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RAF KHORMAKSAR

Old 16th Oct 2020, 09:32
  #801 (permalink)  
 
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Having, unfortunately, experience of both stations, the El Adem off-topic excursion begs the question as to what happened to the 'Royal Bog'? Did it remain in solitary splendour, or was it dismantled brick-by-brick for return to Stores?
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Old 16th Oct 2020, 10:41
  #802 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
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Around Khormaksar in quieter times -1962/3


Fisherman's Bay - 1962/3

Once acclimatised, I thoroughly enjoyed my tour there. Loads of flying with schedules to Nairobi and Riyan- Salalah - Masirah and of course lots of upcountry support to the Army and Federal troops. Start work at 0700, finish at 1300 and off to Tarshyne for loads of surfing, in the season (shark net removed), avoiding the sharks. Locals friendly then.
My parents lived in Nairobi and I could get home twice a month and of course spend my leave in the glorious climate there.

All photos taken with a Topcon Reflex camera.


Sira Fort- Turkish built - 1962/3 Holkat Bay

Fisherman's Bay 1962/3

Fisherman's Bay 1962/3

Fisherman's Bay 1962/3

Fisherman's Bay 1962/3

Towards Crater - Turkish built forts. 1962/3

Fisherman's Bay 1962/3

Maala waterfont - 1962/3

Maala waterfont - 1962/3
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Old 16th Oct 2020, 19:11
  #803 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2019
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I bet they were still singing Ma'ala Mary then!
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Old 17th Oct 2020, 10:06
  #804 (permalink)  
 
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The nature of the place (and the Service) in the mid '50s inevitably gave it a 'Wild West' atmosphere, flying-wise. One of the local flying 'time-fillers' for the 'Pigs' was low level along the beach road to see how many local vehicles could be 'persuaded' into the surf to avoid a head-on. One particularly adept was Don H, who 'claimed' a double success, having left the scene low-level behind the sand dunes, turned around and 'bagged' the same machine a second time as it came over the dunes looking for what they thought would be a crash site! Unfortunately, in spite of their proximity, they failed to notice the Union flag flying from the Land Rover mudguard!!! The Governor, Sir Tom Hickinbotham, was not amused and young F/O H was installed in the Adjutant's office for 6 months with NO flying. Many years later, on the day I joined BA, I noticed the company news sheet announcing the retirement of one Captain Don H... - I wonder?
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Old 18th Oct 2020, 11:28
  #805 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: Sandford, Wareham
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Ferry Flight:Khormaksar -Little Staughton, Bedfordshire

In July 1962 we ferried Valetta VW 200 ( Captained by F/L Keith Webster) from Khormaksar to Wadi Halfa and then on to, El Adem, Luqa, Orange, Lyneham ( Cliffe Pypard 4 star transit accommodation) and then Little Staughton Maintenance Unit. Two days off in the UK and then, B.Cal (I think) Britannia back to Khormaksar. Routing from Khormaksar to Perim Island and then direct Wadi Halfa. Wadi Halfa airfield was to become submerged by the waters from Nasser's dam in later years. Lovely hotel on the banks of the Nile and I remember sitting out in the 'cool' of the evening, having a few drinks marvelling at the multiplicity of extremely bright stars overhead.
From Wadi Halfa, West to, what we called, the Queen of Sheba's tits, or more correctly called Jebel Unewat at the corner of Egypt, Libya and Sudans' borders. The Queen of Sheba was well placed to give a concrete fix of our position as my dodgy navigation consistently of Air Plot, Drift sight and Sun position lines.

Putting the aircraft to bed for overnight stay.

Airport, now submerged by waters from Nasser's Dam

Terrain en-route Wadi halfa to El Adem

Hotel at Wadi Halfa.

Last edited by DeanoP; 18th Oct 2020 at 22:43. Reason: A/C ident letter VW vice XV
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Old 18th Oct 2020, 18:05
  #806 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
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Do you mean VX200 as XV200 was a Hercules C1
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Old 18th Oct 2020, 22:01
  #807 (permalink)  
 
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spitfirek5054. You are quite correct- Thanks

Silly boy, I got stuck in Herc mode. Correct number from my log book is 'VW200'. Post amended.

Last edited by DeanoP; 18th Oct 2020 at 22:43.
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Old 23rd Oct 2020, 16:56
  #808 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
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Mail Drop Socotra Island

We were tasked to fly to Riyan, collect a letter and a W/T Operator and take them to Socotra Island. The letter, addressed to the Sultan, was dropped in a weighted mail sack with parachute, on what appeared to be the main square in Hadibo, the capital. It was hoped, that the letter would reach the Sultan safely and transportation sent to collect the W/T operator. The W/T operator was to reinstate the failed communication link at Hadibo.

After the mail drop we flew about 10nm west to the airstrip at Ras Karma, a disused WW2 field. No ATC here and after a low pass to check the runway for goats and debris, landed safely on the rough surface. Here we left the W/T Operator with food and water in the hope that the letter had been read and transportation sent to pick him up.

I never heard the outcome save the intelligence summary shown below which states that the W/T operator had repaired the radio and was not left to die in the desert!

A/C flown by F/L Williams and F/L Locke 233 Sqn RAF Khormaksar


Ras Karma airfield. Constructed in WW2



Intelligence report



WW2 buildings at Ras Karma



WW2 buildings at Ras Karma and our Valetta VW195



WW2 a/c wreckage. Far one possibly a Lockheed Lodestar. Ppruners will let me know?

Last edited by DeanoP; 24th Oct 2020 at 09:29.
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Old 23rd Oct 2020, 19:47
  #809 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
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Anorak on:- Blenheim V I think....Wellington/Warwick in the foreground.

Anorak off....
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Old 23rd Oct 2020, 20:41
  #810 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2019
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A very long shot I know but could the geodesic airframe conceivably be a Wellesley?
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Old 23rd Oct 2020, 21:33
  #811 (permalink)  
 
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Found this piece on the internet from 'WW2 Peoples War'. Blenheim aircraft were certainly used there

'To assess the possibility of a staging post aircraft landing site on the island of Socotra, situated off the Horn of Africa in the Indian Ocean, two Blenheim 1 aircraft from RAF Khormaksar, Aden were stripped of non essential equipment inside the fuselage, such as gun turrets and armour plating, to allow extra fuel tanks and hand pump to be fitted to transfer the fuel to the main tanks for flight to Socotra. A refuelling site comprising sealed cans of fuel was also set up in Somaliland.

We landed on the beach on the north coast of the island,near the village of Hadibo. (The same site was used by an expedition to the island in the 1960's) The aircraft had to be flown very close to the cliffs to secure sufficient landing distance, the updraft made it very tricky.
The undercarriage took a bashing, the tail wheel strut on the second aircraft damaged the rear fuselage when landing. We had to carry out repairs on site. It was very difficult work without having a proper workshop, and very hot crawling down the fuselage just like working in an oven.

When we landed, we selected a suitable site, secured the two aircraft, pitched our tents, constructed primitive ablutions, cooking facilities and prepared waste disposal trenches. Bathing was on the sea shore in the evenings even that was quite dangerous because the beach dropped away very quickly.
Early reconnaissance indicated that we would need to travel along the rugged coastline westwards before there was access to the centre of the island. We eventually secured the services of locals and used camels to trek along the coast and to climb through a rock strewn gully (possibly Wadi Eyaft) to a plateau with our gear. We lost one camel plus stores on route, when it lost foot hold and plunged into the sea below. We found a suitable site where future aircraft could land, and cleared the area of the larger obstacles. The locals obtained their water from wells, but we found it to be very contaminated. Our return trip to Hadibo was uneventful, as was the return flight to Aden. The whole trip covered about fourteen days.

The Americans were expected to use the strip as a staging post. Today 2005 this aircraft landing site is a tarmac runway. In June 1999, the first Yemenia Airlines Boeing 737 landed there,and Aircraft make regular trips to the island from Sanna, Yemen. This new facility has made the archipelago easily accessible after centuries of virtual isolation. Other recent developments include the first paved road, a port jetty, fuel storage facilities, new schools, improved telecommunication facilities, limited power supply in the central village of Hadibu, and the opening of small rest-houses. These developments and others have already brought positive changes to the lives of local people. However, these developments also threaten the survival of the islands' unique biodiversity, culture, traditions, and striking landscapes.The island is becoming popular with people interested in the wild life there and diving trips are arranged from the north coast'.
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Old 23rd Oct 2020, 22:31
  #812 (permalink)  
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I suspect I did a resupply drop on the Hadibo airstrip to the expedition mentioned above on 29 March 1967 - 4 1-Ton containers and 5 Harness Packs. This was with an Argosy of 105 Sqn, and I take the implicit point about how far Socotra is from Aden as we had to return via Riyan to refuel. This was the last pack being readied to go, looking back from my position in the nose:


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Old 24th Oct 2020, 11:58
  #813 (permalink)  
 
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My vote is a Wellington and a Blenheim V.
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Old 24th Oct 2020, 12:01
  #814 (permalink)  
 
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Most fascinating read. Thanks for all those memories, pictures and documents. Some different age it seems.
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Old 25th Oct 2020, 11:53
  #815 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
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Scenes from Beihan 130nm N of Khormaksar


Approaching Beihan from the North



Beihan runway with 233 Sqn Valetta



Beihan Fort



Beihan Fort and RAF Beihan (a plum posting)



Water drilling operation



Beihan Fort. Federation flag flying






Preparing to load Casevac with much advice from the locals!



Casevac arriving in an Auster



Casevac being carried to the Valetta



Long view to the fort



A bit of welcome shade before getting back in to the heat. Note 'Empire Building' shorts

Last edited by DeanoP; 25th Oct 2020 at 18:49.
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Old 25th Oct 2020, 12:29
  #816 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
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Great pics Deano, 10 years after my time. The well drilling was fairly new I think, I remember the camels wearily plodding around a circular track pulling a heavy round stone for milling or powering a simple pump to raise water from a well. Khormaksar water came by pipeline 12 miles from Sheikothman so a siege of the base would not have been difficult. The pictures of Fisherman's Bay and Maala recall everything but the smells ...
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Old 25th Oct 2020, 12:56
  #817 (permalink)  
 
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Just as well the smells cannot be encapsulated. They were extreme and probably quite a disease ridden place as well. Who knows what was growing there!
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Old 25th Oct 2020, 15:24
  #818 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
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Until I left home many years later an unfortunate downdraught would bring the word "Maala" bellowed up the stairs, the family code for 'open the bathroom window'. One day the minister was visiting when my brother shouted Maala! to whoever was enthroned at the time. My mother didn't bat an eyelid, remarking to the bewildered cleric that it was Arabic for "come and meet our visitor'
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Old 25th Oct 2020, 16:48
  #819 (permalink)  
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If you scroll to the end of this section of the ARDET (Argosy Detachment) website, there are some graphic pics showing how some facilities on the station had deteriorated by 1998. Memory suggests they include the former MRT Wing hangar.


ARDET
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Old 25th Oct 2020, 20:29
  #820 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
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Re Beihan - I remember we used to buy quite brightly coloured rugs dyed with vegetable dyes in Beihan..
Does anyone remember Beihan ‘chairs’ ? As I recall, although it was fifty odd years ago, a Beihan chair was a kind of circular belt thing that you wrapped round your nether regions and your knees and which enabled you to sort of squat without falling over.
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