Home | Aden History and Memories | First Hand by Denis John Sparrow

A period of history that should not be forgotten! The story in his own words by Denis John Burford Sparrow

Aden, part of South Yemen on the southern tip of the Arabian Peninsular and the mouth of the Red Sea, Adan as it was known until the British arrived in 1839 when the pronunciation there after became Aden.

Todays Adeni a resident of Aden referrers to their homeland as Eden, with it’s reference to the garden of Eden and early history of being the first part of Arabia to be occupied by mankind.

Known and written history dates back to before AD 1, the whole area has been subject to at least two Persian invasions as well as the Turks, Romans and Abyssinians.

The British had called in on Aden looking for a water supply in and around the Red Sea for many years, in 1609 the East India Company made an official visit followed by further visits over two hundred years finally establishing a base in 1839.

The port of Aden grew in importance as a coal refuelling station and left the desert and mountain area leading up the Yemen border unexplored until, 1881 when an expeditiononary force was dispatched up to the border state of Dhala to restore law and order.

This lawless region was eventually split in two Protectorates East and West.  While Aden itself became a British Crown Colony.

In the 1960s a Federal Government including Aden was formed which lead to discontent, Terrorism and the withdrawal of British Troops from Aden in 1967.

My three books cover those final years.

Aden In Pictures Book Cover

Aden in Pictures –
in which we served

For almost 50 years, thousands of pictures were hidden away and have now been put together so that the author can tell in his own words the story of Aden.  It records a period of time that is now apart of history and the photographs will serve as a reminder of what once was.

This is the first of three books covering the British involvement in a small headland in Southern Arabia in 1839, which grew and became a British Crown Colony and one of the most important British Military Bases in the world.

All of the information is fact gathered from those who served in Aden, giving as near as possible the true story of Aden’s dramatic history.  By separating the War against the dissident tribes up in the Radfan Mountains along the Yemen Border.

The large photographs show and bring to life how troops lived and survived in terrible conditions and the constant heat.  The books tell the stories of the men and women now in their 70s and 80s the grandfathers and grandmothers of today, their story for future generations.

Aden Northwest Frontier 1881 - 1967

Aden’s Northwest Frontier 1881 – 1967

This is the second book in the series.  With the continuing link of ‘Aden in Which We Served’.   It provides a detailed and factual coverage of the Military History of Aden.  This book comes in an A4 format which includes hundreds of new photographs allowing the reader to have an unprecedented picture of the situations and terrain British Servicemen found themselves while serving in Aden.

This book, unlike others before it, concentrates on what went on up country in the Radfan Mountains along the border with Yemen.  It covers the service of 45 Commando Royal Marines who had a Company permanently stationed in Dhala just a few miles from the Yemen border and the different Battalions with its subunits who built the roads and camps, supplied the water and created the bases where the foot troops came back to after a patrol.

This is a true account of what went on by those who were there, the courage and leadership of the men who are now the grandfathers of today.

Aden Assassination Of A British Crown Colony 1954 - 1967

Aden Assassination of a British Crown Colony

The third and final book of the series.  An A4 sized book with hundreds of new photographs, this book covers the final years from 1964-1967 with Murder on the Streets of Aden.  The dissident tribesmen up on the Yemen border supported by both Yemen and Egyptian Government found they were no match for the British Troops, took the fight in the form of terrorism into Aden itself.

For years the Royal Marines serving in 45 Commando Royal Marines had spent three-month tours in a tented and barbed wire enforced camp which would have suited the Victorian times came down from the mountains straight onto the streets of Aden in constant danger of being shot or blown up.

This was a war of the men from all the units on the streets, their steadfastness mixed with courage even bloody-mindedness and humour.  Their story how they were let down by senior command and left to soldier on in extreme conditions knowing if things went wrong they could be on their own.