The Westland Scout in Aden/Radfan
In the light attack role it was capable of carrying one pintle machine gun in the rear cabin or two forward-firing 7.62mm L7 General Purpose Machine Guns (GPMG's) fixed to the undercarriage skids. These GPMG combinations were sometimes used in unison to great effect. An example of this was during the Aden and Radfan campaign when, 4 May 1967, Lt David Rails AAC was awarded the DFC for counter-attacking a large group of enemy which had previously attacked an army road repair party on the road to Habilayn. Lt Rails attack, which utilised both the forward-firing and pintle mounted weapons, forced the enemy to retreat into a nearby cave, he then directed RAF Hawker Hunter FGA.9's onto the target. The forward firing GPMG's were electrically operated, being fired by the pilot and aimed using a rudimentary system of drawing a small cross on the windscreen with a chinagraph pencil. In sandy conditions these weapons could be prone to jamming which necessitated one of the free crew to lean out of the cockpit door and 'boot' the offending weapon in hope of clearing it. It should be noted that this procedure was not strictly in accordance with the flight reference cards. The pintle mounted weapon was operated by a door gunner.
In Aden and Radfan a number of Scouts were shot down, although these usually resulted in a forced landing and the aircraft were recovered, repaired and returned to service. A example of this occurred 26 May 1964 when the CO of 3 Para, Lt Col Anthony H Farrar-Hockley used a Scout to reconnoitre the Wadi Dhubsan area, Radfan. As the aircraft overtook the leading elements of B Coy it was hit by enemy fire, the pilot made an emergency landing and the aircraft was subsequently recovered, eleven bullet holes were found in the airframe.
Three Scouts were written off during the campaign, the first, XR634 of 8 Flight, was through pilot error whilst landing, 16 May 1966. Although initially repairable this aircraft was subsequently damaged beyond economic repair when it was dropped by the RAF Westland Wessex sent to recover it. The second aircraft, XT635 of 13 Flight, flew into a hillside during a night patrol at Jebal, 5 May 1967, killing the two crew, Lt David Morgan AAC and Cpl Christopher Gibb REME. Their two passengers, Marine John Anthony Dunn of 45 Cdo and Trooper Gilbert Francis Farley Iles of 16 Troop, D Sqn 22 SAS, also died. The third aircraft also from 13 Flight, XT641, was destroyed on the ground in an unfortunate incident where the pilot, S/Sgt John Francis Baulcomb AAC, and his F.O intelligence officer passenger were captured and shot dead by the NLF after landing in a wadi bed whilst on a flight from Ataq to Mayfa’ah on 3 September 1967. The NLF then set fire to and destroyed the aircraft.