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Thread: YEMEN - Khormaksar

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    SuperMod P Bellamy's Avatar
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    Default YEMEN - Khormaksar

    RAF Khormaksar, Aden

    Viewing Aden International Airport in GE, the old RAF station area to the southwest is looking in a bit of a sorry state......
    Still, there are a few hangars remaining, but what types?

    I also noted the compass loop is still visible at the northern end of the vanishing NNW-SSE runway, which is slightly more than can be said of the NE-SW runway.

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    SuperMod Peter Kirk's Avatar
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    Default Re: RAF Khormaksar, Aden

    I used to work with a guy who did his national service there. Worked on radio equipment when the Tempests were there. I seem to recall he did the training but didn't really understand it all fully so repair meant keep replacing bits until it worked (sound like todays PC repairmen!). It was okay until a Tempest had to make an emergency landing due to smoke coming from the radio compartment.

    Another story, one he had heard, was an aircraftsman coming back into barracks after sweating it out in the sun, dived on his bed under the fan and died. I am a bit suspicious about that one but it always stuck in my memory.

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    Default Re: RAF Khormaksar, Aden

    I lived in AMQ with my Mum & Dad in 1946/47, Dad was [then Flight Sergeant] Joe Cooper, PNK's story re the Fan and Heat, I have heard similar before.

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    Senior Member PETERTHEEATER's Avatar
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    Default Re: RAF Khormaksar, Aden

    The high temperatures in Aden were matched by high humidity and the combination meant you sweated buckets since there was little evaporation from the skin. Going into a cooler space after being out in the open, especially shirtless, was an sure way to get body chill and lying under a fan - delicious as it felt - was to be avoided.

    It is very likely that such chills could lead to pneumonia and death so there is some truth to the tale which I too have heard many times.

  5. #5

    Default Re: RAF Khormaksar, Aden

    Quote Originally Posted by PETERTHEEATER View Post
    The high temperatures in Aden were matched by high humidity and the combination meant you sweated buckets since there was little evaporation from the skin. Going into a cooler space after being out in the open, especially shirtless, was an sure way to get body chill and lying under a fan - delicious as it felt - was to be avoided.

    It is very likely that such chills could lead to pneumonia and death so there is some truth to the tale which I too have heard many times.
    It is very likely that such chills could lead to pneumonia and death so there is some truth to the tale which I too have heard many times.[/QUOTE]

    I served in the REs in Aden from 1962 to 1964, and actually enjoyed my time there.

    Perhaps that was because I found the climate ideally suited to me. For all my teens and early twenties I had suffered from chronic acne. The army in the UK tried some paste called Resorcin that removed the top layer of the skin on my back but did little else. UV lamps failed to clear my facial spots.

    Then, although my Pulheems were FT Forward Temperate I was posted to Aden, to join a 13 strong RE unit supervising the construction of Twynham hut and concrete tent base camps supposedly to take troops displaced from east Africa after the independence of Kenya, Uganda and Tanganyika. But it was common knowledge that the 1.5 million scheme was to stall Nasser's pan-Arab empire, even though we'd heard Aden was soon to be given away.

    I'd work from 0700 to 1300 in little more than KD shorts and boots, either outdoors in the direct heat and light of the sun, or in an open-sided tent with a single roof-mounted fan to cool me and the major, WOII and L/Cpl I worked with. Trying to type on an old mechanical typewriter or enter stock transfers into a massive Kalamazoo ledger in such conditions was the hard part of the job.

    During my afternoons "off", Id go around Crater, Steamer Point or Maalla, while my mates lay on their pits or went swimming. Then I discovered the Aden Services Saddle Club, near Isthmus. There Id ride and school the horses, besides building new loose boxes (with timber, Twynham hut sheeting, cement, sand and ballast scrounged through the resources major) and, out of discarded wooden shipping crates, etc, a club hut that became a store for the sawdust and shavings we used as bedding for the horses.

    Even on Sundays, Id take myself off above the Victorian (?) Chapel Hill barrack block I was initially billeted in to where there was the flat concrete top to underground water tanks. Id spend the day reading, stripped naked to ensure the acne did not return. Thanks to my naturally oily skin, I never burned. On three leaves to east Africa, the humidity there was enough to bring the acne out again. Little point in going to chase the girls in Malindi if I was going to be a confidence-sapped spotty sapper.

    On the aircraft front, I flew out from the UK to Aden and back in VC10s. My first flying experience had been in an Auster from Roborough near Plymouth on a joyride to Torbay that never got there because the weather was so bad. And two short periods of service in BAOR had me flying from RAF Manston to RAF Rheindahlen. I had also done some airportability exercises, throwing airportable loads out of the side of a Hastings flying at tree-top height around Oxfordshire. My leaves to east Africa were in, I believe, either DC4s or Avro Yorks, but certainly a Beverley and an Argosy. Also, while I was in Aden an Argosy managed to land in the harbour.

    After demob, I went out to Africa and Australia. In Lesotho I flew from Maseru airport to the mountain airstrips, and was partly responsible for the successful construction of Pelaneng (PEL) airstrip, going in on the second Cessna to land there. In Western Australia, on the survey for what is now the Argyle diamond mine, I flew in Bell Jetrangers doing surface mineral collection.

    On subsequent holidays all as a passenger still, I have flown around the Caribbean in de Havilland Dash Sevens, on commercial jets to many destinations, and before the anti-terrorism security clampdown, I was on the flight deck of a Tri Star coming in to Heathrow at night. Ive also flown on an Airship Industries 600 G-SKSC from Cardington.

    Now I pilot my computer desk and find blue skies on the monitor. Thinking again of Aden, it was the air-conditioned accommodation blocks and offices that caused most of the health problems. The sudden jumps from around 70 F to close to 100 F and back did more to shock the body than days and nights under those slowly revolving fans and glassless windows. And no punkah wallahs.

  6. #6

    Default RAF Khormaksar, Aden

    My grandfather was stationed at Khormaksar from 1925 to 1927, just before 8 sq. arrived.

    I am trying to locate the site of the original coumpond on the ground.

    I have a couple of photographs he took that I will post in the RAF Khormaksar thread.

    Incidently, I now live under the approach to Biggin Hill, about 6km North East. Granddad was there too for a short while in the early 20s and married a local girl!

    I went to a couple of air shows there when I was a boy, but I've not been back since, although I do drive past it fairly often.

    I really must make the effort to go next time there's a open day.

    Richard

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    Senior Member PETERTHEEATER's Avatar
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    Default Re: RAF Khormaksar, Aden

    Welcome Richard, between war pictures are rare on AiX so I look forward to seeing your posts.

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    Default Re: RAF Khormaksar, Aden

    Hi Richard

    I am afraid that your grandfather was way ahead of my time but I used Khormaksar on the Singapore slip to Changi from 1962 until the withdrawal from Aden. Never my favourite place on the face of the earth but I do have happy memories of the beach at Tarshyne, shopping at Steamer Point and our eventual move to Britannia House that improved the accommodation situation somewhat.

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    Default Re: RAF Khormaksar, Aden

    Photo of RAF Khormaksar [in the background?] 1920's.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  10. #10
    Senior Member PETERTHEEATER's Avatar
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    Default Re: RAF Khormaksar, Aden

    Are those Wapitis?

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