Presumably as a result of their review of the scene, the Board decided that the Rangers might have had Cloughie effectively trapped in the recess by the closed gate, so he might, just might, have been unable to obey the order to leave. So, not guilty of disobeying a lawful command.

Furthermore, as it was 4 v 1, the Board came to the conclusion that Cloughie's part of the fight could possibly, just possibly, have been justifiable self - defence. No guilt unless it's beyond reasonable doubt, and all that.  What a relief for Cloughie!

"You lucky so-and-so," we all said to him, "we need the name of your defending officer, he's the one we want if we're ever in trouble."

And I suppose we would have needed the same Judge Advocate, and the same people on the Board.

The Rangers? In those pre-open reporting and pre-social media days we had to rely on the jungle drums, but somehow we heard rumours of the outcome. The Rangers' CO had not surprisingly been mightily annoyed by the whole affair. It was an inter-service incident that had brought his regiment into disrepute, and on the small island of Bahrain all the armed forces there knew about it, the RAF, the Army, and the Royal Navy, and of course the British Diplomatic Corps, which probably meant all the many expats on the island. The Rangers had given their self-incriminating evidence on oath in spite of the Judge Advocate's warnings, so there was no more they could say. Given that Cloughie had been found not guilty, we heard that the Rangers CO had no option but to throw the book at them.

The Royal Irish Rangers are now part of the Royal Irish Regiment, advertising themselves as "the sharp point of the bayonet, built with fighting spirit, tradition, and Irish character".

Apparently what really upset the Rangers' CO was that a single officer had been able to hold his own against 4 of his Rangers - and an RAF officer at that. This humiliation is probably talked about in the Regiment even today.

If you ever meet an Irish Ranger, or an ex-Irish Ranger, perhaps it would be wise not to say that you are or were in the RAF, and particularly not to say that you were on 208 Squadron.

-  Iain Ross, with thanks to John Houghton.  RIP Cloughie.

Cloughie’s Court Martial 05

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