War news was bad. The
Germans were into the Crimea and across the border into Egypt, and
the Japanese into Burma. The Top Brass decided to give more protection
to Kirkuk in Iraq and Abadan on the Persian Gulf, source of our
I was posted to Shaibah
to set up a Fighter Sector Operations Room, and a Wing Commander
was sent to do the same at Abadan. Journey by rail to Haifa, on
to Damascus, and 600 miles on Nairn Trans-Desert bus to RAF HQ at
Hubbaniya. Then rail from Baghdad to Basra and motor launch to Abadan
where Duke of Gloucester welcomed me! Climatic conditions, dust
storms and medical problems made the job difficult. Trips establishing
sites took me to the Garden of Eden, Ur of the Chaldees and Kuwait.
Moved to Abadan when Shaibah SOR nearly complete. Severe humidity
problems there were improved by use of oil company's facilities.
Called urgently to conference
headed by General Montgomery near Alamein. Flight mainly by Imperial
Airways Flying Boat, landing at lake near Habbaniyah, Dead Sea and
the Nile at Cairo. Review of general military situation and Montgomery's
plans to break German stranglehold at Alamein. Pre-emptive Rommel
strike defeated. Then back to Abadan, mainly by air.
Field Marshal Rommel
Qurna (Garden of Eden site)
Ur of the Chaldees (Ziggurat)
Nile at Cairo
Sector Operations rooms at Abadan and Shaibah
Pre Battle of Alamein Conference at Montgomery's HQ
Imperial Airways Flying Boats
Hawker Hart & Hind, and Magister aircraft
bus crossing Sinai Desert May 1942
Landing stage, Basra May 1942
Desert Urinal Sept.1942
Swimming Gala, Abadan June 1942
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