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We'll never forget.

Byline: By Amy Hunt

Veterans of little-known ambush gather to honour comrades

They are veterans of a forgotten war, but determined to remember.

Former members of the Royal Northumberland Fusiliers gathered to honour fallen comrades killed in action.

The regiment served in Aden from September 1966 to June 1967, overseeing the handing back of the British protectorate to the Adenese.

They were there to keep the peace, but sadly nine of them died violent deaths in an ambush at the hands of rebel police.

Veterans of the regiment laid a wreath at the Cenotaph at Newcastle's Haymarket and observed a minute's silence for the nine who died, days before they were due to pull out, in 1967.

The men who died were Maj JW Moncur, 2nd Lt JAH Davis, Warrant Officer HPM Hoare, Fus WW Crombie, Fus GT Hoult, Fus L Stewart, Fus BH Wylie, Fus CT Smyth and L-Cpl T Liddell.

They were killed when their Land Rovers were ambushed by rebel armed police.

About 55 former Northumberland Fusiliers gathered in the city, then met afterwards in a local pub to share memories of their Army days.

Alan "Jonty" Batey joined up when he was 23 and served in the regiment for 22 years. He now organises the annual meeting of the veterans.

Jonty, 62, originally from Throckley, said: "Those lads should never be forgotten."

He said he still remembers when the ambush struck: "We spent four days on top of the crater trying to get the bodies out. They were unrecognisable when we got to them. We could see the vehicles burning and we could see bodies, but we didn't know what had happened."

Another veteran, Davey Reynolds, 71, is the chairman of the Newcastle branch of the Northumberland Fusiliers Association. Davey, from Killingworth, said: "Those lads are never remembered on normal memorials, but they were very close comrades of everybody here today.

"There's a unique camaraderie which if you've never been in the army you wouldn't understand ( you rely on each other every day. That's why these days are important."

The only surviving member of the patrol was John Storey, from Tynemouth. Former colleague Tony Gosling, 59, said John was deeply affected by the loss of his comrades.

He said: "He was always quiet, but afterwards I think it affected him a lot. He doesn't come to these reunions ( I don't think he likes to." Douglas Nicholson, 65, also served in Aden. He said: "It does play upon you, the bad sights we saw, but we saw them, that's it."
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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Jun 22, 2006
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