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RAF Sharjah

Old 19th Feb 2013, 13:30
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Kippers for breakfast in the mess at Nizwa after an early morning flight. Those were the days!!
Bet they didn't have any marmalade
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Old 19th Feb 2013, 14:05
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Sharjah 1968 - 84 Sqn Line

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Old 19th Feb 2013, 14:08
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Since the post above worked, here is what I found in my wardrobe this morning:

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Old 19th Feb 2013, 14:16
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Bloody hell; do you ever wear it? Mine is covered in beer stains and fag-end burns!
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Old 19th Feb 2013, 14:33
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Beer Stains

Watney's Red Barrel no doubt
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Old 19th Feb 2013, 14:52
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JW411,
The thin end was cut off many years ago and probably still hangs in an Oxford pub (The Turl?). I recollect you got a pint (def not Red Barrel) if you made a donation.
I've just checked upstairs, and my '12 months' (without it) tie is also missing the thin end.
Mind you, on 84, when you came back from yr mid-tour UK leave you were expected to make an honest entry on the 'touchdown to touch-up' board!!
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Old 19th Feb 2013, 17:43
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Kippers

Lightly buttered finger toast. yum yum!
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Old 19th Feb 2013, 17:47
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84 Squadron

I assume 84 took over from 152? Did you also do a 12 month tour with a break at the six month point? Did the Andover perform well out in the sticks?
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Old 19th Feb 2013, 18:17
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Navstar,
Yes, there was a slight overlap with the TwinPins and 84 had a full complement of a/c by Dec '67. The tour was 13 months including a months leave near the middle.
The Andover C1 worked pretty well in the desert, certainly better than any other employment the RAF found for it over the years. Compared to other 748 models it was 'overpowered' with water meth used as a selectable power boost rather than just as a power restoration system. The 14' 6'' prop was fully reversable and the flap extensions at 27 and 30 deg allowed a STOL rotate speed of 76kts (I think) with a general V2 of 96kts. This all meant that we generally looked at 2000ft+ as OK. Certainly Mirfa/Manama etc. were 'routine' with payloads around 4-5000lbs available. Cruising at 210 kts and trips like Salalah - Muharraq etc direct as an option, it was all great fun. I'll dig out some more photos, now I've hacked the technology.

Last edited by friendlypelican 2; 19th Feb 2013 at 18:43.
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Old 19th Feb 2013, 22:17
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The change to the Andover as the TOS support aircraft was not universally welcomed among us rag-heads. It seemed to us that operationally it carried little more than a Twin Pin, but made a hugely greater fuss over it.

What really got us was that with the Twin Pins, at Sharjah we could roll up 10 minutes before departure, Landrover to the aircraft door, and climb in carrying whatever we had to take with us. Much the same as at the outstations, in short.

Then, suddenly, RAF Sharjah acquired a Movements Controller, or some such, along with its shiny Andovers, and we were instructed to report to some kind of check-in ONE HOUR before departure. This was not considered funny.

The great Don Tibbee, Paymaster extraordinaire, was especially put out by all this. He had been doing the pay-runs to stations for years, carrying a very large trunk full of Indian coins to pay the soldiers. He would show up at the TP door, with an escort, all armed to the teeth to protect Her Maj's funds, climb in with the trunk and off they would go.

His first trip under the new system did not go well. Arriving 10 minutes before departure as was his right, he was not allowed on to the airfield, but told to go the the Movements Centre (I forget the exact name it had). There he was met by a young and rather pompous Movements person who looked at the loaded handguns with horror, and told him and the escort to hand them over to be stowed safely. After an altercation, he did so with bad grace. Then he was told that the cash trunk had to be checked in, and reclaimed on arrival at the outstation. After another altercation ("I'm not handing that over to a bunch of light-fingered airmen") he gave in, but then told the Movements Officer that the TOS had adopted Royal Army Pay Corps rules, among which was one saying that cash had to be checked on any handover by the receiver. He then upended the trunk over the floor, and suggested that coffee would be in order while the Movements Officer counted the thousands of coins and low value notes, and put them back in the trunk.

I'm sure a complaint winged its way to Murqaab Camp, but Don was totally fireproof and nothing would have been done about it.

At around that time, the conversion of the TOS from what an official report called "an ill-disciplined bunch of misfits" to a rather more spit-and-polish outfit was in full swing, to the resentment of the older hands. The changes at RAF Sharjah were seen as another nail in the coffin of the old-style TOS.
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Old 19th Feb 2013, 23:53
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While were on to Andovers - here's a few from the collection taken a matter of weeks after delivery. Also one of the Wessex up from Aden.








Seem to remember that there was a constant problem with XS643 after it arrived - CofG??
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Old 20th Feb 2013, 07:38
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Movements Control

Capot. That's so called progress!!
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Old 20th Feb 2013, 07:49
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Andovers

Siseman. Great pics. Lots of concrete! In 66 we still parked on the sand the only hard apron was a small area for the hunters when on detachment. There is still an old T2 hangar near the old base I wonder if that is the one in your picture. I know a very big building programme was planned with new accommodation,officers mess,swimming pools etc all completed in time for the pull out. Situation normal as soon as a new mess is completed its time to pack up and go!
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Old 20th Feb 2013, 07:53
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Andovers

Pelican. Many thanks for the info on the above. Did you have air con to cool down on the ground? Also I seem to remember that the aircraft could kneel whilst loading is that correct?
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Old 20th Feb 2013, 08:45
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Capot,
The growing Movs empire was equally detested by us aircrew. I think I know the Movs officer you mention. he was known to us as 'Pete the Excuse'! Inept would be too fine a word.

Navstar,
No cooling on the ground which was always the driving force to get engines going asap. As to the kneeling bit:

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Old 20th Feb 2013, 09:54
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Kneeling

Pelican. Very clever! Did it every give you a c of g problem? I believe the nav had some excellent equipment which must have made it much easier to find Humar in the Liwa Hollows!!
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Old 20th Feb 2013, 15:32
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Whilst the Andover was a technological step-up from the TwinPin, the nav kit was basic - ADF/VOR but we did have a doppler for drift/GS. Getting around the Liwa Hollows we used the same pen/ink maps that Capot showed in Post #360. I seem to recall they were prepared direct from Canberra PR photos and did take a bit of getting used to, but were excellent. Further to the performance of the a/c, I see from my logbook that on 23 Aug '68 we air-dropped 3 X 1 ton containers at Humar. Given that it was probably v. hot etc, this was useful support to the TOS.
The photo above of the 'kneeling' a/c was taken on the airfield at Sharjah during a demo day for local 'bigwigs'.

Sisemen,
Like your photos - I delivered XS645 from the UK. As to the query re XS643, I do remember that one of the a/c had a 'handling' problem, with a tendancy to get airborne a tad early and almost mainwheels first. After much head-scratching and airtests, a TP came out from the UK and as best I can recall, a further detailed check showed that one wing dihedral was 1/2 degree different from the other. Somehow the riggers managed to minimize the problem (bless 'em) and it stayed in service.

All this has got me back into the books, photos and memories - fun times.
Here is a photo of downtown Sharjah (not me, but one of our Kiwi co-pilots). All my stuff is between Nov '67 and Dec '68.



Our other Kiwi is a regular Ppruner and hopefully will chip-in to this thread.

Last edited by friendlypelican 2; 20th Feb 2013 at 15:33.
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Old 20th Feb 2013, 16:10
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Snap!!

http://i494.photobucket.com/albums/r...harjah1968.jpg
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Old 20th Feb 2013, 16:29
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As to the kneeling bit:
I was the ground engineer on one of the first Andovers from 46 Sqdn to fly in to Malta. We left the a/c in the kneeling position with Station Flt and made our way to the transit mess. About a hour later a frantic Flt/Sgt called me in the mess to say I'd better get down there asap 'cos the u/carriage had collapsed! He took some convincing that there was nothing to worry about.

Apologies for slight thread drift

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Old 20th Feb 2013, 16:46
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Sharjah Cannons

Brewers of date hooch and others guilty of minor misdemeanours were tied to the cannons and flogged at the end of Ramadan. These photos were taken just before one such occasion, but but I had to leave when the crowd became agitated.





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