THE BRITISH GOVERNMENT'S DECISION TO WITHDRAW ITS FORCES FROM THE ARABIAN GULF AREA BY THE END OF 1971 POSES A MAJOR PROBLEM FOR THE RULERS OF THE NINE GULF STATES THAT HAVE UP TO NOW LOOKED TO BRITAIN FOR THEIR DEFENCE.
"Vesting" ceremony at British Military Base, Sharjah State, Trucial Oman, at which 1st Battalion Royal Fusiliers relinquished its identity as "City of London Regiment" and became 3rd Battalion, Royal Regiment of Fusiliers in new British Army reorganisation.
Battalion marches on parade headed by band.
Colours are marched on parade.
No.I Guard (Escort to the Colours) receives the Colours and proceed to troop Colours through the ranks.
After Battalion has formed hollow square Commanding Officer Lieutenant-Colonel C.M. Barrett reads special order of the day and a loyal message to the Queen. Padre Rev. W.B.M. Hale, Chaplain to the Forces reads collect for the Royal Fusiliers. (Barret and Padre identified later).
Parade changes from its old white, to its new red and white hackle.
Colours are handed over by the Colour Party Ist Battalion Royal Fusiliers (City of London Regiment) to the Colour Party 3rd Battalion Royal Regiment of Fusiliers.
Brief identifying shot of Fusiliers on parade.
Flag of Royal Regiment of Fusiliers (the new one) flying at mast head.
Battalion marches past in quick time.
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Background: THE BRITISH GOVERNMENT'S DECISION TO WITHDRAW ITS FORCES FROM THE ARABIAN GULF AREA BY THE END OF 1971 POSES A MAJOR PROBLEM FOR THE RULERS OF THE NINE GULF STATES THAT HAVE UP TO NOW LOOKED TO BRITAIN FOR THEIR DEFENCE. THEY HAVE ALREADY TAKEN STEPS TO GET TOGETHER AND WORK OUT WAYS OF COMBINING IN MILITARY AND ECONOMIC AFFAIRS.
THIS FILM SHOWS SOME ACTIVITIES OF THE 6500 BRITISH TROOPS STILL IN THE AREA, AND THEIR BASES, CAMPS AND AIR STATIONS. THEY WERE REINFORCED BY MEN WITHDRAWN AT THE END OF LAST YEAR FROM ADEN, WHEN IT BECAME INDEPENDENT AS THE PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF SOUTH YEMEN. THIS WAS BEFORE THE DECISION TO WITHDRAW ALSO FROM THE GULF AREA WAS TAKEN, AND AS A RESULT SUBSTANTIAL BUILDING WORK TO ACCOMMODATE THE ADDITIONAL FORCES WAS THEN STARTED.
THE BRITISH NAVAL STRENGTH IN THE GULF IS THREE DESTROYERS AND SIX MINESWEEPERS. THEY HAVE THE TASK OF MAINTAINING THE PATROLS OFF BEIRA IN MOZAMBIQUE TO ENFORCE SANCTIONS AGAINST RHODESIA AS WELL AS THE MORE LOCAL DUTY OF HELPING THE GULF STATES TO CHECK SMUGGLING AND ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION.
THE ROYAL AIR FORCE BASE IS AT MUHARRAQ: WHICH IS JOINED TO BAHRAIN BY A CAUSEWAY. IT MAINTAINS TWO SQUADRONS OF HUNTER JET FIGHTERS AND AN AIR-SEA RESCUE SERVICE. SIX ARGOSY TRANSPORT AIRCRAFT ARE KEPT THERE, THOUGH THEIR CREWS ARE CHANGED EVERY THREE MONTHS; AND A NUMBER OF NOW OBSOLETE TWIN-PIONEERS WERE FLOWN UP FROM ADEN AND PARKED THERE AWAITING A POSSIBLE BUYER.
THERE ARE TWO BRITISH INFANTRY BATTALIONS IN THE AREA: ONE IN BAHRAIN, BASED AT THE REMOTE DESERT CAMP AT HAMALA, AND THE OTHER IN THE TRUCIAL STATE OF SHARJAH.
THE BRITISH OBJECT IN KEEPING A GARRISON IN THE GULF AREA HAS ALWAYS BEEN GIVEN AS MAINTAINING POLITICAL STABILITY IN THIS RICH OIL-PRODUCING AREA, BOTH BETWEEN THE SMALL STATES THEMSELVES AND BETWEEN THEM AND THEIR LARGER NEIGHBOURS, SAUDI ARABIA, IRAN AND IRAQ. NOW THAT THE BRITISH TROOPS ARE TO BE WITHDRAWN, AND THE STATES ARE IN THE PROCESS OF FORMING A FEDERATION, THE EXISTING TREATIES BETWEEN THEM AND BRITAIN WILL BE REVISED.