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Bill Strong in the “Trouble Spots of the World”

Those attending the annual meeting of St Hilary Forum in January 2018 were treated to a wonderful talk by Bill Strong about his illustrious military career.

billstrong
After eschewing a lucrative career in finance and resisting the allure of a life as a jazz drummer, Bill embarked on a journey that took him and Angela to Aden (part of modern Yemen), Oman, Saudi Arabia, Northern Ireland and Borneo.
 
Eventually he was responsible for the mobilisation of 46,000 troops, being 3rd in command of the Headquarters during the 1st Gulf War.

Memorable anecdotes included:

• Writing to Defence Minister Dennis Healy who approved his posting to Aden, where Bill and his colleagues were attacked with mustard gas;

• Experiencing the overthrow of Said bin Taimur by his son Sultan Qaboos in a palace coup in Oman in 1970;

• Being posted to Borneo, only to arrive after the war had ended!

• Enjoying drinks from the proceeds of 14 stitches, at £44 a stitch, that one of his colleagues had in a wound – when only 3 stiches were really needed;

• Successfully opening a champagne bottle with a sabre, to the chagrin of the French military attaché who had issued the challenge; and,

• General Sir Peter de la Billiere, former Commander-in-Chief of the British forces in the Gulf War, getting lost in St Hilary and ending up in the Bush!

A very big thank you to Bill and, of course, to Angela.