Squadron Leader “Jock” Stewart MC

On 15 June 1955, Squadron Leader Archibald Alexander “Jock” Stewart, RAF Regiment was the second in command of a force of Aden Protectorate Levies operating in Wadi Hatib, a disturbed tribal area of the Western Aden Protectorate.

Squadron Leader Archibald Alexander Stewart, Military Cross
Squadron Leader Archibald Alexander Stewart, MC

During an escort duty returning from Fort Robat to Nisab, the Aden Protectorate Levies (APL) force of approximately 100 personnel came under heavy and accurate fire from a skillful and well-equipped enemy of tribesmen. During the initial contact one British officer and one Levy soldier was killed and a good many others wounded.

Squadron Leader Stewart was ordered by the Force Commander to evacuate the dead and wounded some distance down the Wadi out of contact. The medical evacuation was carried out under very heavy enemy fire. During this evacuation Stewart learned that the Wing Commander and Senior Arab Officer had also been killed.

Squadron Leader Stewart having then assumed command, tactically moved the Force to an emergency airstrip to evacuate the most seriously wounded. Sniping and accurate fire had continued throughout, in all eight of the Force were killed and seven seriously wounded.

There is no doubt that Squadron Leader Stewart’s sterling qualities of leadership under considerable pressure and amidst the chaos of the fight, prevented further losses and potential annihilation of a greater part of the Force. His award of the Military Cross was Gazetted 10 Jan 1956.

He enlisted in the RAF 6 Aug 1942, trained as an airman pilot/observer. He ended wartime service as an acting sergeant. Commissioned into the RAF Regiment in 1946 he served on 2757 Armoured Car Squadron, and later serving in the Middle East from March 1953. He went on to command No 27 LAA Squadron, also commanding Ground Defence Training Squadron at RAF Catterick.

His son, Colonel Bob Stewart DSO MP is a strong advocate and supporter of the RAF Regiment today as a Member of Parliament.