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The Somerset & Cornwall Light Infantry
6 October 1959 - 10 July 1968

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SCLI in Aden

Contributors

  • John Pover
  • Duncan Drake
  • John Reid
  • Fred Weston
  • Tom McHale
  • Alan Wheeler
  • Peter Dallard
  • LI Som Office
  • Bob Bogan
  • Terry Cheek
  • Dave Smith(11)
  • John Jacobs
  • Dave Symes
  • Nicholas Richardson
  • Charlie Turner
  • Hugh Fox
  • Steve Forward
  • Andrew Kidner
  • Mike Clark

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SCLI in Aden - April 1966

The regiment moved to Aden in April 1966, lifted by the RAF from Lyneham. Some lucky groups got to fly in brand new Vickers VC 10's in one hop, while those not lucky enough had to go in Bristol Brittannias via Istanbul and Bahrain. Lovely safe aircraft but low and slow.

The return journey in October was made by British United Airways VC10's (civilian) and in one hop, the RAF VC 10's are still flying today

 

The Bristol Brittania, a long-haul turbo-prop. A popular aircraft with the world's airlines, it became known as the 'Whispering Giant' because it gave a smooth and quiet ride at 20,000 feet.
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The whole battalion took up this posting and were accommodated in Radfan Camp which was a tented.site on the sandy stretch between the sea and Sheikh Othaman - Khormaksa / Crater road. Just a small rear party was left at Gravesend to look after the barracks.

A Mountainous terrain, brutal climate and fierce local tribesmen, well armed and prepared to fight to the death were a culmination of ugly characteristics facing British troops, as the Arabs battled for the independence of Aden.

The small British protectorate on the southern tip of Saudi Arabia, first saw conflict in 1964, when the people of Radfan, north of Aden, became increasingly influenced by the nationalist Arab movements surrounding the tiny state.

Situated more than 60 miles north of Aden, the Quteibi, lbdali and Bakri tribes traditionally supplemented their income by looting travellers on the Dhala road which connected Aden to the state of Yemen. Now with the support of extremists called the Aden National Liberation Front, they were armed and willing to join the struggle to force the British to withdraw from the colony.

Very unfortunately the regiment suffered two losses in Aden, Cpl. Collings and Pte Oakley. Cpl. Roy Collings died "up country" in the Radfan Mountains, there were always a few groups away from the battalion on remote area duties in the hills to the north and on some remote airfields guarding RAF bases. Roy Collings was in charge of a patrol and was killed when his vehicle was blown up. Roy was a very popular member of the regiment and was well renowned for his running abilities. Roy rests in Silent Valley, the British Cemetery in Aden, at the funeral armed sentries were posted around as it was not a secure place and was subject to sniper fire from the hills.

Private Oakley became a casualty in the Sheik Othman or Mansoora area, he was in the first vehicle of the usual two vehicle patrol. A grenade (probably a Mills 36) got him with a piece of shrapnel in the head. He died a couple of days later in the British Military Hospital Aden.


SCLI in Aden - April 1966

There will be more information on this page later about the regiments activities in Adenas archive reports are checked at Taunton. Brigadier Fyfe and Col. Eliot have helped with this. This pages contents has been collated with the great help of Duncan Drake and John Pover and is based on memory, any discrepancies are due to the passage of time and its affects on us all.


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