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The Telegraphist's Tale

"Crozier, Simon Mr LN 5 SIG CMD" <simon.crozier1@us.army.mil> wrote:

<1976 Salalah FST (Field Surgical Team).jpg>>
 

Hello!

With nothing better to do while on night shift, I looked up RAFDET Salalah via Google and came across your website.


Not too sure if relevant for your website, but I, an RAF telegraphist, was posted to RAFDET Salalah at the end of 1975 and spent most of 1976 out there (9 months + extension). Hostilities were over by then but as the official end was only announced in September 1976, I was still awarded the GSM with Dhofar clasp.


My only "serious" dealings with the FST was when there was a call for blood donations over the radio (Radio 219) for my blood group. Several of us arrived at the FST, including an RAF Policeman ("Snowdrop"), built like a brick loo.....if you know what I mean. After donating we were given a can of beer (Amstell) and told to sit outside in the shade for 30 minutes or so "just in case". The RAF copper reckoned he felt fine and decided not to follow the doctor's orders, walked out into the sun and fell like a scalded hippo into the dust. When the dust settled the medics had more problems calming us down, crippled with laughter as we were than getting the copper back on his feet. He was never allowed to forget that day! As medic you will know what can happen when you donate blood and don't allow the body to recover.....

One of my photos is of the RAF FST which I attach for your interest.

"sharing information, advancing knowledge"

Simon J. C

 

 

RE: RAFDET Salalah FST

Crozier, Simon Mr LN 5 SIG CMD [simon.crozier1@us.army.mil]

Hello Bill!

 
Ah yes, Morse code.....although I learnt it as well, mine was the time of teleprinters of which we had 2 (Siemens T150) in the Comcen by the time I arrived.
 
We were in the SHQ building with a hatch into the Admin section and a "down-pipe" from the tower next door, just next to the window you remember, boarded up when I was there as we had air conditioning.  This was used to drop the flight plan signals via a hollow beer can on a length of string.  At the bottom of the pipe was our easy-chair for relaxing - just that occasionally a mug of water would shoot down the pipe for a "down-pipe-shower" for newcomers, called "moonies" as they were so pale.
 
Norfolk, know it well as I was stationed at RAF Marham a couple of times, 1973-74 right out of trade-training and again when I got back from Salalah at the end of 1976 until late 1977.  What did I do wrong I asked myself at the time, but it turned out for the best.  From there it was of to RAF Gütersloh ...... in 1978 and have been in Germany ever since.
 
You can certainly use the photo for your website.  Here are couple more for your own interest, but if you also want to include them in the website as well you are most welcome.  The one with the AOR (Air Officer Commanding in the rank of an Air Vice Marshall based in RAF Akrotiri) in the ComCen show me on the very right, a little slimmer than I am today!
 
I was out in Salalah when the preparations for vacating the site were already under way.  I wanted to stay until the official closure (April 1977) but that was turned down, I understand the rear-party marched into the back of a C130 Hercules to fly up to Masirah and home an a VC10.  The airfield is now a civilian airport and there is a big Holiday Inn Hotel which was under construction, as well as the Sultan's new palace.  The contractor was Taylor-Woodrow.  Anyway, it was PanAm who started to build a new control tower and they were told not to build it too high (typical yanks, bigger is supposed to be better) but they would not listen.  When the monsoon came they sat in the clouds and were totally blind!
 
I still miss the curries!
 
Simon