During the morning of 8th September 1967, in the built up dormitory area of Mansoura in Aden, a fourteen-man patrol of 1st Battalion, The Lancashire Regiment reported that they had come under heavy fire from a number of points and had been forced to take cover in two houses.

A half troop of the Queen’s Own Hussars commanded by Second Lieutenant Vaughan-Griffiths set out from a firm base to give them supporting fire. The troop leader could not determine the exact location of the patrol as it was out of communication with its company base.

With his armoured car and scout car he scoured the area of the patrol’s intended sweep; and in a section where there was some red smoke he saw a beret sticking out of a window on a stick. Reversing his Saladin armoured car towards the house under heavy small arms fire from approximately ten firing points, he determined by personal contact that the patrol was in two groups, the location of the second group being unknown to the first.

Acting on his own initiative, he called up a Saracen Armoured Personnel Carrier from his base which he then ordered to reverse up to the house and embussed the half patrol which included two casualties. He positioned his two cars between the terrorist fire and the house to act as a shield during embussing whilst he returned the fire. He evacuated the half patrol to a safe base and then immediately returned to locate and rescue the remaining section.

From intermittent infantry radio reports he determined their general area and once more under heavy fire repositioned his Saracen, ordered his scout car to cover certain firing points while he dealt with others. The remaining infantry were subsequently embussed and escorted to safety without further casualties.

The operation lasted two hours ; during this time Second Lieutenant Vaughan-Griffiths, whilst his armoured cars were frequently under heavy and accurate small arms fire acted with great initiative, personal bravery and presence of mind.

His only concern, in spite of operating his cars with no infantry support in an area with a known anti-tank mine threat, and while vulnerable to surprise short range bazooka and grenade attack, was to rescue the infantry patrol before they suffered further casualties.

That he achieved this self-set task successfully under the most difficult operational conditions is the measure of his outstanding example of courage, leadership and determination.

Related topics

  1. A short history of The Queen’s Own Hussars
  2. The Aden Emergency
  3. Saracen Armoured Personnel Carrier