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FLARE - UP in GEORGETOWN

'A' Company, 1st Battalion The Duke of Edinburgh's Royal Regiment deploys to British Guiana

 

THE BACKGROUND
The situation in British Guiana came about because of a General strike called in protest against Dr Cheddi Jagans austerity Budget. Demonstrations and Public meetings were banned, the British Guiana Volunteers Force was called out and Dr Jagan made a broadcast rescinding most of his budget impositions.

But on 'Black Friday' a mob of 20.000 rampaged through Georgetown, converging on Dr Jagans party headquarters, attempting  to storm the city's electricity plant and setting fire to premises of Indian shopkeepers and businessmen. Smoke bellowed over the water front of Georgetown, flames belched from the wooden shops, offices and warehouses. Rioters defying tear gas grenades fought pitched battles with the Police and drove back firemen with bottles and stones.

As a result of this an urgent call for help was made and the Army responded with the Resident Garrison Battalion the 1st Bn Royal Hampshire Regiment. The Hampshire's went straight into action with fixed bayonets and started to restore order. Initially they were supported by Royal Marines from HMS 'Trowbridge' and 'Wizard'. The situation was such that further reinforcement was necessary and they were reinforced from the U.K. by two companies of 'The Vikings' -1st Bn East Anglian Regiment, and shortly after by 'A' Company, 'Wonders' 1st Bn Duke of Edinburgh's Royal Regiment 

 

Waterstreet, Georgtown

The Riot hit Waterstreet area of Georgetown

 

'A' Company 1st Bn D.E.R.R. in British Guiana 

'Operation Windsor 11'

The Company received a 'fast Ball' request to deploy to British Guiana in February 1962. The Support Platoon travelled from London Airport by D.C. 7 Via new York and the remainder of the Company went from Lyneham to British Guiana via Gander and Trinidad. Because of the General Strike they had to unload their kit at Atkinson's Field. They took up a position at the Legionairs at Georgetown. This was rough and ready with most soldiers sleeping rough on the floor. Conditions improved as the weeks progressed.

On their arrived the situation was still tense, the burned out area by the docks was heavily cordoned. There were threats and counter threats of arson and murder, occasional street fights and looting affrays. For the first period the Company did nothing but Guards and patrols. The situation settled down with the East Anglians mounting rural patrols, and the Royal Hampshire's and 'A' Company 1st Bn DERR mounting a stand-by force in Georgetown ready for any further emergency.

The Company then settled down to 'Aid to the Civil' power duties taking full advantage of seeing this part of the world. A number of recruits were enlisted on departure, and the highlight of the 'Peaceful' part of the deployment was a trip to the diamond sugar factory where the Company Alcoholics were delighted to find that the factory also made rum 160% proof.

 

A fire gutted building in the Water street Area

A Gutted building in the Water street area of Georgetown which become familiar to the soldiers of 'A' Company

Pte Tony CHAFFEY

Amerindian Village

Pte Tony CHAFFEY of the Signal Platoon operating a link from 'A' Coys location to Bn H.Q. Member of 'A' Coy visiting the Amerindian Village

Instructions for opening fire

Instructions for opening fire in British Guiana
Street Scene Georgetown 1962
Typical Street scene, Georgetown, British Guiana 1962
A Coy Road Check

Soldiers from 'A' Coy 1st Bn DERR take an interest in a donkey

 
 
                             
 
                        
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                            Revised: 19 July 2006.