KNOTT, Terence Peter Phayre
Honours & Awards:
Lieutenant Terence Knott was awarded the Military Cross for gallant and distinguished service in Aden.
Early on the morning of 30th May 1967, Lieutenant Knott was commanding the Reconnaissance Troop of 45 Commando Royal Marines, which was the emergency standby troop at Habilayn Aden, and was at fifteen minutes notice to move.
Lieutenant Knott reported the troop ready tomove within five minutes of news of an ambush. Despatching four men in a Scout helicopter to act as picket for the ambush position, he emplaned with the remaining fifteen men in a Wessex helicopter. After orbiting the area whilst fighter strikes were put in, the Wessex was directed on to a landing point believed to be clear of enemy and to the north of their position.
As the Wessex came into the hover over the landing point, it was plain that the site selected was in the middle of the enemy position. The pilot of the helicopter was unable to land owing to heavy rifle and machine gun fire.
Lieutenant Knott decided to deplane his troop, who jumped out on to rugged and precipitous rocks whilst the helicopter was still some ten to twelve feet from the ground. They immediately came under fire, not only from the enemy on whose positions they had landed, but from other strong enemy supporting positions behind them on the top of the Jebel Lahmahr. This ridge completely dominated the landing point.
Led by Lieutenant Knott the troop killed one dissident on landing and then moved into a steep gully to avoid the fire from the Lahmahr. As they did so a dissident emerged from a small cave and fired two rounds with an automatic rifle at Lieutenant Knott at point black range. Lieutenant Knott and one of his troop fired back and the dissident, having been hit, withdrew to a sangar in the cave. Approaching the cave from the side Lieutenant Knott threw in an M26 grenade which the dissident picked up and threw back. Avoiding the explosion which followed, Lieutenant Knott, completely regardless of his own safety, went into the cave and personally shot the dissident dead.
Lieutenant Knott's outstanding example of personal bravery and bis coolness and judgment under continuous heavy fire greatly inspired his troop, which included a number of young marines who had not been in action before.
The determined action of his troop effected the relief of the Sappers who were still under fire. Finally the casualties inflicted on the enemy were so severe that this dissident group withdrew from the Federation. The action took place immediately before the period covering the withdrawal of British Forces from the Federation and undoubtedly deterred the enemy from further action at this critical time. Lieutenant Knott's gallantry, his very professional example and his coolness and judgment whilst in action were of the highest order.
London Gazettes Supp.44508, page 871.
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