LETCHFORD, Andrew Campbell

Unit / Base: 
'45 Commando RM'
Royal Marines
Royal Navy
Lieutenant Andrew Letchford was appointed M.B.E., (Military Division),  in recognition of gallant and distinguished services in operations in the Radfan Area, Western Aden Protectorate, during the period 1st to 15th February 1965 [1].
This officer was the Forward Air 'Control Officer for ' Z' Company Group during Operation CUT. When he was warned to expect Hunter support he quickly reconnoitred a position for his air panels, and found that the only place they could be put and seen dearly by the aircraft was on the flat roof of the house. This house was completely dominated by the enemy and was swept by dissident LMG and rifle fire. Despite this, and with complete disregard for his own safety, he moved out onto the roof and carefully placed out his panels. It was a miracle that he was not hit. He then found that the only position from which he could direct the aircraft was behind the roof of a small out building. This building was also in full view of the enemy and swept by fire. Nevertheless, again with complete disregard for his own safety he took position behind the roof, to find that the difficulty in seeing the enemy position necessitated his head and shoulders being above cover. Despite this, and the fact that his radio aerial, which was only two feet from his head, was shot away twice, he remained in this position and directed, coolly and calmly, the aircraft strike. It is entirely due to his bravery and skill that the strikes were successfull and the enemy fire reduced by two thirds [2].
1983 (Major) Commanding Officer Comacchio Group [3].
[1] London Gazettes Supp. 43749, page 8173.
[2] National Archives file WO373/136/60.
[3] RM Historical Society timeline ref. 1983/204.

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