On parade in "Kenya kit" at snowy Barnard Castle
1st Battalion News: (Back Badge, June 1955)
The Battalion sent two advance parties to Kenya by air as far as Fayid and then by sea; the first party was an operations one, consisting of eight officers and Corporal Godwin under Major "Lakri" Wood, and the second was the normal administrative one under Major Peter Varwell. The Battalion finally left the snowy wastes of Barnard Castle on two special trains during the early hours of the 8th March 1955.
On arrival at Liverpool they boarded the ex-German vessel 'Empire Halladale.' Also on board were 90 R.A.F. personnel, who were going to Aden, and a number of families, about half of whom were destined for Kenya. The Battalion had been refused permission for their families go to out to Kenya.
Training facilities on the ship were extremely limited due to lack of deck space, but everyone had daily P.T. and trained in the mornings. Back Badge Day was celebrated with deck sports and various sideshows and inter-Company shooting at balloons of the stern of the ship. In the evening the officers gave a cocktail party which was followed by the Sergeants' Mess ball.
They arrived at Kilindini, Kenya at 0600 hrs on 31st March. The C-in-C, General Sir George Erskine, came on board and addressed the Battalion over the ship's tannoy system. After disembarking, the Battalion left Mombasa by train at 1330 hrs for the 380 mile journey to Nairobi. The Battalion arrived at Nairobi at 0900 hrs on the 1st April. After breakfast at the station they set off for Gilgil, arriving at 1630 hrs, where they relieved the Black Watch. The Gloucesters were part of the 49th Independent Infantry Brigade and were operating side by side with the Royal Irish Fusiliers. Three weeks of training began.
"Gilgil is a small untidy town in rolling plains 60 miles north of Nairobi and 15 miles west of the Aberdares. Much of the country is very like the Mendip Hills in Somerset, and we have not so far found our altitude depressing (6,500 ft). It has been raining in sheets each afternoon for the past week but, despite the mud, training continues with great enthusiasm and some success. The main camp has undergone a transformation since our flag was hoisted at the main gate. The majority of the Battalion are sleeping under canvas, but the cookhouse, ablutions, arms stores, Naafi and most offices are in permanent buildings. We fortunately have electric light and running water installed."
"At present the Mau Mau are trying to get food and to reorganise after the large-scale forest operations "Hammer" (Aberdares) and "First Flute" (Mt. Kenya). Because of our intensive patrolling in the forest areas many gangs are living in gullies on the plains, killing cattle on the large farms and forcing the native population to give them food at night. To stop this all the cattle are driven into compounds at night and guards placed over them, whilst villages and farm labour lines are often wired in and always protected by African guards. Thus the Mau Mau are forced to create incidents in order to get food, and life is becoming a very hungry business for them. We and the police send patrols and ambushes out each night. The only tribes really affected by the Mau Mau are the Kikuyu, Embu and Maru - low-type tribes. The finer tribes, such as the Samburu, Wakamba and Masai, are unaffected and are recruited for the police force out here."
Company Reports: (Back Badge, June 1955)
Company: O.C. Major F. Thorpe; 2 i/c Captain C.S. Rawlins; CSM WO2
"A" Company have been patrolling the gullies around Gilgil and have found hides and fires. When camped out one night they were approached by two people but the sentries did not open fire. The figures were too far away. The Company now had plans afoot to take the Band into the forest. Corporal Duckett led a most successful patrol recently and Captain Rawlins tells us that the fishing in the gorges is very good."
Company: O.C. Captain J.W. Ellis; 2 i/c Lieutenant M.M.A.
Gilmore; CSM WO2 Smythe.
"Heavy patrolling has been carried out in the aptly-named "badlands" west of Gilgil. The Company met with some success, Lieutenant Rudgard's patrol finding some terrorist equipment including a medical haversack which contained, amongst other things, a tin of Eno's Fruit Salts! Lieutenant Brasington's patrol found a hide with the fire still smoking, but in both cases the Mau Mau were not tracked. The badlands are floored with volcanic lava and tracking is all but impossible. Corporal Lyall, who has the distinction of being the first Gloucester to wound a Mau Mau whilst in the advance party, shot a large buck which was cooked on return to the Company camp, and Corporal Mellor scared the wits out of a herd boy who was in a place forbidden to all Africans. At the time of writing Lieutenant Rudgard's platoon has gone to the West Kipipiri to help farmers wire their labour in and Captain Ellis is busy planning another operation."
Company: O.C. Major P.G.H. Varwell; 2 i/c Lieutenant P.H. Fisher;
CSM WO2 Withey.
"To "C" Company falls the distinction of being the "Forest" Company - they will live on their own, far from the Battalion, and will operate in the forests until further notice. At present they have done no patrolling as there is some confusion between the Irish Fusiliers' boundaries and our own, but they are moving to a more spacious area next week. Life has not been without incident however. Colour-Sergeant Masters came under fire from an Irish patrol whilst driving to draw water. We hear that the truck was driven "blind" for some 30 yards. CSM Withey goes out after buck each night with great regularity, but with little success, and Corporals Simmance and Lines are trying out their new FN rifles - also on buck. The Company is 15 miles from the Battalion and thus preserves its somewhat revolutionary tradition."
Company: O.C. Major A.W. Hardick; 2 i/c Lieutenant R.A.F. Jarman;
CSM WO2 Baldwyn.
"D" Company is also happily installed, on the southern slopes of Kipipiri, but enjoys freedom of movement. At present they have four four-day patrols in the forest after a gang of 50 and stand a good chance of success. They are situated in a paddock next to a most hospital farmer, whose wife has six men to tea each day and who runs baths for the Company as well. CSM Baldwyn has instilled a noticeable spirit of savagery into his men; a spirit which redoubled overnight when a terrorist had the cheek to fire a shotgun at a sentry from a copse on the edge of the paddock. Unfortunately he got away. They will stay in their present position until the 10th May, when they rejoin the Battalion."
Company: O.C. Major P.W. Weller, MBE; MMG's Lieutenant G.F.B.
Temple, MC; A/Tank Lieutenant J.B. Henderson; MOR's Lieutenant R.M.
Lewis; CSM WO2 Morgan.
"Support Company is at present tramping through the Eburru Forest after a fortnight's training. The Mortars are finding plenty of targets but put up a major "black" last week when they bombed Lady Coles' pastures and are now looking for alternative targets. The Assault Pioneers and Anti-Tanks are now combined under Lieutenant J.B. Henderson, whilst the MMG's are still under the command of Lieutenant Temple, who is shortly to go as I.O. to the 39th Brigade."
Company: O.C. Captain H.W.P. Gallop; RSO Captain J.W. Allison;
MTO Captain P.R. Barker; QM Lieutenant C.W. Phillips; CSM WO2
"H.Q." Company is having a trying time due to the vast distances involved. The Battalion ration truck does 200 miles each day and most drivers have at least 100 miles of jolting and juddering each day too. These conditions have made the transport situation quite impossible and, despite the heroic efforts of Captain Barker and Sergeant Sexton, the odds on obtaining a truck are long. Signals, too, present a difficulty but are now functioning well. If our own system breaks down we can always fall back on police sets, whose performances are phenominal. The QM claims that the Command supplies are the worst ever, which is probably true as the Kenya Government are not free with expenditure. CSM Munro has great difficulty in raising enough men for parades and Colour-Sergeant Havelock Allen has been spending a hectic period in the Orderly Room during the absence of the ORQMS."
Trojan Team: A 4-man party stationed at Thomson's Falls.
"This is a small party of men under Sergeant Wateridge, MM. It operates in cloak and dagger fashion 45 miles from Gilgil and has obtained the first kill for the Battalion. On patrol they met four terrorists, one of whom is now very dead."
1st Battalion News: (Back Badge, December 1955)
The Battalion was engaged in four major operations since the last report: A two Company operation in the Badlands in May, "Operation Gimlet" in the Aberdares in May and June, "Operation Dante" in the "Bamboo Forest" in July and August and "Operation Rhino Lookout" on Kipipiri and adjacent ranges of the Aberdares in September. There were also constant patrols. The Nyali Leave Camp on the coast was very popular with the men. The decision was also made that wives could now go out and join their husbands in Kenya. The Battalion were to stay in the Rift Valley, based on Gilgil, as part of the 49th Independent Infantry Brigade (which inlcuded the 1st Bn King's Shropshire Light Infantry and 1st Bn Rifle Brigade). The other British battalions in Kenya were due to return to the UK shortly, even though an estimated 3-4,000 Mau Mau were left in the forest in small groups.
During surrender talks the Mau Mau were allowed sanctuary in an area of forest in the Eastern Aberdares. When the talks broke down in May "Operation Gimlet" was mounted to attack these gangs. The Gloucesters were to search east of Gilgil, with patrols operating at heights up to 13,000 ft. supplied by air drops. The Battalion's area was quiet. However, in early June a force of Mau Mau was located in a forested area near Gilgil. An operation was mounted using air support and the 3-inch Mortar Platoon, with "B" Company as the follow-up company, supported by the Assault Pioneer Platoon. The area was very difficult to operate in, but the gang was dispersed and some terrorist captured. More were rounded up by the Police and African Home Guards who had cordoned off the area.
15th July "Operation Dante" was launched against a force of terrorists in the Bamboo Forest (an area of thick bamboo on the southern end of the Aberdares). "A" Company took part in the operation, but the nights were moonless and the bamboo so thick that it made locating targets very difficult. On 9th August the Battalion returned to Gilgil.
30th August "Operation Rhino Lookout" was mounted on Kipipiri. A patrol from "A" Company, led by Corporal Parker, made contact with a gang at night and killed and wounded several of them.
Meanwhile, "C" Company continued to operate in the forests. They accounted for several notorious gang-leaders. The worst of the gang-leaders, "General" Ngome (who was responsible for several murders), was killed by a patrol from "S" Company, led by Corporal Dowler. An ambush by a patrol from "D" Company, led by 2nd Lieut. Boyce, was set up on a bridge. They hit a gang there and killed the leader and guide, wounded another and scattered the gang. Over the next few days the gang was rounded up. "D" Company were to go to Nairobi for a month's duties in October.
Company Reports: (Back Badge, December 1955)
"A" Company: "The Company has undergone many changes since we arrived in Kenya, and will soon be unrecongisable from the white-kneed band of heroes that came to Gilgil on April Fool's Day. Upon arrival amongst the dust-devils of Gilgil we settled down to training. We soon left the Battalion to keep the peace at Ol Kalou, where, with long pauses for operations, we lived in luxury for two months. Time was found to patrol and wire cattle pens in between cinema shows and visits to local farmers. At Ol Kalou we were very sorry to lose Colour-Sergeant Stephens, who was replaced by Colour-Sergeant Argyll. We now have the pleasure of congratulating both on their promotion to CSM, and CSM Stephens is on his way to Company HQ. Also at Ol Kalou we welcomed Lieut. Rebbeck, 2nd-Lieut. Howarth, Sergeant Harper and Sergeant Franklin. At the same time we parted company with Lieut. Hurford Jones and 2nd-Lieut. Hallward, who now devotes much of his time to the Battalion film record and is shortly to go home on release. We are now back in Gilgil, but spend more time on operations than in camp.
"B" Company: "Since the last report "B" Company has once again had a change of commander; we welcome back Major Wood. We have also welcomed Sergt. Bassett from the QM Stores. We have said goodbye to Sergt. Russell, who goes as PSI to the 5th Battalion at Gloucester. The Company left Gilgil at the beginning of June to take part in operations in the Aberdares. At the beginning of July we moved down to Ol Kalou, a small town about 20 miles north of Battalion HQ at Gilgil. One platoon remained in the Malewa Gorge until the end of the month. We live in the grounds of the Ol Kalou Country Club which sounds more luxurious than it is in fact; most of the accommodation is tented although their are buildings used as a canteen and arms store. Every afternoon without fail there is a rain storm which turns the camp into a muddy mess. Our main task is to support the Civil Adminstration. A good deal of time has been spent in night ambushes, with two patrols accounting for killed and wounded terrorists, led by Lieut. Brasington and Corporal Hadrell. A Battalion sports meeting was held at Gilgil in June and the Company did well to come second to "HQ" Company.
"C" Company: "Since the last report "C" Company has killed many more terrorists than the rest of the Battalion put together. Admittedly, we have had more opportunity than any other company. The Company has moved several times, but we have been camped since June on a farm on the southern end of Mount Kipipiri. The owners, Major and Mrs. Reynard, have been extremely kind in providing baths and teas to members of the Company every day. We are very sorry to lose Corporals Lines and Tack, who left in July. Colour-Sergt. Masters, too, had to leave us because of his wife's illness. Colour-Sergt. Stephens is now with us to fill the gap. We congratulate him on his promotion to CSM and will be sorry to lose him to "A" Company in October. Corporal Middleton was seriously wounded when his patrol was mistaken for a Mau Mau by a farmer. He is now in England where we wish him a quick recovery and a speedy return. Private Collins was accidentally wounded in the foot by a member of his patrol. He is now on the coast recovering and we shall be welcoming him back soon. We welcomed Lieut. Hurford-Jones from the R.A.R. but he is soon to go on a mortar course in England. 2nd Lieut. Shaw joined us from Eaton Hall. Lieut. Fisher is going home in December to the Boy's Battalion at Plymouth, and 2nd Lieut. Rudd is leaving for Johannesburg on finishing his N.S. The Company took part in Operation "Gimlet" and had to climb to the summit plateau of the Aberdares, 12,400 ft high, and to operate there for three weeks in a wet and chilly climate. The only enemy seen were herds of elephants, rhino and buffalo, which were far more dangerous than the elusive Mau Mau. 2nd Lt. Rudd and some of No. 7 Platoon formed a reserve back at base and had all the fun, killing a number of terrorists not far from Company HQ. We also took part in Operations "Royal Flush", "Dante and "Rhino Lookout." No. 7 Platoon was detached from June to August. Conditions have been very trying at our Company base, with 4 or 5 hours of rain every afternoon the whole place has turned into a swamp. But as we write, the sun has appeared for the first time in some days and looks like staying for a bit."
No. 7 Platoon on patrol led by an African tracker. Lieut. Rudd and Ptes Brintsworth and Freeman.
"D" Company: "It was with regret that we said goodbye to Major A.W. Harwicke and also CSM Baldwyn. Major Hardwicke takes over HQ Company and CSM Baldwyn goes to the Depot, Gloucester as Training CSM. In their place we welcome Capt. A.D. Lennard and CSM Argyll. Lieut. Jarman and 2nd-Lt. Lefroy-Owen have also left us. 2nd-Lieuts. MacKean and Evans join us from Eaton Hall as commanders of No. 12 and 10 Platoons. We have now embarked on another operation entailing an initial march up the escarpment, eastward of Ol Kalou, a rise of some 3,500 ft.
"H.Q." Company: "Most of the Company remains at Gilgil, but there are detachments from the Signal Platoon and MT out with the rifle companies. Major Gallop handed over the Company to Major A.W. Harwicke, and took up the duties of Training Major. On the sporting side, we have won the Inter-Company Athletic Cup. Since the ban on families joining us has been lifted, there has been great activity of harassed husbands hunting for houses.
Intelligence Section: "Our duties range from interrogation of Mau Mau prisoners to convincing company commanders that the maps they want are out of print. The enemy is extremely cunning yet ridiculously comic in many ways. They keep diaries, recording their raids and crimes, including lists of gangs and promotions. Mau Mau is a religion, a foul and perverted fanaticism based on superstition. Some captured terrorists will actually lead a patrol back to their own gang and watch their former comrades being attacked with relish. Others show extraordinary courage. The end of the Emergency seems to be in sight, but there will be an awful mess to be cleaned up afterwards. The political scene is fraught with ecenomic difficulties, racial controversy, and a wealth of conflicting opinions, even among the Europeans."
Signal Platoon: "At the end of our first month in Kenya we were firmly of the opinion that we should hand over our wireless equipment and concentrate on Smoke Signals. Now, at the end of six months, we can get Radio Nairobi loud and clear even if we can't get the companies. The part of Gilgil camp allotted to us is named Alexandra Palace. One of the techniques to minimise noise has been to sink all company wireless sets and operators in immense pits. This is not popular with the operators; however they are fortified with the hope that they may one day strike oil."
M.T. Platoon: "The Platoon has worked very hard since it has been in Kenya. Each vehicle averages 2,500 miles per month. The road surfaces are very bad, varying from tarmac and murram to mere jungle tracks."
Support Company: "Lieut. Henderson leaves us soon to attend a Signal Course in the UK. In his place we welcome 2nd-Lt. L.A. Crush, who has just arrived from England."
MMG Platoon: "We continue to operate in an Infantry role. We relieved the Assault Pioneer Platoon in the Eburru Forest in April but we had no success. We took part in Operation "Dante" and on the first day a small gang approached our platoon base. However, someone clicked a rifle bolt and in a flash the gang was gone. Capt. Temple left us in early May, he is now I.O. of 39 Brigade. Capt. Matson arrived from the UK and is now commanding."
3-inch Mortar Platoon: "We took part in Operation "Dante" and are now back in Gilgil. We were sorry to lose Private Gardiner as the result of an accident while firing on Kipipiri, when he lost his right hand. He is back in England now and we wish him the very best of luck."
Assault Pioneer Platoon: "After 3 weeks training at Gilgil, on 20th April we moved to the Eburru Forest by night and started operating the next morning at first light. We had no success while we were there, but we learned a lot. After a period back at Gilgil we repaired bridges on the Kipipiri road. A patrol was sent into the Eburru Forest again and it was there that we had our first success. A large gang was bumped and a self-styled General Ngome was killed and 4 others wounded. Another task given to us was transporting poles and wire to farms in the Gilgil district and the erecting of farm fences. During this task a most regrettable accident ocurred when a lorry loaded with heavy poles, overturned and Private Lanchbury was killed. He was buried with full military honours at Nairobi. Acting as a rifle platoon we took part in Operation "Dante." We welcome to the platoon Sergt. Clayden, MM, an ex-machine gunner who served in Korea."
1st Battalion News: (Back Badge, June 1956)
At the end of January all companies, except "C" Company, were based at Gilgil. Duties were confined mainly to patrolling mainly in the forest on Kipipiri. The two largest clubs in Nairobi and Nakuru offered military membership to the officers and the East African Women's League ran a club in Nakuru for the other ranks; they also provided a Christmas parcel for the men. Touring parties staged shows for the troops, including Terry Thomas and Jimmy Edwards.
Company Reports: (Back Badge, June 1956)
"A" Company: "Our first move was to Forest Gate, wedged between the towering and rugged heights if the Aberdares and the tangled slopes of Kipipiri. The country was more open than other parts of the forest and gangs had plenty of observation points from which they could not fail to see a patrol coming in daylight. All too often we found a hide evacuated the same day with tracks leading miles away. Night patrols were sent out, but they were only profitable when the moon was bright. The next move took us to the other side of Kipipiri, to Forest Department Buildings. A patrol under 2nd Lieut. Hazell returned with a captured terrorist. Back to Gilgil for Christmas. But the New Year was rudely interrupted by a large gang of terrorists who had established themselves in a papyrus swamp near Naivasha. This was an uncomfortable place, men standing soaked in the swamp among leeches, rain and mud. Each man had a sector to guard and before him was a wall of thick, silent papyrus, which may have contained Mau Mau. After four weeks in the papyrus a tired but cheerful Company returned to Gilgil and patrols went back into the Aberdares. A patrol disturbed a gang and all six were captured. On 12th March the tragic deaths occured of Lieutenants Hazell and Gordon in a car accident. A strong contingent of "A" Company attended the funeral and every man in the Company mourned the loss of two popular officers. Our commander, Major Thorp, has retired to farm in Kenya and his successor, Captain Rawlins, is also retiring to take up law in Kenya. Lieut. Lewis is staying in Kenya to finish his service and then to become a local farmer. We were told in April that we would be going to Nairobi, but news came through to be ready to move to Aden."
"B" Company: "B" Company joins the rest of the Battalion in extending sympathy to the families of the officers who died in the fatal car accident. One of the officers, 2nd Lieut. Chris Brasington, had until December served with the Company. We left our base at Ol Kalou in November and made camp at the foot of Kipipiri, a forest covered mountain rising to over 10,900 ft. Despite extensive patrolling we made very few contacts. On New Year's Day we were involved in Operation "Bulrush" in the swamps around Lake Naivasha. Of the numerous terrorists killed and captured, No. 6 Platoon had a success when they accounted for a Mau Mau who hit a trip-flare in the early hours of the morning. The Platoon Commander, 2nd Lt. Rudgard, quickly felled him with a burst from his Patchett. Since January the Company has been operating from Gilgil. The Company Commander, Major W.A. Wood, has been sent on leave and courses in the UK. Our new Commander, Major Reeve-Tucker, joins us in Aden."
"C" Company: "In the third week of November the Company left Reynard's Farm to rejoin the Battalion. The tedium of life at Gilgil was broken when we were called back for a week to sweep the cornfields of the Kinangop, where some pilot was supposed to have seen some bandits lying up. We found nothing. We were supposed to go to Nairobi for the month in January to do a tour of duty guarding the C-in-C and escorting children to school in buses. However, on 30th December the Company was called out to cordon off a section of the Naivasha swamp. We only stayed there two days and then thankfully we returned to Gilgil and then to Nairobi to do guard and bus duties. But after only three days we went back to the swamp for a further three weeks. After these efforts in the swamp, the Company had an extra fortnight in Nairobi. In mid-February we returned to the forest, taking over Pencil Slats Camp from Support Company. In the first week, a patrol under Capt. Barker managed to eliminate four terrorists. We have welcomed 2nd Lieuts. Yeaman and Logie to the Company, though the former has already gone to the mysteries of the Intelligence Section, the latter now commands Platoon No. 7. Now we are returning to Gilgil. We are quite sorry to leave the forest and the heat of Aden does not sound nearly as attractive."
"D" Company: "On the 12th March 2nd-Lt. Evans was killed in a motorcar accident between Nakuru and Gilgil. He was one of our most popular officers and a great loss to the Company. 2nd-Lieut. Lapage-Norris, who had only recently joined us, was badly injured in the same accident, but is making a good recovery. In addition we wish Lance-Corporal Caines a speedy recovery from his accidental wound received during Operation "Full Stop." Major Radice has joined the Company as Commander. We welcome 2nd Lieut. Tayler to No. 11 Platoon, Lt. Istead (Queen's on attachment) and 2nd-Lt. Mackenzie Ross (Royal Hampshires). The latter two will only have a short stay. We also welcome Capt. Lennard as 2 i/c. During October we were in Nairobi on guard duties at the C-in-C's residence. This entailed a ceremonial guard mounted daily. We also escorted school buses, which was a most popular duty. In early November we moved back to the foot of the Aberdares in the Wanjohi Valley below Forest Gate. Here two platoons lived in a barn and the rest in tents. Our task was to patrol a large area of the Aberdares. In December we took part in Operation "Wheatsheaf" which was designed to search all standing crops for terrorists. Day after day we tramped out to a selected area of wheat, swept in and discharged our stens into the crops. Just before Christmas news came that we were to move to Gilgil in the New Year. But on 2nd January the Company was rushed down to Operation "Bulrush" in the swamps around Lake Naivasha. The area was cordoned off, with 3-men posts about 50 yards apart. Trip-flares were laid along the whole front and the cordon maintained for three weeks. Slowly the cordon was tightened and eventually 200 Watu tribesmen joined us to sweep the area and we found nothing at all. Although the Company had no luck, about half of the terrorists in the swamp were accounted for. We left the swamp on January 22nd and moved to Gilgil. Then in March came our last operation in Kenya. Operation "Full Stop" was designed to throw a stop line round a large portion of the bamboo forest, into which then plunged large numbers of bushwhacking Watu with yellow head bands to stir up the terrorists and drive them into the stops. The Company held eight and a half miles of front with 2,300 Watu, in white head bands, under command. There had been heavy rain and the Matara track was very muddy. As a result, two platoons had to march into position, leaving their stores by the side of the track until mules and vehicles could bring them up. The men were again split into three. The Watu were in groups of five every 30 yards or so. Each soldier post controlled about 50 Watu. Company HQ was established just outside Fort North, an old police patrol base. At each platoon HQ palaces of bamboo sprang up which became know as Taylerville, Fort Knox, etc. The Watu were set to cutting back the forest and erecting an obstacle. Hadian's Wall had nothing on "D" Company's in the end. Officers, NCOs and men walked miles by day and night in rain and sun, in dust and mud, prodding, pushing and cajoling the Watu. Eventually they got the form and some posts were every bit as alert as our own and also indulged in mammoth salutes or presenting of spears. News of our move to Aden arrived and we were halfway through handing over our line the KSLI when the Operation ended. We packed everything up and moved back to Gilgit."
HQ Company - "During the past six months the Company have continued to maintain and staff the Battalion base at Gilgit. For a period in January a large part of the Company was committed to Operation "Bulrush" and the remainder carried out guards and tracker patrols. Major A.L.W. Soames has been posted to command the Depot and Major W.A. Wood will take over. The Band leaves for the UK about the same time as we leave for Aden and we wish them every success for the summer home and pleanty of recruits. The Drums come with us to Aden."
M.T. Platoon - "As we are well on with packing our cases, it is with regret that we say goodbye to many old faces, including our MTO, Major A.E. Strange, who is going to command "A" Company, and Sergt. Sexton is leaving for a tour with the "Jambo Boys" (KAR)."
Support Company - "Since the arrival of machine guns in the Company we have attempted to operate in the dual role of rifle and specialist company. In November we were in the forest on the Western Aberdares for three months. Major Weller left us before Christmas to attend a course. Lieut. Lewis left in January for "A" Company, Lieut. Hurford-Jones is welcomed as his replacement. We also say farewell to 2nd Lt. Falkiner and seven other stalwarts, including Sergt. Addy, who are going to Wessex Brigade. We will be sorry to leave Kenya, but preparations for the move to Aden are at an advanced stage."
Machine Gun Platoon - "We have become the proud possessors of two very old but workable machine guns; they have no dial sights and we have been doing indirect shooting in the old style with direction dials and clinometers. We spent several months at Pencil Slats, at the foot of the Aberdares. Corporal Bishop commanded an ambush that accounted for a notorious gang leader, one General Kababei, and his second-in-command. We took part in Operation "Bulrush" and our two guns fired over 70,000 rounds into that swamp. Now we are back at Gilgil and shortly to leave Kenya."
Assault Pioneers Platoon - "The Company left for Pencil Slats in early November. A patrol under Lieut. Crush wounded and captured two, with the help of the police. We returned to Gilgil to pack for Aden.
3-inch Mortar Platoon - "After Operation "Dante" we had a rest up in the Geta Mills to show the Assault Pioneers how to build roads and bridges. We returned to Gilgil. In November we moved to Pencil Slats and took part in Operation "Atlas" on top of the Aberdares. We took part in Operation "Bulrush" and loosed off 15,000 bombs and killed one Mau Mau. We have lost such stalwarts as Sergt. Coade, Corpl. Birkenshaw, Pte Crawley and many others to Civvy street. Sergt. Buckley then went to MT, taking over as MT Sergt. from Sergt. Sexton. Congratulations to Corpl. Wansborough and L/Cpl. Ford upon their promotions.
1st Battalion News: (Back Badge, December 1956)
The journey from Kenya to Aden was made by air. The last night in Kenya was spent in an aircraft hangar of the RAF at Eastleigh. Brigadier C.H.P. Harrington, DSO, OBE, MC, commander of our Brigade, was there to bid the Battalion farewell. The Battalion flew to Khormasksar, Aden and went under canvas at the RAF camp there.
The Regiment had no battle casualties, however the following died during the operations:
Roll of Honour
Private Lanchbury - 9th
May 1955 (Assault Pioneer Platoon - lorry accident)
23225496 Private K. Clifford - 22nd September 1955
23006085 Private K. Mullineux - 25th October 1955
2/Lt. C.C.G. Brassington - 12th March 1956 (motorcar accident between Nakuru and Gilgil, died at Nakuru Memorial Hospital)
2/Lt. A.M.B. Evans - 12th March 1956 (motorcar accident between Nakuru and Gilgil accident)
2/Lt. M.A. Hazell - 12th March 1956 (motorcar accident between Nakuru and Gilgil accident. From Cinderford, Glos.)
2/Lt. W.J. Gordon - 12th March 1956 (motorcar accident between Nakuru and Gilgil accident. Kenya Regiment, attached Glosters)
Awards for Kenya:
Lieutenant C.W.E. Coppen-Gardner,
Gloucestershire Regiment - Military Cross.
"2nd Lieut. Coppen-Gardner has operated consistently against the Terrorists, displaying the greatest determination, bravery and skill since 9th May 1954. His cheerfulness and indomitable leadership have led to many successful contacts, often under the most arduous conditions. He has accounted for several terrorists personally. On 5th February 1955, on information of a raid on Kagio village he, with three Askaris, tracked the gang that night and most of the following day over extremely rough and broken country. He made contact in a well concealed and defended "hide" to which there was one approach through a tunnel. Under fire from a precision weapon he led his men into the "hide". The gang had dispersed leaving all the articles stolen from Kagio and numerous blood stains. On 12th February 1955, he received information of the theft of 20 cattle from Kagomo in the Embu Division. He tracked the gang in a most determined manner over approximately 9 miles of reserve and then some 7 miles of forest, over most difficult country. He brought his patrol to successful contact, killing 2 terrorists, recovering 2 precision rifles, 28 rounds of ammunition and all the cattle. Through his complete disregard of adverse conditions, his boldness and extremely skilful handling of his Askaris, he has inflicted heavy casualties on the terrorists. He has constantly displayed the highest qualities as an officer and has become an inspiration to all with whom he comes into contact."
Captain C.W. Phillips - the M.B.E.
Mention in Dispatches: Major P.J.H. Varwell. 2nd Lieutenant J.R. Shaw. Sergeant D. Simmance.