Name ID 2166
Carter, David (co-writer) and Spirit, Martin, Paul, James (webmasters) Britain's Small Wars: The History of British Military Conflicts since 1945
Extract Author: John Lloyd, Maj RM
Extract Date: 25 Jan 1964
The CO's briefing was short and to the point and amounted roughly to the following plan. One company to land on the mutineer's barracks at Colito, near Dar es Salaam. A second company to take control of all communications in Dar es Salaam, using the police station as a base. A third company ,commandeering such aircraft as were available on the airfield , to fly inland to Tabora to ensure the safety of a small contingent of British army officers stationed there for liaison and training. And a fourth in similar fashion to fly some 500 miles South to pacify the battalion stationed in Nachingwea. My own company, Support Company, was held in reserve. It was a plan that worked surprisingly well, though I offer in these pages only an account of my own part in it.
X Company, the lead company had some resistance in the initial stages and there had been some casualties among the mutineers, who had put up an initial resistance at the magazine. When I next saw the company commander, Maj David Scott-Langley MC, he voiced his concern at the unecessary waste of life, feeling that he might have been able to manage the assault more tidily. But all conflict, whether on the football field or the battleground, is a compound of differing degrees of chaos and if we lose touch with the realities of life we sometimes forget this. We are lulled by the gods into expectations and desires beyond the boundaries of possibility, and when misfortune strikes they turn away, smiling.
For several hours Support Company sat on the flight deck, waiting for the next phase to begin, though in truth there was no 'phase' as such for the CO had to play the game as it went along. My small headquarters group had run out of conversation and the 'I spy' game had petered out after the signals corporal retired into a sulk because he was not allowed to use 'E' for 'ellicopter'. An early bird had bagged H for Helicopter, and I had successfully exercised my authority in claiming C for 'Chopper. The Sergeant Major was about to lose his temper because he was forbidden W for 'Whirlybird when the Commanding Officer appeared on the flight deck and called me over.
"Most of the mutineers are confined now in the barracks at Colito," he said. "Those are the ones that were drunk. One of the companies however has split up and taken off into the bundu, inland. I want you to take four choppers, find what you can of them, and get them back to Colito barracks. They're roughly in this area." And he placed a large fist on a totally featureless area of the map. "By the way, they've got their weapons with them. No fighting if you can possibly avoid it please." - he added, looking at me sideways.
We set off, four helicopters in single file, and crossed the ridge that overlooked the barracks into the hinterland of elephant grass and scrub. There were about 60 square miles to search, covered with elephant grass and scrub. As far as I could see there was no path leading from the coast directly inland, and so assumed that the askaris (an African word for soldiers) would cut straight across country to get as far from the scene of trouble as possible. Looking down from the aircraft I could see the expanses of tall waving grass beneath us. Where to start?
Page Number: 2007 04 22
Extract Date: Feb 2007
May I commend my (with Christopher MacRae) new book The Dar Mutiny of 1964 Book Guild Publishing of Brighton Feb 2007. Foreword by Lord Carrington.
Article in Apr edition RUSI Journal 'A good read, and an excellent and detailed account …'.
Globe and Laurel. 'I commend you …'
Ben Mkapa, former President Tanzania. 'An extremely useful addition to the history of the period … a very good account …'
General Lord Guthrie. 'This is a valuable historical record …'
Lord Luce, former Minister for Africa. 'A remarkable reconstruction …'
Sir Jophn Coles, former Head of the Diplomatic Service.