited by leigh kitchen

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Unfinished Business

The Fusiliers reluctantly left business unfinished & handed over their Company position at the Marine Drive entrance along with responsibility for Crater to the Argylls on 25/6/67.

"X" Company 1 RNF was the last to leave, being relieved by "A" Company of the Argylls. Manning positions on the hills overlooking Crater, at 12:00 hrs CSM Pringle advised the Argyll's CSM that there was no requirement to bring up any more ammunition as "X" Company had sufficient to handover, however during the afternoon the Company became involved in an incident which resulted in the expenditure of so much ammunition that the Argylls did need to bring fresh supplies with them.

Edited by leigh kitchen

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The British soldiers & civilan killed during the 20th - 21st June 1967:

(My research also shows a Dvr Morley, RCT, as killed during the muitiny, I have yet to reconcile different information concerning this).

Butler, Edward - Staff Sergeant - Royal Corps of Transport - 20 June 1967

Crombie, Walter Martin - Fusilier - The Royal Northumberland Fusiliers - 20 June 1967

Davies, John Alexander Heyworth - Second Lieutenant - The Royal Northumberland Fusiliers - 20 June 1967

Ferguson, Anthony - Private - The King's Own Royal Border Regiment - 20 June 1967

Fraser, Neil Gillies - Driver - Royal Corps of Transport - 20 June 1967

Garth, Roland - Sergeant - Royal Corps of Transport - 20 June 1967

Geall, Michael Anthony - Driver - Royal Corps of Transport - 20 June 1967

Goldsworthy, Richard Michael - Driver - Royal Corps of Transport - 20 June 1967

Hoare, Peter Michael - Warrant Officer II - The Royal Northumberland Fusiliers - 20 June 1967

Hoult, George Thomas - Fusilier - The Royal Northumberland Fusiliers - 20 June 1967

Hunter, John Thompson - Private - The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders - 20 June 1967

Liddell, Thomas - Lance Corporal - The Royal Northumberland Fusiliers - 20 June 1967

Malcolm, B.A.E. - Major - The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders - 20 June 1967

Moncur, John William - Major - The Royal Northumberland Fusiliers - 20 June 1967

Moores, John Frederick - Private - The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders - 20 June 1967

Pouton, Fred - Driver - Royal Corps of Transport - 20 June 1967

Smyth, Christopher Thomas - Fusilier - The Royal Northumberland Fusiliers - 20 June 1967

Stewart, Leslie - Fusilier - The Royal Northumberland Fusiliers - 20 June 1967

Tevendale, John - Driver - Royal Corps of Transport - 20 June 1967

West, Marcus Nial - Driver - Royal Corps of Transport - 20 June 1967

Wyllie, Bernard Henry - Fusilier - The Royal Northumberland Fusiliers - 20 June 1967

Young, Robert Angus - Second Lieutenant - The Lancashire Regiment (Prince of Wales's Volunteers) - 20 June 1967

Alexander, Hugh - Mr. - Public Works Department - 20 June 1967

Edited by leigh kitchen

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Silent Valley

The British dead were buried at the British Military Cemetary, at Silent Valley, Aden.

22 plain wooden coffins were lowered into graves, by each lay the Union Flag that had covered it, by each stood a man from the dead soldier?s regiment, in one case a civilian.

The majority of the dead men were born between 1943 & 1949, ?demob babies?, all died on 20/6/67.

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5 padres of different denominations shared the committal service, armoured cars & helicopters patrolled.

The only address was ?The Lord is My Shepherd?.

Irish Guardsmen fired a volley, an Argyll?s Piper piped a lament, a bugler played the ?Last Post?.

Edited by leigh kitchen

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The last Fusilier left Aden - other than the dead.

GMIC member Xsniper identifies this Fusilier:

"Lcpl Steve Jackson, Y coy clerk Aden 1966-67.

Steve volunteered to go out on ptl with Y coy after the Ambush in Crater ......

He is an active member of my Fighting Fifth Fusilier site ....."

Edited by leigh kitchen

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On the day of the funerals, Police Commissionar Peter Owen went back into Crater, the first european to do so since the Armed Police ambush.

He visited the Aden State Police (who had no part in the mutiny) & he advised the Armed Police that they should return to their duties & help to re-establish law & order.

There would be no retribution from the British for the killing of their soldiers.

According to Owen the Armed Police had fired on the Fusiliers & Argylls in panic, having heard that the British had attacked an Armed Police barracks in Khormaksur & were about to attack them.

The Armed Police were keeping out of firefights between the insurgents & British, were under orders from their Arab officers & carrying out duties as routinely as possible

Owen spent 2 hours in Crater, & walked around chatting with the locals, all were surprised to see him, some cheered & clapped.

Everybody he spoke with blamed the presence of British troops for causing most of the "trouble".

He stated that the situation would return now to one of "normal terrorism".

Police Commissioner Owen instructed his Deputy, Mohamed Ibrahim, to conduct an official enquiry into the "misunderstanding" of June 20th 1967.

Any outcome, if such an enquiry was carried out, has never been made known.

Edited by leigh kitchen

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"The Brutality of Geordie troops in Aden"

The Fusiliers, were the subject of some criticism in the world media, accused of brutality, as would be the Argylls after they had taken over from 1 RNF.

To many Adenis the British could do no right - some belived that the British were behind the killings of British civilians, thereby creating bad publicity for the insurgents who the British would then falsely blame. Many in Crater blamed the British army for the mutiny.

Footage of Fusiliers kicking & shoving Adeni men around made excellent news, & it was alleged that they maltreated women in such a way. Some Fusiliers expressed the view that the media were confusing Adeni males with females because of their mode of dress.

Scenes of Adenis being rounded up none too gently usually followed incidents in which troops had been attacked with bomb or bullet.

They were doing what they saw as sensible & necessary to survive & to assert control over confused & dangerous situations - the enemy did'nt just attack with a judiciously placed army boot to the posterior, the enemy meant to kill.

Some "ex - pats" held that if the British army were to leave then all would be well - business as usual would resume.

The "Times" magazine of Friday 14/4/67 reported on the upsurge of violence upon the arrival of a 3-man team of United Nations observers, & is in no doubt that the Fusiliers & their well aimed boots to the posterior were to thank for low casualty figures:

"Running Gunfight. Hardly had the diplomats been installed in Aden's Sea View Hotel—behind rolls of barbed wire and a 100-man police guard—than the fighting broke out. It started in the always-explosive Crater District, where hard-bitten veterans of the Royal Northumberland Fusiliers shot it out with terrorists in a running gunfight from rooftop to rooftop. Though there were 277 terrorist incidents during the U.N. visit, the casualty figures were surprisingly low—18 killed, 50 injured—mostly because the Fusiliers freely wielded rifle butts and heavy boots to keep the mobs disorganized and at bay."

Forty years after the event, a British newspaper comments:

<b>"At The Centre of a Media Frenzy"</b><i></i>

<i>Jul 11 2007 by Ray Marshall, Evening Chronicle

"It was 40 years ago when that highly respected regiment, the Northumberland Fusiliers found themselves in the firing line yet again.

The media were focusing on the Aden problem and were critical of the Battalion's methods.

Pictures were taken of, so-called Brutal British Soldiers, kicking and threatening the defenceless Arabs. "The Brutality of Geordie troops in Aden" ran one headline.

What they failed to show was the bloodied dead and wounded bodies of those same Geordie troops lying in the streets, victims of continuous grenade attacks and sniper fire. Most attacks were made by lone grenade-throwing terrorists........"</i>

<i>"It is a credit to the soldiers involved that they kept their discipline and coolness while working within sight of their dead comrades? bodies........"</i>

Edited by leigh kitchen

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The British Reoccupy Crater

A Squadron Command Vehicle (Saracen) of the Queen?s Dragoon Guards Passes a sniper position in Crater

Edited by leigh kitchen

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The story of the Argylls & their reoccupation of Crater is a lengthy subject in itself, but on the night of 3/7/67 while senior officers persisted in their desire to negotiate a peaceful return of the British, Lt Colonel Mitchell & his men of 1st Bn Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders, accompanied by regimental pipers blaring out Scotland the Brave & by "A" Squadron QDG reoccupied Crater with hardly a shot fired.

By 04.00 hrs of the 4th Crater was again under control of the British.

The QDG flew from the aerials of their armoured cars the defiant red & white hackles of the Fusiliers.

A signal was sent by Lieutenant Colonel Powell of the Queen's Dragoon Guards to Lieutenant Colonel Blenkinsop of the 1st Battalion, Royal Northumberland Fusiliers:

"Your Hackle Flies Again in Crater"

This is one of the original hackles that were flown by the Queen?s Dragoon Guards as the British re-took Crater, shown here displayed on the antennae of their Saladin & Ferret armoured cars

Edited by leigh kitchen

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Shortly after the Aden mutiny, the Armed Forces Act of 1966 was amended.

The definition of "Active Service" was altered to include not just qualifying service in a foreign country, but operations for the protection of lives & property "elsewhere than in the United Kingdom"

Until now & not withstanding 49 dead & almost 600 wounded, British servicemen in Aden had not been engaged on "Active Service".

The Campaign Service Medal 1962 with Clasp "SOUTH ARABIA".

Awarded for 30 days service in Aden, this example is to 234026744 Fusilier J Wood of 1 RNF

Edited by leigh kitchen

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In Memory of George Thomas Hoult

1st Battalion The Northumberland Fusiliers

George Thomas Hoult killed in Aden 20 June 1967 serving for the Northumberland Fusiliers. This was my father killed when I was only six months old and who never saw or held me he will never be forgotten by myself my brother his wife and all his brothers and sisters. Rest in peace dad you are forever in my thoughts

Gail XX

In Memory of Major Bryan Malcolm

1st Battalion Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders

I would like my father Major Bryan Malcolm of the 1st Battalion Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders to be remembered on this page. He was killed in Aden on 20 June 1967 during the The Arab Police Mutiny. I was 7 at the time and my brother was just 6.

Georgina Malcolm

In Memory of Fus Bernard H Wyllie

1st Battalion Royal Northumberland Fusiliers

Bernard died in the Aden Mutiny on 20 June 1967. Born in 1948, he grew up in the Heather Park Drive area of Alperton Middlesex. Deserted by his mother who, it was said, had left to find his father he was brought up by his devoted grandmother, but in less than ideal circumstances. In the neighbourhood he had the reputation for "terrorising" us younger kids. However, his life changed after finding the discipline of the army and he returned on his brief leaves a different person.

In 1984 I had the chance to visit Silent Valley Cemetery on the outskirts of Aden and pay my respects at his graveside. Bernard, you and your comrades that died that day deserve our grateful thanks for your sacrifice and to always be remembered.

Alec R Walker

Britain's Small Wars, Page of Remembrance "http://britains-smallwars.com/Memorial/Index.htm"

"The tragedy at the end in Crater is probably one of the saddest days in the whole of my life.

Our tour was virtually completed. The arms had been handed in to the armoury, the advance party had already been flown out and the next Company was getting ready to go when the Armed Police, who had been our good friends for a very long time, suddenly mutinied. Their children, their wives, had been looked after by my doctor who spent a great deal of time there. We gave them a lot of help and many of them we knew well so it was really like your friend of many years suddenly stabbing you in the back."

Lt Col Dick Blenkinsop, Commanding Officer, 1 RNF. (The Savage Wars of Peace", Charles Allen).

"If you look back now at some of the photographs that appeared in the Press at the time you can tell that he was not pleased and we knew, as his closest crew, that he wasn't.

He was a very good commanding officer and if he had said "Pack up your kit chaps, we're going here" we'd have gone quite happily, because he was that sort of commander. He had charisma, a one in a million type individual, the right man at the right time in the right job. Unfortunately, some of the other people weren?t in the right jobs at the right time, but that?s my opinion."

Alec Grant 1 A & SH, Driver & Signaller to Lt Col Collin Mitchell, on his CO. ("The Savage Wars of Peace", Charles Allen).

"We're a very mean lot. We will be extremely firm and extremely keen and if anyone starts throwing grenades at us, we will kill them. It's as simple as that"

Lt Col Collin Mitchell ("Counterinsurgency in Modern Warfare", edited by Daniel Marston & Carter Malkasian).

"Fire was so intense my Browning machine-gun was knocked out and I could'nt close the turret lid.

Without cover from another Ferret we were pretty helpless. I asked permission to use my seventy-six to knock out the Bren gun position on the police roof, and waited while it was being cleared with the High Comand. The answer was negative, and we were forced to retire even though we thought three British soldiers were alive in the near-by flats"

2nd Lt Nigel Stephens, Queen's Dragoon Guards, speaking on 21st June 1967. ("Last Sunset", Stephen Harper)

"Telephones were buzzing not only in the area of the Crater in Aden but also up country, where there were several battalions of the South Arabian Army. The situation was not only very volatile but also extremely dangerous in that what were described as "the white faces up country" were in danger of being murdered. So I think it was judged that the best thing to do, in all the circumstances, was to seal Crater, and that situation prevailed for a very long time."

Aden Brigade Major (The Savage Wars of Peace", Charles Allen).

"A very sad occasion."

I remember clearly going round Silent Valley, the cemetery towards Little Aden, and the coffins with the Union Jack that were there and the band playing the Last Post. It was a very emotional occasion."

Lt Col Dick Blenkinsop, Commanding Officer, 1 RNF. (The Savage Wars of Peace", Charles Allen).

"Mayday,Mayday Army helicopter XT 173 shot down on Temple Cliffs"

(or words to that effect).

Sgt Martin Forde, QDG, pilot of helicopter XT 173,20th June 1967, "Battle of Crater 20th June 1967",


"Just as we were flying over the place, they opened up on us with heavy machine-gun fire.

The pilot was hit and the chopper started to spin. The next round took the rotor blade off and sent us spiraling down into a gulley where we crashed. At that point both my legs were hanging off and the Arabs were trying to get to us."

Lance Corporal Jim Keightley, "Y" Coy, 1 RNF, injured when "XT 173" was shot down, quoted in "The Journal", edition of 29/12/08.

<a href="http://cramlington.journallive.co.uk/2008/12/forces-charity-helps-cramlingt.html" target="_blank">http://cramlington.journallive.co.uk/2008/...-cramlingt.html</a>


Laconic response of RAF Operator in response to above Mayday, 20th June 1967, "Battle of Crater 20th June 1967", "http://www.forcesreunited.org.uk/members_memories_read_more.asp?ID=970"

"Back to normal terrorism....the police can do little about that in these closing days of British rule"

Police Commissioner Peter Owen, June 1967. ("Last Sunset", Stephen Harper)

"I saw an Arab carrying an SLR rifle that could only have been captured in last week's ambush of the Fusiliers. I felt good when I saw him fall to my shot"

Royal Marine Commando sniper, June 1967. ("Last Sunset", Stephen Harper)

"Some of us can remember Aden.

An ill-led attack--if that is the right word- -was made in a part of that colony that was then ours.

That resulted in the men being sent in with a bad communications system as the signalling equipment was out of date. The weapons given to those men were not their own; they had been left somewhere else.

As a result of bad leadership many were killed, including many from the Royal Northumberland Fusiliers."

1/7/91 debate in Parliament, as reported in "Hansard" ("Dickinsons of Whitfield" genealogy site).

Edited by leigh kitchen

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Text includes:

"Last Sunset :What Happened in Aden", Stephen Harper

"The Savage Wars of Peace", Charles Allen

"Insurgency in Iraq: an Historical Assessment", Ian F. W. Beckett

"Battle of Crater 20th June 1967", Article, <a href="http://www.forcesreunited.org.uk/members_memories_read_more.asp?ID=970" target="_blank">http://www.forcesreunited.org.uk/members_m...more.asp?ID=970</a>

Newcastle Evening Chronicle, edition of 18/6/07.

Photographs, Maps:

Post 1 Aden Brigade Patch, "The Somerset & Cornwall Light Infantry" www.scli.co.uk

Post 2 & Post 29 Map

Post 3 Map

Post 4 Photo Dhala Camp

Photo A view of the mountains from Dhala

Post 5 Photo Arms cache

Post 6 Photo Snipers Position, El Gamil Street, Crater, 1966

Post 8 Photo Crater

Post 9 Aerial photo Crater

Post 10 Photo Fusiliers Persons Check, Getty Images

Post 13 Photo QDG Ferret Scout Car, snap road check, Coast Road to Crater, June 1967

Post 14 2 x photos Sheik Othman, "The Somerset & Cornwall Light Infantry" www.scli.co.uk

Post 15 Photo Al Mansoura Jail

Photo Sheik Othman Police Station, "The Somerset & Cornwall Light Infantry" www.scli.co.uk

Post 16 Photo QDG Saladins

Post 17 Photo Saladin

Post 20 Photo (coloured) Radfan Camp

Photo (B&W) Radfan Camp, "The Somerset & Cornwall Light Infantry" "The Somerset & Cornwall Light Infantry" www.scli.co.uk

Post 25 Photo Argyll

Photo Lt Col Mitchell

Post 27 Photo Crater, Queen Arwa Road to the right, leading away into Main Pass

Post 28 Photo Fusiliers & a QDG Saladin in Crater, "Last Sunset", Stephen Harper.

Post 29 & 58 Sketch map of Crater

Post 31 Alex Baker postcard AB30/11, Sergeant, 1st Battalion Royal Northumberland Fusiliers, Aden 1967

Post 33 Photo of painting Loss of Helicopter "XT 173"

Recent photo of L/Cpl Jim Keightley, "Y" Coy, 1 RNF, "Cramlington Journal", edition of 29/12/08.

Post 34 Photo Queen Arwa Road

Post 37 Photo REME Recovery

Photo Major Moncur's Land Rover

Post 38 Photo 2nd Lieutenant Nigel Stevens, Queen?s Dragoon Guards

Post 41 Sun Cartoon

Post 42 Reward Poster, 36 Grenade

Post 43 Photo QDG & Fusiliers patrol Crater

Post 44 Map

Post 45 Photo "After the battle" - the school

Post 46 Photo 2"" Troop of "A" Suadron, Queen's Dragoon Guards at the school after the area was retaken by the British.

Post 49 Photo of documents, collection L. Kitchen.

Post 50 Photo of documents, collection L. Kitchen.

Post 56 Photo Hawker Hunter over Aden

Post 59 Journalists at Main Pass

Post 61 View from a QDG vehicle under fire from Crater

Post 66 Account of Cpl D Slaven RAF (recovery of Fus Story, failed recovery attempt of casualties), "The Barren Rocks of Aden"

Post 68 Photo Crater after reoccupation

Post 69 Photo Grenade incident, wounded Fusilier (Tait? Davidge?), "Last Sunset", Stephen Harper

Post 72 Photo QDG Saladin

Post 73 Photo A Saladin of the Queen?s Dragoon Guards about to move in to a fire position, Main Pass, Crater

Post 75 Photo Crater

Photo RM sniper overlooking Crater

Post 76 Photo GPMG, Crater

Post 80 List of casualties "UK Casualtes Aden Emergency", "Gunga Din Adventure"

Post 82 Photo funeral Silent Valley

Post 83 Photo funeral Silent Valley

Post 84 Photo funeral Silent Valley

Post 86 Photo Grave marker Fusilier Hoult, Britain's Small Wars, Page of Remembrance <a href="http://britains-smallwars.com/Memorial/Index.htm" target="_blank">http://britains-smallwars.com/Memorial/Index.htm</a>

Post 88 Photo Fusiliers round up suspects

Post 89 Photo A Squadron Command Vehicle (Saracen) of the Queen?s Dragoon Guards Passes a sniper position in Crater

Post 90 Photo Hackle

Post 91 Photo Hackle flown from aerial of QDG Saladins & Ferrets

Post 92 Photo CSM "South Arabia", Fusilier Wood, collection L. Kitchen

Edited by leigh kitchen

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A work in progress really, I've tried to make sense of varying versions of events, timings etc, but there are mistakes.

There will invariably be differences of opinion concerning the background & politics of the campaign, my interest is in achieving accuracy in describing the actual events of the mutiny including timings.

Additional information, suggestions & corrections welcome please, bearing in mind that this is a thread concerning the mutiny.

The campaign in general & other events of it, such as "Mad Mitch" & the Argyll's involvement in Crater following the mutiny make good topics for threads in themselves.

Edited by leigh kitchen

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Very impressive, Leigh. Once again politics and military strategy have trouble getting along. :Cat-Scratch:

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Thanks, the mutiny is a subject that does'nt mean much to the British nowadays, just to the veterans really, about the only legacy it's left is the occassional use of the word "Mad" in front of a nickname, a distant echo of Lt Col "Mad Mitch" Mitchell.

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Major Moncur, who was killed on that fateful day. Well done to Leigh for putting this sad, but very important post together and I'm sure those that were there would be more than pleased with what he has done, to bring it to the attention of our members.

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And including Major Moncur & 2nd Lt Davies, the two Fusilier officers killed during the ambush.

Also in the photo:

Lt Riddick, later Major Riddick, OC "X" Coy, 1 RRF - my old Company Commander.

He told me of an incident in Aden - whilst on patrol as a young subaltern, he felt a thump on the back, & turned to find a grenade at his feet - no sign of his "big hairy a**ed Fusiliers" though - they'd seen the grenade hit him on the back & legged it into cover.

Lt Bucknall - later Captain Bucknall, 2 i/c "X" Coy, 1 RRF.

He told me of his grandfathers experiences as a doctor in Ireland during the 1920's - hearing knocks at both front & back doors & treating patients from different "teams" at the same time.

2nd Lt Colbeck - later Captain Colbeck, Adjutant 1 RRF - in charge of the NCO's cadre I was on in 1975.

Would Captain Parsons be the Major Parsons of 1 RRF who had been shot in the back whilst serving in Northern Ireland, as a result losing the use of his right arm.

He carried his sword in his left hand on parade, it's alleged that during a "bump" in NI he was heard to quietly & calmly instruct his Company Sergeant Major "Sar'nt Major - cock my pistol".

Captain Stemp - later Major Stemp, 2 i/c 1 RRF?

2nd from right, back row, 2 / Lt David Green, who was awarded a "Miltary" MBE for his actions in Aden in 1967.

The citation for the award states:

?In spite of numerous tricky and varied incidents throughout the period 10-13 February, Second Lieutenant Green was firmly in control of the situation.

"He undoubtedly prevented a nasty situation from developing and consequent bloodshed and loss of life among local inhabitants.

?This young officer without regard to his own safety, moved about his platoon area while under fire encouraging and controlling his men.

?Throughout the whole of this operation, Second Lieutenant Green?s personal courage, skill and resourcefulness were an inspiration to his platoon and an example set in the highest tradition of the service.?

His death was reported in a Lancashire newspaper, "The Citizen" on Thursday 4/9/08.

Middle row, 5th from left, Captain P. Robinson

"As a young officer with 1st Battalion The Northumberland Fusiliers in Aden, Yemen in 1966-1967, Robinson was assigned the unusual military role of Special Branch Officer when the last street level members of the Aden Police Special Branch were murdered. Many were of Somali origin and had been targeted by the terrorist National Liberation Front (NLF). Each infantry battalion in Aden Brigade had a section working with the police Special branch but after the murders they were on their own.

Although they were armed, mingling with the local Arab population was dangerous work. Robinson led his Special branch section?s operations in the narrow streets of Crater, to which there were only two exits through the extinct volcano walls, from September 1966 until the fateful mutiny of the Aden Armed Police in Crater on June 20, 1967. The intelligence his section had gathered on the NLF made a useful contribution to the later recovery of Crater by 1st Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders."

Colonel Patrick J. C. Robinson, OBE, TD, died on 11/6/08, reported in an obituary in "The Times Online".

Edited by leigh kitchen

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