John Robertson

Staff member
John Peter Barry Condliffe
  • UNIT
D Squadron (C.O) + HQ (C.O.)
  • RANK
Major + Lieutenant Colonel
Order of the British Empire, Military Cross, Mention in Despatches
Malaya 1958 (MiD) Oman 1958-59 (MC) 1972 (OBE)
parent unit Royal Ulster Rifles (later Royal Irish Rangers)
born 27.08.1930, Portsmouth, UK
22 SAS (Troop + Co D Squadron) 1953-59
22 SAS (C.O. B Squadron) 1964
22 SAS (C.O.) 1970-72
Staff College
Brigadier, HQ Sultan of Oman's Defence Force
award C.B.E. for Dhofar 1970-76
Director of SAS Group
Colonel of 22 SAS until 1978
1st wife Mary Flynn (dissolved) (7 children)
1986 married Diana Walker (nee Steward)
1985 awarded CB
1988 knighted
died 10.12.2003


Military Cross : Major Watts was commanding D. Squadron 22 S.A.S. during the storming of a 6,500 ft. high, sloping cliff leading up to the top of the Jebel Akhdar. For the operation to be successful he had to reach the top by first light. Great hazards, near vertical cliffs were met on the way over all of which he led his squadron. Finally he reached a position at 0430 hours from which a track was said to lead up to the plateau still over 1,000 feet higher up. At this point a rebel .5" Browning MG was mounted and manned by two rebels who were in a cave immediately below. He dropped off one troop to deal with this, and after leaving the 70 lb Bergen rucksacks nearby, personally led the remaining two troops in light order up to the plateau, which he reached at exactly first light. Some rebels on the top quickly dispersed on seeing the arrival of our own troops in strength and an air drop taken successfully 10 minutes later.

Throughout a period of two months he has invariably given a wonderful lead to his men and he has employed them with imagination and dash to recce numerous possible routes up the mountain. On many occasions he was able to carry out highly successful troop raids involving the death of at least 40 rebels in the period.

The determination, devotion to duty and tremendous example shown by this officer on the night of 26/27th January, 1959, resulted in complete success being achieved and the two year old rebellion being ended.


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