In mid-December 3SOR
set out on the 1000 mile journey over gravel roads to Teheran. South
to Khanaquin, then east into Persia and north. First stop in Gorge
of Tak-I-Bustan. Slept in our lorries. Then climbing over mountain
ranges in wild country. Next stop the tented Transit camp at Kermanshah,
next night in the tented Transit camp at Hamadan at head of Ave
Pass at 8000ft. Little sleep at either, minus 30 degrees at the
latter. Then on to the Holy City of Qum at start of 4000ft plateau
on which Teheran stands. Slept nearby in our lorries.
Finally on to destination
- featureless airfield at Mahrabad, under 3" snow - and 7 miles
west of Teheran. Empty except for Rhodesian Hurricane Squadron that
had arrived a month before. Only one old barrack block available,
used as joint mess by officers, sergeants and airmen. We all slept
in snow-covered tents. Very friendly Rhodesians who shared their
Christmas fare with us whilst we settled in awaiting our Radar Unit.
'B' Flight Commander was F/Lt Ian Smith later to become Premier
of Rhodesia (Zimbabwe).
A month later learned
our Radar Unit had been diverted to General Montgomery who had pushed
forward to Libya. Orders to return to Iraq (Habbaniya) temporarily.
Back the same way as far as Khanaquin. Meanwhile had become engaged
to Deirdre - by post! In the 5-6 weeks at Habbaniya I got training
in the Administration side of the RAF. Then they decided to send
3SOR back to Teheran.
Ian Smith (later Premier of Rhodesia)
Tak-I-Bustan (carvings of Sassenid Emperors)
Diversion of our
Radar Unit to Libya
Return of 3SOR to Habbaniya
Engagement to Deirdre by post
Short course in RAF admin
Return of 3SOR to Teheran
Rhodesian Hurricane Squadron
convoy, Kirkuk to Teheran Dec.1942
Camel convoy Dec.1942
The Aveh Pass Dec.1942
Mehrabad airfield campsite, Teheran Dec.1942
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