Charles 'Charlie' Christodoulou (born c.1951 – killed 14 February 1976) was a British soldier in the Parachute Regiment who later served as a foreign mercenary during the Angolan War of Independence of the 1970s. Known as 'Shotgun Charlie' as he was seldom without one in his hands in Angola, he was involved in the murder of 167 civilians during that conflict.
The British people, or the Britons, are the citizens of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the British Overseas Territories, and the Crown dependencies. British nationality law governs modern British citizenship and nationality, which can be acquired, for instance, by descent from British nationals. When used in a historical context, "British" or "Britons" can refer to the Celtic Britons, the indigenous inhabitants of Great Britain and Brittany, whose surviving members are the modern Welsh people, Cornish people, and Bretons. It may also refer to citizens of the former British Empire.
The Parachute Regiment, colloquially known as the Paras, is an elite airborne infantry regiment of the British Army. The regiment is one of the most elite units in the world. The first battalion is permanently under the command of the Director Special Forces in the Special Forces Support Group. The other battalions are the parachute infantry component of the British Army's rapid response formation, 16 Air Assault Brigade. The Paras are the only line infantry regiment of the British Army that has not been amalgamated with another unit since the end of the Second World War.
A mercenary is an individual who is hired to take part in a conflict but is not part of an army or other-governmental organisation. Mercenaries fight for money or other forms of payment rather than for political interests. In the last century, mercenaries have increasingly come to be seen as less entitled to protections by rules of war than non-mercenaries. Indeed, the Geneva Conventions declare that mercenaries are not recognized as legitimate combatants and do not have to be granted the same legal protections as captured soldiers of a regular army. In practice, whether or not a person is a mercenary may be a matter of degree, as financial and political interests may overlap, as was often the case among Italian condottieri.
Christodoulou was born in Birmingham in the United Kingdom of Greek Cypriot parents and was believed to be a cousin of Costas Georgiou, known later as 'Colonel Callan', the leader of the British mercenaries in Angola. The two served together in the 1st Battalion of the Parachute Regiment in the British Army and toured in Northern Ireland. Christodoulou was honourably discharged from the Army with the rank of Corporal,where he was referred to as "Charlie Caldwell" or "Charlie Kebab" and in Angola as "Shotgun Charlie", because he was never seen without a Spanish-made shotgun, which became his weapon of choice. In 1976 Christodoulou was recruited in the Aldershot area by Nick Hall as a mercenary for the Angola War along with Georgiou and Michael Wainwright.
Birmingham is the second-most populous city in the United Kingdom, after London, and the most populous city in the English Midlands. With an estimated population of 1,137,100 as of 2017, Birmingham is the cultural, social, financial and commercial centre of the Midlands. It is the main centre of the West Midlands conurbation, which is the third most populated urban area in the United Kingdom, with a population in 2011 of 2,440,986. The wider Birmingham metropolitan area is the second largest in the United Kingdom with a population of over 3.7 million. Birmingham is frequently referred to as the United Kingdom's "second city".
The United Kingdom, officially the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland but more commonly known as the UK or Britain, is a sovereign country lying off the north-western coast of the European mainland. The United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland and many smaller islands. Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom that shares a land border with another sovereign state—the Republic of Ireland. Apart from this land border, the United Kingdom is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to the east, the English Channel to the south and the Celtic Sea to the south-west, giving it the 12th-longest coastline in the world. The Irish Sea lies between Great Britain and Ireland. With an area of 242,500 square kilometres (93,600 sq mi), the United Kingdom is the 78th-largest sovereign state in the world. It is also the 22nd-most populous country, with an estimated 66.0 million inhabitants in 2017.
Costas Georgiou was an ethnic Greek Cypriot, British mercenary executed in Angola following the Luanda Trial for activities during the civil war phase of the Angolan War of Independence.
Described as a "withdrawn and easily led character", Christodoulou fought with the rank of Captainin Angola in 1976 for the FNLA. A ruthless and sadistic man disliked by all except Georgiou, his best friend, Christodoulou was one of the first four British mercenaries to arrive in Angola, along with his close friends Costas Georgiou, Nick Hall and Michael Wainwright. He was a cold-blooded killer and was involved in the murder of 167 pro FNLA civilians.
The National Front for the Liberation of Angola is a political party and former militant organisation that fought for Angolan independence from Portugal in the war of independence, under the leadership of Holden Roberto.
Christodoulou was killed with 5 other mercenaries in February 1976 in an ambush in Angola.His General Service Medal with bar for Northern Ireland is in a private collection.
The General Service Medal, is a campaign medal of the United Kingdom introduced in 1962 to combine the General Service Medal (1918), as awarded to the Army and RAF, and the Naval General Service Medal (1915). The 1962 GSM was awarded until 2007, when it was replaced by the Operational Service Medal. In 2015 the General Service Medal (2008) was introduced.
Northern Ireland is a part of the United Kingdom in the north-east of the island of Ireland, variously described as a country, province or region. Northern Ireland shares a border to the south and west with the Republic of Ireland. In 2011, its population was 1,810,863, constituting about 30% of the island's total population and about 3% of the UK's population. Established by the Northern Ireland Act 1998 as part of the Good Friday Agreement, the Northern Ireland Assembly holds responsibility for a range of devolved policy matters, while other areas are reserved for the British government. Northern Ireland co-operates with the Republic of Ireland in some areas, and the Agreement granted the Republic the ability to "put forward views and proposals" with "determined efforts to resolve disagreements between the two governments".
Asymmetric warfare is war between belligerents whose relative military power differs significantly, or whose strategy or tactics differ significantly. This is typically a war between a standing, professional army and an insurgency or resistance movement militias who often have status of unlawful combatants.
The People's Movement for the Liberation of Angola, for some years called the People's Movement for the Liberation of Angola – Labour Party, is a political party that has ruled Angola since the country's independence from Portugal in 1975. The MPLA fought against the Portuguese army in the Angolan War of Independence of 1961–74, and defeated the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) and the National Liberation Front of Angola (FNLA), two other anti-colonial movements, in the Angolan Civil War of 1975–2002.
Executive Outcomes was a private military company (PMC) founded in South Africa by Eeben Barlow, a former lieutenant-colonel of the South African Defence Force, in 1989. It later became part of the South African-based holding company Strategic Resource Corporation.
Peter McAleese is a Scottish former British Army infantry soldier, with an extensive military career in the conflicts of the latter half of the 20th Century, both with the British Armed Forces, and as a soldier of fortune. He is the author of the book 'No Mean Soldier'.
The Angolan War of Independence (1961–1974) began as an uprising against forced cotton cultivation, and it became a multi-faction struggle for the control of Portugal's overseas province of Angola among three nationalist movements and a separatist movement. The war ended when a leftist military coup in Lisbon in April 1974 overthrew Portugal's Estado Novo regime, and the new regime immediately stopped all military action in the African colonies, declaring its intention to grant them independence without delay.
The Luanda Trial was a trial held in Luanda, Angola, in June 1976 during the Angolan Civil War. Thirteen Western mercenaries were sentenced to either long prison terms or execution by firing squad.
Holden Álvaro Roberto founded and led the National Liberation Front of Angola (FNLA) from 1962 to 1999. His memoirs are unfinished.
The Angolan Civil War was a civil conflict in Angola, beginning in 1975 and continuing, with interludes, until 2002. The war began immediately after Angola became independent from Portugal in November 1975. The war was a power struggle between two former liberation movements, the People's Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) and the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA). The war was used as a surrogate battleground for the Cold War by rival states such as the Soviet Union, Cuba, South Africa and the United States.
Operation Savannah was the South African Defence Force's 1975–1976 covert intervention in the Angolan War of Independence, and the subsequent Angolan Civil War.
The Warrenpoint ambush or Narrow Water ambush, also called the Warrenpoint massacre or Narrow Water massacre, was a guerrilla attack by the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) on 27 August 1979. The IRA's South Armagh Brigade ambushed the British Army with two large roadside bombs at Narrow Water Castle in Northern Ireland. The first bomb was aimed at a British Army convoy and the second targeted the reinforcements sent to deal with the incident. IRA volunteers hidden in nearby woodland also allegedly fired on the troops. The castle is on the banks of the Newry River, which marks the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
Shaba II was a brief conflict fought in the Zairean province of Shaba in 1978. The conflict broke out on 11 May 1978 after 6,500 rebels from the Congolese National Liberation Front (FNLC), a Katangese separatist militia, crossed the border from Angola into Zaire in an attempt to achieve the province's secession from the Zairian regime of Mobutu Sese Seko. The FNLC captured the important mining town of Kolwezi.
The 1970s in Angola, a time of political and military turbulence, saw the end of Angola's War of Independence (1961–1975) and the outbreak of civil war (1975–2002). Agostinho Neto, the leader of the People's Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), declared the independence of the People's Republic of Angola on November 11, 1975, in accordance with the Alvor Accords. UNITA and the FNLA also declared Angolan independence as the Social Democratic Republic of Angola based in Huambo and the Democratic Republic of Angola based in Ambriz. FLEC, armed and backed by the French government, declared the independence of the Republic of Cabinda from Paris. The National Liberation Front of Angola (FNLA) and the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) forged an alliance on November 23, proclaiming their own coalition government based in Huambo with Holden Roberto and Jonas Savimbi as co-presidents and José Ndelé and Johnny Pinnock Eduardo as co-Prime Ministers.
In November 1975, on the eve of Angola's independence, Cuba launched a large-scale military intervention in support of the leftist People's Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) against United States-backed interventions by South Africa and Zaire in support of two right-wing independence movements competing for power in the country, the National Liberation Front of Angola (FNLA) and the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA). By the end of 1975 the Cuban military in Angola numbered more than 25,000 troops. Following the withdrawal of Zaire and South Africa, Cuban forces remained in Angola to support the MPLA government against UNITA in the continuing Angolan Civil War.
The 44 Pathfinder Platoon is part of the 44 Parachute Brigade. The pathfinder is a trained and specialized soldier who performs covertly behind enemy lines, either in small groups or in collaboration with other reconnaissance units.
George Washington Bacon III was an American soldier. He served as a Green Beret in the U.S. Army, Paramilitary Officer in Special Activities Division for the Central Intelligence Agency, and finally as a mercenary soldier.
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