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Aden

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A strategically important port on the entrance to the Red Sea in the Middle East and was for a long time a posting for the Army, Navy and the RAF. This was unsurprising, as Aden was a British Indian-administered Protectorate between 1839-1937 and a Crown Colony between 1937-1967. Aden became independent as People's Republic of South Yemen 1967.

Aden was quite infamous as a posting in the 1960s due to the shenanigans of the Marxist National Liberation Front (NLF) and the Egyptian-backed (and misleadingly innocuous-sounding) FLOSY - the Front for the Liberation Of South Yemen. NLF and FLOSY were going about slotting soldiers, policemen, airmen and their dependants.

In June 1967, the 1st Bn Royal Northumberland Fusiliers (1 RNF) handed-over the operational patrol area of Crater to the 1st Bn Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders (1 A&SH). The handover was marked by a massacre of 1 RNF personnel outside the Armed Police barracks in Crater, by mutinous elements of the South Arabian Armed Police.

Coinciding with a revolt by the powerful Federal Republican Army, this led to a major crisis. By the middle of the month, Crater was sealed-off. Any movements of a military nature within the town, were fired upon by British troops sited on the heights ringing the town. NLF and FLOSY elements were left to fight it out amongst themselves inside Crater.

The situation was brought to a head by the irreverent Lieutenant-Colonel Colin 'Mad Mitch' Mitchell, acting CO of 1 A&SH, who - covered by infantry units on the Jebel Shamsan heights - retook the town amid a blaze of publicity and bagpipes. Top man. Unfortunately, Mitchell was criticised by some in Whitehall for playing up to the media.

Mitchell didn't crave attention, but did not agree with the Ministry's constant heel-dragging and almost unilaterally decided upon action. The MoD does not like media stars, something that Tim Collins found out nearly forty years later.