Tag Archives: Aden

Soldier in the Sun (BBC 1964)

Soldier in the Sun is a newsreel type production of the British Army in the Radfan in Aden in 1964. Shot completely on location in Aden and featuring real soldiers talking unscripted about their experiences.

I caught Soldier in the Sun on the BBC iplayer where it is still available more or less indefinitely. If you can’t get the iplayer then it is available on YouTube in two parts (embedded below).

What struck me about Soldier in the Sun was that, kit aside, it could just as well have been filmed 50 years later in Afghanistan. The situation in Aden was of an unseen enemy consisting of hill tribes armed with a variety of weapons.  Roads were mined and ambushes common. Outposts took sniper and mortar fire and were sometimes assaulted. Resupply was mainly by helicopter and air support made the enemy disappear, sometimes just by flying over.

The soldier commentary was interesting. They talked about the conditions and getting used to them.  They complained about all the things you’d expect if you’ve ever met soldiers.

Another interesting scene was a sniper attack on the outpost, followed by the clearance patrol. The camera crew went with them and filmed a cave being cleared with a grenade.

PS as I was looking for an iplayer link to Soldier in the Sun I discovered that there are a load of these at http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/group/p02g70hx