Bryan Bonnington Royal Air Force 1954-56

3 Apr

Hello everybody, my name is Bryan Bonnington; I was born and brought up in Leeds. Life was quite difficult, because 9 years before I was born in 1925. My father job was working in a boiler works in Leeds on heavy presses. One day he had a terrible accident, he had his hands crushed and had to have both hands amputated 6 inches below the elbows. So one can only visualise the difficult and hard times my parents had, especially my mother in bringing up my older brother and me. My brother was 9 years older than me and things weren’t very easy for the family as one can imagine.
We moved to Lincolnshire for my dad and brother, who had left school at 14, to find some work. Hopefully on a farm, we eventually rented a small holding from a government scheme in 1940.The holding we had was just outside of Grantham at a place called Harrowby. We stayed there for 6 years, but with the rise in price of foodstuffs for the pigs and hens my Dad had to give it up. We moved to Gt. Yarmouth to open a boarding house. My brother had already joined the Royal Marines when he was 16. Sadly after less than 2 years my mother died of cancer, which was a big blow to all of us. One must understand the circumstances with losing my mother had on us all. My father decided to move back to Leeds to live with my uncle. I had to leave school a year early at 15 to help the budget and I obtained an apprenticeship in a Leeds textile factory as an apprentice Weaving Over looker.
National Service in my younger days was an accepted, though not very welcome thing, as millions will testify. You didn’t want to do it, but knew that it had to be done and that was that. If you were fit and well you had to wait for the dreaded brown envelope dropping through the letter-box. In special circumstances you could get a deferment if you were in an apprenticeship. When one’s apprenticeship was complete you were then called up. In special circumstances you could get an extra deferment for 12 months depending on your job etc.: Mine were a bit special, when my papers came I was able to be deferred on the grounds of looking after my Dad.
When my second set of papers arrived I was married with a daughter. I knew I would have to go sometime so I decided to get it over with. So on 29 Nov 1954 I had to report to RAF Cardington for kitting out. The ironical thing was that at Gt.Yarmouth, I had been in the ATC and was keen on joining the RAF as a Wireless operator aircrew. This helped me get my choice of RAF, but because of national service not aircrew. I did my Square-bashing at West Kirby on the Wirral, then to Compton Bassett for a wireless operating course for 3 months. I passed out as a Wireless Operator; this consisted of learning Morse code at a speed of 18 words per minute. It was quite interesting learning the procedures in ground to air communications, and obviously about wireless sets (valves Diodes, Double Diodes etc.). After passing the course I was given the chance to take another course to be a Wireless Operator A class). This was to monitor Morse at speeds up to 22 words per minute. This was for receiving signals only. To do this we were sent t, I think it was RAF Wythall near Birmingham.
Some of my mates had got postings to the Far East but mine was Germany. This was classed as a home posting so we only got the normal pay which because of my marital status amounted to about 12/6d a week. My wife got the rest, but like all national servicemen I managed somehow to just get by. We were part of the Cold War stationed 15km from the Russian zone not far from the Belsen concentration camp and Luneburg Heath. The camp was Hamburhan and the nearest town was Celle, which we were informed, was the Fascist Headquarters in that area. The camp was odd because the billets were at the side of the road to Celle and the rest of the camp opposite. Inside the main camp was an open shed full of transport vehicles, I think this was to give the impression it was a transport camp. Just down the road in the fields was a forest of radio masts. Cars used to pull up and take photographs on a regular basis. A woman used to walk her Alsatian dog past when we were going to work, she would say something in German to the dog which would then snarl and bark as she held on to its lead. Can’t imagine what she said to it. I put it down to her being ignorant
One of the corporals taught me and a mate how to play badminton, but he wasn’t best pleased when we began to beat him. Our job in Germany was to monitor Eastern Bloc signals in Morse, and then a group of linguists would translate the best they could from our efforts. The trouble was some of the groups like a Czech group, were not well disciplined in procedures and more than one outstation would be sending messages together. These we nicknamed The Goon show and were a nightmare to work on. We worked shifts day and night and in our spare time played cricket football or badminton. Some of us one day decided to borrow some skis from stores and walked about a mile before we found a gentle slope to go down. On my first attempt a strap broke on one of mine so that was as far as I got on skis. If we went out for a look round we kept out of Celle although we did explore some local hostelries to sample the excellent food and beer of course!
It was whilst over in Germany that I got a “Dear John” letter from my wife. If you don’t know what they are, it is a lovely letter to say your marriage is on the rocks. I was not on my own receiving letters like this. Not a good thing when you are stuck a few hundred miles away and can’t get home. However I did manage to get some leave and thought I got it sorted. My marriage lasted a couple of years after I got out. Back to Germany again, my time was getting nearer for demob. I was offered the chance to get out a fortnight early if I went on a Civil Defence course to learn to be a fireman. This was in case of a war with whoever decided to drop “The Bomb”. The most terrifying thing about the course was being carried down a ladder head first over the shoulder of a mate half my size; I am 6ft 3”. Eventually demob came and you were then put on the reserve list liable for recall in the case of a conflict.
So as I said National Service was disruptive. It did affect people’s lives. It took me a while to settle back at work and I constantly moved around in the textile industry. It went some way to wrecking a marriage which might not have survived anyway and changed my Dad’s life, although he lived until he was 86. The happy ending to all this is that I have been married a second time for 52 years. Looking back I learned a lot doing National Service and made some good friends, and would love to contact anyone I met. Finally, I wish you all good luck and best wishes for the future.
Bryan Bonnington

Frank Malone Ex- Grenadier Guards

12 Jan

Hello everybody, my name is Frank Malone. During 1960 which was the last year of national service I was called up to do my two years’ service with the Grenadier Guards. I reported to Caterham for my basic training, then onto Pirbright for further training. After the passing out parades I joined the 1st battalion Grenadier Guards. I spent a short time as a Bren gunner with 3 company, before being sent to the signal platoon. I must admit the signal platoon was a great bunch of lads and I was happy to be in their ranks.
During the early months of 1961 it was posted on orders that the battalion were being sent to the Cameroons in West Africa. Like most in the battalion we had never heard of the Cameroons.
We boarded the troopship Devonshire and incidentally this was my first time out of England. A couple of weeks at sea and the ship reached the Cameroons. Barges took us in sections to the dockside where a number of 3 ton Lorries transported us in a long overnight journey to the tented camp at Bamenda.
Not long after arriving at Bamenda and having not much time to settle in. I was sent on a course for horse riding and how to look after the blessed things. One has to understand the roads were none existent, So patrols with horses was better as far as I was concerned than foot slogging over the hard countryside. I remember going on horseback to a place on the French Cameroon border named Sante Customs. The custom building had been burned down by terrorists’ months before we had arrived.
I was the signaller with Sergeant Biddick’s when our Company attacked a terrorist camp in very hostile country. With Sgt Biddick we set up a radio on the edge of a bamboo forest overlooking an escarpment.
We spent a very sleepless night before the attack on the terrorist camp. The shooting and shouting lasted only a short time and sadly John Lund was killed and the camp was empty of occupants.
We stayed in the terrorist camp for an hour or so. I was told that I was stopping behind with my radio along with a rifle squad .All men with 9mm ammo for a sterling were to fill my pouches ,I was not too sure about this, but after a short time this order was rescinded. We all then made the long tab back. This was very gruelling long march over some hard country; finally we arrived at a tent first aid station staffed with doctors and RAMC personnel. Resting for a short time we were loaded into 3 tonners and back to camp.
I did a few more patrols after these both on foot and on horseback before returning to the UK and public duties and eventually demob.
I would like to wish all my former comrades in the Grenadier Guards all the best and good health wherever you may be.

Frank Malone

REMEMBRANCE SUNDAY

7 Nov

Hello everybody on the ninth of November, it will be Remembrance Sunday.This is a special day in Britain and indeed our commonwealth. I have known many men who fought in both of the World Wars and other conflicts around the world. To lose one’s life in the service of your country is a massive sacrifice. During the First World War Just over 703,000 men and women were killed 1.663,000 wounded. In the Second World War 382,000 were killed and 369,267 wounded. Also during WW2 67,800 British civilians were killed during bombing raids over Great Britain.
When you look at these figures it is very hard to comprehend the sacrifice made by the men and women of the British Isles in the pursuit of freedom and victory. The mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers of men who died in foreign lands also suffered. I knew two families who lived in the same street as me. Their sons had lost their lives during WW2. Sadly just the same as the thousands of other parents of this great country of ours they had to get on with their lives. Many years have passed since the two World Wars. Unfortunately even up to this present day, British service men and women have lost their lives in various conflicts.
Remembrance Sunday, gives the country a day to pay homage to the men and women who paid with their lives for the freedom we and the future generations enjoy
The Cenotaph built from Portland stone was erected in Whitehall 1919-20 at the request of the then Prime Minister Lloyd George. The guns fell silent in the First World War on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. Ex- service men and women absorbed in their own thoughts will smartly march past the Cenotaph on Sunday. To you the British public wear your Poppy with pride in remembrance to our fallen heroes. At the going down of the sun and in the morning we will remember them.
Alan
….

Samuel Wassall VC

9 Sep

Hello Everybody I hope you the reader finds this interesting. Quite a while ago I was in the Barrow-in Furness cemetery where I noticed a grave headstone with the name Samuel Wassall VC. Looking closer it read he won his Victoria Cross at Isandhlwana Zululand on 29th January 1879. Having watched the film Zulu Dawn probably the same as you have. I was always under the impression no one survived the battle against the 20,000 Zulu warriors, how wrong I was.
Samuel Wassall was born in the Birmingham on July 28th 1856. During the year 1874 he joined the 80th Regiment known has the Staffordshire Volunteers, which later became the South Staffordshire Regiment. The regiment was part of Lord Chelmsford’s force that was sent to South Africa to put down the Zulu uprising. Part of Chelmsford’s force of over 1300 men of which Samuel Wassall was with, were camped at Islandhlwana in Zululand. Without warning the camp was attacked by an overwhelming force of Zulus. In the ensuing vicious battle, the camp was over-run with most of the 1300 defenders killed. Samuel Wassall managed to find a loose horse as the Zulus were slaughtering the last remnants of resistance. He rode to the Buffalo River closely being chased by a section of Zulus. On reaching the river he noticed another soldier of the regiment drowning in the river on which he was struggling to cross. Bravely without thought to his own safety, he tied the horse to a tree on the Zulu side of the river and plunged into the flowing river and brought the drowning man to the riverbank. The Zulu warriors were close on his tail now. He remounted his horse under heavy fire dragging his comrade across the river to safety. For this act of bravery Samuel Wassall was awarded the Victoria Cross at the ripe old age of twenty two.
What this man went through must have been horrendous for what he had seen and heard. One cannot fully comprehend the bravery shown by many of our fellow countrymen such as Samuel Wassall VC. On leaving the army he married and settled down in Barrow-in- Furness for the next 46 years. Samuel Wassall VC died in his 70th year in 1927 and was buried with full military honours. The headstone of his grave was erected by his former regiment a few years ago, which is a fitting tribute to him and his famous regiment. Samuel Wassall’s Victoria Cross is in the regimental museum of the Staffordshire Regt.
Alan

THE CANADIANS

25 Apr

Canada has been shoulder to shoulder with Great Britain in times of conflict over the years. Without doubt the armed forces of Canada are really formidable when it comes to the crunch. I will mention a few of those very notable battles the Canadian forces were very involved with.

During the First World War in 1917 there was heavy fighting in the Arras offensive. The Canadian Corps which was made up of men from all parts of Canada was given the task of capturing the heavily fortified positions held by the Germans. The Germans were well dug in on high ground, which overlooked the surrounding area known has Vimy Ridge. The battle took place 9th to 12th April 1917. Supported by a creeping barrage the Canadians attacked the German positions and during the course of heavy fighting, captured most of the ridge on the first day of attack. The town of Thelus and the rest of the ridge were captured on the second day. Taking many casualties the Canadian forces overcame heavy resistance outside the town of Givenchy-en-Gohelle. The town was eventually captured on the 12th April with the German forces retreating. With Vimy Ridge now in the Canadian forces hands the British advanced without the fear of German fire.

During this battle for Vimy Ridge the Canadian Corps suffered 3,598 killed and 7,004 wounded. Four members of the Canadian Corps received Victoria Crosses for valour during the course of this battle. One can only try to visualise the bravery shown in taking Vimy Ridge. The area of the battle is now a memorial park dedicated to the 59,544 Canadian forces that lost their lives in the First World War. If you are ever in this area, please take a visit and see this wonderful memorial to the brave men of Canada.

During the dark days of World War two, thankfully we had Canadian Forces fighting alongside British troops. On the 18th August 1942 a large force of troops mainly from Canadian Regiments set sail for Dieppe on Operation Jubilee. The attack on the French Port area was destined to start just before dawn on the 19th. It involved 5000 Canadian Troops 1000 British Troops and 50 U.S Rangers.

The objective was to capture and hold the Port, gather intelligence and destroy the coastal batteries. The attack was meant to be a morale booster for things to come in the future. The Germans had got wind of the attack and were on high alert, of which spelled disaster to the attacking force. The well-fortified German forces held the Canadian forces that did land on the beach. The Canadians on one sector were pinned against the sea wall by devastating fire. Unable to advance The Royal Regiment of Canada was just about annihilated of the 556 men in the attacking Regiment 200 was killed and 264 men who were suffering injuries were captured. Within a few hours of the landing, the order went out for a retreat back to the landing crafts. It can only be described as carnage and many brave men lost their lives with many more captured. The South Saskatchewan Regiment and The Queens Own Cameron Highlanders of Canada landed on Green Beach without being detected but in their advance to Pourville, met with positioned German Machine guns and took heavy casualties on a bridge just outside Pourville fighting bravely before retreating back to the beach.

In the Dieppe attack in general, virtually none of the objectives were met. The fire support was totally inadequate leaving the attacking force mainly trapped on the beach by obstacles and well positioned German troops. Within 10 hours of the initial landing. The men who had not been killed or captured were evacuated back to England.

It was said later by Mountbatten who justified the raid by arguing that lessons learned at Dieppe in 1942 were put to good use later in the war. He later claimed by saying the Battle of Normandy was won on the beaches of Dieppe. For every man killed at Dieppe, at least 10 were saved at Normandy. Winston Churchill said that his impression of Operation Jubilee is that the results fully justified the heavy cost and it was the Canadian contribution of the greatest significance to final victory. To many especially the Canadians it was a major disaster. Of the attacking force of 5000 Canadian soldiers 900 were killed and 1874 taken prisoner. Whatever has been said about this raid, many brave men of Canada paid the supreme sacrifice towards the eventual victory in Europe.

On 6th June 1944 The Canadian Forces were given Juno Beach for their landings. Many of these troops had fought two years previously at Dieppe. At the close of D-Day one The Canadian Forces had pushed further in land than any other landing force. This speaks volumes for the well trained Canadian Forces. Approximately 44,198 Canadians were killed in WW2 with 55,368 wounded.

Going back to the opening lines I wrote. We in Great Britain are really grateful that we have the shoulder of Canada to be alongside us, in times of peace and conflict

 Alan

AMERICAN ALLIES

18 Mar

The British and commonwealth countries were very fortunate to have America as an Allie during both World Wars and since.  The Americans under President Woodrow Wilson came into World War One in April 1917. Three years after hostilities began against the Germans. In that short time until the War ended in November1918 the Americans lost 116,000 men. Incidentally the United Kingdom lost 900,000 men in the four years of war. The figures do not include the many casualties. The manpower and the American industries in the manufacture of arms and ships played a big part in the outcome of the war.

 During World War Two the Americans came into the War through being attacked at Pearl Harbour on December 7th 1941. The President of the United States, the great Franklin D. Roosevelt in his speech to the American nation in declaring war on the Japanese Empire said “December 7th 1941 was a date which will live in infamy.”  On December 11th 1941 four days after United States declared war on the Japanese Empire. Hitler and Mussolini declared war on the United States of America. Great Britain had stood alone for two long years and now we had the American might as an ally to fight alongside us Prime Minister Winston Churchill was over the moon, because he knew the tide of the war would change. Once again the manpower of the American Forces and the massive industrial manufacture of weapons, planes and ships would come into force and bring about the eventual victory and history shows it did.

The first American Troops arrived in Britain in the early months of 1942. This build up continued as they were stationed in various camps throughout the country. They built and occupied Airfields in the South East of England for the USAAF. It was from these airfields they bravely undertook daylight bombing raids over enemy occupied Europe. Just the same as the Royal Air Force they had many losses at the end of 1944 there was nearly 450,000 United States Airmen stationed in Britain. In contrast to the 1.5 million ground troops who were preparing for the invasion of Hitler’s held Europe. The Troops were again stationed in camps scattered around Great Britain. All this must have been a big task in manpower organisation, but it was done. The British soldier was paid at that time 14 shillings a week (70P) While the American servicemen were paid £3 8s 9d (3.44). My father’s wages at the time was £5.10 shilling a week and he had my mother and three children to support. The American GIs with money in their pockets, better uniforms etc. were a hit with the girls who enjoyed their company and the perks that went with it such as nylons etc. One has to remember the young women of Great Britain had to do war work, either in the factory or in the services. No doubt the Americans put a much needed sparkle into their lives at a time when they needed it. Obviously this caused a bit of friction with the British military personnel, who came out with the term “Over paid. Over sexed and over here.” There were in the region of 70,000 British women who married American servicemen and when the war was over, they sailed to America for new lives.

Personally I only saw a few American servicemen in my part of England. Whenever they were seen, children of my age and older were usually following them saying “Have you got any gum chum” Overall the Americans were very popular and it was assuring to have them on our side in achieving the ultimate victory in Europe and the Far East. .

Alan

 

A King’s Own Royal Border Regt. Patrol In The Cameroons

15 Feb

Hello Everybody, I get a lot of visitors to my blog, reading about the Grenadier Guards attack on a terrorist Camp in the Cameroons. This camp had been attacked two or three months previously by patrols from the King’s Own Royal Border regiment led by Lieutenant Olsen and the camp was completely overrun. When the Grenadiers made their attack on the camp through difficulties they endured in getting to the vicinity it was mid-morning. Obviously the terrorist knew they were coming and were prepared.
To further your knowledge, I have written below about the attack made by platoons of (S) company of the King’s Own Royal Border Regt, on this same camp a few months before. The lads on this patrol were mostly national servicemen and came into the army most definitely green as grass but, it is how they were trained by the regiment that got the final results. The Support Company platoons of Mortar and Anti-Tank who were made up to be rifle companies during the Kings Own Royal Border Regiments stay in the Cameroons. Both platoons had set off the day before the raid and were camped in bivouacs in the Magga region, which is high up in the hills. Lieutenant Olsen, a very capable officer, briefed everyone that he would lead off before dusk, taking with him over twenty men of his own Mortar platoon. He was hoping to make some ground before it was too dark.

Sergeant Smethhurst would follow just before dawn with the Anti-Tank Platoon and make as much ground up as possible. It was hoped that the Mortar Platoon would find the location of the terrorist camp before bedding down for the night and basically our platoon was their back up. As arranged Lieutenant Olsen’s platoon move out in fading light, each carrying a Sterling sub machine gun and two loaded magazines of twenty eight 9mm rounds of ammunition. The Sterling sub machine gun was most lethal over twenty to thirty yards and was just the job for close encounters. Lucky for us it was a beautiful night with a blanket of stars overhead, with not a sign of rain. Our platoon spent the night talking quietly in-groups, with just the odd occasionally dozing off. Along with my fellow comrades, although feeling a little nervous we were able and ready for whatever task that lay before us. As instructed before first light we assembled and set off in pursuit of the Mortar platoon. Barring the NCOs, who had Sterling sub machine guns, the rest of the patrol carried the 7.62 Self-loading Rifle and one or two magazines of twenty rounds. Our popular Officer Commanding Support Company, Captain Dunand surprisingly said he was coming with us, although Sergeant Smethurst would lead the patrol. We set off in the early morning mist at quite a steady pace. We hiked for about a mile, heading towards the pre-planned area, with the conditions very favourable. We were quickly taking the elements in our stride, when without warning; the early morning calm was suddenly shattered, by the sound of automatic gunfire,not too distant away. We also knew it was the sound of the Sterling Sub machine gun and that meant our lads had run into trouble. An anxious radio   contact was made and the message, attacking terrorist camp crackled out,followed by the words “Please make haste immediately!” As the crow flies, we were under a mile away, but it was not that easy, because of the rugged terrain and bamboo thickets to contend with. Not undaunted, Sergeant Smethhurst led the patrol at a near on jogging pace covering a considerable amount of   ground in what seemed in no time at all. The adrenaline was really pumping in all of us, each united in the same common reason, to reach and help our friends in the other platoon.For the last few   hundred yards the gunfire had stopped and we could see smoke looming from trees on top of a hill. In seeing this, we knew the exact spot of the confrontation and again this saved time. As our patrol reached the lower slopes of this large bamboo wooded hillside we were nearly at running pace. Making our way, quite quickly up the narrow path that led to the summit, the smelly smoke was thickly bellowing through the bamboo trees. Although we couldn’t see him, we all heard the over agitated voice of an NCO, urging our platoon to hurry up. Seb Coe could not have reached them any quicker, than we did that morning and Sergeant Smethurst replied to him in very strong language indeed. I am positive even to this day, that as we climbed the hill to the summit, I heard voices to the left of me. I reported it to Captain Dunand and Sergeant Smethurst but, because nobody else heard the noises, we just carried on. It may have just been as well, because we were in no mood to parley.

Moving quickly to the top of the hill, the first thing that met our eyes was the body of a terrorist lying sprawled on the ground. With no time to stop, we fanned out quickly to join up with the relieved looking Mortar Platoon who had made the attack. Each one of them looked wide eyed and excitable, with adrenaline still pumping in their veins. This was quite understandable for what they had all just been through. They had by luck more than judgement, stumbled on the terrorist camp during the night, then quietly bedded down until first light. Just in the early light of dawn they were spotted by a terrorist who was wandering about, Even with the knowledge that the back-up platoon, were on their way. Lieutenant Olsen had no time to wait now they were spotted. Leading from the front of his platoon they charged into the terrorist camp, with all guns blazing. The terrorists were completely caught with their pants down, fleeing in all directions in utter confusion and disarray. Ever so carefully in line, we made our way through the terrorist camp until we reached a bamboo thicket at the bottom end. I never knew exactly, how many people were in the camp at the time of the attack, probably in the region of twenty to thirty. What I do know, there was one confirmed dead and two captured. The two captured, were a man and a woman. They can count themselves very fortunate; they did not lose their lives. Thick blood trails were all over the place, especially in the bamboo thicket at the bottom of the camp. The camp itself, in its complete entirety was truly amazing, so perfectly camouflaged and certainly helped by the surrounding bamboo. The camp had been laid out in six twenty-yard long streets that had been dug out and stepped down the hillside, one below the other. Each street had a covering of corrugated iron sheeting and pieces of wood with a thatching of dried grass for camouflage. The streets were each sectioned off into living quarters; and stores, both for food, water, and menthol cigarettes, which were in abundance. I only saw one chicken running about, no doubt the others must have run off in during the confusion, but it wasn’t running around for long, because Private Patterson, put it under his tunic. I saw meat hanging up in one of the sectioned off streets, but there was no sign of any cattle. The camp also had a primitive medical section, which had an assortment of antiquated equipment. The one thing that impressed me most was a forge they had built. It sounds so ridiculous but, it is true, built very much in the mould of a primitive blacksmith’s shop of bygone days It was complete with a make shift blower. It was in this forge, where they made their own weapons including guns. All the guns made, consisted of a carved handle and stock, inferior quality tubing for the barrels, complete with forged and filed out triggers, incorporating a firing pin. Each gun made, was shaped similar, to old flintlock pistols, as seen in pirate films back home. Unlike those, these guns were made to fire a twelve bore cartridge. There were guns in various forms of completion, with each having similar base plates that had been hammered out in the forge. For added extra strength, copper wire was tightly wrapped round the barrel and stock, making them quite lethal at close range, but personally, I would not have liked to fire one and definitely not shot by one. There was also five hundred or so spiked twelve bore cartridges.The lads in the patrol collected up about seventy guns including a few rifles and a couple of revolvers and I would say about half of these guns, had been made at this camp. These kind of terrorist groups were organised to cause mayhem around the countryside and if by attacking and killing these people saved innocent lives, then no doubt it was a job done with great satisfaction. Everything in the camp that was burnable was burned, anything that was useful was destroyed, especially the forge. Quite obviously, we generally made the place as best we could, unusable. Once a terrorist camp had been rumbled, an alternative site would have to be found. After seeing what they had made for themselves on that hillside, I am sure that would have been no problem. To build such an organised camp, miles from any proper civilization, still makes me shake my head, at the ingenuity of it all. The camouflaging was first class, because when at Sante Customs we would watch a French plane vainly bombing the hillsides looking for this camp. All bombs dropped by the French fell on the wrong hills.
In my opinion, the terrorists had made a brilliant job in making  this camp and whoever was their leader must have been trained by professionals. In writing that, they were routed by soldiers who were taught, by much superior professionals of the King’s Own Royal Border Regt. Each member of the platoon on leaving the terrorist camp carried one or two of the captured guns; give and take about seventy guns in all. Due to the number of guns captured I can’t give a definite figure of how many terrorists were in the camp at the time of the attack. The ammunition, which was quite heavy, was put into two rucksacks for the two prisoners to carry. Both prisoners looked downcast, pathetic, and very much frightened. After the initial none friendly approach to them, one felt a little sorry for the plight they were in, but who knows, they could have been a ruthless pair! I was at the back of the patrol on the return journey, with the two captured terrorists, just in front carrying the ammunition. I was told if they try to escape, shoot them. I assure you, they did not try to escape, nor did I want them too. Engrossed in personal thoughts, the return journey firstly to the camp we set up the night before and then onto the rendezvous point, I kept on glancing back to where the terrorist camp was situated. Even then the only clue to its whereabouts was the smoke bellowing from the bamboo-infested hillside. Once again, I can only describe it as truly amazing. Arriving back at the rendezvous point, where the three-ton lorries were waiting to pick the patrol up. There was no chance of keeping any of the weapons for a souvenir, because of the diligent way we had to hand them over. I am sure Lieutenant Olsen kept hold of a stainless steel revolver, because it wasn’t amongst the piled up confiscated weapons and ammunition!
It came as a surprise and a most welcome sight that also at the rendezvous point, was the most respected Commanding Officer of the Bamenda camp, Major Brough DSO. MC. He was waiting by the side of the transport with a V.I.P, who was possibly a Member of Parliament on a visit to the Cameroons. Major Brough congratulated the men of our patrol; on a job well done and said we were all a credit to the King’s Own Border Regiment. I must admit, coming from such a brave man, what he said was most appreciated and gave one and all, a certain amount of satisfaction, in the knowledge that what we had been trained for had been successful.
Lieutenant Olsen for his outstanding leadership in the operation, was awarded the Queens Commendation for Bravery This award was thoroughly deserved and definitely it should have been a higher award. He took all his men in and brought them all safely out, what more can I say. Knowing the British Army code of early morning attacks and the regular soldiers who instrumented it. On behalf of my fellow comrades we thank you all, because through their expertise, all members of the patrol came back safely without a scratch.
I hope you the reader is enlightened by what I have written. There are a few things I have left out on purpose, mainly whilst in the camp. Which can be read in full in my story on.

Alan

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