SCLI Bob Bogan BEM. MSM.

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Somerset & Cornwall Light Infantry

Bogan's Heroes and a whole lot more.

Foreword by Keith

This section of the website is to record the service life of quite an extraordinary man who became a soldier in 1952 and served in at least five regiments. His service was exemplary and generated huge respect from all who knew him and served with him.

He has entrusted me with all his service files, pictures and letters for me to use as I see fit, I will try and do it all justice and very much hope the reader will be as impressed as those who served with him.

Colour Sergeant Bob Bogan BEM. MSM. died on November 8th 2015 aged 81.

Bobby Bogan was born in 1934 in Co. Durham, he enlisted at Middlesborough on 12th September 1952 with the Durham Light Infantry.

There followed service in the Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry, Somerset & Cornwall Light Infantry, Kings Shropshire Light Infantry and The 1st Light Infantry. He has been detatched to Aden Protectorate Levies and Libya Army, Aden Police Special Units and Small Arms School Corps.

He has seen service in many countries of the world including, BAOR, Norway, Canada, Gibraltar, Malta, Libya, Egypt, Kenya, Northern Ireland, Belize and The West Indies. He has recruited at Newcastle, Hartlepool, Middlesborough and Bishop Auckland and has represented his battalion at Football, Cross Country, Boxing and Tug of War.

He speaks Arabic, German and he claims English, two of his sons were in the army, one in REME and the other in Royal Signals. He was awarded the British Empire Medal in February 1967 for Gallantry and for his work in Aden and South Arabian States. He holds The General Service Medal with Two Bars for Northern Ireland and South Arabian States, also the Long Service and Good Conduct Medal in 1974. He was awarded The Meritorious Service Medal in 1985 and served a total of 32 years.

The regiment moved to Aden in April 1966, lifted by the RAF from Lyneham. Some lucky groups got to fly in brand new Vickers VC 10's in one hop, while those not lucky enough had to go in Bristol Brittannias via Istanbul and Bahrain. Lovely safe aircraft but low and slow.

The whole battalion took up this posting and were accommodated in Radfan Camp which was a tented site on the sandy stretch between the sea and Sheikh Othaman - Khormaksa / Crater road. Just a small rear party was left at Gravesend to look after the barracks.

A Mountainous terrain, brutal climate and fierce local tribesmen, well armed and prepared to fight to the death were a culmination of ugly characteristics facing British troops, as the Arabs battled for the independence of Aden.

The small British protectorate on the southern tip of Saudi Arabia, first saw conflict in 1964, when the people of Radfan, north of Aden, became increasingly influenced by the nationalist Arab movements surrounding the tiny state.

Situated more than 60 miles north of Aden, the Quteibi, lbdali and Bakri tribes traditionally supplemented their income by looting travellers on the Dhala road which connected Aden to the state of Yemen. Now with the support of extremists called the Aden National Liberation Front, they were armed and willing to join the struggle to force the British to withdraw from the colony.

Aden Town: Battalion sectors of responsibility
These are the various organisations hoping to control Aden/South Yemen when the British left

PSP - People's Liberation Party - NLF - National Liberation Front - OLOS - Organisation for the Liberation of the Occupied South - FLOSY - Front of the Liberation of the South Yemen


This map shows the various States that made up the Aden Protectorate as it was until the British left the area in 1967.

Very unfortunately the regiment suffered two losses in Aden, Cpl. Collings and Pte Oakley. Cpl. Roy Collings died "up country" in the Radfan Mountains, there were always a few groups away from the battalion on remote area duties in the hills to the north and on some remote airfields guarding RAF bases. Roy Collings died as a result of the Land Rover he was travelling in, it hit a mine on a track in the area of Mukieras. Barry Gunner and Chad Lobb were seriously injured in this incident, Roy was a very popular member of the regiment and was well renowned for his running abilities. Roy rests in Silent Valley, the British Cemetery in Aden, at the funeral armed senties were posted around as it was not a secure place and was subject to sniper fire from the hills.

Private Oakley became a casualty in the Sheik Othman or Mansoora area, he was in the first vehicle of the usual two vehicle patrol. A grenade (probably a Mills 36) got him with a piece of shrapnel in the head. He died a couple of days later in the British Military Hospital Aden.

Bob Bogans Work in Aden.
The Arab was a British Soldier - Cloak & Dagger stuff in Aden.

Bob Bogan arrived in Aden on March 11th 1966 and was posted to The Arabic Language School to study Arabic, but his activities soon became widely known.

Headlines in newspapers in UK.

"Roaming Arab gets BEM" - At constant risk to his life Sgt. Robert Bogan spent seven months in the back streets and alleys of Aden tracking down terrorists.

He led a small group of men (Recce Platoon) whose task it was to catch terrorists, he was so successful - colouring of hair and skin and going out in disguise that he became a marked man, three times he was subjected to grenade attacks. On one occassion a terrorist was caught creeping up behind the squad, all this took place in the filthiest parts of Aden, hiding in the sewers and shadows, always in danger.

Sat outside "Coffee Shop" at Grenade Corner. Not a place for tea and toast at 4:30pm.

Pte Thomas 49, L/Cpl Les Summers in normal ambush positions in sewerage drain
We even stunk like terrorists, or oops, Local Nationals, we did not wash our civilian/Arab gear. The dogs did not bark at us or the camels cough and become restless, so we moved unheard, unseen, at night in the back alleys and dirty sewers - squashing thousands of cockroaches as we moved.
Special Branch Squad - Aden 1966
Back row L/ R - Cpl Lethbridge, Ptes Fleet & Robinson, L/Cpl Cheek, L/Cpl Summers, Pte Thomas.
Front row - Pte Smith, Cpl Ovenden, Ptes Stone & Lillington, Sgt. Bob Bogan, L/Cpl Prosser, Pte Stuckley
Not in picture, on duty or in hospital due to grenade wounds: Cpl Hawkins, L/Cpl Ames, Ptes Pinder, Aldworth & Coles.
Bob writes: "All these are the men who set up "Two man ambushes" in the open sewers and dark alleyways of Sheik Othman, all alone, no radios, surrounded by thousands of Arabs. Most were only 18 or 19 years of age, I was not their Sergeant at 34years, they were my children, I was their Dad. I worried every night about their safe keeping. I was so privileged and honoured to have served with them and be accepted by them. 1 - BEM 7 - CinC Commendations to our little band"
Sheik Othman. If I recall correctly the white building with the tower (centre bottom half) is the Police Station with the main street crossing left to right and the market up the road to the left of the
police station. I should remember, Sid Ovenden and I were banged up in there
one night. (Terry Cheek)
Grenade corner Sheikh Othman(BBogan
Sgt Bob Bogan BEM.and Sgt Peter Slade ( LI Som Office)
This message was sent to Bob Bogan from his men on the Recce Platoon, he writes - "This is the most important and precious letter in this book, and more important than "The Queens" to me. It came from my mates, my friends! We were there together. A humble Thanks R Bogan".
Sgt. Robert Bogan (right with Sgt. Peter Slade holding some of the "trophies" they brought back from Aden - grenades captured from terrorists.

The Recce Platoon had a great job on this posting, they were almost always in civvies and doing their own thing, they were known as "Bogans Heroes", he was Plt. C/Sgt. They had a couple of dubious looking civilian vehicles that Signals had rigged up with radios, and were forever off on some secret squirrel operations with big grins on their faces. Of course, as with all elite forces, they came in for a fair bit of derision and piss taking by the other 'normal lads', but they got good results and were admired by all ranks. Bob Bogan was known to the Arab World as "Radfan"

St. James's Palace, London S.W.I.
28th February 1967.
The QUEEN has been graciously pleased to approve the award of the British Empire Medal for Gallantry (Military Division), to the undermentioned in recognition of Gallant Conduct in Aden:

22822437 Sergeant Robert BOGAN of The Somerset and Cornwall Light Infantry

British Empire Medal for Gallantry (Military Division)

The British Empire Medal is made of silver. On the obverse is an image of Britannia surrounded by the motto, with the words "For Merituous Service" at the bottom; on the reverse is George V's Imperial and Royal Cypher, with the words "Instituted by King George V" at the bottom. The name of the recipient is engraved on the rim.


Bob Bogan's SCLI Medals

LtoR: BEM with crossed Oak Leaves, GSM 2 Bars (Northern Ireland/South Arabia),MSM Meritious Service, LSGC Long Service Good Conduct Medal.


Sergeant' Bogan was the sergeant in charge of the Special Branch Squad during the battalion's emergency tour in -Aden. This squad was on call for the use of the Aden Civil Police Special Branch for twenty-four hours of every day and operated all over Aden State and across the border in Lahej State.

Potentially very dangerous, these operations required a high degree of military skill, leadership and team work. Due to the personal leadership, drive and professional courage of Sergeant Bogan this Squad was very successful in its anti-terrorist activities. On the nights that this squad was not being used by Special Branch, Sergeant Bogan was responsible for siting two man ambushes in the ill-lit back alleys and sewers of Sheikh Othman, to cover the principal throwing areas. His untiring energy and imagination in conducting this small squad was far in excess of that expected by a Non Commissioned Officer of his rank and experience. In his determination to capture terrorists he coloured his face and hair in order to be more unobtrusive at night and frequently exposed himself to great personal danger.

He was himself the target of three grenade attacks and became a marked man in certain areas where he operated. On 6th September 1966, he personally captured a terrorist in possession of a grenade. From subsequent information there was evidence to show that this terrorist had been briefed to eliminate Sergeant Bogan. His courage and example welded his small squad into an enthusiastic and highly efficient band of men who during their operations captured five terrorists in possesion of grenades and seriously wounded one other who had actually thrown his grenade.

The opportunities of capturing terrorists are few and far between in operations in Aden State and
Sergeant Bogan's enthusiasm, devotion and the successes of his small squad were an inspiration and encouragement to all ranks of the Battalion.

The Royal Anglian Regiment that took over from SCLI followed on with similiar set-up as they could see the success of the unit but unfortunately had a 'blue on blue' with a SAS patrol in their area without prior knowledge, and lost a couple of lads.

The QUEEN has been graciously pleased to give orders for the publication of the names shown below as having received an expression of Commendation for Brave Conduct:

23345591 Sergeant Peter John SLADE - The Somerset and Cornwall Light Infantry.

During his tour in Aden as Intelligence Sergeant in 1966, Sergeant Slade has shown great courage, when investigating incidents. On one occasion whilst investigating a grenade attack in a narrow ill-lit street, four grenades were thrown into the area in which he was working, one of which hit his vehicle.

Despite this and other grenade incidents he has revealed uncanny calmness, which backed by an unquenchable sense of humour has inspired confidence and raised morale in all who have served with him.


23951289 Private Nicholas RICHARDSON, The Somerset and Cornwall Light Infantry.

For a period of six months in Aden Private Richardson was the driver to the Intelligence Officer
and accompanied him to almost every incident. His military skills as a driver and radio operator have been excellent, and his conduct, courage and calmness in constant face of terrorism and grenade attacks, in which his vehicle has been hit at least once, has been magnificent. His ability and example have undoubtedly contributed to the success of the Intelligence Section in their operations.

Grenaded nine times:

Private Nicholas Richardson on being told of his award of the Queen's Commendation for outstanding devotion to duty. Until he arrived at Lyneham on March 2nd after five weeks training in Canada, he knew nothing of the award, "I'm overwhelmed that I was singled out" he said.


C in C’s Commendation

23545338 Sgt Rowe J--------------------23864125 Cpl Wilkins D

22340352 Cpl Davies W (ACC)---------23547457 Cpl Ovenden S A

23982924 L/Cpl Cheek T S--------------23867730 L/Cpl Dyer R

23924381 L/Cpl Martin H J--------------23901260 L/Cpl Prosser L W

23867455 L/Cpl Summers J L------------24030961 Sig. Cummings D (R/Sigs)

23950478 Pte Morrish R A---------------23896410 Pte Stone R F

23896609 Pte Stuckey F R---------------23873447 Pte Thomas D A R


Daylight check for routes to be used (at later dates) to get to ambush positions in the night-time. Weeks would pass before we used a route once recorded, we never used same route twice.
Sheikh Othman - typical open sewers - our highways, footpaths at night. Pte Stuckey and L/Cpl Summers carry out a normal sewage drain check for grenades. The holes in the walls are dry house toilets used by NLF Flosy as (letter boxes) to plant grenades for up to 24hrs.
This cartoon was drawn by the London Evening Standard cartoonist JAK and appeared on Februaury 27th 1967 - the original is 18+24 is framed and presented to Bob Bogan. It hangs in his home, the caption reads:

"I say, which of you chaps is Sergeant Bogan?

(Bob Bogan tells me that the big guy centre is Ernie Lethbridge!!)

The Hornet July 1967

This actual map was used by Bob Bogan, its a bit dog-eared but used by SBS for over 6months, at the double we could cross A to Z faster than Landrovers using road way.

To see the detail more clearly the map is split in four sections using these links.

Top Left - Top Right - Lower Left - Lower Right

Top Left - Top Right - Lower Left - Lower Right



On the front of Bob Bogan's scrapbook there is a poem, "The Critic", it goes like this.

It is not the critic that counts, nor the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena: Whose face is marred by dust, and sweat, and blood.

Who knows great enthusiasm, great devotion and the triumph of achievement, and who at the worst if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those sad and timid souls who know neither victory or defeat.

You have never lived until you have almost died with those who have had to fight for it. Life has truly a flavour, the protected shall never know.


Following this poem Bob has written:

"I'd like to think that these words, have or should have been written to honour and out of respect for every National Serviceman who served, from all Arms. I wonder how many NS Men were killed from 1945 to 1963"?

This was written obviously because Bob spent a lot of time at various depots as a training Cpl or Sgt. and had great respect for the National Serviceman, he is full of praise for those who were in the army by goverment decree and made the best of something they had no control over.

I can tell Bob that just over 600 NS men died during their service, this includes Korea, Malaya, Mau Mau and Suez. During the post-1945 period of National Service some 1, 132, 872 men were conscripted to serve in the British Army. Of the million and one half men called up on reaching the age of eighteen, about a hundred and twenty-five thousand, or one in twelve, served in an active theatre of operations, for which a campaign medal was awarded. Approximately four hundred conscripts were killed in action, while many more were lost in tragic accidents. (About 200)

Bob Bogan - training recruits etc.
Bodmin - Shrewsbury

Permanent Staff of Cpl's Regt. Depot Bodmin 1961/62.- Picture taken just months before MOD closure 1962. Bob Bogan was PMC of the Cpl's Mess, the committee was, Sid Bright, Old Smudger Smith and Tim Timoney

Back row L to R. Phillips, Brian Bluett(ACC), Jose, Paddy Flint, John Smith, Dave Varty.

Centre Row L to R. Ernie Roberts, Ray Bates, Ruscoe"H"(KSLI), Dick Kelson, Sid Bright "Shiner" (WW" medals) , Brian Ladd, Lawrie Hodges "H", Roy Ward (KSLI)

Front Row L to R.- Rollings, Pat Hall, Old Smudge Smith (WW2 medals), Major GTG "Toots" Williams, RSM Freddie Fearless, Bob Bogan, Pete Timoney, Shepherd.
(The Commanding Officer was later to be Colonel Williams - (The Father of Brigadier Gage Williams)

Recent photograph of Sid "Shiner" Bright - Sid was the Medical Sgt. during 1 SCLI tour of duty in Aden 1966/67
SCLI 50 - Wells Sept.12th 2009 - Margaret Baggot (nee Royffe) daughter of the late Captain (QM) H F Royffe, with Bob Bogan BEM.
SCLI 50 - SCLI Veterans - OOPs can you spot my walking stick at the "Trail"
SCLI 50 - THe Branch Standards plus Major Ollie Reynolds in foreground.

First all regular intake KSLI/SCLI
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A Geordie recruiting for DCLI, WO2 Jan Fidock on the far left.
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Depot KSLI Shrewsbury, John Brister far left with moustache, Cpl Bogan far right at back, L/Cpl McCarthy just in front.
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Left side of picture
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MOD Bodmin Closure 1962, a very young Pete Vile is in back row.
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Right side of picture
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Mixed draft, KSLI/SCLI - Cpl Roy Ward KSLI,Lt R. Edwards SCLI, Sgt Bill Bound KSLI, Cpl Bob Bogan SCLI
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Very last NS intake, at Bodmin.
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All regular draft, Cpl Bogan, Lt Harvey, Sgt Tune, Cpl Jury.
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Cpl Tootie Len Hembrow, Bob Bogan, Sgt K. Tune, Lt. Ollie Reynolds, Roy Ward.
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KSLI section W/T training
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Bob Bogan being Dined Out.
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Bob Bogan BEM. MSM.
32 years service - His regimental badges.

Enlisted on September 12th 1952 - Discharge on March 5th 1989 - Reason for Discharge Aged 55

Total Service - 36years 175 days.

Bob writes: The years of service with DCLI & SCLI were the best years of my life and its because of the people/soldiers at every rank who made up the regiments. It really was in my opinion one big family who were "Second to None". In everything the Regiment did, discipline, in word and deed at all levels.

A special word regarding SCLI SBS - Like the song says " I can soar as high as an eagle, but these bonny lads always will be the wind beneath my wings". They really were a fantastic bunch of young men to work with. - Bobby - (To them Radfan)


Les Summers writes:

He was a great leader. Did you know we used to call him clicker. in the alleys at night to let us know it was him coming, he would click the trigger on his SMG. we would say watch out Radfans on the prowl, ha! ha!

Trevor Nottingham writes:

Fantastic stuff from Bob Bogan .I really enjoyed reading it .I knew Bob very well both in Aden and NI .He really deserved his BEM.A truly good and honest man who I have a lot of respect for.

Ernie Lethbridge writes:

Yet again I think you've done a great job, nice to see and hear about old friends. I've got some old slides to go through, so might be able to come up with more photo's. Please pass on my regards to Bob Bogan.

David Howard87 writes:

What a wonderful site to a great man. I am very proud just to have been trained by and known Bob Bogan. He was exemplary in every way. As it says, he claimed to speak English but so did the other Geordies in November Squad 1961. I was surprised to see my mug grinning back at me, from a photo in the art gallery. The first regular intake, middle row, end right. Bob had this wonderful voice that sounded like a very rough fog horn. At first he did scare the hell out of all of us and it was clear that one should not get on the wrong side of him. But once we all got into the swing of things we found a different side to him, a sturdy but more gentle man and yes very much a father figure. I must admit I would have loved to have heard his Geordie Arabic. No wonder the camels did not cough. Yes, a great man, a great guy and a great hero, even if his advice was, "Let the hero's go first lad". God Bless You. Howard97.

Nobby Clark writes:

A very interesting account of your long and distinguished career Bob. I'm sure all who knew you, would join me in congratulating you. Trust all is well with you and the family. I changed my Computer and lost your email address. Always pleased to hear from you :- Regards Nobby Clark Taunton.


Terry Cheek writes:

What can you say about Bob. He was a great boss to work for. He looked after us well and in doing so he did not endear himself to those above him. I remember him being quite direct and to the point with the CO concerning units from other regiments patrolling in our area at night, threatening to tie them to their main gate in Little Aden if he found them in Shiek Othman again. When he left the CO's office he noticed that one of their officers was sat behind the door. We would usually return to camp at about 3 or 4am, put up the sides of the tent to keep the sunlight out and get our heads down. This did not go down well with the OC as he did the rounds in the morning, finding us out cold with our dirty and decaying clothing laying around. I know Bob took a lot of flak over this but he didnt pass it down to us. He made sure we continued to get our sleep.


Major (Rtd) Oliver Reynolds writes:

Bob Bogan took over the Recce Platoon from me shortly after the arrival of 1 SCLI in Aden in 1966. Under his command, the Recce Platoon mounted frequent highly successful ambush patrols against the terrorist opposition, gaining surprise by blending inconspicuously with the local population.

Bob was kind enough to say that I was responsible for the strategy behind the clandestine ambush patrols, however he had the far more difficult task of putting the strategy into practice. Occassionally, I joined Recce Platoon Patrols as a "visitor", it was quite clear to me that the Recce Platoon under Bob Bogan, was operating as an extremely effective fighting force.

I was delighted to hear that Bob was awarded the British Empire Medal. His decoration was in well deserved recognition of his outstanding leadership of the Recce Platoon during the tour of 1 SCLI in Aden.


Duncan Drake writes:

This post brings back SO many wonderful memories. I was in signals platoon in Aden and personally worked very closely with Bogan's Heroes. I was the C.O.s driver/operator. Roger Wigram was the signals officer and also gave Bob and his group very special attention during the Bogan's "Hero's" days. Including (illegally) modifying their vehicle antannas from the obvious green coloured supplied army ones to civilian purchased black ones for camouflage in the dark alleyways. These were actually more efficient than the designated army ones and gave us increased range and clarity. A long time afterwards - must have been in 1999 - whilst living in Adelaide Australia there was a phone call to my house, which my wife said was from a foreigner she could hardly understand!!! This was Bob - God knows where he got my number from. (Probably Vic Vaughan as it happens) From then on I had a succession of calls - usually AFTER what was apparently a GREAT and successful night after he got home (pissed of course) from his favourite karaoke pub. The conversations were superb - him recollecting HIS "boys" and the fact that I owed him "three tabs and a box of Swan Vestas", and me, a southerner trying to understand his Geordie (and pissed) accent . I met him only once again at one of John Barry-Tait's reunions at the Apple Tree Inn and I am proud to say that we had not only a good conversation, but the GREATEST conversation I can remember. I miss him, but am sure he'll be there to greet me at the final RV.


Gerry Blackwell writes:

Needed cheering up this week so thanks for the “Bobby” tribute along with his heroes. Able to recall all the little anecdotes Bobby used to use and still miss his company big time.

Copyright Text: Keith Petvin-Scudamore: Images: Bob Bogan BEM. MSM.

Please be aware that Bob Bogan has given all copyright of this webpage in its entirety to Keith Petvin-Scudamore in perpetuity, any material found elsewhere that has been copied from these webpages will be relentlessly pursued.