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
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