Below are the comments received that are related to Middle East. For other subjects use the index on the left of the page.

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2006 October 27   I would like first of all to thank you for this interesting site and its contents specially the stuff which concerns me most about my home town Sharjah.

I have a comment to clarify the matter regarding the fort which you can not remember its location and the gentle man who contributed wrongly on April 9 2006. This photograph was taken from the east side of Hisn of Sharjah, and the houses behind it were of the shaikh cousins. I am a historian and this is my home town and I know every single inch in it.

The area called Ramla named after Sheikh Saqr was deposed in 24 June 1965, it was named only in the late sixties when the new ruler moved to live in the house Sheikh Saqr built before his removal from power. The mosque he was talking about only built in the early eighties when the ruler moved from his house to a new palace on the shores of Sharjah and then he let his nephew Abdulla AlThani to live in his old house in Ramla where he then built that small mosque.

Is is clear from the picture that it was taken in the 1960's and it clear how old is the building and the significant style of the architecture of those days.Even the car in the photo tells Hitory Talking!!!

2006 April 9   I lived in Sharjah between 1982 & 1994. The photo of the fort like building that you can't remember whether it was in Sharjah or Dubai is in Sharjah in the Ramla area. I used to live in a villa just round the corner so if I turned right out of my villa I would come it just at the end of my road. I don't know its name but I think that the Al Thani family lived there.

In front of it was quite a bit of ground where a goatherd used to Pasture his flock each day - one day they ran away from him and came into our garden which really excited my then young daughter and the housegirl who took great delight in chasing the goats and the goatherd!

Just next to the building was small mosque but it was obviously an important mosque as it was very well attended - sometimes the men attending prayer spilled out onto the area outside. The roads in this area (up to the time I left) in between the houses and this large building were still all sand. Every night the houseboys and girls would stand outside with hoses and spray the sand with water in front of the houses so that the top would harden and it would be easier to drive or walk on.

If I turned left to reach a main road I would first pass a small laundry and then as I tuned on to the road a small pharmacy. Across the main road on the roundabout was the Flying Saucer Supermarket(Lals). This main road was a continuation from Al Wahda Street. The road between the Flying Saucer and the next R/A (where the cultural museum was located) led on to the Sharjah airport and Dhaid.

2005 December 24   This is Dick Best of IAL from 1952 to 1987 and our paths must have criss-crossed frequently but never met. I was in Kuwait (seconded to KOC) from 1960 to 1963 and did the road trip Kuwait/London/Spain/Kuwait in 1961. There was a slight snag on the way back due to the outbreak of the 1st Iraq/Kuwait war and we had to divert through eastern Turkey near the Russian border and into Iran. Down the length of Iran north/south via Ahwaz where a friend who was a doctor with KDC gave us some contacts to get through the bureacracy in Abadan where we hired a dhow to take us down the Shatt al Arab and the Gulf to Kuwait.

On arrival at 03.00 we were arrested as spies in spite of the fact that we had Kuwait residence permits. Had to wait until the day people came on at 08.00. I was driving a Ford Zodiac.

Was first in the Sudan from '52 to '56, Gold Coast/Ghana from 56 to 59, Kuwait '60 to '63 (got married on the jetty there by the British Consul), Qatar, Tanganyika/Tanzania '63 to 66. Saudi (Jedda) to '67 and thence to Angola until '74 after which to Zaire where I stayed until retiring in 1986. In retirement, have lived variously in Portugal, Australia, U.K. (that didn't last long ! ! ) and then the Cook Islands and for the last eight years here in Fiji which is positively my last appearance ! !

2005 December 16   Just made a nostalgic journey via your web site through places I have worked. In early 1964 I was transferred from Libya to Abu Dhabi. Travelled in via Bahrein, Dubai and finally 3 nightstops later arrived Abu Dhabi. Travel was by a 6 seater Gulf Aviation DH Dove. This was the beginning of the on shore oil production and the ADPC communications scheme which IAL set up. In 1964 Abu Dhabi airport was just like your photo but had acquired a small breeze block hut to replace the burasti one. Finally 32 years later in 1996 (as a consultant) we spoiled your view of Kano Airport by building an 11 metre Satellite Earth station Antenna on the spot where the photograph was taken.

Re Abu Dhabi radio installation. The 'Third' method of ssb generation was surely produced by Redifon not Racal. We used Redifon GR410 SSB in Abu Dhabi which used the third method for all the Oil Co stations and mobiles.

2005 November 11   I wondered if you knew that the Al Mahata Museum in Sharjah now holds a flight Exhibition where the cars used to be and all down the corridors in addition to the aeroplanes that were hung in the hanger. It looks great and is a fantastic resource for school groups and other visitors. The Al Mahata Museum site referenced on here still has the old information on it and I don't think they've updated it anywhere I can find. It was installed in June 2003 by the National Museums and Galleries of Wales with additional sections by David MacKenzie and others. We have photographs of the airport now and the building in case you were interested in having them for the site.

Working out there in June was an experience so I really sympathise with you working out there with no air-conditioning. That must be have been really hard work. Did you have the desalinated water when you worked there? Their water now is so good you can drink it as a soft westener straight from tap. It's a wonderful country and we were fortunate enough to travel around and see sites throughout the Emirates.

2005 November 10   As a retired employee of IAL and later SERCO I well remember Dubai, Sharjah, Bahrain, Aden, etc., of the 1960's. I found your site of great interest, especially the photographs which have brought back many memories. My service with the company was continuous and truly World wide as I had postings to both East and West Africa, the Caribbean, Fiji and finally as MD Serco Facilities Management s.a. in Bruxelles where we spent 11 years (having been posted initally for 6 months!) Since retirement I have done consultancies in the Czech Republic and the Palastinians.

2005 November 3   I was at Sharjah 1967/8 in the fire service - what memories. I remember the oak tree in the square and we could not go off camp due impending justice been exacted!! Moonie parades (I still have the photos), taking the iron beds outside and using lighter fuel to burn out the bed bugs, Harry Seacombe visiting, also the cinema and swimming pool, and last but not least dried food. I never want to sea another compo ration in my life.

2005 November 2   Enjoyed reading about your travels. I live in Sharjah, 10 years now, and work at Sharjah airport. The old airport fort has been rebuilt as a museum with a nice collection of aircraft. I also worked in Nigeria, based in Lagos, 1980 - 85, and had many visits to Kano. I found your articles very interesting, and the photographs fantastic. The most exciting read was your drive home from Kuwait. An amazing adventure. I have planned to do a similar journey, but not so safe these days. Still we will see how things develop in the next few years. I have been to Iran once, and hope to go again. A drive through there would be fascinating. But I'll use an air conditioned 4X4! You were all very brave doing that journey in a Fiat 1500 with no AC! But what an adventure. If you would like some more info of things around here, and photos, let me know, I'll be happy to oblige. Thanks for taking the trouble to publish your travels.

2005 October 21   Do you have more picture of Iran, specialy from last year. Thanks .

2005 September 27   Africa and the Middle East were SO much nicer when you were there. What happened?

2005 August 28   I am the son of motel gladyol owner in (Your trip Iran-Iraq-Turkey) which you residented in 1968. I was so happy to see the pictures from that time of Kermanshah and our Motel!! Do you have more pictures from that time of this places (Kermanshah, Motel..etc.) It would be greatful if you could send me some pictures from that time because after the revolution in iran many things of my family were distroyed encluding pictures. Please reply this mail and thanks once again for your efforts in advance.

2005 July 24   I traveled from Kuwait to the UK in 1964 aged 12 in a Morris Oxford. We also went as far as Istambul and back a bit earlier. Great site very nostalgic

2005 July 24   I was an SAC Tel II who posted to RAF Sharjah for a one year tour 1963-64. Your photographs and narrative brought back many memories, how things have changed in the last forty years! I've added a link to your site from my own website www.stronsay.co.uk/claremont

2005 May 23   I need to find a site on Ahwaz Iran..In more detail please.

2005 May 7   I am doing research on the history of number plates in the UAE for a book called Registration Plates of the World published by the plate society Europlate. I fell across your wonderful site while trying to find old UAE photos that actually show vehicle number plates. Your IAL Landrover is about the only one we have found. I don't suppose you have any more old photos that show the plates?

2005 May 1   We were in touch a few times last year regarding some of the images that appear on your website, specifically those relating to Dubai. I would still be interested in acquiring the rights to use these in my book

2005 March 3   My step father was a FLT.LT. Navigator on Beverley's prior to joining IAL and he was posted from Nigeria to Bahrain in the mid 60's. My mother worked at ST.Christophers School in Bahrain then. I was able to visit them quite regularly as I was in the Royal Navy based in the Gulf for long periods. I believe my mum and step father moved to Sharjah in the early 70's and I believe my step father was airport manager around this time. Mum opened the Al Qasimia School using part of the old airport buildings (the control tower picture forming part of the school badge). After retiring from IAL my stepfather and Mum stayed on in Sharjah, Dad working as an adviser to the Ruler and Mum continued running the school. Both retired back to the UK about 4 years ago. Mum has bought a small pocket of the Gulf home with her though and her house resembles a souk and she gives regular talks on the early days in the Gulf.

2005 February 25   just for your information there is no gulf named .... Gulf. It's PERSIAN GULF.

[My comment: Strictly speaking that is correct. On most maps, and in Iran, it's called the Persian Gulf. But it's also called the Arabian Gulf by some people in the Arab world. Unfortunately it's a political issue because the term implies ownership. I follow the line taken by most politicians or journalists and avoid the problem by just calling it "The Gulf".]

2005 February 14   I blundered in here checking a reference to Radio Sharjah. I was the resident RAF Ground Wireless Fitter at RAF Sharjah in 1959/60, and actually set up and ran Radio Sharjah with an HF transmitter brought from Aden and modified on site for broadcasting. There had been an earlier set up with low power VHF sets, but it was not very effective. The Air Radio section sergeant got interested and, outranking me (I was a J/T!) he gradually eased me out and took over. Station was, I understand, later taken over by BFN. I lost many of my photographs of Sharjah and was delighted to se yours, albeit a couple of years later.

2005 January 26   Just come across your site and was wondering if you can give me some advice. I'm thinking about going backpacking around Iran (travelling over the border from Turkey) and was wondering if you think it is a reasonably safe place to go by yourself or if you had any trouble getting from place to another.

PS- Great photos!

2004 November 21   Found your site whilst looking for RAF Sharjah. Was there 1968 - also Bahrein. Nice to read the story and see the pictures - Ye gods Sharjah Fort got run down very quickly - my photos show it as a dump.

Thanks for reminding me on "barrusti" or however you spell it. I also cannot find it anywhere.

You've had a fantastic time with you life and travels - me too.

2004 November 10   I was delighted to see the picture of MEA in Dubai from the 60s - took me back as I flew with the stewardesses photographed, and in fact was part of the inaugural crew to Abu Dhabi - takes me back to a grand adventure. My daughter found your website in research for her job in Dubai, and thought I'd enjoy a trip down memory lane.

2004 June 30   Hello! I have just read your article on Kuwait and thought it was a very fine piece of writing. The media in general gives you reams and reams of bullshit which leaves you no wiser than you were to start with (not accidental). Probably less wiser. In a few words you have drawn the picture into sharp focus. I shall look for more of your stuff. On the subject of the Middle East in general, is there something you might recommend?

2004 June 19   Dear Harry My father, (Capt) John Peter Massey used to tell me how he set up Gulf Aviation. He used to embellish his stories but I don't doubt that he had may have been part of its inception. I was born in Karachi in 1949 and I know he used to fly Constellations and Dakotas as well as smaller aircraft. I would love to find someone who knew of him to tell me that this is at least partly true!

2004 June 5   My father, Gordon REID 1917-77, worked for IAL beginning in Karachi in 1952, followed by Iraq 1953-8, Bahrein 1959-60, Libya 1960-70.

I run a site based on my childhood in Baghdad 53-58 (ending in the revolution), which I started in response to looming events in March 2003 as www.baghdadskies.blogspot.com. It is now at www.baghdadskies2.blogspot.com. As well as commenting on events I am slowly piecing together my memories and those of my mother, now 87.

Now that Blogger.com allows photos, I am slowly pasting ones I would like to identify people in from the Iraq days. Dad was ATCO from 1960 ar Manama, and finished his career as SATCO, Wheelus Air Base, Tripoli after a spell at Idris (RAF which became International airport while we were there I believe).

If You know any one from IAL who might have known him or worked alongside him, I would love to hear from them.

Any snippets about the people, IAL, and the period in those countries to fill the gaps....

2004 May 27   Hi, I have just returned fron a nostalgic trip to the UAE and whilst comparing the recent photos with my old ones I had a look on the web and found your site. We have quite a bit in common. I was in Sharjah from March 1962 to Aug 1963 in the AMWD. I remember the stables and the great riding. I tried my hand as a DJ with Radio Sharjah and even took Tommy Cooper to the Souk in Dubai. He had the locals doubled up. I was in HK in 1966/7 and again in 1977/85. After my return from Sharjah I went back to the MPBW (Formerly AMWD) at RAF Abingdon and bought a bungalow in Southmoor on the Faringdon Road. Would be interested to hear from you.

2004 March 28   What a thoroughly delightful site this is! I was searching for information on 'old' Dubai, as I am writing a historical piece on 'Gray Mackenzie House' - aka 'Bayt al Wakeel'. I'm interested in knowing any 'personal' stories about Dubai, the creek in particular and shipping that went on at the time, if you are willing to share. My paper will include 1935-2004, focusing quite a bit on 1935 - 1965 so if there is anyone else you can put me in touch with that will have memories of that time, I'd appreciate it! Thanks! P.S. Love the pictures! When's the last time you were here in Dubai?! It's changed a bit since then! :)

2004 February 12   Thanks so much for the pictures of the Kuwait Airways Viscount at Dubai in '62. My dad was a F/O on that aircraft for Kuwait Airways and was very used to flying in 50 degrees centigrade all over the gulf. These are the first pictures I 've been able to find on this aircraft for KAC,so I'm thrilled to find them.

2004 January 24   Harry, it was an utter shock (albeit a delightful?? one) to see the photo of the air traffic controller at dubai airport (1962-1963). You see that is my father who passed away in 1987. That photo was taken before I was born. His love of airports & travel has been passed down and I have spent many years in & around airports plane spotting.

2004 January 20   Wonderful pictures of Sharjah . . . the Sharjah of yesteryear

2004 January 13   I loved the pictures specially of Ahwaz. I am an Ahwazi who now lives in the US. Do you have more pictures you can put on your site.

2003 November 29   great photos of sharjah. served 62/63.path may have crossed.yourphotos same as mine. done supply run dig dagga trials station for 9 months. name in visitors book. service in ration store serving t.o.s. hussars. lancers.r.a,f. many visits to coffe/tailors shop at fort. thanks for photos of airfield etc. i thought i was the only one with memories

2003 November 25   Hi Harry, many thanks for the Photos of R A F Sharjah. I was there 1963/1964 with the RAF Fire Service. I saved the Photo of the Tower and appreciated the Fire Truck which was in the shot. I was unable to open the file again to view. Maybe you could help on this. Many thanks.

2003 March 22   GREAT REVIEW OF YOUR TRIP TO, NOW WE SEE UNDER FIRE LAYING, IRAQ AND KUWAIT...ENJOYED IT

2003 March 6   i want information about khoramshahr