The following is my English translation of excerpts from “A Soldier from Oman, Memory’s Nectar” by (ret.) Inspector-General Said bin Rashid Al Kalbani:
We slept for a night, and on the third day, the guide said to the commander that he knew another place with plenty of water. We followed the guide, and as we reached Wadi Jardom the commander asked us to take positions as a cover. I remember I took a tree’s trunk as a screen. When the group under the command of Capt. Mohammed al Hosni arrived, the guide suddenly disappeared amidst the trees in a mysterious way.
Highly alert, holding our guns in our hands, we took the disappearance of the guide as a strong warning bell. In but a few moments we found ourselves in a rather fierce battle. Volleys of fire were shot at us from different directions, our group being most exposed, as we were in the position where the guide took us for water. We fought back in what proved to be a ferocious battle. Salim al Kabi, from Mahdha, got wounded. Srg. Mohammed al Hosni carried him on his back while we were protecting them. Al Kabi, nonetheless, was hit yet by another bullet and died, may his soul rest in peace. Others got wounded, too, one of whom was Private Saif al Kalbani.
I myself was hit by a bullet that settled in my hip. Close to me was a man from Adam, named Barot al Jonebi. He was firing indiscriminately, so I told him to relax and fire economically, lest his ammunition ran out. However, he paid no heed to my advice. No wonder he came to me after a little while complaining that he had no more ammunition, asking me to give him mine. I refused and protested that I myself was wounded and needed my ammunition more than he did. I went further than this by adding that if he approached me I would kill him.
I tied my wound with my turban. Once the battle was over, the others came and gave me first aid. My leg was dressed with a piece of a tree branch. The wounded in our party, upon counting, turned out to be nine, amongst whom three died and the others were in a serious condition, I one of them. Even the donkeys had their toll, 17 were wounded and died as they rushed headlong to the firing enemy. One donkey, from Al Jabal Al Akhdhar, remained uninjured, though.
We sent a telegraph providing details about the situation and asking for an aircraft to take the dead and the injured. An aircraft came and dropped all the equipment necessary for it to land. However, it was unable to land despite the fact that the soldiers had prepared the ground. As a result, we spent two nights, and the wounded were given doses of morphine.
It became clear at last that the guide was a spy planted amongst us by the enemy. The commander came to know this belatedly. Stranded in mountains, unable to do anything for our injured and martyrs, we felt time all but stopped. On the third day, when it was impossible for the plane to touch down, Sultan Said was asked to give us the permission to bury the dead in the mountains. He wouldn’t normally allow that, as the mountain was populated by prey animals. This time he did give permission, though, and, accordingly all the dead were buried.
A whole regiment from Salalah was sent to us to help evacuate the wounded and carry the equipment on the donkeys.