Army pioneer Tug dies at 87

A SOLDIER who founded the Abu Dhabi army has died at the age of 87.

Colonel Edward "Tug" Wilson was the founder and the first commander of the Abu Dhabi Defence Force, in the United Arab Emirates.

Edward Bearby Wilson was born in Hartlepool on January 18, 1921, and educated in Great Ayton, North Yorkshire, and in Middlesbrough.

After becoming a major in the Worcestershire Regiment, he volunteered for service with the Trucial Oman Scouts, in Buraimi Oasis, Al Ain, the fourth largest city in the United Arab Emirates.

He was later seconded to the Government of Abu Dhabi with the rank of colonel, with the responsibility for raising and commanding defence force.

After being recalled from Abu Dhabi in 1969 he instructed at the Royal Navy College, Greenwich, and at Staff College, Camberley, before retiring from the Army in 1971.

Col Wilson moved to Devon for three years to start a trout farm but in 1974, he accepted an invitation from old friend Sheikh Zayed to return to Abu Dhabi as director of the royal stables.

In 1990 he took part in the London-Beijing Motor Challenge by driving almost 10,000 miles.

He received the Star of Jordan from King Hussein in 1968 and spent the rest of his life in Abu Dhabi. Col Wilson died on January 2.