Nick Emson was commissioned into the Parachute Regiment on 30 July 1966 after attending Mons Officer Cadet School.
He was awarded a Military Cross for his actions while serving with 1 PARA in Aden. The citation, reported in the London Gazette 23 January 1968, records:
"Second Lieutenant Emson is the Platoon Commander of 8 Platoon, " C " Company, First Battalion, The Parachute Regiment.
On Thursday 1st June 1967, there was a general strike throughout Aden. " D " Company, with under command 8 Platoon, was deployed in roof top observation posts throughout Sheikh Othman. Second Lieutenant Emson was in command of Observation Post 12. Shortly. after first light all observation posts were engaged by accurate and intensive small arms fire, in many cases from as close as 50 yards range.
This fire fight went on continuously for nearly five hours. Tragically 8 -Platoon's machine gunner was fatally wounded and shortly after it became impossible for the armoured cars to give the observation post supporting fire. Orders were given for the position to be evacuated and the Platoon to move to another nearby observation post.
After seeing his casualty safely evacuated by armoured ambulance Second Lieutenant Emson successfully withdrew the platoon without incident. Throughout the remainder of the day and until long after last light his platoon continued the fight from their new position.
Second Lieutenant Emson's personal example and leadership was an inspiration to his men. Throughout the day his courage and coolness under fire was in the highest traditions of the Army.
On Tuesday 20th June 1967, Second Lieutenant Emson's Company was the Internal Security Company in Radfan Camp. That morning there had been an armed uprising of the Federal National Guard in nearby Champion Lines.
" C" Company of the King's Own Royal Border Regiment were ordered to move to these lines to secure the main armoury and to restore law and order. In doing this they suffered a number of casualties. In addition there were unconfirmed reports of other British casualties lying out in the sand dunes, an area still swept by fire from Champion Lines.
Second Lieutenant Emson was ordered to take one of three officer led patrols to go out, search for and recover any wounded or dead in the area.
He took a party of four men and an armoured 3 ton vehicle. They found two wounded soldiers but soon after came under heavy fire. This punctured the radiator and front tyres causing the vehicle to slew across the road 'and face directly towardsChampion Lines. The next burst of fire entered the drivers visor, the hatch of which had been jammed, wounding the driver and three men in the vehicle.
Second Lieutenant Emson, without thought of his own safety, pulled the driver out of his seat and managed to turn the vehicle out of the direct line of fire. He then took over the radio and, even though his head set was shot off his head, undaunted continued to pass clear and concise reports back to Battalion Headquarters.
Finally, when the firing ceased, he supervised the recovery of his disabled vehicle and the evacuation of his wounded men to hospital.
Throughout the action, this young Officer showed exceptional bravery and devotion to duty. His courage and quick action undoubtedly saved many men's lives."
He later transferred to the Coldstream Guards and retired from the Army on 15 Aug 2001.
Compiled by Harvey GrenvilleRead More