• Si Biggs

Battle of Crater & Rescue of Downed Sioux - Aden 1967

Updated: Jun 26


Battle of Crater

Unit/ Formation: 45 Cdo RM


Location: Aden


Period/ Conflict: Aden Emergency (1964 - 67)


Year: 1967


Date/s: 20 June 1967


Following the Arab Police mutiny, all British forces were withdrawn from Crater, while Royal Marines of 45 Commando took up sniping positions on the high ground and killed 10 armed Arab fighters.



However, Crater remained occupied by an estimated 400 Arab fighters. NLF and FLOSY fighters then took to the streets and engaged in gun battles, while arson, looting, and murder was also common.


British forces blocked off the two main entrances to Crater. Order was restored in July 1967, when the 1st Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders entered Crater under the command of Lt. Col. Colin Campbell Mitchell and managed to occupy the entire district overnight with no casualties.


Rescue of Downed Sioux


Unit/ Formation: 45 Cdo RM Location: Aden Period/ Conflict: Aden Emergency (1964 - 67) Year: 1967 Date/s: 20 June 1967 A Sioux helicopter attempting to land Fusiliers at an Observation Point on Temple Cliffs above Crater crashed down under heavy fire from the Armed Police, the pilot, Sgt Martin Forde of the QDG having sustained gunshot wounds to his right knee & being unable to control the rotor.


Forde managed to keep the aircraft upright as it descended, & dreading an ensuing fire when the helicopter struck down, frantically flicked off all switches & transmitted a "May Day" which was acknowledged.



Lance Corporal Keightley was being carried in a litter at the side of the helicopter, Fusilier Duffy was seated next to Forde in the aircraft & in the resulting crash Keightley lost a leg, the other being amputated later. Under fire, Duffy rescued Keightley & Forde, who was still strapped into his seat, recovered a Self Loading Rifle (SLR) & an A41 man pack radio from the helicopter before it was completely destroyed, tended the wounded & called for assistance. About 45 minutes later a Wessex helicopter arrived on scene & deployed Royal Marine Commandos to sort out the enemy snipers & rescue the 3 survivors. Duffy was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal. -



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