How the Robertsons Gollies Were Earned
I have visited your site on numerous occasions and must praise your efforts to bring
to the attention of all those hurtful emblems of racism, which though perhaps not
intended as demeaning or hateful when they were devised, can, with the clarity of
time and a wakening up, show how hurtful they must have been.
However, there was one reference which I don't completely agree with. In your Golliwogs
section, you make a definitive remark that the Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders, in
Aden in 1967, awarded themselves a Roberston's Golly badge for each Arab rebel killed.
You have cited a reference which I am unable to check. I had a relative and family
friends with the battalion in Aden, 1967 and they do not agree with your comment.
They also feel somewhat aggrieved by it. Considering the media was in the thick of
things whilst the Argylls were there, memorable when Mad Mitch and his lads retook
the Crater district one night, posting snipers and taking key buildings and Crater
awoke next morning to the strains of the Argylls' pipers playing the rest of the Argylls
into Crater, it would have been difficult to keep secret such a visual and perfidious
reward scheme. It did not make the British papers or TV, so if it did happen and the
press did know, then they were party to the whole affair.
However, another website, called britains-smallwars.com, hopefully sheds some light on the subject. This account covers the Argylls predecessors,
the Royal Northumberland Fusiliers tenure in Aden and sees the arrival of the Argylls.
Yes, there were Robertsons gollies, yes - also - potential Arab enemies were referred
to as gollies, but the award was not for shooting real enemies. If you go to the website
I have described it, to this page:
Read that page and you will see how the Robertsons gollies were earned.
L.G., Great Britain
-- April 28, 2008