British Forces Aden

British Forces Aden was the name given to the British Armed Forces stationed in the Aden Protectorate during part of the 20th century. Their purpose was to preserve the security of the Protectorate from both internal threats and external aggression.

Aden Command (RAF) (1928–1936)
British Forces (in) Aden (1936–1956)
British Forces Arabian Peninsula (1956–1961)
Country United Kingdom
Branch Royal Air Force
EngagementsAden Emergency


British Forces Aden was originally formed as Aden Command in 1928.[1] On its establishment, Aden Command was a Royal Air Force (RAF) command which was responsible for the control all British armed forces in the Protectorate. It was renamed British Forces in Aden, or simply British Forces Aden, in 1936 and renamed again in 1956 as British Forces Arabian Peninsula.[1] In 1959 Middle East Command was divided into two commands split by the Suez Canal.[2] The two parts were British Forces Arabian Peninsular, which was based at Aden, and the remnants in Cyprus which on 1 March 1961 was renamed Near East Command.[2]

On 1 March 1961 British Forces Arabian Peninsula was renamed, again, this time as Middle East Command (Aden).[1] The senior commanders were Air Marshal Sir Charles Elworthy, C-in-C Middle East; Rear Admiral Talbot, Flag Officer, Middle East; Major General Jim Robertson, GOC Middle East Land Forces; Air Vice Marshal David Lee, Air Officer Commanding, Air Forces Middle East, and GOC East Africa Command.[3] The GOC and AOC were working from the command HQ at Aden while FOME initially was at Bahrain with his headquarters at HMS Juffair.[4] FOME moved to HMS Sheba in the naval dockyard at Steamer Point after the 1961 Kuwait crisis (Walker, Aden Insurgency, 90); Rear Admiral Talbot seemingly moved on May 1, 1962.[5] Naval forces reportedly included three frigates, the Amphibious Warfare Squadron, the commando carrier HMS Bulwark, and 45 Commando Royal Marines based ashore at Aden. 45 Commando had arrived on 23 April 1960, disembarking from Dunera, and settling in BP Camp, which had been turned over by 1st Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment.[6]

On 1 September 1967, following the British withdrawal from Aden at the end of the Emergency, the remaining British Forces in the Arabian Peninsula, including units at Salalah and Masirah, were reorganized under Headquarters British Forces Gulf,[1] which was based at RAF Muharraq in Bahrain.[7] British Forces Gulf was placed under the command of Rear Admiral John E. L. Martin, previously the last Flag Officer, Middle East,[8] who handed over to Air Vice Marshal S B Grant on 4 April 1968. The command was disbanded on 15 December 1971.

Organization in 1939Edit

The structure of the units based in Aden in 1939:[9]

Aden ColonyEdit


Commanders have included:[1]

Aden CommandEdit

British Forces AdenEdit

British Forces Arabian PeninsulaEdit

Commanders (Air Forces)Edit

Air Forces Middle EastEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d e Air of Authority - A History of RAF Organisation - Overseas Commands - Middle East and Mediterranean Archived 10 September 2014 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ a b Royal Corps of Signals: Unit Histories of the corps (1920-2001) by Cliff Lord and Graham Watson, Page 54
  3. ^ Middle East Record Volume 2, 1961, Volume 2, edited by Yitzhak Oron, [1].
  4. ^ Lee, Flight from the Middle East.
  5. ^ "Mideast Mirror". 1962.
  6. ^ Nick Van der Bijl, British Military Operations in Aden and Radfan: 100 Years of British Colonial Rule, Pen & Sword, October 2014, p.59.
  7. ^ British Military Aviation in 1967 Archived 10 October 2008 at the Wayback Machine and Air of Authority - RAF Muharraq and
  8. ^ "Royal Navy (RN) Officers 1939-1945 -- M".
  9. ^ "Aden, Middle East Command03.09.1939". Retrieved 19 January 2019.
  10. ^ The Royal Corps of Signals: Unit Histories of the Corps (1920-2001) and its Antecedents. Helion and Company. 2003. p. 337.


  • Thomas, Andy (March–April 1999). "Red Sea Guardians: The Story of the Aden Defence Flight". Air Enthusiast (80): 2–4. ISSN 0143-5450.