Off thread slightly, but does anyone remember the trick pulled on the new co-pilots when stopping at Gan? Now Gan, for those who may not be familiar with it, is just an atoll with a long runway meeting the sea at both ends, and sufficient accomodation for the RAF personnel. The plot was to persuade the young co- to ring the taxi company (MT corporal, who was in on the joke), to request a taxi to take the crew to the railway station, so they could catch a train downtown! The nearest railway was Columbo, in Sri Lanka. I've seen this work, and was amazed that the chap who had landed there only an hour previously hadn't grasped the layout of the place.
A few memories from my time on 152 Sqn in 1959-61.
All RAF, TOS and IAL positions were unaccompanied. RAF tour was one year.
The TOS Officers Mess was an old building on the Sharjah seafront. The expat TOS Sergeants Mess was situated on the southeast edge of RAF Sharjah, together with the TOS and Army lines.
I remember a few British TOS officers had their wives to stay on one or two special occasions. As we were not allowed to carry them on our scheduled Pembroke flights they flew BOAC to Bahrain and then Gulf Aviation to Sharjah.
The RAF Station Commander was a Squadron Leader post. S/L Kingsley Brown, a navigator by trade, was the most unpopular incumbent in my time on 152. He didn't like women, but grudgingly allowed a visiting party of Combined Services Entertainers to stay in the officers mess. Three very attractive dancers were allocated rooms in a hut adjacent to the CO's quarters.The following morning his personal clothes line was filled by a row of knickers and bra's, which the girls must have washed before they went to bed.
CSE entertainers were accommodated in the sergeants mess during the remainder of his tour and we renamed him S/L Queensly Pink!
During 1960/1 a WVS lady lived in the RAF officers mess. She was great fun and is pictured in post no: 83
Juliet Whistky Four One One, you are fantastic sir! You made my day with your ATC clearances, being a Virtual Pilot I get the idea how simple and beautiful the ATC-Pilot communication used to be and Radio-telephony was beginning to take its shape! Being today's virtual pilot it makes me attracted to the old classic aeroplanes with traditional analogue dials with manual cockpits! Today's fly-by-wire and glass cockpits are no fun seriously! Because the plane fly for itself pilot is just merely in command, back then the pilots really had their birds in total command!
Even in flight simulator when I fly the old beauties like DC-3, DC-6, Flying Fortress, Viscount, Goose, Twin Pioneer, B52, L188, 610 Viking, Vickers Vanguard....to name but a few!! What aeroplanes by God! I can imagine how you all must have felt flying these in real life!
I am curious to know what happened in the final years after the UAE federation was formed in the 70s, did the RAF just abandoned Sharjah station or was is still used for small exercises after the federation? What was this area's environment just before RAF exited ?
What I remember from my childhood years is that during the early 90s this area was a complete ruin and abandoned! On weekends the Asian community residing in the neighbouring areas used to play Cricket on the taxiways and parking fields which was fully intact back then! It was only after 2000 when real estate sector started to develop buildings they had to break the fields and parts of taxiway.
I can recall that the control tower glass windows were all shattered and some of them was broken too! gates of old fort were chain-locked! Light poles were still there but no lights in them! Stolen perhaps? Anemometers and Wind socks were still there till the early 90s! Anemometer was removed during the renovation of the control tower. During the early 2000 the new hanger was built to host the fine birds! I wonder how they got the Heron and DC-3 of Gulf Aviation there?
Can anyone shed some light on the final years of RAF Sharjah ?
You just said the south-east edge of the base ? Do you mean towards the end off the runway ? If so, this sounds like the location of my house/compound I'm searching for...
There were no buildings anywhere near the threshold of runway 30, just scruffy sand and a couple of tracks that led to Dubai. The TOS and RAF sergeants mess were near the bottom right hand corner of the first photo in post 70. East of the RWY threshold. There were no tarmac roads, so it all looked the same then and I only ever visited the sergeants messes in the dark!
hmm interesting point sir (Brakedwell) this would only mean one thing that the area "quebec" has mentioned must have emerged after the UAE was formed (During the or from early 70s to mid 70s I presume) As she says the housing is quite old and dates backs to those days. I guess as per the facts and assumptions that the housing would have been made for the British officers who were engineers, or municipal persons responsible of infrastructure development in the area.
One fact is certain, those housing scheme wasn't for Arabs nor does those houses look Arabic from any angle! It must have been for the British officers either relating to UAE's newly formed Army or Government entities for the development I reckon.
RAF Sharjah has never had any married quarters. The officers mess was about 100m from the main gate leading to the aircraft parking area and accomodated no more than a dozen permanent officers. IAL expat staff lived in the fort. My guess is that the older houses were built for civil engineers, contractors and their families involved in the breakneck development of Sharjah post UAE.
Just to add some nostalgic flavour to the thread... I am adding two shots of my recent heritage flight in Flight Simulator X from Muscat to Sharjah, this is our very own Bristol Britannia in RAF colours... shot taken somewhere around north east of Fort Jahili
I wish I could replicate old air routes between Khor Maskar, Muscat, Sharjah, Bahrain and Baghdad....
A bit off thread, but I was thinking about Sharjah in the last couple of weeks. I flew with Emirates to Johannesburg. Leaving DXB we could see Sharjah (through the sandy murk), then Jebel Hafit, then (very clearly) Jebel Akhdar where poor Owen Watkinson's Venom still sits where it went down in 1958. Then down to Salalah. Nice ride! On the way back it was Baghdad, Aden, DXB. So I missed the last page or so of posts to this thread and only caught up yesterday. It was good to see some new photos of the Sharjah fort (yes, it certainly was Sharjah: the massive gates give it away). What an amzing thread this is turning out to be.
I worked in the commcen at RAF Sharjah 1963-64. We had morse links with Muharraq, Masirah, Salalah, Riyan and Khormaksar. Also a voice link to the political agent at Dubai (PAD) and an ICAO (RAFAN) morse link with Muharraq.
If I remember correctly the officers quarters were call "The Cloisters" in the old officers mess.
Also new arrivals were promised a visit to the "Golden Flip Flop!!" the only night club in the Emirates!! We were very young and innocent at the time and believed it existed for at least the first six months of our tour!
The station commander at the time (1966) was Sqn Ldr Tom Sheppard who loved the desert. He was a good a man and did an excellent job as CO.