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Major David Shillinglaw WB, WKhM

We regret to report the death of David Shillinglaw on Saturday 20th January 2024 after bravely battling ill health for some time. David served in NFR from 1968 - 70 and then in ORD/ISS from 1974 - 1986. He served in the Royal Tank Regiment and resigned from the British Army in 1976.


David was a gregarious and charming man who lit up any room and was a good friend to many as well as being a brave and accomplished leader. John McKeown has kindly shared with us the following tribute.


"David was the holder of The Sultan’s Bravery Medal, which is an award for gallant and distinguished service in action against the enemy, and the standard of bravery required is very high. It is second only to the Sultan’s Gallantry Medal which is one of the rarest medals of its kind in the world, awarded to under 20 recipients.


He was awarded the medal in 1970, having served as a company commander on the Dhofar jebel during the most difficult times, before the arrival of increased British assistance. The tribal rebellion had evolved into a Communist revolution, with assistance in training and supplies from China and then Russia coming through South Yemen. The Sultan’s forces were outnumbered by the organised fighters on the jebel, and support was very limited, for example there were no helicopters available to evacuate casualties, of which there were many in the remote mountains.


One of the major operations in which David took part was the opening of the Midway road which enabled coastal Dhofar to be connected to the rest of the Sultanate through the mountains. David was commanding one of two companies clearing from the North - a splendid aggressive leader according to the Commander of SAF, Corran Purdon, who was personally on the operation.


After his gallant and distinguished service as an infantry company commander, David was one of the relatively small number of officers who joined and developed the Oman intelligence service, known in its early days as the Oman Research Department. He had a successful career there for some years before he and his wife Justine decided to return to Britain. Justine herself was the daughter of another highly-regarded district intelligence officer.


David was one of nature’s gentlemen, always courteous and smiling whatever the situation, a calm professional colleague and a loyal friend."


Funeral Details

David's funeral will take place at Hawkinge Crematorium, Aerodrome Road, Hawkinge, CT18 7AG [Click this link to a map] at 4:30 pm on Thursday 15th February 2024. There will be no flowers except family but donations to Help the Heroes can be made on departure from the service. There will be a gathering at a suitable location after the funeral but we need to firm up numbers attending before a location can be confirmed. Would anyone from the Association planning to attend please confirm by email to saf.business@dudwell.co.uk.

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