“Immediately following the 1976 monsoon the Regiment took part in the hastily mounted anti-incursion operation as part of an attempt to stop a PLFO special force reaching the Eastern Area. FF were deployed in blocking positions west of the Hornbeam Line and it was during this period NQB Mohd Ali and Raa’id Peter Isaacs were sadly injured on old adoo mines.This operation was succeeded by the 1976 post-monsoon operation Op”Hashish Mahrouk” which we mounted in the Eastern Area in conjunction with KJ.There were no contacts with the adoo during the period and we established three positions in the area of the Jebel Hashib feature”
SAF Newsletter No 20 1977
Peter Isaacs came upon this website in November 2008 and has been good enough to give his permission for the following e-mails to be published. I have taken the liberty of inserting some hyperlinks into the body of his text. Adobe Reader is required for some links.
But back to Dhofar………I was told subsequently that my anaesthetist was the team dentist. Didn’t he do well!
Your explanation makes me wonder how anyone survives blast injuries.For a couple of years I kept in touch with the team that treated both Ali Mohammad and me at Queen Marys . Brian Andrews (now long retired) was the Orthopaedic surgeon. He told me that infection was initially their major concern but emphasised that the FST team had done an outstanding job.
Brian removed some pieces of plastic from my left leg in about 1988, and I had a similar procedure six months ago, this time it was a bone splinter. In both instances, cellulitis developed quite suddenly. In 1988, I was hustled off to see Brian Andrews very quickly and he operated the following day. In the most recent instance, my GP arranged immediate hospitalisation and I spent a week in an NHS hospital being fed large quantities of antibiotics. The inflammation subsided and I was discharged but it didn’t go away, so my GP arranged for me to see an orthopod. He took an x ray (not done in the NHS hospital despite my request and suggestion as to the cause of the infection), and operated 48 hours later. Splinter removed, infection ceased!
Please make whatever use you wish of my observations and of course, please include my thanks to the many people involved in saving my life.
The Soviet / Chinese PMN mine which is still the most common type of anti personnel mine encountered worldwide, very often kills its victims because of the amount of explosive it contains. . That makes it less effective in causing disruption as it is easy to leave a dead body behind, whereas recovering and treating a victim is far more costly in terms of resources required For that reason, more recently developed AP mines have less explosive content and are designed to disable, not kill – evil really, but realistic.
I have already mentioned my Baluch soldiers who provided immediate care but I must also thank Majors Mike Smith and Clive Ward who arrived on the casevac helicopter, walked across the mined area and then carried me back to the helicopter, the pilots Steve Watson and Paul Braithwaite, John Soul’s FST team, the donors who gave blood, the SOAF C130 crew who flew Ali Mohammad and me to Masirah, the SOAF staff who arranged for an RAF VC10 to be diverted to Masirah, the RAF medical team who quite by chance happened to be aboard, the VC10 flight crew that waited 24 hours for us at Masirah (with a load of families bound from Singapore to UK). the Customs staff at RAF Brize Norton who failed to find the bottles of booze the medical team hid under my blankets, the RAF ambulance crew who got lost en-route to Queen Marys Roehampton and to whom I offered some cash to pay for petrol in the event they needed to fill up. The Metropolitan Police car crew which found us and then escorted us with flashing blue lights and siren to Queen Marys. Registrar John Belsted who had been called from his bed to receive “two blokes the RAF are delivering in about an hour”. My wife and brother in law were there in the reception area having been warned by telephone call from my CO Jonathon Salusbury-Trelawny. How he had managed to get a connection from Salalah I do not know.
And then of course, Brian Andrews and the other specialists (eyes / hands / urinary) whose hands I passed through during the following months, the volunteer crew of the Isle of Wight ambulance who collected me from Queen Marys and took me home for Christmas where I met my two sons again.
Finally to the Commandant and staff at RAF Headley Court, particularly the Commandant who was tempted to throw me out after I hit the fire alarm during a rowdy dining in night in February 1977. He said I could be prosecuted for wasting the fire brigade’s time, I knew its members would be more interested in a couple of cases of beer.
The staff at Headley Court taught me that I could do a useful job and I was then able to persuade others too. I am eternally grateful to Colonel Malcolm Ward the then Director of Medical Services in Oman who decided that I was fit for duty and permitted me to rejoin the Frontier Force in Dhofar
Whilst in Oman earlier this year, I was talking to an American helicopter pilot who was en route to an oil field in Yemen. He asked me a question no one had asked before “Do you consider yourself lucky to have survived, or unlucky to have trodden on the mine?”After a moment, I replied, “Lucky to have survived”. Thanks to all those people mentioned above, I have subsequently lived an interesting life, and thanks to the Omani Government in the late 70s to mid 80s, was able to afford to educate my two sons. I now enjoy the company of seven grandchildren.
I hope I have given something of my life to the less fortunate, in return for the skill and kindness so many others have given me.
There are further bits of information on mines in the Royal Engineers section of this website.