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Thread: BAHRAIN - Muharraq

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    Senior Member PETERTHEEATER's Avatar
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    Default BAHRAIN - Muharraq

    RAF Muharraq, Bahrain

    I just found this between the leaves of one of my books. I took it with my trusty (now dead Topcon R2)

    The hangar in the backgound, under construction, was known as the 'Overseas Hangar' and was intended to accommodate transitting Belfast aircraft. At least two deaths occurred with workers falling from the roof.

    I took this in July 1966. The aircraft, a Mk 52 Lightning was in transit to Riyadh for delivery to the Royal Saudi Air Force under the 'Magic Carpet' contract between HMG and Saudi Arabia.


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    SuperMod Daveg4otu's Avatar
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    Default Re: Where and when?

    A nice blast from the past

    Aircraft was part of the Airwork run Saudi Arabian Air Force....

    Altho' we didn't see the Lightnings through Bournemouth - Airwork handled many other aircraft for the Saudi and Gulf states airforces during the 60s including Strikemasters , Skyvans,Cariboux etc.

    If I remember correctly many of the Lightnings spent time at Coltishall with some kind of training unit.

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    Senior Member PETERTHEEATER's Avatar
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    Default Re: Where and when?

    Yes, ASL were the maintenance contractor for the Magic Carpet contract but I did not work for them until 1970 when they got the Magic Palm contract maintenance and training contract on the BAC supplied Lighning FMk53s and 55s and Strikemasters. I then spent 35 years working on RSAF support with ASL, BAC, BAe and BAE SYSTEMS.

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    Default RAF Muharraq

    Not a lot can be added to this post. I went on a trip in a new VC10 from Lyneham, (I was at RAF Marham at the time 1967-69) Victor Tankers; 55 Sqn, 57 Sqn, 214 Sqn and TTF) a proving flight. we had to volunteer for the trip. We had to take 2 empty suitcases plus small hand-luggage bag. We flew directly to Bahrain, getting there about 2 am, kipped in a bar, it was closed. Next day up for the return flight, we were to return but ended up in Cyprus, engine trouble, again when most things were closed, but I managed to get a bottle of sherry to take back. Overall flight was excellent for me, sat in cockpit for an hour on return flight.
    I took the photo of a good pal of mine when we landed. He also became a linguist and ended up in Oz with the Flying Doctor Service.
    The seats in the VC 10 faced backwards in the event of a crash.



    Air Movement Squadron..RAF Muharraq, Bahrain.

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    Default Re: RAF Muharraq

    Flew from Brize on 1st June 1969 on a VC10, Guy Gibson to Muharraq.
    I was met in the Air Movements Bar, at Muharraq by some of my mates from the 305th entry.
    The next day, I moved upto HMS Jufair to be supplier to 1004 Signals Unit.
    This unit was a new Skynet set up.
    I went out in June 69 the transmitter came out in April 1970.
    Had nowt to do all that time apart from nowt.
    1004 was based in the Joint Comm Cen at Jufair, and we ate in the Navy cook house.
    The counterpain of my pit had a grate big anchor onit
    At this time I was just 19 years old (40years go).
    I like Tom and Jerry cartoons, Edgar Lustgarten films and above all Fed Quimby.
    Came home in July 1970 on a 707-320C of Caledonian airways back to Gatwick.
    Saved 320 in a year and bought my first Mini 848, regd number 3884 HL Tartan Red colur.
    Now retired from the railway after 27 years as a guard.

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    Senior Member Richard Drew's Avatar
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    Default Re: Where and when?

    About the time the contract was being negotiated, Lightenings started to use Salisbury Plain for ground attack. We used to see Hunters regularly but suddenly Lightenings appeared. They were completely different to other jets when in the circuit. They would fly due north over Larkhill parallel to the A345 and fire their cannon at ground targets around Water Dean Bottom (yes it does exist) SU105525. They would then accelerate and go almost vertical and the flick right and right again to run a reciprocal course. One day we were out on the Plain watching under the flight path and cannon shells could be heard whistling down. We were kids and always went where we were not supposed to be. Great fun to watch. They also had fuel tanks on the upper wings.
    Last edited by Richard Flagg; 10-05-2014 at 00:26. Reason: Removed dead links

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    Senior Member PETERTHEEATER's Avatar
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    Default Re: RAF Muharraq, Bahrain

    Yes, the Lighting as originally offered to the RSAF had a 30mm guns or 2 inch rocket battery option by means of an interchangeable 'pack'. But the customer wanted guns with everything (perfectly reasonable) so BAC had to come up with an alternative installation fast. They chose to modify the 600 gallon ventral fuel tank to install two 30mm ADEN guns and part of the development required A to A and A to G firing sorties which were conducted at Larkhill. It was not a good installation and had a number of post delivery problems.

    Also, around the same time, the Kuwaiti AF was a customer for the export Lightning. The overwing tank option was not taken by the RSAF nor (I think) by the Kuwaitis.

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    Senior Member Richard Drew's Avatar
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    Default Re: RAF Muharraq, Bahrain

    It was great to watch though.

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    Senior Member PETERTHEEATER's Avatar
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    Default Re: RAF Muharraq, Bahrain

    A trusty Bedford 3 ton truck in its element. Note the MH insignia denoting RAF Muharraq.


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    Senior Member PETERTHEEATER's Avatar
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    Default Re: RAF Muharraq, Bahrain

    Discussed elsewhere is the 'Yellow Peril' seen here with Hunter FGA9 of 208 Squadron in tow:



    The hangar in the background was built to accommodate the great white elephant; the Belfast. Purpose built and known locally as 'The Overseas Hangar'
    A few local contract workers fell to their deaths from the roof girders during construction.

    One of the few Belfast aircraft intended to support the RAF's long-range logistics but which never had the required performance in range.



    Pictures by me circa 1967
    Last edited by PETERTHEEATER; 29-01-2010 at 06:59.

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