Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 1964, Marine David Wilson, X Company, 45 Commando Royal Marines, was killed in action during the Radfan Campaign.
He had joined the Royal Marines immediately on leaving school and passed out in 1963. The following year a state of emergency had been declared in the British protectorate of Aden, and 45 Commando were sent to help in restoring order. His troop commander praised him in his role of the troop’s radio operator: “A wireless operator had to be a man you could rely on and I could rely on David. He was certainly intellectually fast and quick, which is what made him a very good radio operator”.
The Radfan was a desolate mountainous region sixty miles north of Aden, inhospitable and dangerous. Early in the morning on the day of his death, before daylight, X Company were to carry out a raid on the Wadi Dhupsan, considered an impregnable rebel stronghold. They came under heavy fire from different directions and Marine Wilson was shot. One of his colleagues managed to drag him a few yards to shelter, but he died in less than a minute. Several others were wounded, but the stronghold was taken, and around two hundred square miles – half the area of the Radfan – was secured.
David, from Liverpool, was 18 years old.