Counter Insurgency

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Whilst the Regiment’s forebears were being reorganised during the 1960s, a number of operational counter-insurgency tasks were carried out. The Regiment was represented in Aden, British Guiana and Borneo.

The Buffs had spent their last operational tour in the colony of Aden, South Arabia in 1958/59, where the Battalion was involved in the defence of the protected state of Dhala, which had been invaded by Yemen. The main period of troubles lasted from 1961–1967 as a civil war broke out in South Arabia between forces in the North under pro-Egyptian Abdullah Sallai and the royalists in the South supported by Saudi Arabia. The Northern forces encouraged rebel activity against the British at Aden, which was mainly coordinated from the mountainous Radfan. The newly amalgamated Queen’s Royal Surreys saw action in 1961, whilst The Royal Sussex deployed in 1965, reinforced by thirty soldiers from the Queen’s Surreys Territorial Army Emergency Reserve, known as ‘Ever Readies’. Cordon and search operations, patrols and guards were the normal tasks carried out by both battalions. One platoon commander, Lieutenant J J Smith, who was serving with The Royal Sussex, but who was from the 5th Battalion The Middlesex Regiment, won the MC for his part in a successful ambush. Great Britain finally withdrew its forces from Aden in 1967.

British Guiana went through a series of controversial elections and some instability in the early 1960s, prior to its independence as the State of Guyana in 1966. The Royal Hampshires, as the last West Indies Garrison Battalion, had a company posted there in 1960; the rest of the Battalion was in Jamaica and British Honduras and had to assist with the aftermath of Hurricane Hattie. The newly amalgamated Queen’s Own Buffs also served In British Guiana in 1964 and The Middlesex Regiment saw the Country’s independence. The internal security duties included crowd dispersal, arrests of suspects, the seizure of weapons, and the training of local home guard units. Effective use was made of naval and military helicopters in cordon and search operations.

The other main operational task in this period was in Borneo, where The Queen’s Own Buffs and The Royal Hampshire Regiment were to serve at the latter end of the confrontation in 1966. Indonesian aggression was eventually defeated after an extremely successful counter-insurgency campaign.

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