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RAF KHORMAKSAR

Old 2nd Mar 2015, 15:29
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RAF KHORMAKSAR

Can any ex-professional help me with information on the SAR service at Khormaksar 1964-66. Specifically how many and what type of helicopters they flew. Was it a Squadron or a Flight and if so was it numbered.


I know it was a very busy place but were the SAR crews as busy as the rest and were they mainly involved with rescues on land or at sea?


Many thanks
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Old 2nd Mar 2015, 20:50
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Some info here:

RAF Khormaksar

At that time it would be Whirlwind 10s
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Old 2nd Mar 2015, 20:52
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I have contact with a pilot who was on the flight in '67, if that's any help. PM me with your email address and I'll contact him for you. BTW, in '67 if was the Wessex 2.
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Old 2nd Mar 2015, 22:22
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I thought RAF Khormaksar closed for good in 1967 as part of the withdrawal from Aden?
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Old 2nd Mar 2015, 22:32
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I thought RAF Khormaksar closed for good in 1967 as part of the withdrawal
from Aden?
It was very late in 1967. I left in October. I think the RM switched the lights out in November.
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Old 2nd Mar 2015, 22:37
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One reasonably regular task for the Whirlwinds when I was there in 1966 was to provide transport for a small section of RAF Regiment who would be put down beside the road, usually between the causeway and Sheikh Othman where they would carry out an impromptu roadblock, to search cars and occupants for arms and explosives. I went on a few of these and never found anything. Since we did not have any female assistance we were obviously unable to search any women in the cars we stopped and as they were often in the head to toe burkha, who knows what might have slipped through?

Incidentally Shack 37 I was there on 37 (Field) Squadron, RAF Regiment, which led to some confusion with two squadrons of the same name on the base!
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Old 3rd Mar 2015, 00:09
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1963

I left in October 63 and SAR was a Dragonfly.
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Old 3rd Mar 2015, 10:36
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RAF KHORMAKSAR

Many thanks to all who have responded. My email address is on its way to you Herod.
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Old 3rd Mar 2015, 11:00
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Incidentally Shack 37 I was there on 37 (Field) Squadron, RAF Regiment, which led to some confusion with two squadrons of the same name on the base
!

As long as we knew the difference
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Old 3rd Mar 2015, 11:06
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Well, one squadron was tasked with carrying out long, tedious and usually uneventful patrols using pretty antique equipment.

And so was the other one
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Old 3rd Mar 2015, 11:55
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More likely to have been a Wessex surely TTN? The Whirlwind was a non-tactical bright yellow and couldn't lift much in those Density Altitudes - probably not a "stick of Rocks"

According to Halley (The Squadrons of the Royal Air Force), 78 Sqn re-equipped with Wessex in June '65, and left for Sharjah (via Fearless or Intrepid?) in October '67.

There were Whirlwinds there for SAR duty - from '64 when they replaced the Sycamores (who'd been there since '55) - haven't quite been able to find out when they left. Not being a Sqn but an (apparently unnumbered) Independant Flight, their history is trickier to track down!

Watch this space.

Found it!

Sycamores were replaced by Whirlwind Mk 10s over the period January to July '64. They provided SAR until June '67 when the flight was disbanded. SAR was taken over by 78 Sqn, but some Wessex (2? 3? 4?) went to Muharraq to become part of the ComSAR Flight there. The (originally 4) late tranche Wessex buy for SAR were XT 601-604; yellow painted, they arrived in Khormaksar in boxes and were assembled there. XT 603 was one of the frames sold to Uruguayan (sp?) Navy in 1998. Currently believed to be "in storage", but not operational! (for the Eagle-eyed, yes I know that's XR 505 in the picture! - a much earlier frame, the 9th one delivered in 1963. That said, 505 was still operating in 2010 , believed to be the last operational Wessex in the world )


Last edited by teeteringhead; 3rd Mar 2015 at 12:49. Reason: Updated info + picture!
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Old 3rd Mar 2015, 12:50
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A former chief instructor at Shawbury of my acquaintance was posted from the Tern hill course to the SAR Flight at 'Big K'. He flew Sycamores and then converted to the Whirlwind 10, before returning to Tern hill to do his QHI course. After that, he had a mix of QHI jobs, French Test Pilots' school, air attache duties, staff tours and CI as mentioned above.

On retirement and despite an impressive logbook, he never served on a numbered squadron: now that must be pretty rare for an airframe driver.

O-D
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Old 3rd Mar 2015, 13:50
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A former chief instructor at Shawbury of my acquaintance
And also of mine O-D. His curious career had other effects too.

As CFI (Wg Cdr) he was debriefing one of his Sqn Ldrs (not me!) on his 1369 (Annual Confidential Report).

"This is difficult for me", he said, "it's the first one of these I've ever had to write!"

Another triumph for the Air Secretary's Department ....
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Old 3rd Mar 2015, 16:00
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May be 505, may not be. Try Google Earth 345038.80S 560113.64W.
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Old 3rd Mar 2015, 16:14
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Thanks Fareastdriver - will try that one later!
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Old 3rd Mar 2015, 16:46
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TTH - you may be right, it is 49 years ago, after all ( ) I just remembered it as a Whirlwind. We weren't bothered about not being seen - difficult to miss a helicopter dropping down at the side of the road no matter what the colour. There would have been about half a dozen of us which maybe would have been a struggle for a Whirlwind operating in the high 30sC. Whirlwind or Wessex, it broke up the monotony of endless Land Rover patrol arounds the perimeter anyway.
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Old 3rd Mar 2015, 16:59
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Well, one squadron was tasked with carrying out long, tedious and usually
uneventful patrols using pretty antique equipment.

And so was the other one
One had Michelin *** self catering capability
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Old 3rd Mar 2015, 17:07
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Some more info here.

Khormaksar rundown and withdrawal plans
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Old 3rd Mar 2015, 21:28
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Dragonfly's ?????

Old Pax, I was there early 62 - mid 64 and the SAR flight had Sycamores, NOT Dragonflys, the Whirlwind Mk 10 then arrived late 63, but definitely not any Dragonfly's on the island. PH.
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Old 3rd Mar 2015, 23:28
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One had Michelin *** self catering capability
OK, I give up - you've got me there!
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