22 SAS Lillico, Edward (Geordie)

John Robertson

Staff member
Edward (Geordie)
  • UNIT
D Squadron + i/c Jungle Warfare School, Malaya
  • RANK
Sergeant + Staff Sergeant (A/Warrant Officer Second Class)
Military Medal, British Empire Medal
Borneo 1965 (MM) 1977 (BEM)
parent unit Royal Northumberland Fusiliers
from Newcastle-on-Tyne
33 years service
WIA 28.2.1965 Borneo
died 17.8.2016 Herefordshire age 83
funeral at St Martin's Church, Hereford 8.9.2016
London Gazette 43837, 10th December 1965, Page 11677 (MM)
London Gazette 47234, 10th June 1977, Page 7107 (BEM)


Military Medal : Sergeant Lillico was in command of a Special Air Service patrol engaged in border surveillance on the Indonesian/Sarawak frontier. On the morning of 28th February, the patrol was moving through jungle when they made head on contact with a party of enemy. The enemy opened fire immediately, and both Trooper Thomson and Sergeant Lillico, the lead scout and second man respectively, were both badly wounded. They -returned the fire, killing two Indonesians. Lillico then ordered Thomson, who he thought could crawl, to get back to the emergency rendezvous. He himself could hardly move as his leg was paralysed by the wound, but managed to drag himself out of the immediate contact area into some bamboo cover where he lost consciousness. He remained in this position till the following morning when he dragged himself some 4-500 yards to the top of a near-by ridge where he hid. Shortly after he reached this area he heard a helicopter and switched on his Sarbe beacon to attract its attention. At the same time he realised he was very close to the enemy, as he heard and saw Indonesian soldiers, and on the approach of the helicopter one of the enemy climbed a tree some 40 yards away from him to look around.

Sergeant Lillico, realising that his beacon signal would bring the helicopter within reach of the enemy, switched it off in order not to endanger the aeroplane. He afterwards crawled away from, this position some little way. Later that day the helicopter returned, and this time Lillico considered he was sufficiently far from the enemy not to endanger it and again switched his beacon on and succeeded in bringing it to his position. He was then located and winched out.

Sergeant Lillico throughout this action displayed the finest leadership, bravery and self-sacrifice. He showed superb presence of mind and courage, when badly wounded, in switching off his Sarbe beacon when within close enemy range, and thereby most probably avoided the loss of a helicopter and its crew. This is the more remarkable in that at this time he had been wounded for over 24 hours and had lost a considerable amount of blood.

Place : First Division Sarawak Borneo
Date of Action : 28th February - 1st March 1965
How Employed : Patrol Comd "D" Sqn 22 SAS Regt.

British Empire Medal : Staff Sergeant Lillico is now on extended service to fill the post of sergeant major of a unit concerned with the security of the United Kingdom. It was a post he was specifically chosen to fill from amongst the many substantive warrant officers available.

He joined the Army in 1951 and the Special Air Service Regiment three years later. Since then he has served in most theatres of operations throughout the world. His reputation is unmatchable: his exploits are already the stuff of legend both within and outside the Special Air Service. His near miraculous survival in Borneo, when shot through the hip he gave himself medical aid for three days, on his own, whilst the enemy searched for him; and his heroc warning away the rescue aircraft are still held up as models throughout the Army of the will to survive and devotion to the safety of his comrades. Indeed, model is a word which applies to so much of what Sgt Lillico is. He epitomizes all that is best in the senior British NCO; utterly loyal both to his seniors and to his subordinates, patriotic in the extreme, heroic in temperament and in action, modest, humorous, sanguine in adversity; a disciplinarian, but one who tempers his own impeccable and ruthlessly perfect standards with compassion and under standing for those of lesser clay.

Staff Sergeant Lillico has recently returned to the Special air Service from the Jungle Training Team, Brunei where in the words of his British chief instructor, he was the backbone of the team, and it was privilege to have been associated with him.

Staff Sergeant Lillico has served his country for 25 years with total disregard for himself, his comfort, safety, profit or security. he is a man who has given all to the Service. He is of that breed of British NCO who are the salt of the earth, an inspiration to all who serve with him, and a man whom it makes one humble to have the privilege to command.

Place : Hereford
Date of Action : 1954 - 1976
How Employed : Special Air Service Non Commissioned Officer


https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/43837/supplement/11677 (MM)
https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/43837/supplement/11678 (MM)
https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/47234/supplement/7106 (BEM)
https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/D7623547 (MM)
https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/D7633515 (BEM)


https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/D7623547 (MM)
https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/D7633515 (BEM)
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