Sharjah is one of a group of states at the southern end of the Arabian Gulf that form the United Arab Emirates. In the 1960s they were known as the Trucial States, essentially a group of semi-independent Sheikhdoms whose military defence and foreign policies were controlled by the United Kingdom - part of the crumbling British Empire.

The Trucial States comprised Dubai, Sharjah, Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Umm Al-Quwain, and Ras Al-Khaima. Sharjah was only a dozen miles from Dubai and its poor relation, but it was very important to the British because of the RAF base that had been established there.

From 1962 to 1963 I was employed by International Aeradio Ltd (IAL) at Dubai Airport. European-style accomodation was extremely scarce in Sharjah and Dubai, and initially I lived in Sharjah Fort which had guesthouse facilities. The daily journey to Dubai was made by Land Rover. This was in the days when there were no metalled roads between the Sheikhdoms, and a four-wheel-drive vehicle was essential, not merely an image statement.

In 1963 I left Sharjah to be stationed in Bahrein. From there I went to Africa for a few years, returning to the gulf in 1967 for my final posting with IAL at Kuwait.

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