Accounts of The Affair at Mirbat

There are a good number of accounts of the battle which have found their way into various books. They almost all describe the lower level personal events in the battle and can broadly be divided into accounts by those who took part in the battle and those who did not. They have been authored by both civilians and military from the rank of trooper to the rank of general.

As time has gone by, people are perhaps less constrained and more detail has emerged which now has perhaps cleared some of the muddied waters yet stirred them up as many of the accounts are at variance. There has perhaps also been a need to “set things straight” and counter some of the myths that may have arisen. Attention has also been drawn to the awards for bravery that were or were not made to those who actually took part in the battle. A great deal of bitterness and resentment has been expressed.

Rowland White’s account of Mirbat, “Storm Front “, gleaned from some of the participants, researched from records in the National Archives and also from other sources, fleshes out other accounts and examines both what happened in the locality of the fort during the battle but also the background to the insurgency. The references in the back of his book are an invaluable resource for anyone interested in the Dhofar war.

There are further details available from the National Archives in the recommendations for honours and awards for

                    Kealy                               WO/373/187
                    Takavesi                          WO/373/172
                    Bennett                            WO/373/172

The citation for Captain Mike Kealy has not been released by the MOD. It in fact contains no material extra to that in the recommendation.

I have appended a list of the various accounts all of which lie buried in books about either the SAS or the Dhofar War.

 

* took part in the battle

I have deliberately included several accounts or parts of them and leave it to the reader to interpret what is written. At the end of the day the inescapable fact is that the defenders of Mirbat aided by SOAF held off many times their number in a most extraordinary manner.