Orders, Decorations and Medals (25 March 1997)

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Date of Auction: 25th March 1997

Sold for £600

Estimate: £600 - £800

The campaign medal awarded to Trooper A. G. Bembridge, 22 Special Air Service Regiment, one of three men killed during the attack on the Green Mountain in Oman

General Service 1918-62, 1 clasp, Malaya, E.II.R. (22960591 Tpr. A. G. Bembridge, S.A.S.) nearly extremely fine and a rare casualty

Footnote

Trooper A. G. Bembridge served with “A” Squadron, 22nd Special Air Service Regiment in Malaya, having joined from the Royal Artillery in which he served as a Bombardier. After completing his Training Operation he was employed for a short while on the M.T. and subsequently managed to get into “A” Squadron. He completed two operations in the jungle and even ventured to work on the 3-inch mortar when asked to. It was a new weapon to him but he soon picked up the hang of things and really carried his full share of weight. “A” Squadron’s operations in Malaya were abruptly terminated at the end of 1958, so that they could join “D” Squadron in the Oman. After a week’s very intensive training, “A” Squadron left Kuala Lumpur on 10th January 1959, arriving in Oman on the 12th. There could be no greater contrast than that between Malaya and Oman. No lush green vegetation with its numerous streams here. Only razor-backed ridges of knife-edged rocks existed, rising abruptly out of the desert.

After a few days to get acclimatised the squadron drove inland, and after a few incidents due to flooded wadis on the coastal strip, arrived at the ‘Jebel Akhdar’ or Green Mountain, the rebel stronghold. A night attack on rebel positions on the ‘Aqabat’ took place on the night of the 23rd/24th January. The position was captured at the cost of one trooper being wounded in the calf by a grenade fragment. The next night the squadron marched over to the other side of the Jebel to join up with “D” Squadron.

In the attack on the Green Mountain on 27th January, Bembridge was once again part of a 3-inch mortar team. What happened to this team cast a shadow over an otherwise brilliantly successful attack. A very unlucky bullet from a sniper hit a grenade, or possibly a spare 3.5-inch rocket or 3-inch mortar, carried in the Bergen on the back of Trooper Carter, also causing serious wounds to Troopers Hamer and Bembridge. The three casualties were evacuated by helicopter, in a brilliant piece of flying, carried out while mortar bombs were exploding all around. Luckily the choppers were not scratched and executed a superb evacuation from the only really level piece of ground on the way up. Unfortunately both Bembridge and Carter died from their wounds two days later. Hamer was luckier and he made a complete recovery in three weeks. Trooper A. G. Bembridge is commemorated by name on the famous clock tower at the Special Air Service Headquarters in Hereford.