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On 6th December 1966, an Augusta Bell Sioux, belonging to the Air Troop of 1 RHA took off from Musaymir, piloted by John Fleming and carrying the CO of Chestnut Troop, John Sharp, as well as a Gunner named Cain as an observer, with its intended destination as Al Habilayn.
It was overloaded and crashed on the Camu Peninsula, Falaise, with the loss of all on board.
I know where Falaise, Falaise Camp and Falaise Airstrip are located, but can anyone please give me the location of the Camu Peninsula?
A party from 45 Commando, Royal Marines was given the task of recovering the bodies and I am interested in completing the details of this incident.
(45 Commando RM 1966-67)
I have looked at various maps of the area but have failed to find any peninsula with the name Camu. I would recommend posting your enquiry on the "Aden in days of Empire" Facebook site! There are many knowledgable people who follow this group both British and Yemenis!
Thank you for your efforts in trying to locate the Camu Peninsula.
I, too, have perused many maps of the area, but to no avail.
I'll try the site you mentioned.
I was at HMS Sheba with Recce Troop on the night that the accident occurred, but other elements of 45 were at BP Camp and remember seeing a Sioux circling the area with its searchlight on, presumably trying to find a place to land.
It leads me to consider whether the crash site was somewhere in that area - Bandar Shayk/Ghadir/Bir ****** (Oops! The automatic editor didn't like that!)
Anyway, thanks again.
hi.. i remember seeing a helicopter fly into the hill near observation point off ghadir bay little aden around that time..i was living in bander sheikh in a reilly newsom, facing the sea;somewhere i have photos of the subsequent fire..not much to see as the incident happened at night;when it happened we thought it was one of the security helios that flew around with lights checking the ground for undesirables....this was the only helio incident i know of at that time....regards duncan taylor
Given that I was living in Ghadir at the time of the accident, I have no recollection of the incident and although I say it myself my memories of the place are pretty ****ed good considering that I lived there as a schoolboy and as a young airman for just over ten years. However it did happen and I am no further forward than you re the Camu peninsula...never heard of it!!!
Extensive research over the last few days has proved unproductive but given Duncans account my best bet is that it is the one on which Observation Hill resides. The 'helo' was overloaded so it wouldn't have got far from Falaise airstrip and as there are are three peninsulas in Bandar Sheikh bay, one to the west and two to the east, and with Duncan living close to the BP Club facing the sea, it can only be on one of those to the east, surely! Duncans photo would be a great help to you so perhaps he may oblige and post it onto the site.
Anyway best of luck
I remember the helicopter crash into Observation Hill. I also remember finding parts of the helicopter in the sea by the hill where I went spear fishing with Gordon Clarke . I was told the aircraft was flying at night without lights .
Many thanks for your comprehensive replies.
Observation Hill would fit in with the scraps of information that I have managed to glean.
There was only one helicopter accident at that time in Aden, according to aviation accident records. My oppo (mate) was one of the marines that went to recover the bodies but since an accident a few years ago, his memory is not as good as it used to be. At the time, we all thought that it had occurred in the Bandar Shayk area, as those that were in the Globe cinema heard it circling overhead just before the crash. I was at HMS Sheba at the time, so only heard second hand accounts.
The pilot, John Fleming, was the OC of Air Troop 1 RHA, so was presumably an experienced and skilled flier. I flew in the Sioux on several occasions out there and although they seem to have been involved in a relatively high number of accidents during that period, I formed the impression that they were pretty reliable for a limited number of tasks.
Anyway, many thanks to all concerned, once again.
I think I may have made some sense of the Camu Peninsula puzzle.
I enlarged a map of Little Aden and saw that the Observation Hill spit, or headland, or peninsula, is called Ra's Abu Qiyam.
More digging around revealed that Ra's or Raysh in Arabic can mean (one of several meanings) "headland", "promontory" or "peninsula".
Is it possible , therefore, that the Arabic pronunciation of Qiyam (with a - over the "a) could sound a bit like Camu?
Is it possible that a transposition of letters in the investigation from Caum to Camu could have occurred? Caum sounds a lot like an anglicised spelling of how I would imagine Qiyam would be pronounced. Or maybe I'm just complicating things!
Your explanation sounds pretty viable.
It makes more sense than anything that I have come up with.
I live in little Aden? But I don't hear the name (Camu) in the region
To the right of the bp Club and algdier Bay there is a mountain (abu Qiyama) which are above Fort monitoring
I think there's are similarities in pronunciation between (Camu) and the name of the mountain (abu Qiyama)
Also there is a important note: the top of the mountain called the Arabic language (or kima or qema cama)
Top = qema
And close similarity between the words (qema + Camu)
Little Aden-Bi'r Fuqum
I flew with John Fleming on many occasions and have a photo of John, his observer, Gnr Cain and the helicopter they died in.
He was a first class pilot and always set an example to his men.
It was my intention to attach the photo, I see no way to attach it to this site. If anyone would like a copy please e-mail me
The link below may open it.
The area where the chopper crashed was just out of the golf course in Little Aden, it was NOT Falaise. The best way I can describe the location, is if you were in 45s cinema,it would have been just to the left of the screen. I was on the mobile patrol on stand by and we went like the clappers. There was also an S.A.S. Trooper on board the chopper who had only just completed his 1000th jump and was due to head home shortly after... R.I.P.
I heard the "buzz" about the SAS trooper being on board as well, but then, "buzzes" were rife in 45, as they were in any unit or ship at that time and probably still are.
I quoted Falaise because that was mentioned in the official air accident report and I think we have established where that crash site was, with the help of some of the members of this site who have a far more extensive knowledge of the area than I do.
However, the Sioux took off from Musaymir with its intended destination as Al Habilayn. If the trooper was just about to go home, why would he want to go to Habilayn? Furthermore, no pilot, especially one with the experience of John Fleming, would entertain the idea of carrying three passengers in a Sioux. I am aware of the secrecy that surrounds the SAS these days but there would have been no need to disguise the fact that he was on board in those days when their activities were more widely publicised. The deaths of members of the SAS that occurred in Aden are recorded on several website memorials, but there is no record of one dying on that day. There was also a Marine on board, according to 45 folk lore, namely Noddy Dunn, but the truth is that he was killed in a car accident on the same day. Hence the confusion. There were only the remains of three people that had to be recovered by Recce Troop - my oppo, Taff Morgan, was one of those that had the unenviable job, and you don't forget something like that!
As I mentioned previously, Recce Troop were at HMS Sheba, in Tawahi, so the recovery party had to be flown to the crash site from Khormaksar.
I have gone to a considerable amount of trouble to establish the accurate position of the crash site, as well as the other details surrounding the incident, and I believe that what I have gathered is about as good as I can hope to achieve. Thank you, anyway, for your input.