I have been elected
recently July 2018, as the chair of the Gloucestershire Branch
of the Aden Veterans Association.
It is my great pleasure to welcome you to our website. If this
is your first visit to the site, please browse through to find
out what we do, and how you can contact us. If you are already a
member you will find the latest information about events in our
area as well as further afield.
The Aden Veterans Association, our parent body, is a tri-service
organisation founded on the 25th March 2000. The aims are
firstly to maintain the memory of all those who gave their lives
for the cause of peace in Aden and the Protectorate. The second
is to promote, and maintain, comradeship amongst the members.
The Gloucestershire Branch was
founded on the 5th April 2008 at Stroud Conservative Club
(Carlton House, London Road, Stroud. GL5 2AQ). This remains
the venue for our quarterly and Annual General meetings.
Our Branch standard was
dedicated in Gloucester Cathedral on the 18th March 2009. In
December 2012 a commemorative plaque was mounted on
Anniversary of Withdrawal from Aden
2017 marked fifty years since the British completed
withdrawing from Aden, on 29th November 1967. The
Gloucestershire Branch arranged a wreath laying
and service in Gloucester Cathedral on Sunday 26th
November 2017, to which all members of the AVA were
Note: This event was in addition to the AVA National
Drumhead Service in York on Wed 29th November 2017.
the War Memorial at the
Long Garden in Cheltenham, where we hold an annual open air
Are you eligible to
join? If you, or your parents, served in Aden up to the
British Withdrawal on the 29th November 1967, either in HM
Forces or in a civilian capacity, or if you went to school in
Aden, were born within the Protectorate, we would warmly welcome
you to join us at one of our meetings. If you are an AVA member
visiting the area you are cordially invited to join us for any
of our various events. All I would ask is that you make contact,
in advance, with our Branch Secretary, Michael Compton.
Additional to this
excellent website we produce a triannual Newsletter, sent
on-line to most of our Branch members with hard copies to those
without computer access. The latest Newsletter is always
available here, details can be found below. If you have been
interested, and motivated, by this website we hope to welcome
you to our thriving Branch. Rick Rutter (July 2018)
serve with the Royal Engineers in Aden 63-64?
Commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of
British Withdrawal. (Courtesy of BBC Points West 26th November
Routine Adventure in Aden (1965)) (courtesy of the Imperial War Museum)
Soldier in the Sun (1964) #1 (courtesy of the BBC)
Soldier in the Sun (1964) #2 (courtesy of the BBC)
News & Notifications
Roger Ackland - Fund Raising Walk 2018 (extract from RBL Journal)
Rev Brian Woolaston
August 3rd 2018
very own Brian Woolaston appeared in the Western Daily Press as
of the funeral service for Fashion Designer Michael Howells.
Click on Brian's image to read the
cutting. (reproduced here by
May 2018 Peter Johnson and Chris Blick completed a fund-raising charity walk on behalf of this
organisation. It covers some 50 miles and took
place over 5 days starting at Parr Sands on Saturday May
19th and finished the following Wednesday at Bigbury
(east of Plymouth). Chris spoke about
this at the April Branch Meeting - having sought sponsorship.
The amount raised was presented to the
charity, which in turn acknowledged this effort in their
Gloucestershire is a partnership between Age UK
Gloucestershire and SSAFA (Gloucestershire Branch) to
support local older veterans to have a safe and
comfortable later life.
This is part of the
Aged Veterans Fund funded by the Chancellor using LIBOR
funds and can provide specific support to those who have
served in the British Armed forces or completed National
Service born before 1950.
Gloucestershire want our county to be the best in which
to grow older and the Aged Veterans funding has enabled
us to “Join forces” with SSAFA, the armed forces
charity, to specifically improve the lives of Older
Together we can
provide tailor made person centred support to veterans
to ensure they have the “essentials” for a safe and
comfortable later life, specifically the benefits and
income they are entitled to. We can ensure our
veterans have their service medals and veterans badge
and in some cases provided specific SSAFA case work to
provide grants for household or disability essentials.
We are aiming to link isolated veterans with local
veterans clubs to enable connection with lost comrades
and enable the forces camaraderie to be recreated.
Age UK nationally
also offer a free telephone friendship service “Call in
time” and we can link isolated veterans to each other
for a friendly weekly telephone call. Age UK are also
producing a regular Joining Forces newsletter and this
can be accessed by signing up on the Age UK website:
For further information or to make
a referral please contact:
I have been asked to write a 3rd book covering the
final years from the Summer of 1964 to the withdrawal in
1967 covering what happened in Aden itself involving the
internal security. I would like to use the same format
as my earlier books and try to get it in some kind of
chronological order as the units changed in Crater,
Ma'alla etc. I would like to add to the stories I have
already received from some ladies who were also there
during that period. Short and/or long stories will do -
there is so much information out there, please don't
leave your bit of family history forgotten. No matter
what your role, you were there and that's what matters.
Thank you in anticipation..
Gloucestershire Echo Dec 31st 2012
Branch will try to have representation at Brize Norton at
the Repatriation of
Servicemen killed in action in Afghanistan.
Members of the public are welcome to
pay their respects along the route, and to that end a
Memorial Garden has been built along the route at Norton
Way on the edge of Carterton to create a suitable, safe
and respectful place for people to congregate. It was
a small group of local people including the RBL,
community representatives from Brize Norton & Carterton
together with serving and retired military personnel.
The design is intended to be a
focus for the public to pay their respects. Poignantly
at the centre of the garden is a flag pole from which
the Union Flag from Royal Wootton Bassett will be flown
on repatriation days. The flag itself was transported to
Norton Way from Royal Wootton Bassett on September 1st and was
dedicated by he Bishop of Oxford at a special ceremony.
The flag and Garden were blessed by the Chaplain to the
Planting of trees around the
memorial will take place in the Autumn. There will be
poppies planted in the lawn surrounding the memorial in
remembrance of past sacrifices in the cause of freedom.
Our Branch would welcome any support in the
future months for these repatriation events.
Should any member wish to
attend and requires further information then please contact the
Branch Secretary Michael Compton at the usual place.
The Membership Secretary
is John Lunn, 36 Firthview
Ave, Scourguie, Inverness. IV3 8NT (Tel 01463
239932). To remind you, all memberships are due
for renewal on Jan 31st each year, so if you have failed
to renew and still wish to do so then please send your
remittance to John ASAP.
Catherine & Maxwell Steele whom are
responsible for taking the photographs at the Hallmark
Hotel on Nov 29th 2012, have requested that we draw your
attention to their charity
The Basil D'Oliveira Foundationcreated to
promote both the Charity Trust and the life of one of
England's sporting heroes.
Defence Discount Service is the only official MOD
Discount Service and has a very high profile within the
MOD and with close ministerial involvement.
Launched Oct 2012, followed by the card in December of
that year by the PM.
Discount Service is a valuable and tangible part of the
nations recognition and appreciation of the Armed Forces
and Veterans Community. It is seen as an important
element in developing the Armed Forces Covenant across
the UK. In addition to this the Defence Discount Service
forms part of the Armed Forces Corporate Covenant which
was launched 28th June 2013. The service is free for
members of the Armed Forces, Veterans and Defence
Community to join and make savings. In addition to this
the optional Defence Privilege Card provides a
personalised recognition card that can be used on the
high street which is £4.99 for 5 years and comes with a
10% off at Iceland Card. We are wanting to now further
establish Defence Discount Service within the Armed
Forces Community and network with Forces Organisations.
We feel that it is important for us to recognise the
work of Forces Organisations and work together to
promote the work of both your organisation and Defence
Tom Dalby who heads up this service, or click on
their logo for more information.
This is the
charity, chosen by Josie Scott, which benefited
from the money raised by football fans of both
Plymouth Argyle & Cheltenham Town following
Roy's untimely death.
It is supported by Princess Anne and will open a
new home in Alexander Road Gloucester within the
next few weeks.
I think you will all agree that this is an
inspired choice by Josie and you can find out
more about this organisation by contacting Josie
or clicking on the poster image to the left.
If you were in
Aden working for BP or you were a child of a BP employee
and living in Aden , then you might be interested to
know that there is an active website specifically aimed
at you. To visit the site, just click on their
Veterans Hip & Knee Surgery Service
Further information on "Hip
& Knee Joint Surgery" as requested by Ian Hone
in order to make this service more widely known
to those whom might benefit. Click on the
poster to expand.
feedback from buyers of the first batch, MkII improved
versions are available free of charge (in exchange).
The MkII is also available in two sizes, Large for the
men, and Small for the ladies - both incorporate an
extra strip of fastening Velcro.
The price is £5 per armband and is
available in two lengths (male/female). Ask at any
of our meetings.
48 or 12 Field Squadron
I would be very pleased to hear
from any Royal Engineer that served in Aden between 1963
to 64 with either 48 or 12 Field Squadrons. We
were building two new camps out there known as "Anzio"
and "Selerno". I spent six months with each
squadron. Whilst there I also boxed for the Aden
Combined Services boxing team in and against Bahrain
during Easter 1964.
Chris Blick alongside Mrs
Thelma Mary Acland (or AVA Associate Member from Longhope when
at an RBL event) at Kingsholm Stadium Gloucester.
Standard Bearers LtoR Dennis Flamson SW Branch, John
Longhurst Glos Branch & Robert Parrant Kernnow Branch.
Blick alongside Kate Adie CBE DL (BBC Reporter Aden 1960s) and
Peter Johnson (Chairman S.West AVA) with the cheque to the
Children's Hospice South West from monies raised by Peter's &
Chris's recent sponsored walk.
Meeting May 4th 2018
Held at the Conservative Club
welcomes our new Branch Secretary to the fold
(L) Brigadier Christopher
Price CBE Branch Chairman (R) Michael Compton
Photo 03 Jan 2018 by John Page at Conservative Club Stroud
Gloucester City Nov
26th 2017 - 50th Anniversary of Aden Withdrawal
Beryl & Curly Knowlton "Co-operating with the local
Service on the Green
Photo by Hugh Gibson
Service within Gloucester Cathedral
Photo by Hugh Gibson
Saturday September 16th 2017 at the Commando Training Centre,
Royal Marines. This display was put on to highlight the
50th Anniversary of our withdrawal from Aden, and to remind
those whom were there plus the rest of the RM family, of the
Royal Marines part in the conflict up-country in the Radfan
Mountains, and of the terrorism on the streets - all of which
are portrayed in Denis Sparrow's 3 books on this topic.
Behind the books is Brian Serrell (ex RM), a member of our
Weymouth Armed Forces Event 2017
Click on image to see entire
Quarterly Meeting April 5th 2017
(L) Brigadier Bruce Jackman OBE MC Gurkha Welfare
Trust (R) Brigadier Christopher
Price CBE Branch Chairman
Earthcott Green 2016
Wed June 15th
24th April 2016
Doctor Foster's in Gloucester Quays
taken Wednesday February 3rd 2016
in his RH scarlet uniform, our very own Mick Kippin.
Memorial Plaque - The Long Garden, Cheltenham
Installed December 2012 - Click on
(leftmost) Plaque to expand
Can't find a photo? Check out the
archive - click below! Gallery Archive
If anyone has stories and/or photographs they would like to
see on this website, then please forward to Chris or Ian.
200 Page Full
Colour Roll of Honour Book
All 453 UK Armed
Forces killed have their photos and cap badges
included in this book. It is A4 Size printed
in landscape design, full colour & very high
Note this publication is a limited
Cost £25 + &3.95
Application on line
By post - write to Palace Barracks, Holywood,
County Down BT18 9RA
Service: From Aldershot to Adenn
Tales from the conscripts, 1946-62 by Colin Shindler
"Permission to speak, Sah?"
In the aftermath of the Second World War,
over two million men were conscripted to
serve in Britain's armed services. Some were
sent abroad and watched their friends die in
combat. Others remained in barracks and
painted coal white. But despite delivering
such varied experiences, National Service
helped to shape the outlook of an entire
generation of young British males.
Historian Dr Colin Shindler has interviewed
a wide range of ex-conscripts, from all
backgrounds, across all ranks, and spanning
the entire fourteen years that peacetime
conscription lasted, and captured their
memories in this engrossing book. From them,
we experience the tension of a post-war
Berlin surrounded by Russians, the exotic
heat and colour of Tripoli in 1948, the
brief but intense flashpoint of the Suez
Crisis, and the fear of the Mau Mau uprising
in Kenya. But we also hear about the other
end of the scale, the conscripts who didn't
make it outside the confines of their
barracks, or in one case, beyond his home
Through these conversations we learn as much
about the changing attitudes of servicemen
as war became more of a distant memory as we
do about the varied nature of their
experiences. We see, too, the changing face
of British society across these pivotal
years, which span everything from the
coronation of Elizabeth II, to the birth of
rock 'n' roll, to the beginning of the end
of the Empire. The stories within these
pages are fascinating. And they deserve to
be told before they are lost forever.
Published by Little, Brown
Book Group (ISBN 978-0-7515-4620-0)
Paperback £8.99 Available from
Royal Horse Artillery
In The Aden Protectorate 1963-64
insurgency on the Yemeni border is described in this
well-illustrated summary of a sub-unit's fighting in
the harsh desert and jebel (mountain) of the area
know as the Radfan. Written by one of J
Battery's former forward observation officers,
Richard Mountford, it provides a vivid picture of
operations. The Battery was equipped with the
superb Italian-made 105mm pack howitzer - "pack"
because it could be broken down into 12 parts for
transport by mule, which the Italian Army's mountain
troops still used, although in the Radfan the guns
were moved by RAF Belvederes.
- copies may be ordered directly from the author at
email@example.com priced at £10 (+ £1.50
"Yemen: Heartbreak and Hope"
By The Reverend Peter Crooks MBE
Published in 2000 by
Helion & Co - ISBN 1 874622 40 X
A compact book full of
historical facts, and though a ‘limited
edition’ is still available by searching ‘on
line’. It contains detailed records of the
armed forces that were raised in, or
seconded to, Aden and the Protectorates
during the 128 years of British rule. It
also gives an insight into the political and
military involvement of Britain, India,
Yemen, Turkey, plus internally that of the
Protectorates, during those years of
political change in ‘South Arabia’..
It is also a well illustrated book opening
with the usual introductory chapters
followed by the factual military history of
Aden itself. Maps and a plentiful cross
section of old photographs help to highlight
those years of almost continual military and
Of the 112 pages, over 50 are devoted to a
comprehensive Directory of the Units who
served there – including some fascinating
old organisations – to name a few the 1st
Yemen Infantry, 23 Fortress Company Royal
Bombay Sappers and Miners, Aden Defence
Light Section Indian Submarine Corps, Desert
Guards, Lahej Trained Forces (I hate to
think what the untrained forces were like?)
& Mukalla Prison (warders or inmates?) – all
playing their part amongst the array of
multinational forces who kept some form of
law and order. Exactly how this was achieved
– especially with submarine and miners units
- can only be gleaned from the book!
A selection of factually historical
appendices finish off the book, each one
listing such things as the comparative
tables of Arabic / British ranks, specific
operations of early times, lists of British
military formations who served over all the
years, badges and insignia, honours and
awards and a comprehensive glossary of terms
The Armed Forces of Aden is a reference book
and besides making a refreshing read, it
also presents a detailed insight into the
complex political and military history of
Aden during its 150 years of strategic
emergence as both a deep water and well
protected port on the newly opened sea route
from Europe to the Middle and Far East, just
as the world was opening up to the advent of
oil, trade and empire building by European
Chris Morton has brought this publication to our
attention and as we all have a connection with this
neck of the woods it is likely to contain something
"Without Glory in Arabia: The British Retreat from
"I bought this book
as a present. The person who received it had
once served in Aden. He said it was one of the
best books on the subject he had ever read."
"The book brought
back many memories (good and not so good) of
Southern Arabia 1965-67 and helped to explain what
was going on seemingly behind the scenes. The
first half concerns events "up country" and the
second in Aden itself. For me it put a useful
new perspective on an eventful period"
Stories and Poems by
Combat Stress Veterans Kings University Press
A profoundly moving collection of
stories and poems, this book is written by men and
women of the armed forces affected by combat and by
the exacting demands of military service. There are
stories from many arena and eras: Afghanistan, Iraq,
the Gulf, Falkland Islands, Northern Island, the
Cold War and World War II. Many of the works recount
moments of reflection in the field, while others
deal with the mental torment that can last a
lifetime. There are rich themes of love, of
appreciation and of a deeply shared humanity.
The authors seek to share their experience through
many voices that embrace both poignant detail along
with irreverent wit and sometimes biting humour!
This anthology provides the reader with an
opportunity to reflect upon their own lifetime
experience and their own need of courage in the face
of adversity. The truths provided by these writers
will form a treasure trove of strength for any
reader to return to again and again.
***All Proceeds Going to
Support Combat Stress***
Introduction by Sandi Toksvig. Foreword by General
the Lord Richard Dannatt, GCB CBE MC DL
To be featured in The Times newspaper.
Excerpt from Introduction:
"This volume is full of
astonishing work. It is painfully and often
brilliantly written and in the midst I found
something wonderful about the human spirit. In Lee
Harrison’s poem From a Veteran to a Veteran, I found
a life sustaining Post Script when he wrote “There
is always HOPE.” This book has hope in it. Thank you
for supporting Combat Stress.”
Kingston University Press publishes high quality
commercial and academic titles. Our books reflect
the diverse nature of the student and academic
bodies at Kingston University in ways which are
designed to impact on debate, to generate mutual
understanding and to complement the values to which
the University is committed.
My third book covering the history
of Aden. The subtitle "Murder on the
Streets of Aden" sounds dramatic, and so it was.
For those whom served there during those years it's
a memory they will never forget. An experience
of both excitement and pure terror.
This book covers the final years as
the situation developed into full blown battles in
Crater, Shiekh Othman, Ma'lla (the murder mile) and
guarding the tourists in Tawahi. The
never-ending patrols and guard duties at checkpoints
and Mansure Prison. The duties carried out by
the rotating battalions, recalled here by those whom
The maps and photographs show where
incidents took place and how dramatic the living and
operational conditions were. In particular,
and as near as possible, an account of the tragedy
of June 20th 1967.
This publication will be available
priced at £33 (+ £3.00 shipping 2nd
class, or £39 1st class).
Further details from Denis Sparrow (firstname.lastname@example.org)
or telephone 01453 763552. My other
publications listed below are still available.
"Aden's Northwest Frontier"
This book tells the history of those conflicts
"Up Country" in the Western Protectorate of Aden
from the time British Troops were first mentioned
and used in the Dhala area.
From that request for
help in 1881 by the Amir of Dhala grew the
involvement of British troops, right up until their
withdrawal in 1967.
This history covers, wherever
possible, a diary of events year by year (sometimes
month by month) as each Company or Unit took its
place for a tour of duty "up country". It includes
personal experiences and the operations which took
place, sometimes unknown to those out on the ground.
There are maps of those operations showing, possibly
for the first time, where they were or supposed to
be - enhanced with photographs of that time.
final six chapters comprise several hundred photos
covering Dhala, The Convoy, Habilayn, Radfan,
Machines and lastly a "rogues gallery" of images
some would rather not be seen.
This book has, once
again, been published by myself and produced by a
local family printers I have know for over 40 years.
September 2011, former Royal Marine and
member of The Aden Veterans’ Association
Denis Sparrow published his first book about
life during “the forgotten war” in Aden. He
has now published a second book which
concentrates on operations in the mountains
of the Radfan, north-west of the port of
Aden and close to the border with the Yemen;
the various military bases in that area and
the hazardous convoys that kept the troops
This new book has 530 A4-size pages, several
explanatory maps and about 800 photographs
showing the difficult terrain in which
troops had to survive and fight in; the many
incidents of vehicles blown up by land mines
and IEDs (although that term wasn’t in use
at the time); and the people that were
involved on both sides of the fighting.
There are also several short personal
stories written by people who were there at
This is a book well worth a place on the
bookshelf of anyone interested in Britain’s
Colonial wars, especially those who served
amongst “the barren rocks”. For those who
purchased Denis’ first book, it is a “must
have” new addition.
Although longer than my first by some 60 pages,
the price remains a smidgen under £40, at £39.90
including shipping (within the UK), or £33.90
for a copy should be through me, either by telephone
(01453 763552), or by email
Due to popular demand, Denis Sparrow's first
publication has been reprinted so there are a
further 50 copies available.
There has been an unavoidable increase in the price
do to the extra costs for a smaller print run.
Order directly with Denis on 01453 763552.
Coal, Frankincense & Myrrh
Yemen and British
By Tim Smith
reputed home of the Queen of Sheba, Yemen has been
at the crossroads of Africa, the Middle East and
Asia for thousands of years thanks to its position
on the ancient spice routes. Ten thousand years of
trade along Yemen's Red Sea and Indian Ocean coasts,
over its mountains and across its deserts made it a
meeting point of people, ideas, money and goods and
the centuries of trading generated much wealth.
There has been a British presence in Yemen ever
since the early 1600s when the East India Company
set up trading posts in Mukha (Mocha in the west), a
port then famous as the world centre for trade in
coffee. In 1839 the port city of Aden was captured
to provide a base to protect British trade routes.
This began an even stronger relationship which would
last some 130 years until 1967 when the Britain
finally pulled out, having granted independence
after several years of insurgency against British
rule including riots and attacks on its troops. But
Britain's links do not end there. Yemen is the
mother country of the longest-established of
Britain's Muslim communities.
Yemenis came to Britain from the 1890s onwards, many
as an indirect result of having joined the British
Merchant Navy, and after World War Two there was
further emigration. By the mid-1970s there were some
15,000 Yemenis in Britain, though today this figure
has shrunk back considerably. One of the poorest
countries in the region, Yemen still maintains much
of its tribal character and old ways. People wear
traditional dress and the custom of chewing the
narcotic plant khat in the afternoons is still
widely observed. Yemen remains a country of great
mystery and in recent years it has attracted the
curiosity of a growing number of the more
October 2008 by Dewi Lewis Publishing. ISBN Number
the dark horse of the Middle East. Every so often it
enters the headlines for one alarming reason or
another-links with al-Qaeda, kidnapped Westerners,
explosive population growth-then sinks into
obscurity again. But, as Victoria Clark argues in
this riveting book, we ignore Yemen at our peril.
The poorest state in the Arab world, it is still
dominated by its tribal makeup and has become a
perfect breeding ground for insurgent and terrorist
movements. Clark returns to the country where she
was born to discover a perilously fragile state that
deserves more of our understanding and attention. On
a series of visits to Yemen between 2004 and 2009,
she meets politicians, influential tribesmen, oil
workers and jihadists as well as ordinary Yemenis.
Untangling Yemen's history before examining the
country's role in both al-Qaeda and the wider
jihadist movement today, Clark presents a lively,
clear, and up-to-date account of a little-known
state whose chronic instability is increasingly
engaging the general reader.
Published 5th March 2010 by Yale University Press.
ISBN Number 987-0-300-11701-1
(+£2.99 pp) from
Amazon (Note: cheaper used copies available)