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

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Support Platoon, "Y" Company, Aden 1967

Left to right:

Sgt Eddie Lowes, Mortars, 1 RNF,

Lt Riddick,

Sgt Colin Pick,

Cpl Nip Brown (deceased),

Cpl Pete Arab Orchard (deceased),

Photo & information courtesy of GMIC member Xsniper, thanks to him.

post-2272-001446300 1291395214_thumb.jpg

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Support Platoon, "Y" Company, Aden 1967

Left to right:

Sgt Eddie Lowes, Mortars, 1 RNF,

Lt Riddick,

Sgt Colin Pick,

Cpl Nip Brown (deceased),

Cpl Pete Arab Orchard (deceased),

Photo & information courtesy of GMIC member Xsniper, thanks to him.

Hi,

that is brilliant, very many thanks.

Rick

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I was there on that fateful day,sitting in the gym with the rest of Zulu company, with my suit on ready to come home.I went for a coke and saw my mate Wyley he was in the back of a landrover.I said what you doing he said it's okay we are just going on the outskirts of Crater he said Major Moncur told him they weren't going in as it was occupied at the entrances by people with machine guns.There was only two ways in .As he had contingents from the Argylls who had just arrived in Aden.Within minutes he was dead along with 20 others.It hurt me very badly as Wyley was not only very young 17 or 18 but a very good friend of mine.,i know who i blame but i have always kept quite.

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I was there on that fateful day,sitting in the gym with the rest of Zulu company, with my suit on ready to come home.I went for a coke and saw my mate Wyley he was in the back of a landrover.I said what you doing he said it's okay we are just going on the outskirts of Crater he said Major Moncur told him they weren't going in as it was occupied at the entrances by people with machine guns.There was only two ways in .As he had contingents from the Argylls who had just arrived in Aden.Within minutes he was dead along with 20 others.It hurt me very badly as Wyley was not only very young 17 or 18 but a very good friend of mine.,i know who i blame but i have always kept quite.

Anything you can contribute to the thread, particularly from personal recollection, would be appreciated. As time passes it becomes more urgent to record the experiences of people who were there.

So often nowadays it seems that those who served through such times keep memories of their experiences to themselves or within an ever dwindling group of fellow veterans, perhaps feeling that nobody outside those ranks understands or is interested.

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Anything you can contribute to the thread, particularly from personal recollection, would be appreciated. As time passes it becomes more urgent to record the experiences of people who were there.

So often nowadays it seems that those who served through such times keep memories of their experiences to themselves or within an ever dwindling group of fellow veterans, perhaps feeling that nobody outside those ranks understands or is interested.

I remember Duffy winning his DCM .To keep an eye on Crater we had to travel 5,000feet to the top of Samsham a mountain overlooking Crater. Two of us would lay either side in shallow baskets.Rifle in first then lay on top and you held on to the sides of the basket that were attached to a Sioux helicopter.You weren't strapped in so it was very scarey.I did it a few times and it never got any easier.Duffy was in the helicopter and it was shot down and he rescued the pilot made sure the other guy was okay then he got the radio and then the helicopter exploded.I asked him afterwards what went through his mind and he said nothing it just came together naturally.He was awarded the DCM for his gallantry.My platoon commander was Mr Kershaw he was a nice bloke and my sergeant was Dinger Bell but names are fading.My mate was Tommy shields and he ws a sergeant when i left.There were some good chaps Tommy one ball got wounded one night we were out on patrol the next minute a granade was thrown and i'm sure the base plug flew over my head somethink made a close whistling sound anyway.But Tommy got it up the top of his leg .As he went past me blood pouring from his wound he said the Ba.t..ds have got me.But a bit of rest and relaxation and he was fine.The five day riots ,i think it was February 67,was quite scary i was on checkpoint charlie i have some faded photos somewhere,if i can upload them i will.We had a couple of granades thrown at us but i can't remember any of my section getting hurt then.One of the lads thought he had been hit but he fell in the hot soup,as the Arabs had planned their attack when we were having our char delivered.Minute section was the most scariest of all my tour 6 of us would stay in a room fully clothed and armed for 24 hours.Any sign of trouble we were the first there.I have a story to tell about that as well.If any of the lads i can remember are following this link please say hi.Wilson 25 .Billy Mordue.Billy Bourton.Harrison.Tommy shields.Pete Millon.Gilespie.Cornelious Galvin.Jim Murray.There are more but my memory is fading as it was over 44 years ago.I shall post more on another day.Remember once a fusilier always a fusilier.One of my late wifes cousins was killed last year in Afgahnistan. Fusilier Shaun Bush.

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Thank you, very interesting, the sort of personal experience from a member of 1RNF that online articles on Aden & the mutiny lack.

This is also what adds a personal element to articles about 1 RNF & Aden, makes it real.

It makes the pulse race a little even now for someone who was'nt there, particualrly as I knew some of the people you mention.

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This is an amazing thread - very interesting, informative and moving. My compliments to Leigh and all who have contributed to it, especially the men who were there at the time. This is how all military history should be recorded.

Regards

Brett

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Of all the colonies which the British left post WWII, only two - the first one, Burma, & one of the last, Aden, were to reject membership of the Commonwealth.

Of no great interest to the British public at the time & now largely forgotten by all other than a few veterans, the conflict in Aden - for years not even designated "Active Service" - is remembered if at all for the presence of Lt Colonel Colin Mitchell, Commanding Officer of 1st Battalion, Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders.

"Mad Mitch" was a charismatic & controversial character who caught the imagination of the public for a while, infuriating officialdom & delighting the public as he led his "Jocks" back into the no-go area of Crater & re-established the authority of the British army under his no-nonsense application of "Argyll Law".

Mitchell's Argylls were in the process of taking over responsibility of the Crater district of Aden from 1st Battalion the Royal Northumberland Fusiliers, when both battalions & other units of the British army suffered fatalities at the hands of their allies of the Southa Arabian Army & the Armed Police.

Mitchell, his Argylls & the reoccupation of Crater are a subject in themselves, as are other aspects of the history & politics of Aden.

This thread concentrates on the immediate causes of the mutiny & the events of 20th / 21st June 1967, the subject of varying accounts & some confusion.

The Aden Brigade Insignia

When we knew our mates were trapped and dying we were so angry, although my company Zulu were in the gym with our suits on ready to go home.We drew thousands of rounds of ammo because Colonel Blinkinsop wanted to blast the hell out of everyone in Crater to go and rescue our lads.I had two bandoleers of 7.62 around me ready for the GPMG.But we heard he and our battalion was stood down because of the hatred we had,i can only presume the higher ranks thought they would have had a blood bath on thier hands.Geordies stick together and we were all itching to get in there and there would be a lot of dead people and it wouldn't have been us.So they gave the job to Mad Mitch.He and the Argylls did a good job.We got on the plane and before we took off a Captain came on(he was like a media person and i have another story about him to tell) he said we will get them all out as soon as we can,so everyone cheered but they bought them out in tea chests.All except Fusilier Story he was the only survivor.I was at my mate Wyllie's Funeral back in England some time later, although i think he is laid to rest in Aden i don't think they bought our lads home in those days.I visited a cemetary while i was there and there was a lot of fallen British lads buried there.So Mad Mitch got the glory and probably saved the name of our battalion as we would have gone in and probably shot everyone in sight but we will never know.Once a Fusilier always a Fusiler.

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Crater -"a warren of small streets with only 2 main routes leading in & out"

Main pass and Marine drive i spent many hours on road blocks searching cars and lorries but never found anything myself but i remember Taffy getting into position and he saw a packet of cigarettes picked it up and bang but it was only the detinator that went off his face was pot marked for weeks but he was very lucky.Because the streets were so narrow and the roofs flat it ws easy for the terrorist to just lay on the roof and lob a grenade over the top onto the patrol.Which hapened quite often many soldiers will say that their district was the hottest for terrorist activity but when you mentioned you had to patrol Crater especially the Bazzar area they would say rather you than my but the geordies always seemed to get the tough jobs probabley because they loved a scrap.We were called into the Bazzar area one day as some of our lads on patrol came under grenade attack and were injured.(When someone shouts grenade and you hit the deck the one place for some reason you don't want to get hit is you bum as happened to Tommy one ball as i mentioned in an earlier thread).The whole battalion was scrambled and i stood at the doors of a shop,across the road a Fusilier was on the rooftop opposite a bang rang out i dived into the shop knocking over all the crates of pop.When i looked up the guy on the roof was pointing into the alley way i thought he was pointing at wer the grenade had gone off but he was pointing to were the thrower was and the bang i heard was merley him firing but with the noise of the Bazzar it didn't sound like it.Everyone gathered around me and Sergeant Jakeman i think it was said we have sent for Jellybaby(they defused unexploded bombs and granades)why Jellybaby i don't know.As it happened the granade was thrown at me and it was laying next to the fallen crates of pop it was a Mills 36 and the terrorist hadn't cleaned all the wax off so it failed to go off.I was lucky again.The terrorist was captured and i was given the task of guarding him he was put in the back of Colonel Blenkinsops landrover and he said to me if he tries to escape shoot him,Never have i prayed so much for someone not to escape even though he targeted me.

.

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Thanks, you're putting flesh on the bones of this thread, real events described by someone who witnessed & was involved in them. It is fantastic to get this kind of first hand information.

An incident log will give a date, time, grid ref & a line stating "Grenade thrown at patrol failed to detonate no cas." or similar, this turns such an entry into a "real" & emotive incident.

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The Turbulence Before The Storm

Monday 19th June 1967:

The rate & type of incidents continued ?normally? at first??

At 09:40 hrs automatic fire was directed at troops at the Supreme Court in Crater, fire was returned with no casualties.

10:10 hrs a search party in Salahaddin Rd came under automatic fire, again with no casualties being inflicted.

11:05 hrs a "Local National" (LN) bystander was wounded by small arms fire at the Supreme Court, the attackers escaping in a small blue vehicle.

Also at 11:05 hrs, 4 x mortar bombs were aimed at Checkpoint Bravo, Sheik Othman, no casualties, firing point not established.

11:10 hrs small arms fire at an Observation Post (OP) on Sheik Othman Police Station, no casualties.

11:20 hrs the same OP came under small arms fire from a mosque, no casualties.

11:24 hrs further small arms fire was directed at the OP, firing point unknown, no casualties.

11:35 the OP again came under small arms fire, from a school. Fire was returned, no casualties.

11:40 hrs automatic fire was directed at Mansoura Piquet, Sheik Othman district, no casualties.

12:20 hrs 5 x pistol shots were fired at the OP, no casualties.

12:50 hrs 6 x mortar bombs were fired at Mission Hospital, Sheik Othman, with no casualties inflicted.

12:54 hrs small arms fire from 2 different directions was aimed at the OP, no casualties.

17:30 hrs pistol fire was directed at an OP in Crater, fire was returned, there were no casualties

19:58 hrs pistol fire was aimed at Post 6 of the Mansoura Detention Centre from Al Mansoura, no casualties.

22:10 hrs a grenade was thrown at an unknown target at Gunners Corner, no known casualties.

I spent some time on that observation post in Shiek Othman there was a football pitch behind it and i thought it was strange as i had never seen a football pitch of sand instead of grass.The Mosque in question was a very short distance from us.We had a search light just like the ones in used during w11 we would sleep on the roof as it was flat and every now and then we would switch on the search light and scan the area to check for movement but all we seemed to see was dogs roaming around then the Imam would start calling prayers very early in the morning 4 or 5 o'clock .I have never seen stars like the ones in Aden you would spend many nights out and because of the flat roofs you spent many hours looking at the stars there seem to be millions the sky was so clear.The front of the station was surrounded in sand bags and one Fusilier would be in there all the time with the rest of the section being on the roof.I spent my 18th birthday 6/12/66 guarding prisoners at a prison in the Sheik Othman district which apart from Crater was another scary place to be.I remember the O/C saying to cpl Clough on patrol tonight bring me someone back please but we went out and never encountered anyone.i could hear the prisoners crying and screaming all night .They brought this prisoner in one day and i had to guard him.He seemed a nice bloke i gave him my hot tea the Arabs were very friendly people if they were in a group usually in a circle drinking what i think was some sort of tea they would offer you some which they did to me one day i excepted and they got an old tin and poured it in i pretended to drink it and discretley tipped it away.I later found out that the guy i gave my tea to was accused of throwing a grenade

at some women and children in the Kormaskar area but i never heard any more just the screams and crying.I was stationed in Waterloo Barracks and you could see the sea from my balcony we had air con and big fans whizzing round the centre of the room.The cockroaches were so big that when you stood on them they made a loud crack.You would have no lights around the shower room and inadvertently you would stand on quite a few at night which wasn't very pleasant.

Edited by amunastra

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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>

I can confirm that some members of our Battalion were very rough on the Arabs and it was filmed so it goes down in history but there were a lot of guys especially the new arrivals who couldn't believe what we were seeing.Kicking cars and people ,rifle butting them and the worst of all in my opinion was when we came under fire someone would always shout fire at the Mosque.Which i'm glad to say i never did.They knew the Mosques would be full of people,we came under heavey fire one day and it's shown in End of the Empire a documentry.There was a lot of firing at the Mosques that day and i was told there were a lot of causuaties but i didn't get close to the Mosque afterwards to see for myself.A lot of the capturing of Arabs who were accused of terroist attacks were probably innocent.Not long before the Massacre of our lads i was on minute section 6 of us kitted and armed for 24 hours we were called out from our lads who were on top of the mountain looking into Crater watching for large gatherings they had spotted a large group of protesters so the six of us went straight in while the rest of the Battalion was to follow soonest.We got into crater in our long wheelbase landrover it just had a mettle netting over the top to stop granades coming in.Someone shouted granade we deployed from the landrover and hit the deck it wasn't a granade but a large rock.when i got up in front of me was about 600 protesters,i ran round the corner as the other five had to gather our thoughts.What do we do now someone said .Some bright spark the cpl said walk out and fix bayonets which we did we charged upto the crowd and they opened up and low and behold in the middle of them with a camera was the Captain i mentioned earlier we couldn't believe.It was a stupid move by us really as there were only 6 of us but luckily the crowd were just protesting and throwing rocks not terrorists.Our orders were to capture as many of the ringleaders as possible so we would pick out a couple and chase them as we chased them all the worlds press were there filming.Eliments of the Battalion started to arrive and fired tear gas into the crowd one of the press came up to me and another Fusilier(whos name escapes me but he was a cockney and he later became a Military Policeman so if he reads this he will know i'm talking about him)He with tears streaming down his face eyes as red as beetroots you haven't got a gas mask i can use have you.We both said at the same time get lost but a bit stronger language.It was then i did something that has haunted me ever since.Two fusiliers were standing at a doorway.I said whats the problem as they were shouting they said one of the ring leaders has gone in there,so i went in and got him, inside was a young man and a young lady holding a small baby i matched him out at bayonet point passed all the worlds press to a group of Fusiliers that were guarding the Arabs we had captured.I have often wondered what happened to him and his young wife,i think he was just protesting at our presence there i hope he was okay but i still have the picture in my mind of a young woman holding a tiny baby wondering what was happening to her husband.

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You may be interested in the following link, it is the ITN news archive, they have produced a compilation of filmed news articles from 1967 and a number are of the troubles in Aden.

http://www.itnsource.com/compilations/datesanddecades/1960s/?lr=S25100603

Just scroll down and click on the video you want to play.

Adam

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Main pass and Marine drive i spent many hours on road blocks searching cars and lorries but never found anything myself but i remember Taffy getting into position and he saw a packet of cigarettes picked it up and bang but it was only the detinator that went off his face was pot marked for weeks but he was very lucky.Because the streets were so narrow and the roofs flat it ws easy for the terrorist to just lay on the roof and lob a grenade over the top onto the patrol.Which hapened quite often many soldiers will say that their district was the hottest for terrorist activity but when you mentioned you had to patrol Crater especially the Bazzar area they would say rather you than my but the geordies always seemed to get the tough jobs probabley because they loved a scrap.We were called into the Bazzar area one day as some of our lads on patrol came under grenade attack and were injured.(When someone shouts grenade and you hit the deck the one place for some reason you don't want to get hit is you bum as happened to Tommy one ball as i mentioned in an earlier thread).The whole battalion was scrambled and i stood at the doors of a shop,across the road a Fusilier was on the rooftop opposite a bang rang out i dived into the shop knocking over all the crates of pop.When i looked up the guy on the roof was pointing into the alley way i thought he was pointing at wer the grenade had gone off but he was pointing to were the thrower was and the bang i heard was merley him firing but with the noise of the Bazzar it didn't sound like it.Everyone gathered around me and Sergeant Jakeman i think it was said we have sent for Jellybaby(they defused unexploded bombs and granades)why Jellybaby i don't know.As it happened the granade was thrown at me and it was laying next to the fallen crates of pop it was a Mills 36 and the terrorist hadn't cleaned all the wax off so it failed to go off.I was lucky again.The terrorist was captured and i was given the task of guarding him he was put in the back of Colonel Blenkinsops landrover and he said to me if he tries to escape shoot him,Never have i prayed so much for someone not to escape even though he targeted me.

.

I have just found a letter i sent to my late parents dated 23/1/67 just put a couple of extracts to add to this,because of a lot of trouble coming from a certain alley way

(our lads had been injured in the morning)the Royal engineers were building a wall to block off the alley way next to where i was standing

So i suppose the terrorist was aiming at them and not me but he didn't have a very good aim.So it would have been around about 20th i think wondered if there was an incident report around that time regarding the Royal engineers building a wall and 1RNF covering them about an unexploded granade.

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For 18th January 1967 the Incident Log records 7 x seperate grenade throwing incidents, 3 x unknown explosions & a vehicle search resulted in a find of anti aircraft shell fuses & detention of the driver.

These appear to be the two incidents that you're refering to, the wounding of the two Fusiliers & the unexploded grenade of a few hours later:

Incident Serial 282

Date / Time 180715 C

Grid Ref 03851254

Event 36 grenade thrown at OP tps moving into position to cover wall repairs. Grenade probably thrown from a Cafe. 2 SF hurt

Area CRATER

At 10:20 there was an incident involving a grenade being thrown at a vehicle of 1 Inf Wksp in Crater, & then

Incident Serial 284

Date / Time 181105 C

Grid Ref 03791258

Event Grenade thrown at working pty of 1 RNF repairing wall. Grenade failed to explode. 1 suspect detained.

Area CRATER

Two 1 RNF casualties are recorded for 18th January 1967:

At 07:15 hrs a Lance Corporal & a Fusilier of "Z" Company 1 RNF were slightly wounded by a 36 grenade thrown at troops moving into an OP in Haderdin Bazaar.

The L/Cpl was wounded in the back & legs, the Fusilier in the legs, both soldiers were admitted to KBH the same day.

The L/Cpl was released from the hosp[ital on the 31st. January.

Despite his wounds being recorded as "slight", the Fusilier was Medevac to UK on 23rd February.

Beyond the basic wording of the Incident Log I've no doubt that things felt a lot more personal & dramatic on the ground.

Edited by leigh kitchen

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You may be interested in the following link, it is the ITN news archive, they have produced a compilation of filmed news articles from 1967 and a number are of the troubles in Aden.

http://www.itnsource...s/?lr=S25100603

Just scroll down and click on the video you want to play.

Adam

Thanks very interesting and brought back many mermories thank you,one they didn't cover and it nearly cost the lives of my whole platoon was.To use up old ammo we had to go to the sea just outside the barracks and set up red flags about 200 yards apart.(i have sent Leigh a picture of the lads errecting a pole on the beach).

Some of the ammo was dated 1942 which suprised me.Anyway my section went first and we fired hundreds of rounds into the sea.No targets just just fired widley,some of the lads said lets get the fishing boat as the locals would take out the nets and leave the boat just on shore.We moved the locals off and the sgt said if anyone fires at the boat they will suffer the consequences anyway our lads would turn every now and again and put a round through the boat to the dissatifaction of the locals.After we fired our rounds we sat back and put our rifles just like they did in the olden days leaning against each other so here you had 24 men sitting on the beach with rifles a little way away from us.The second section continued to fire into the sea.An Arab army truck decided to ignore the red flad and started to travel between us and the section firing, the lads at the flag were shouting to stop but they didn't so our sgt stood in front shouted you f.....g w... f.....g get back.Well someone in the Arab army truck understood English shouted out in Arabic and they cocked their weapons and pointed them at us.We looked at each other then our rifles which we wouldn't have reached .I thought this is it we have had it now.Then the Arab army officer who was sitting in the front shouted something and jested with his arms to lower their weapons .Which to our joy they did.Our sgt let them continue through but they never took their eyes off us as they travelled past.Just another example of heavy handedness from our Nco's which could have resulted in a massacre.He was doing it for their safety but maybe he should have used a more subtle approach. Not all fusiliers were that hot headed and a good job to.

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For 18th January 1967 the Incident Log records 7 x seperate grenade throwing incidents, 3 x unknown explosions & a vehicle search resulted in a find of anti aircraft shell fuses & detention of the driver.

These appear to be the two incidents that you're refering to, the wounding of the two Fusiliers & the unexploded grenade of a few hours later:

Incident Serial 282

Date / Time 180715 C

Grid Ref 03851254

Event 36 grenade thrown at OP tps moving into position to cover wall repairs. Grenade probably thrown from a Cafe. 2 SF hurt

Area CRATER

At 10:20 there was an incident involving a grenade being thrown at a vehicle of 1 Inf Wksp in Crater, & then

Incident Serial 284

Date / Time 181105 C

Grid Ref 03791258

Event Grenade thrown at working pty of 1 RNF repairing wall. Grenade failed to explode. 1 suspect detained.

Area CRATER

Two 1 RNF casualties are recorded for 18th January 1967:

At 07:15 hrs a Lance Corporal & a Fusilier of "Z" Company 1 RNF were slightly wounded by a 36 grenade thrown at troops moving into an OP in Haderdin Bazaar.

The L/Cpl was wounded in the back & legs, the Fusilier in the legs, both soldiers were admitted to KBH the same day.

The L/Cpl was released from the hosp[ital on the 31st. January.

Despite his wounds being recorded as "slight", the Fusilier was Medevac to UK on 23rd February.

Beyond the basic wording of the Incident Log I've no doubt that things felt a lot more personal & dramatic on the ground.

Thanks Leigh thats fantastic,it was very scarey i think that at 18 then in 67 you were to young to realise the danger,we were suppose to have 4 mags with 20 rounds in each but one day when i drew my ammo the mags only had about 20 rounds in between them,often wondered whether those last 6 lads to go in on the 20th June had a full compliment as they were never seen alive again and 6 x 80 should have been enough to take on a large crowd. Edited by amunastra

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This is an amazing thread - very interesting, informative and moving. My compliments to Leigh and all who have contributed to it, especially the men who were there at the time. This is how all military history should be recorded.

Regards

Brett

I wished my late parents had kept more of my letters as they are more accurate than my memory.I have a letter dated 8/6/67 and it reads i had another grenade thrown at me the other day it landed a couple of yards away nobody was injured and we caught the thrower.(If my memory serves me right the thrower was shot by my Sgt who had a wound in his right leg as i heard my Sgt shout waqif waqif followed by the distinctive sound of a sterling sub machine gun and as the thrower was brought past me i remember thinking that sterling cant be much good if thats all it does). thats two i have had in a couple of days.Our platoon was sent into Crater on our rest day as there was trouble.It was the same place as the big riots in February(I have sent Liegh pictures of where we were during those riots).About 3 o'clock 2 Arabs opened up with machine guns.Some of the bullets hit a roof to the left of me just like you see in the films.(I remeber being facinated by the sight but got a rollicking from my Cpl for standing up)strange but i wasn't scared of bullets but petrified of grenades.The whole platoon opened fire and we were told we had killed 5 terroists and injured 5.The platoon fired into a Mosque(i can never remember firing into a mosque myself but i know the lads did but i have it recorded in my letter which i have seen for the first time in 40 years) as thats where the gunman were,and yesterday morning the OP i was on had about 10 rounds fired at it but they went over our heads.We couldn't see where the gunmen were so we didn't return fire.13 days to go,(we used to count the days down to our return to Blighty in our letters.The sentences in brackets are from memory not in my letter.

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Fusiliers and Argylls Denied Permission To Take Crater

The Commanding Officer of 1 RNF, Lt Colonel Dick Blenkinsopp together with Lt Colonel Colin Mitchell, CO of the relieving 1 A & SH had sought permission from Aden Brigade HQ for both battalions to go into Crater, subdue the Armed Police & other armed elements & bring the district back under control.

Going to Brigade HQ in person in order to put their case to re-enter Crater and recover their men, they were denied permission to do so.

Lt Col Blenkinsopp's expressions of frustration were less public than those of the angry Lt Col Mitchellhell, whose reaction to being ordered to stay out of Crater gave rise to a rumour that both of them had been temporarily relieved of their commands.

The only effective way of capturing the Armed Police Barracks would be by mounting a full scale Company attack with armoured support, which would inevitably result in very heavy casualties.

The troops on the ground could not appreciate the view of higher command that the situation had to be defused. There was risk of other local forces being drawn in, not just those in the area of Crater.

Mutinous units were in contact with other units, including SAA battalions up country & europeans, civilian & military, were in danger of being killed.

In addition, it was feared that the Federation would collapse.

At the end of the day the British military had suffered 22 fatalities & Crater was controlled by 500 armed Arabs in addition to the Armed Police.

Obviously within 1 RNF there was great anxiety concerning the state of the casualties & the fate of Lieutenant Davis & his 3 Fusiliers who had debussed into ?Able Pink?.

Excerpt from original 1 RNF document "Background To Present Situation" of 22nd June, produced after the bodies of the 12 x soldiers killed in the Armed Police ambush had been recovered.

It explains to the Fusiliers why they are not going to be allowed to take Crater.

Colonel Blinkensop was relieved of his command we were told on that day because he wanted to set up mortars and blast the hell out of Crater.They had set up such a firing position we would have been caught in crossfire,he called a Battalion meeting in the morning we assembled on the parade ground and he told us of the very grave situation.He sat us all down and thanked us for all we had done.When he heard of the massacre (and as i said before Z Coy were in the gym ready to come home)we were told he had been relieved and the Battalion temporarily stood down.I shall also say that Wyllie told me that Major Moncur had told him that they were not going to enter Crater but merley stay on the outskirts.So Major Moncur must shoulder some of the blame(i have always blamed him) unless his orders were changed after he spoke to Wyllie.Great isn't it he was my friend and i only knew him as Wyllie din't know his first name.I still see him standing in the back of the landrover head poking threw the hole in the wire mesh saying see you back in Blighty Edited by amunastra

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The SAA Mutiny

?The Aden Mutiny? began on the night of Monday 19th June, following the suspension of the 4 Arab colonels & fuelled by tribal rivalries within the SAA.

Upon hearing shooting the Fusiliers deployed to guard service families in their married quarters (the Fusiliers themselves were serving an ?unaccompanied? tour without their families).

Some troops, watching a showing of ?The Battle of the Bulge? heard real gunfire over the recorded version, & quickly made their way back to Waterloo Lines.

The following morning Tuesday 20th June, Arab soldiers at the Apprentice School at Lake Lines mutinied and burned down their barracks. The fire was swiftly put out.

Although the 4 colonels were reinstated by the Federal Supreme Council & the fact broadcast through loud speakers to the troops of the SAA, the unrest quickly spread to Champion Lines & the Training Depot and HQ of FNG ?2?, where interfactional fighting broke out. The armoury was raided & Arab & British officers of the SAA locked themselves in the camp guardroom.

The FNG ?2? shot at each other and also directed fire out of the camp over Khormaksar Airfield and the main road into Radfan Camp & into the British Waterloo Lines. Radfan Camp contained elements of 3 British infantry battalions.

I have read some reports that state that what started the unrest was that the Arabs thought the British had helped the Israelies in the 6 day war.I along with a small group of men entered Crater in the dead of night.We were given names and addresses and our orders were to extract the israelies that were living there and lead them to safety,which we did.I don't know how many small groups there were but i suspect that there would have been a small group for every area to do the same thing.The Arabs when they woke up in the morning would have realised this but i wouldn't have thought it would be enough to be the straw that broke the camels back or maybe it was.Wondered has anyone mentioned this before.

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I'd heard of arab suspicions that the British had assisited the Israelis, but not about British troops extracting Israelis from Crater.

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Photographs from Amunastra:

"Saladins supporting us".

"A road block which looks like it is outside our barracks as you can see the sea and it was not far from our peremiter fence".

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"The lads with the masts were setting up the range as we had to fire into the sea...my platoon nearly got wiped out by the Arab army". (See post no. 142 for description of the incident).

"The lads relaxing and the lad kneeling down with the bush cap and rifle was called Natrass".

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