Aden, 20 June 1967: two army Land Rovers burn ferociously in the midday sun. The bodies of British soldiers litter the road. Thick black smoke bellows above Crater town, home to insurgents who are fighting the British-backed Federation government. Crater had come to symbolise Arab nationalist defiance in the face of the world’s most powerful empire.
Hovering 2,000 ft. above the smouldering destruction, a tiny Scout helicopter surveys the scene. Its passenger is the recently arrived Commanding Officer of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, Lieutenant-Colonel Colin Mitchell. Soon the world’s media would christen him ‘Mad Mitch’, in recognition of his controversial reoccupation of Crater two weeks later.
Mad Mitch was truly a man out of his time. Supremely self-confident and debonair, he was an empire builder, not dismantler, and railed against the national malaise he felt had gripped Britain’s political establishment. Drawing on a wide array of never-before-seen archival sources and eyewitness testimonies, Mad Mitch’s Tribal Law tells the remarkable story of inspiring leadership, loyalty and betrayal in the final days of British Empire. It is, above all, a shocking account of Britain’s forgotten war on terror.