55 Field Surgical Team RAMC

Published Sources

There have now been a fair number of books written about the war in Dhofar. There have also been many references to the war in books that are mainly about the SAS. There are even now several that make reference to the FST.

There are also a number of websites that include details about the war in Dhofar. They also usually centre on the activities of the the Special Forces.

There are a number of references in the medical literature to events in different FSTs  by a number of authors.

This list consists of various accounts of Oman and of the war in Dhofar which give both background and detailed descriptions of that insurgency. They are all written by those whose points of view were from the government’s side except those by Professor Fred Halliday who at one time clearly favoured and wrote from the insurgents’ side. I understand that the views that he held then are not necessarily the views that he holds now.(He has passed away since this was written)

Some of these books are now out of print but can be obtained from specialist bookshops or from the Local County Library Service (even in  Norfolk where the Thetford Library Staff have been very helpful to me)

I would have liked to have published pages from some of these books but copyright rules apply and the cost of gaining permissions is outside my budget. Some magazines have been generous enough not to ask for a fee.

 I have simply listed those books that I have come across whilst researching material for this site. The Freedom of Information Act (FOI) has of course put a lot of material into the public domain relating to the war in Dhofar. Much of it released in 2005.

Lt Col J.H.G. Crompton of the MOD who compiled   “Historical details of the Dhofar campaign”  in neat blue ink from Serial 1 on 1st Oct 1970 to the end in 1977 has to be congratulated on that herculean task. (DEFE13/779 in TNA)

There is a great deal of detail especially in the references to other documents.

The Operation Record Books on RAF Form F540 give a good deal of “chatty” detail at unit level and some statistics about the FST.

Some information has come from the archive at the MEC at St Anthony’s College in Oxford. References to occasional pieces of material from Brigadier John Grahams papers are included in Timeline. These were released in 2003.

Relating to the war in Dhofar

AKEHURST, John

We Won A War”, . 
The Campaign in Oman 1965 -1975
Michael Russell (Publishing) Ltd  1982

ARKLESS, D.C.

“The Secret War – Dhofar 1971/72”
William Kimber – London

BLASHFORD-SNELL, John

“A Taste for Adventure”
There are about 25 pages of Chapter 4 which refer to his time in Oman on the Hornbeam Line.

CLAYTON, Anthony

“Battlefield Rations”
An entertaining book which covers the period from the Boer War to 2010 with an emphasis on the need for adequate calorie intake

COLE, Roger &
BELFIELD, Richard

“SAS Operation Storm”
Released on the 18th August 2011 and has had very mixed reviews.

de BASS, Bill

“The Butchers’s Bill”
SAF Association Journal March 2003

FIENNES, Ranulph

“Where Soldiers Fear To Tread”
Hodder and Stoughton  1975

GARDINER, Ian

“In the Service of the Sultan”
Pen and Sword books ISBN 1 844154 67 X
“A first hand account of the Dhofar Insurgency”

GERAGHTY, Tony

“Who Dares Wins”
The Story of the SAS 1950 -1980
Arms and Armour Press  1980

HIGGINS, Andrew

“With the SAS and other Animals”
The author was in the RAVC and attached to BATT  in Dhofar for a period of time in 1974. An excellent narrative which goes to show that there are other means of overcoming the enemy than simply shooting them.

JEAPES, Tony

“SAS Secret War Operation Storm”
Excellent book which give some background to the establishment of the firqas

LADWIG III,Walter C.

“Supporting Allies in a Counterinsurgency: Britain and the Dhofar Rebellion”
This work was written whilst he was an International Relations scholar at Merton College in Oxford.

McKEOWN, John

“The Dhofar War and Its Significance” A dissertation  written in 1981 in support of an M.Phil degree at Cambridge. This work, which was submitted for an M.Phil at Cambridge, is widely read on the East Coast of America.

MELSOM et al

“Battle Casualties”
Annals of Royal College of Surgeons. 1975 Vol 36 p289 – 302

NIVEN, B.M

“Special Men Special War”
Undoubtedly one of the best, if not the best, series of photographs to come out of the war in Dhofar. May be available through Amazon if you are very lucky.

PETERSON, J.E

“Oman’s Insurgencies”
Remarkable detail and useful as a book of reference. Saqi Books

RAY, Bryan

“Dangerous Frontiers”
A splendid book chronicling his time in Somaliland and Oman. Well illustrated and covering the time that the “Johnston FST” was in Salalah.

SAF Association Journal

There are many well illustrated articles about the war in Dhofar especially in the later editions.

SHARWOOD-SMITH, Geoffrey

“Anaesthetist in Salalah”
Experiences in a field surgical team
Anaesthesia   1976  Vol 31 Pages 1049 – 105

SIBLEY, Paul

“A Monk in the SAS”
This book has interesting descriptions of the firqas and whilst it does not cover the exact period of the Johnston FST it makes interesting  reading. The second edition has an account of his experiences in the NHS.

TAKRITI, Abdel Razzaq

“Monsoon Revolution”
A well researched book which is nevertheless biased and composed in a strange circumlocutory  English that makes it, at times, tedious to read.

THWAITES, P

“Muscat Command”
Peter Thwaites recollections of his two years in command of the Muscat Regiment. The book was completed by his former adjutant as PT died from renal insufficiency.

TUSON, M

A Mild Form of Insanity
Mike Tuson was one of the unfortunate people injured when an RCL round hit the officers’ mess patio on June the 8th 1972. He recalls the incident in the book and suggests that the anaesthetist/webmaster-to-be  made light of his predicament.

WHITE, Rowland

“Storm Front”
A huge amount of background research has gone into this book. It is reflected in the feel for the war that the author has achieved largely by the effective use of personal recollections obtained by interview combined with material from the official archives.

WINNER, P &
KENNEDY, MP

“Soldier “I”
This book includes a detailed account of the battle at Marbat by one of those who took part.

WORRAL, J.

“Statebuilding and Counterinsurgency in Oman.”
This a comprehensive and well written book with a set of notes at the back which amongst other details refers to dozens of references to “pieces” in the PRO at Kew. It is more than a good start for those wishing to peruse the original documents.

Relating to Oman and neighbouring States

BARTLETT, H

“The Pirates of the Trucial Oman”
An account of Oman and the Persian Gulf in the 1800s

BELHAVEN, Lord

“The Uneven Road”
A soldier’s account of the Protectorates before WW2 and an account of his part in WW2. An interesting and entertaining  tome.

BRENT, Peter

“Far Arabia”
An historical travelogue printed in 1978

CLEMENTS,F.A.

“Oman – The Reborn Land”
An account of Oman and the Renaissance

DICKSON, H.R.P.

“The Arab of the Desert”
A wonderful book about beduin life in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia just before WW2. My copy cost a fiver but it now sells on Amazon for anything up to £2000

KNOX-MAWER, J.

“The Sultans came to Tea”
An account of life in the Aden Protectorates by the wife of the chief magistrate in the years after WW2.; very readable.

PHILLIPS, Wendell

“Unknown Oman”
The Longman Group Ltd  1971

MORRIS, Jan.

“Sultan in Oman”
This entertaining and descriptive book relates the first journey of Sultan Said bin Taimur to the interior of his country in 1955. The journey was from Salalah to Muscat by car and Jan Morris went as a professional observer.

RABI, Uzi  

“The Emergence of States in a Tribal Society”
The author discusses Oman under the rule of Sa’id bin Taymur and terminates at the time of the Dhofar rebellion

WILKINSON, J.C.

“Water and Tribal Settlement in South East Arabia”
Pretty heavyweight and rather like wading through mud but interesting non the less.

Fiction

BARNETT, David

“Dust & Fury”
Woodfield Publishing West Sussex ISBN 1-903953-25-1       £15
“An epic novel set in the Sultanate of Oman” Not a “source” but an entertaining read

FIENNES, Ranulph

“The Feathermen”
An imaginatively written novel of “faction” which has caused controversy and considerable upset amongst most of those  who have any links with either the SAS or Oman. A film -“The Killer Elite” -based on the book , was released on the 23rd September 2011. In the Webmaster’s opinion- even with a pensioner’s discount – you would be far better satisfied with two pints of Greene King IPA.

GEORGE, Michael

“The War Quellers”
A novel about troubles in an unnamed Middle Eastern country which few will have difficulty in identifying.

Relating to the RAMC in general

BLAIR, J.S.G.

“The Conscript Doctors”
An entertaining compilation of the experiences of doctors who were called up to “get some in” and do National Service. It does go some way to examine the relationships between the National Service and the Regular members of the RAMC which was familiar to the Short Service Commission medical officers who joined up after National Service was abolished.

MAYHEW, Emily

“A Heavy Reckoning”
A truly remarkable book of war medicine and survival in Afghanistan and beyond. If you were to read only one book on the webpage I would suggest that you chose this one.

NICHOLL & RENNELL

“Medic”
A compelling book which reviews the immediate treatment of casualties at the point of injury by combat medics from Dunkirk to Afghanistan.

Relating to Military Matters

BISHOP, Chris

“Bell UH-1 Huey”
This short book does not deal in detail with the basic Hueys used in Dhofar but nevertheless is an interesting account of the American use of these aircraft with many illustrations.

CLARKE, Bob

“Jet Provost”
“The little plane with a big history”. A book for the true aviation anorak with a page devoted to Dhofar.

HENRY, Chris

“The 25-pounder Field Gun 1939-72”
The gun that made us all jump and rattled the shelves in the FST. A good well illustrated account of the gun in its various different guises.