|BACK in London after almost
two months in Aden is Television News team David Tindall (reporter),
Doug Smith (cameraman), and Keith Skinner (soundman).
During this period of strikes, street battles, and almost nightly
terrorist acts of sabotage, the crew were on the spot practically
everywhere there was big trouble. They managed to provide London
with daily television coverage - even when there were no civil planes
flying out of Aden. They asked servicemen returning to London on
RAF flights to take back film for them.
During the first fortnight - whenever they had an hour or two to
spare - the team spent the time getting to know the two main Arab
danger zones. By the time the United Nations Mission arrived and
terrorism began in earnest they knew the areas like their own home
towns. During violent demonstrations involving a thousand or more
people they were able to weave their way through a maze of alley
ways as complicated as Hampton Court maze to the flashpoint of the
trouble. . . the spot where grenade attacks against British troops
were most likely to take place, where street battles would be most
While the UN Mission were in Aden the team decided to move into
the most dangerous spots before the troops. . . just to make sure
the camera didn't miss any thing once the firing began. It was a
risk correspondents were willing to take. Some times bullets and
grenades landed only a few yards from the BBC team. After one operation
- a machine-gun battle that lasted two hours - General Sir John
Willoughby told them he thought it was amazing that they hadn't
suffered any casual ties.
One day when demonstrators were hurling grenades at British soldiers
a terrorist gunman jumped into the car David Tindall was trying
to manoeuvre through the area. And as the battle heightened the
man threatened one of the soldiers. The reporter snatched the revolver
away from him and he was later arrested.
Terrorist gunmen eventually agreed to take the crew, Doug Smith,
Keith Skinner and Ken Brazier of Bush House, to see their leader
Abdullah al Asnag at Taiz in the Yemen - seventy-five miles away
across hazardous mountain tracks. During the two-day trip the crew
lived on rough rations except for the night they spent in Yemen
hotel where the pièce de résistance was goat,
beans, and chips.