RAAID CHRISTOPHER HAMILTON (Chris) BEAL died in hospital in Switzerland on 6 May 2020, from a heart attack.
Chris was born on 12 July 1939 in Cardiff, Wales. His father was mobilised as a Territorial officer in the Welch Regt shortly after his birth and would eventually land in Normandy in 1944. He would end the war as a decorated major in the Reconnaissance Corps. Chris was educated at Framlingham College, in Suffolk. He was commissioned from Mons Officer Cadet School into the Royal Army Service Corps in 1960, having been a National Serviceman since 1959. During his time in the British Army, he saw overseas service in Libya, Germany, Cyprus, Sabah, Sarawak, Hong Kong and Northern Ireland. He retired from the British Army as a major in the Royal Corps of Transport in 1978.
Following his service in the British Army and after a short time in Sudan acting as the logistics team leader for a documentary film crew, he joined SAF on 8 October 1979. Having arrived in the Sultanate he undertook a short attachment in Dhofar attached to A Company Southern Regiment (KJ), before joining Muqaddam Paul Benton as his operations and training officer in the rapidly developing Force Transport Regiment (FTR). They were both instrumental in taking the jaysh's operational logistics from ‘back of a Bedford’ ad hoc resupply arrangements, to a modern and integrated force-support capability in the early 1980s.
Chris was also a great enthusiast for rigorously testing every resupply element and he was only happy when an FTR capability had been desert-proven. He was a great mentor to Omani, Baluchi and Brit alike. He was a natural adventurer and from 1984 to 1986 he played a key role in supporting the Royal Geographical Society’s expedition and detailed analysis of the Wahibah Sands. He had a depth of skill and experience that was put to great use and Chris played a huge part in preparing the Omani logistical contribution to the Peninsula Shield force that deployed to Kuwait. He was an enthusiast for Omanisation and always committed time to developing junior Omani officer capabilities in terms of bringing on their command and planning skills. He ended his time in SAF as the Commandant of the Force’s School of Transport.
Chris and his wife Heide ran an exclusive tourist operation in Oman after he left the army. He was deeply loyal to his dear wife Heide during her battle with cancer, which she sadly lost in Oman in 2002, as well as being a great father to their daughter Natasha. In 2003 he returned to London and took on a logistics fuel project for the UN in Iraq just after the war. Later he met a fellow spirit in a Swiss Lady, Esther, so they married and he moved to Switzerland where they lived peacefully for 13 years in a small farming village outside Bern. He was a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and a member of the Honourable Artillery Company as well as holding memberships of a number of other associations and institutes. He joked that his time on horses in Hong Kong may have helped him get into the HAC.
Chris was immensely positive and would always lift the spirits of others under strain. As a friend, he was witty, warm and always patient. He was very popular with his Omani friends and when on his frequent trips into the interior he was never short of places to stop for qahwa and dates. He was a wonderful guide who loved to share his knowledge of the Sultanate (a country he adored), a real raconteur who was never short of a story. As a host, he was always generous and when paying a visit to Chris it really was a case of 'baytee baytak'. He will be sorely missed by all that knew him.
Once the travel restrictions due to COVID-19 are lifted, Chris’ ashes will be given to the sea in the smallest circle according to Chris’ wishes.