PARAS 2 Walsh, Michael John Hately

John Robertson

Staff member
Michael John Hately
  • UNIT
1 Para
  • RANK
Lieutenant Colonel
Distinguished Service Order
Aden 1967
born 1927 Harrogate,Yorkshire
educated Clifton House School,Harrogate
educated Sedbergh School,North Yorkshire
Army 1945 (Private)
commissioned King's Royal Rifle Corps 1946
Parachute Regiment
graduated Australian Staff College
graduated Joint Services Staff College
various staff appointments
Director of Army Training 1978
retired from Army 1981 (Major General)
award C.B. (date ?)
Chief Scout,Boy Scouts Movement 1982-88
London Gazette 44508, 19th January 1968, Page 872


On arrival in Aden, Lieutenant-Colonel Walsh was immediately ordered to take up defensive positions in Sheikh Othman and Mansoura which comprised the battalion area. This was a completely new tactical concept resulting from a rapidly deteriorating operational situation.

On 1st June 1967, the terrorists carried out a series of heavy attacks on the observation posts and a continuous fire fight took place all day. During this period Lieutenant-Colonel Walsh visited the posts and mobile units, directing operations from his Rover vehicle. He was under fire many times throughout the day and his coolness and leadership was an inspiration to all his soldiers. This, together with his skilful handling of the battalion group enabled the situation to be stabilised and defeated the terrorists' attempt to take over the town.

On 5th June 1967, a major attack was made by the terrorists on the Sheikh Othman Police Station. Lieutenant-Colonel Walsh immediately dispatched a platoon to (the area. At the same time the force occupying the disused Mission Hospital on the fringe of Sheikh Othman, was pinned down by heavy terrorist fire and unable to assist in the relief of the Police Station. Lieutenant-Colonel Walsh immediately ordered a company from the battalion base and personally led this force into the Mission Hospital and under heavy and continuous fire relieved the hard pressed force in the Hospital. Having secured the Hospital, Lieutenant-Colonel Walsh reorganised the defence of the perimeter and spent the rest of the day, frequently under fire restoring the situation throughout his area. His complete disregard for his own safety and skilful handling of the many components of his battalion group won him the admiration of all ranks.

At 1030 hours on 20th June 1967, the Federal Guard stationed at Champion Lines, which is adjacent to 1st Parachute battalion's main base, mutinied and brought increasingly effective and heavy fire to bear on Radfan Camp, the battalion main base. In order that the situation might be restored Lieutenant-Colonel Walsh immediately gave orders that fire was not' to be returned and that all ranks should take cover. Disregarding the 'latter part of his own orders, he visited the positions on the perimeter, including the guardroom which was under extremely effective fire, and talked and joked with the soldiers whilst explaining the vital reasons why fire should not be returned. There is no doubt that his presence and handling of this situation had a stabilising effect on his soldiers and prevented the aggravation of a most difficult situation. In addition he brilliantly organised the sending of one of his companies to secure Champion Lines, which was completely successful.

By his outstanding devotion to duty, personal bravery and exceptional powers of command, Lieutenant-Colonel Walsh has contained the situation in Sheikh Othman whilst never departing from the principle of minimum force.


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