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RAF Sharjah

Old 29th May 2010, 15:06
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Peter Faid

Emma,
Check your personal messages.
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Old 9th May 2011, 09:37
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storm sharjah 63-64

I remember the night in question very well. I was on signals duty that night and remember walking (wading) back to the billet next morning making my way past roofing sheets. I also remember the ADVANCED warning message received after most of the camp was roofless.
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Old 29th Oct 2011, 13:58
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Join Date: Oct 2011
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Question RAF Sharjah!

Hello and good day to all !

Dear sirs,
I am an aviation enthusiast (a virtual pilot with 2000+ IFR hours at Virtual PIA) and an Anglophile, this world explains the reason I am here at RAF related thread. I joined just recently after a search on the internet about old RAF Sharjah station, but unfortunately there is very limited information and photographs available. I am stunned and at the same time delighted to know that there actual ex-RAF pilots her who served Sharjah!

You all will happy to know that live in building which is situated just in front of the old hanger. I have been living in this area called (Al Mahatta - meaning A Station in Arabic) for 5 years now, I've grown up in Sharjah and I'm now 27 years old. I am fascinated by the historical significance of this area, and I have done a detailed survey of the entire RAF vicinity, I have been searching for clue and remains of old RAF buildings and quarters in this area. My attention is to compare the "now & then" images and would go back and smell the time! The time when Sharjah ruled the skies of the Gulf....

I will be posting some pictures after this post of this area now, my recent attempt was to visit the place just behind the old hanger, I could see the remains of a room with a pin-board still on the wall! And I could see the pin hole in it indicating that at one point in time the used to be a map on that board with clipboards and marks with aerial view of Sharjah I could literally imagine that as a quick flashback! Another was a very old WC just beside, some demolished walls and the wooden roof remains still there and one of the rooms had burned down severely I could say this because of the burned wooden roof frames!

I will post detailed pictures of the ruin quarters of RAF and the current condition of the old hanger which is situated outside the Museum premises where one of you might have even stayed you never know!! What's more interesting is that I have tried to dig a few inches just beside the old hanger's gate (the same hanger where squadron group picture is taken with two helicopters on each side earlier in this thread!) and after digging I have found traces of engine oil in the sand, couple of very old bolts, and interestingly a British Petroleum labelled tap made of black plastic probably from some old can which contained plane's engine oil! Noticing the design of BP on it I found out that it was very old, round about from the 50s to 60s perhaps!

The area is surrounded by residential buildings and many plots are empty and still one could see the old tarmac taxiways and aircraft parking spots all over Al Mahatta area (I will post the pictures of the these tarmac remains) with the "General Electric - GE" light pole remains on the ground with a label "Made in England" !!

I solute to all ex-RAF officers and pilot, and as a token of appreciation to your services in the British empire I would love to accompany you with a detailed guided tour of my area today refreshing all your past memories as I am fully aware of Al Mahatta area as of 2011! That is when ever anyone of your respected personalities visit Sharjah, please contact me By this even I will gain knowledge about the geographical changes from the mid 19th century to present and I will love hear your RAF Sharjah stories

here is my email: [email protected]

May I profoundly request to your good selves that if you have any other RAF SHJ airport pictures from the time please post it I am really desperate to see how this area looked like during its heyday !!

The main aircraft parking area is now converted to a small park called as Mahatta Park just beside the RAF Fort where my building is located! I will update you all with the pictures, please share your stories of RAF Sharjah with me,

with best regards!
SALMAN
(from Sharjah - UAE)
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Old 29th Oct 2011, 16:56
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Welcome to the forum, Salman. You may have noticed that I have posted a few contributions to this thread, as the history of Sharjah has interested me since I first discovered it when I was working in Al Ain between 2000 and 2004. I have written a bit about the Al Mahatta museum and its contents. Maybe you would like to look at my page:
rafsharjah,almahattamuseum - lgarey

I have also more recently been investigating the crash of a Wellington in 1943 soon after it left Sharjah en route to Karachi.
RAF Wellington Crash, Dhadnah, 1943 - lgarey

And also the story of the 8 Squadron Venom based at Sharjah in 1958, which crashed on the Saiq plateau in the Jebel Akhdar range (and is still there).
The Jebel Akhdar War - lgarey

There are a lot of people on this thread who flew from Sharjah and various strips around the UAE and Oman. In fact I am still investigating some of them of which there are still traces.

I find your descriptions of remnants still at Al Mahatta very interesting, and would like to keep in contact with you about your finds.

Laurence
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Old 29th Oct 2011, 17:18
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I was at Sharjah 1967/68 and, while employed in Eng Wing most of my time was spent with the Mountain/Desert Rescue Team which had its offices in the old fort.
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Old 31st Oct 2011, 22:00
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Thank you for replying, I will be keep updates on the current condition of the RAF remains here in Sharjah, will also share interesting pictures.

Some random shots taken recently:

RAF Museum today


Distant view from my building


Afternoon view from a lower floor


This was the second "T" holding point to the runway I was talking about still remains today visible in the empty are where few cars are parked today. The first "T" fully connected taxiway in hard tarmac is no more as buildings now exist there


And now a similar to Kay's old picture with this GE snap of today, the yellow "T" is what's left of the holding point taxiway connecting to the runway. The red markings are the RAF fort and the hanger for the similar reference in the pic below this GE snap!


Now the same reference of today's remains on yesterday's photo!


Time changes everything! I always imagined to see this area in its former glory, does anyone have more images of RAF Sharjah? Perhaps from the 70s or 80s ?

One more fact here....I remember when I was a child back in the mid 90s the area was a complete ruin, control tower glasses were broken, old brown paints on the walls, the field was empty and fully intact !! The taxiways, general aviation parking, ramps, fuel pumps everything was there until 1993 I remember and I wish I could have taken photographs! It was till the mid 90s after which the field, GA parking were broken as buildings started to emerge in the area which repopulates yet again after a gap of 30 years!

There is much to be told about RAF Sharjah's bygone days!
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Old 4th Nov 2011, 13:15
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Hello all !

Thought of sharing few more images taken today, the first key image points three colour arrows to let you know where I have captured photographs.


This one is taken where yellow arrow points, this is where the mighty Hawkers used to be parked once now turned into a car park.


View facing west, same car park area... very ironic while I was standing on this old field I wondered how many loyal RAF officers would have proudly walked on the same area I am standing upon!


This field is where the blue arrow points, far west apron I believe and probably the same area where a Twin Pioneer of 152 Squadron was parked in one of the pictures earlier in this thread!


The old hanger where the green arrow points, can anybody recognise this? I am thinking this is the same place where 78 Sqn's group photo was taken in 1968 photo posted earlier in this thread ?


When I peaked through the gates for what's inside, I could some very old equipments and mini cranes all rusted! Clearly belonging to the late Imperial Airways era!


Unique piece of British history still preserved in the heart of Sharjah! Mind teaser really...the lower left side you see white car is where I had dug.


This is what I found after digging many inches, traces of aircraft engine oil (most likely from RAF era) and an old British Petroleum cap and an old piece of cloth used for cleaning!


Side view of the hanger, can anyone enlighten whether this aluminium plates are from the RAF era or not?


West corner of the hanger adjacent to the mosque, does anyone remember these blue iron rods seen in the 60s?


Gangway door of the hanger on the west side, had anyone been through this gate?


This old remains of the officers quarters or offices? behind the hanger is what I was talking about, room with a pin board still on the wall! And a lavatory remains on the right side, broken walls on the sides, the roof markings on the wall remind me of their phases during different times!


More towards the left is this old door now sealed from inside, the broken room walls also visible, this is ghostly really... its like diving down the wreck of RMS Titanic and looking at the remains of the Dining Salon entrance and comparing how it was in 1912! I am sure many of you would have gone down the memory lane this very moment!
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Old 4th Nov 2011, 14:34
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Great pictures, Salman, and a great piece of aviation archaeology.
Laurence
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Old 4th Nov 2011, 14:46
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The Officers Mess was a long way from the hangar and it was a single storey building. Take a look at post number 42. My photos of the March 1961 flooding show the Officers' sleeping accommodation. The tents had been erected to accommodate Hunter pilots taking part in an exercise that was cancelled because the sand runway was under water.

These 208 Squadron Hunters were grounded for over a week!



Drinks in the fort Christmas 1960.

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Old 4th Nov 2011, 15:48
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Many, many thanks for the photos Captain.

Sisemen would have posted but he's currently banned for a couple of weeks!!!
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Old 4th Nov 2011, 20:50
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Many thanks for your replies respected sirs And brakedwell sir thank you for your valuable feedback! This is what I am here for...to give and gain information and refresh some good time memories! Mr. Garey it is indeed classic aviation archaeological survey that I am doing, there is some unknown reason why I am doing all this, perhaps because somewhere I do not like to see things in bad shape.... which is why I wonder how these buildings would have looked like during their heyday! I just can't let go this classic aviation history of this area in vein!
I am fond of classic aeroplanes and my favourite of all is the Vickers Viscount and DC-3! Can anyone of you recognise this place behind the hanger...I mean what this place was? And what planes did this hanger supported... Please shed some light on the pictures above about the gates, the places etc....and most importantly your stories! I am here for your stories sirs.... I am very excited to be here amongst you fine people! Its an honour for me really...please pardon my restlessness I know I am a bit hyper about this topic but I am after all like your grand son and at this age everyone is hyper active more or less I just want to go back in history!
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Old 14th Nov 2011, 15:13
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Hello all... has anyone visited this area after their retirement of some time in the mid 80s ? I wish to see how this deserted airport looked like after RAF left it in 73. Any pictures of airport during this time period would be highly appreciated!
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Old 14th Nov 2011, 20:46
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Side view of the hanger, can anyone enlighten whether this aluminium plates are from the RAF era or not?
Captain_salman,

You have done some great archeology. Very much doubt the "plates" are aluminium. Much more likley to be galvanised iron sheet cladding. In the dry atmosphere of Shrjah they will never rust, the sand will just give the surface a fine patina. Not sure that the hangar goes back to Imperial A/W days, others may know differently.

Are the surfaces of the car parks the original surfaces of the airfield hard standings?

Planemike
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Old 14th Nov 2011, 21:55
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Having spent a lot of time at SHJ during 1959/61 I seem to remember there was only one hangar at that time. I think it was smaller than the one pictured and cannot recall it ever been used to house an aircraft. Any work done on our Twin Pioneers was in the open, often under a blazing hot sun.The last time I flew into Old Sharjah was on 17th October 1976 in a Britannia 312F, G-AOVF. I do remember parking it on compacted sand and staying at a mediocre hotel overlooking the western boundary of the airfield. Unfortunately I didn't have a chance to note any changes to the airfield buildings.
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Old 17th Nov 2011, 22:20
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At Planemike:

Thank you very much sir!
most probably you're right, the hanger could than be dating from the early RAF era perhaps. And yes the field is very much the same old field made during the 60s. You might have even taxied your plane on to it you never know, but trust me these airfield parts which are still remaining today are old! I am glad that one of the plot owner decided not to break the British RAF airfield and converted his entire plot into a car parking area and the pictures you see above is of the same field turned car park of that kind noble man. Much of this field is no more as residential buildings have emerged in many parts of this area...

At Brakedwell,

sir you flew the Bristol Britannia 312 freighter in old Sharjah airport in 1976...that was a very good aeroplane one the best turbo-props of the time! G-AOVF was leased / commissioned to many different companies of the time could you tell me from the pictures below which livery did your B312F wore when you must have landed in 76? Donaldson or Invicta?





its like going back in time sir! After all this is why I am here for....

Last edited by captain_salman; 17th Nov 2011 at 22:31.
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Old 17th Nov 2011, 22:32
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There is a picture below of a ground metal frame of some sort I am not aware of..... it says General Electric - Made in England! A light pole perhaps? These metal frames are multiple in numbers and are over most of the remaining airfield. Could anyone enlighten on what this frame actually was?

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Old 17th Nov 2011, 22:36
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Interestingly G-AOVF survives to this day. It is preserved at the RAF Museum Cosford (have in fact seen it today, as I visited the Michael Beetham Restoration Centre). The aircraft wears RAF colour scheme and false serial ""XM497""...........

The fact the fittings occur all over the place suggest they were airfield ground lighting, indicating the edges of runways, taxiways etc. GEC is of course the General Electric Company of Britain now sadly virtually extinct. GE of the USA is still going but unrelated to GEC.

Planemike
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Old 18th Nov 2011, 07:17
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G-AOVF was leased / commissioned to many different companies of the time could you tell me from the pictures below which livery did your B312F wore when you must have landed in 76? Donaldson or Invicta?
VF belonged to IAS before it was sold to Invicta.

This livery.

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Old 18th Nov 2011, 13:21
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You know I feel she looked very beautiful in the BOAC livery I have flown the B312s in Flight Simulator but I wish I could fly the real bird though.... I suppose the airport and the fort building must have looked like the one in the picture below when you landed the B312f in 76... this rare picture shows the control tower and by looking at the windows and doors it indicates that the RAF sharjah painted them in turquoise blue during its final years of operation...this explains why the Sharjah govt. restored back in their true colours. So I believe you had seen the old RAF SHJ like this is it sir?
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Old 18th Nov 2011, 14:22
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I remember the pale blue paintwork well, having spent half of every month flying from Sharjah from 1959 to 1961.

Have you heard about the weird character, reputedly an illegitimate son of the Sheikh, who used to appear with a pair of marshalling bats and cause chaos with Gulf Aviation arrivals in 1959 and 60? If he got there first he would marshal Doves and Herons into awkward positions where the pilots were unable to taxi out to the runway without being manhandled by RAF ground crew..

This photo might be of interest to you.

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