Mad Mitch's Tribal Law: Aden and the End of the Empire
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Aden, June 20, 1967: two army Land Rovers burn ferociously in the midday sun. The bodies of nine British soldiers litter the road. Bright flames mixed with thick, black smoke bellows above Crater town, a tough Arab neighborhood built on top of a dormant volcano. Surrounded by high rugged peaks and perched on the south-western edge of the Arabian peninsular, it is home to insurgents, terrorists, and gangsters, who establish "no-go areas" against the British-backed Federation government. Crater had come to symbolize Arab nationalist defiance in the face of the world’s most powerful empire. Hovering 2,000 ft. above the smouldering destruction, a tiny Scout helicopter surveys the scene. Its passenger is the recently arrived commanding officer of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, Lieutenant-Colonel Colin Mitchell. Soon the world’s media would christen him "Mad Mitch" in recognition of his extremely robust and controversial reoccupation of Crater two weeks later. Mad Mitch was truly a man out of his time. Supremely self-confident and debonair, he was an empire builder, not dismantler, and railed against the national malaise he felt had gripped Britain’s political establishment. Drawing on a wide array of never-before-seen archival sources and eyewitness testimonies, Mad Mitch’s Tribal Law tells the remarkable story of inspiring leadership, loyalty, and betrayal in the final days of British Empire. It is, above all, a shocking account of Britain’s forgotten war on terror.
From Main Pass (David Ullah) Aerial photograph of Crater, showing prominent features in the town (Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders Museum) Argyll pipers play Reveille at dawn in Crater, 4 July 1967 (Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders Museum) Lieutenant-Colonel Colin Mitchell in Crater (Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders Museum) Lieutenant-Colonel Colin Mitchell in Land Rover (AP) Colin Mitchell briefs Admiral Michael Le Fanu (Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders Museum) Major Nigel Crowe.
125, 127–8, 143, 149–51, 153, 192, 269 appoints Trevelyan 153 Dorneywood meeting 151–4, 241 drinking habits 182–5 meeting with Muhammad Farid 188 sacks Turnbull 151, 153 Bureik, Colonel Nasser 21 Butler, Staff Sergeant Eddie 170–1 Cairo 15, 17, 35–6, 41, 48, 60, 84, 94–5, 109, 124, 149, 151, 180, 185, 208 Cairo Radio see also Radio Cairo 68, 98, 152, 180, 185, 191, 225, 239, 270, 274, 288 Campbell-Baldwin, Second Lieutenant J.D.C. 175 Cape of Good Hope 244 Caradon, Lord (Hugh Foot).
Men. Loughlin told reporters how he felt that ‘some great inhumanity has been done in this place’. As a sign of their solidarity with the detainees, the three MPs visited Asqalani Mosque in Hassonally Street in Crater at the invitation of the PSP. Careful to remove their shoes as they entered the mosque, they were greeted by a group of hysterical women – the mothers, sisters and wives of the detainees – all of whom pleaded with the guests to secure their release. One of the most vocal was.
Were found to be overblown, with only PSP Deputy Leader Mohammad Salem Ali allegedly forced to strip naked and stand in the cold of the night. His crime had been to refuse to hand over a transistor radio.108 Upon their return to London the three MPs held a press conference at which they admitted that the allegations of torture ‘seemed to be untrue’.109 Almost half of those injured in the airport bomb had been Fadhlis gathering to see off their Sultan. Once he regained consciousness, tribal drums.
Speak Arabic. The NLF also made matters much worse for detainees by shooting medical staff who worked at the site. One incident, typical of how the NLF operated at the time, illustrates this point very well. Leaving his home in Tawahi one evening to catch a lift to work with his cousin, a QEH charge nurse was approached by two gunmen, one of whom pulled a mask over his face. With weapons drawn, they unloaded two full magazines at the man as he ran for his life. He later returned to find the car.