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The extremely rare and regimentally unique Aden operations Battle for the Dhala Garrison March 1966 Chestnut Troop Military Medal group awarded to Sergeant B.G. Harrison, Royal Artillery, who was serving with ‘A’ Battery - The Chestnut Troop, 1st ...

£12,000.00
Availability: IN STOCK
Product ID: CMA/30314
Condition: light contact wear, Good Very Fine
Description:

The extremely rare and regimentally unique Aden operations Battle for the Dhala Garrison March 1966 Chestnut Troop Military Medal group awarded to Sergeant B.G. Harrison, Royal Artillery, who was serving with ‘A’ Battery - The Chestnut Troop, 1st Regiment Royal Horse Artillery on operations in Aden during the period from mid 1965 through to mid 1967. It was for his actions with the Alkmaar Section of The Chestnut Troop when Sergeant in charge of the gun line during the Battle for the Dhala Garrison on the night of 28th to 29th March 1966 that led to his award of the Military Medal, the only such award to the Royal Horse Artillery for the campaign. During the action saw lasted for near enough eight hours, a force of some eighty dissident tribesmen, armed with mortars, rockets, machine-guns and rifles, attacked the Federal Regular Army camp at Dhala, and the sanger’s in which was guns were deployed were hit constantly by bullets. Through the action Sergeant Harrison was in control of the two guns, and was obliged to expose himself outside the protection of the sanger walls to check the accuracy of the laying of the guns and to exercise control of the gun position. On many occasions, when the position was being swept by heavy and accurate small arms fire, he stood on top of the sanger walls to make certain that the guns were acting correctly on their orders from the Command Post. The Section stood-to at 21.30 hours and was in action continuously until 05.30 hours, firing over 70 rounds per gun at no less than 20 separate targets. Harrison was forced to expose himself to the enemy fire in order to check the bearing and elevation of the guns on the many different targets, most of them close to occupied villages. Harrison had previously seen service in Cyprus during the EOKA Emergency and in Germany.

Group of 3: Military Medal, EIIR Dei.Grat. bust; (22850005 SGT. B.G. HARRISON. R.A.); General Service Medal 1918-1962, EIIR Dei.Grat. bust, 1 Clasp: Cyprus; (22850005 SGT. B.G. HARRISON. R.A.); Campaign Service Medal 1962, 1 Clasp: South Arabia; (22850005 SGT. B.G. HARRISON. RHA.), mounted court style as worn.


Condition: light contact wear, Good Very Fine.


Together with an original copy of The Gunner, Volume XLVIII No.11 for November 1966. Pages 285-286 detail Harrison’s award of the Military Medal, an image of the recipient in uniform being also included.


Brian Giles Harrison came from Egham, Surrey, and was a regular soldier who as a Sergeant (No.22850005) with the Royal Artillery, was present on active service in Cyprus during the EOKA Emergency at some stage during the period from 1st April 1955 to 18th April 1959. He was subsequently stationed in Germany.


It was however whilst he was serving with the 1st Regiment Royal Horse Artillery, whilst a serving member of “The Chestnut Troop” with whom he had been a member for some five years, that Harrison saw service in South Arabia during the operations in Aden which conflict began on 1st August 1964 and lasted through to 30th November 1967. “The Chestnut Troop” were deployed in Aden from mid 1965 through to mid 1967, being based mainly at Little Aden Barracks opposite the Marine Commando Barracks, through it also operated from Dhala, Musaymir, Mukeiras, and Habilayn.
On campaign the regiment deployed three batteries, namely Chestnut Troop, E Battery and B Battery. The regiment’s Radar Troop was also deployed there from September 1965 to June 1967. Chestnut Battery lost its Battery Commander, Major John Sharpe, during the operations owing to a helicopter crash. Also killed were the pilot, Captain Fleming, and the observer, Gunner John Cain.
For his part Harrison found himself based with The Chestnut Troop at Dhala, where he was Sergeant in charge of the gun line when he found himself involved in the Battle for the Dhala Garrison on the night of 28th to 29th March 1966, during which he won the Military Medal, the only award to the Royal Horse Artillery for the campaign.

The recommendation for his award reads as follows: ‘On the night of 28th/29th March 1966 a force of about eighty dissident tribesmen, armed with mortars, rockets, machine-guns and rifles, attacked the Federal Regular Army camp at Dhala. A section of The Chestnut Troop, 1st Regiment Royal Horse Artillery, formed part of the garrison of the camp. The enemy firing was continuous for over two hours, during which time one Federal Army soldier was killed and another wounded. The sangers in which was guns were deployed were hit constantly by bullets.

Through the action Sergeant Harrison was in control of the two guns, and was obliged to expose himself outside the protection of the sanger walls to check the accuracy of the laying of the guns and to exercise control of the gun position. On many occasions, when the position was being swept by heavy and accurate small arms fire, he stood on top of the sanger walls to make certain that the guns were acting correctly on their orders from the Command Post.

Sergeant Harrison gave no thought for his own safety, and his devotion to duty under fire was an inspiration to all on the gun position. It was very largely due to his example of steadiness and courage and to the thoroughness with which he performed his rank that the speed and accuracy of the artillery response was so outstanding.’

The attack actually laster for over two hours, and a considerable about of enemy fire was directed into the area of the Alkmaar Section of The Chestnut Troop with whom Harrison was specifically serving. The Section stood-to at 21.30 hours and was in action continuously until 05.30 hours, firing over 70 rounds per gun at no less than 20 separate targets. For most of the time the Section was under well-directed enemy mortar and small-arms fire which was hitting the gun sanger walls and the command-post. Harrison was forced to expose himself to the enemy fire in order to check the bearing and elevation of the guns on the many different targets, most of them close to occupied villages. As the regimental magazine ‘The Gunner’ for November 1966 states: ‘The accuracy and shooting through the action, and the high standard of drill on the guns, was due in great part to Sergeant Harrison’s devotion to duty regardless of his own safety.’

Harrison’s award of the Military Medal, originally recommended on 19th April 1966, was published in the London Gazette for 26th August 1966. In all only 11 Military Medal’s were awarded for the operations in Aden.