His name was Jack Fletcher but his army pals all called him ( Fletch). A good looking well built soldier, 2401964 Corporal Jack Fletcher had been a member of the elite Royal Military Police unit stationed with the front line force known as the (Fire Brigade Unit) in Cherry Tree Camp, Colchester for about two years now.
He had left his home town of Winchester in 1964 to join up and had now been in the army for approximately six years, serving with the British forces in Germany, and the Far
East colony of Hong Kong with the Special forces on drug running border patrols in Hong Kong’s New Territories Communist Chinese border.
This special unit worked closely alongside the British SAS (Special Air Service), and were on a 24hour notice to fly out to any friendly country who had requested the need for military assistance.
Qaboos, the new Sultan of Oman was born in 1940 and had been privately educated in England after graduating from the Officers Military Training Academy at Sandhurst in Surrey. He had joined an Infantry regiment the 1ST Battalion Cameroonians, and after spending a year with them as a junior officer holding a staff appointment with the British army had returned to Oman only to be held as a virtual prisoner by his father Sa’id bn Taymur in the Royal Palace at Salalah. For six years he had been held prisoner but in July1970 soldiers who loyally supported him clashed with forces loyal to his father, and he managed to depose his father taking his place as the rightful Sultan of Oman.
The Sultan had gladly sold the rights to the oil fields which lay in the interior of Oman and the British oil companies had negotiated access routes to them with Al Sa’ad in a business meeting held in Muscat a few months earlier, but when the oil men went to explore the desert region for oil, they were attacked by the tribes whom the new Sultan considered to be rebels.
The oil companies immediately complained to the British Government , and at the request of the Sultan were now sending well trained and well armed troops to the region to secure the safeguard of the oil company workers.
Corporal Fletcher (Fletch) RMP, was now on imminent standby along with his RMP unit pals Corporals , Billy Crosby ( Bing), Robert Lang ( The Dog) six foot Steve Lanham conveniently nicknamed (Tiny), Paul Silver ( Sick Leave) Barry Harper known as ( Woody) , John Barnett (Torchy), Roger (Rasher) Bacon, and his best pal Sergeant William ( Bomber ) Hill.
The RMP Troop Commander Captain Graham Flowers, known to all his men as (Blossom), was a man about as far as you could possibly get away from a nickname such as Blossom. He had previously won the Military Cross for his heroism whilst serving with his RMP unit in Northern Ireland after being caught up in an ambush on the Irish Southern border, and saving the life of all the men under his command. Captain Flowers was a hard man but fair who commanded the respect of all the soldiers under him, although he was most certainly not a man to be crossed under any circumstances.
The men of ( Red Troop RMP) now under his command had a great deal of respect for their captain and would follow him without hesitation through hell or high water.
Sergeant William Bomber Hill had just been welcomed back to the unit after recently getting married to his young bride, Julie Bambridge who was the daughter of Major Peter Durham Bambridge, Bombers old Officer Commanding from his previous RMP unit stationed with 12 Brigade in Osnabruck Germany.
Bomber had met his new wife when his Officer Commanding and his family had been invited to a dance at the 12 Brigade Sergeants Mess Club, and they fell in love almost immediately. They had both recently spent three glorious weeks together on honeymoon in Cyprus, but it was now back to the grindstone for Bomber and he had to leave his new bride in Aldershot to live with her parents due to her father’s promotion ,as he was now the new Officer Commanding of 160 Provost Unit RMP stationed in Aldershot.
Sergeant Hill had only just arrived back at Cherry Tree Camp and not even had time to unpack his kit bag before the order was given to prepare to fly out immediately to the RAF garrison base compound at Salalah , Oman, in the Persian Gulf.
“All the vehicles ready to go Corporal Bacon,” shouted Captain Flowers as he walked briskly across the parade ground heading for the vehicle compound which was situated at the north end of the camp.
“Yes Sir, all your instructions have been carried out to the letter, and all the stores, food, equipment, and ammunition have been loaded as per your orders Sir”, stated Corporal Rasher Bacon.
“Where’s Sergeant Hill ?, Rasher ” “He’s in the Armoury issuing the weapons to Red Troop, Sir”. “Good job Rasher! Now you can make sure that bloody scrim net which is hanging off the top of the lead Land Rover is tide on securely before the dam thing spills out all over the road and causes all sorts of mayhem!”
“Yes Sir!, right away Sir!” said Corporal Bacon in his haste to reach the scrim net which was now literally hanging over the side of the Land Rover. Sergeant( Bomber ) Hill, and Corporal (Torchy) Barnett arrived back soon after carrying an arm full of weapons, consisting of 10 SMG’s ( Sub Machine Guns) 2 LMG’s( Light Machine Guns) and a box full of grenades.
“Torchy, get a couple of the lads to help, and put these weapons in the back of the 3 ton Bedford right away, there’s a good lad! “Ok Sarg, will do” shouted Torchy as he headed towards his pal Corporal Barry Harper ( Woody) who was throwing all the troops kit bags in the back of the truck. Corporal Harper was the Red Troop carpenter and there was nothing that he couldn’t make out of a piece of wood, hence his nickname (Woody).
Tiny slowly slid his long legs over the Bedford’s tailboard and dropped to the tarmac, and looking the RAF camp guard straight in his eye said in a low deep voice, “If you poke me again pal with that toy gun, I will shove it up your arse, twist it, and pull it out again!”
“Right lads,” shouted Bomber, “GRUB UP!” , just in time to take Tiny’s mind off his cramped right foot, and the annoying RAF camp guard who had sensibly decided to make a quick exit into the camp guardroom whilst he was still in one piece.
Before retiring to the Officers Mess Captain Flowers had left instructions with Sergeant( Bomber )Hill that after eating in the NAFFI ,the men were to get some rest in barrack room (A3 ) which had been put at their disposal by the RAF Camp Duty Officer, and the men were then to be woken at first light to board the Beverly troop plane which was due to take off promptly at 0600 hrs. After chow everyone clambered into their bunks to get their heads down and before long had drifted off into a deep sleep.