We regret to report the news that Colonel Johnnie Johnson, who commanded Force Ordnance Services (FOS) and then succeeded Nigel Knocker as UK Defence Attache, died on 27th January 2020. Johnnie served in Oman from 1976 to 1986.
Colonel Johnnie Johnson took over the Post of Director Force Ordnance Services in 1976. He was a dedicated logistician and a devotee of the British Army Manual of Ordnance Services. The short, sharp end to the post monsoon campaign in Dhofar had stretched SAF’s logistic resources, particularly in Combat supplies, but the supply chain had prevailed - largely through ad hoc initiatives demanded by the fluid situation and sheer hard work by a number of seasoned veteran logisticians from a variety of backgrounds.
However, to a newcomer arriving from a well - ordered British army, things must have looked pretty chaotic and Colonel Johnson certainly said so frequently! He set about re-organising things with considerable vigour but his very experienced and pragmatic team were able to temper some of his initial enthusiasm by translating his directives into workable local solutions until the system drew breath and peacetime procedures were gradually established.
Priorities were sometimes also “adjusted” as the new Director was introduced to the prevailing situation. In one early encounter with the Stores Management System the Colonel demanded to see the “Repeat Order Book”. The wonderful and effective Chief Clerk duly produced an immaculate large ledger neatly written in Arabic, Baluchi and Urdu. Reportedly, it served the purpose but later turned out to be the Stim and Rooti “NAAFI break” book!
Nevertheless, Johnnie Johnson undoubtedly set the direction for post - Dhofar Force Ordnance Services. He was also generous in entertaining his subordinates who well remember his private dinners at Bait al Falaj. A keen Hash runner, he was instrumental in establishing the Oman Hash House Harriers in 1976 with a founding membership of 12 runners. He became the Grand Master of the re-named Muscat Hash and a later photograph in The Times of Oman shows him heading the pack of over 70 runners celebrating their 300th run – no doubt all running according to the rule book!