With tribute to:

Martin Spirit

James Paul

Co-written by:

David Carter

Britain's Small Wars

The preservation of British Military History

Radfan 1964-1967

"Into the Hills"


Troops in the mountains

With 'Cap-Badge' secured, the forces composing 'Radforce' now consisted of 39 Brigade under Brigadier Blacker, a force containing 45 Commando, the 1st East Anglians, the 3rd Battalion, The Parachute Regiment, the 1st Scottish Borderers and the 1st Battalion, the Royal Scots, with the 2nd Battalion of the Federal Army, supported by tanks and armoured cars, as well as Hunter aircraft.

In mid-May 3 Para and 'X' company of 45 Commando cleared the Bakri ridge of dissidents after a four-day fight, moving on from there to occupy the Wadi Dhubsan, another tribal stronghold. During this operation the CO of 3 Para's helicopter was shot down by ground fire. The final phase was an advance by the East Anglians and the Federal Army into the Wadi Misra in early June. The advance into the Wadi took a week and was finished with an all-out, full day battle around the village of Shaab Sarah, which broke the back of the local resistance. By October, most of the Radfan troops had submitted and the troops went about their 'hearts and minds' operations and preparations were made to ease any future operations by constructing an airfield.

There was an unpleasant aftermath to the Radfan Campaign. The Arabs had taken the bodies of Captain Edwards and his radio operator (both members of A Squadron 22 SAS) who had been killed in a ambush earlier in the campaign. The bodies were taken to Taiz where they were decapitated and the heads displayed in the market place.

The British presence continued for another two years, with the British troops leaving, once Makawee had been removed from power in Aden and the Federal Army made responsible for security.