There are inevitably things that assume an importance that is often quite unjustified. The unavailability of tubes of Smarties from the NAAFI in Salalah was one such thing. They were not however “mission critical” where the provision of Desert Boots most certainly were.
Desert Boots most certainly were
PRIORITY ROUTINE 26 0855Z MAY
FROM 55 FST
CONNECT YOUR MDJ 23 1000Z MAY AND MDJ 23 1400Z MAY PD SOME CONFUSION EXISTS OVER AFFIRMATIVE AND NEGATIVE SIGNALS PD COULD POSITION PLEASE BE CLARIFIED AS MAJORITY OF 55 FST ARE NOW RESPLENDENT IN FLIP FLOPS PD WEARING OF DMS BOOTS IN THIS UNIT IS NEITHER DESIRABLE NOR PRACTICAL PD SIGNED JOHNSTON//
P R 23 1000Z MAY
TO RBQPSB/55 FST SALALAH
INFO RBDTTE/COD BICESTER
SUBJECT DESERT BOOTS PD OVERSEAS DHTS THIS HQ AGREE TO YOUR REQUEST FOR ISSUE OF DESERT BOOTS TO 55 FST PERS ON A SCALE OF ONE PAIR PER INDIVIDUAL PD DETAILS OF NUMBER BY SIZES REQD SHOULD BE FORWARDED TO THIS HQ PD FOR RAF DET PD COULD YOU ARRANGE LOAN ISSUE OF ITEMS REQD PD COD BICESTER WILL ISSUE REPLACEMENT ITEMS TO YOU ON RECEIPT OF DETAILS OF LOAN ISSUE FROM THIS HQ PD FOR 2 FD HOSP PD YOU ARE TO ENSURE FUTURE PERS DETACHED TO 55 FST ARE ISSUED WITH ITEMS CONCERNED PRIOR TO THEIR DEPLOYMENT
P 08 0830Z JUN
TO COD BICESTER
INFO 55 FST SALALAH
SUBJECT PD DESERT BOOTS PD QMAINT HQLF HAVE AUTHORISED THE ISSUE OF SUBJECT ITEM TO 55 FST PD QUNATITIES OF ITEMS BY SIZES TO BE ISSUED BY COD BICESTER ARE AS FOLLOWS PD ALFA SIZE 10 QUANTITY 1 PAIR BRAVO SIZE 9 QTY 3 PRS C SIZE 81/2 QTY 2 PRS D XXXX SIZE 8 QTY 3 PAIRS E SIZE 7 QTY 1 PR F SIZE 61/2 QTY 1 PAIR G SIZE 6 QTY 1 PD STORES TO BE CONSIGNED TO RAFDET SALALAH PD AUTHORITY FOR ISSUE OF STORES IS QMAINT HQUKLF DATED 07 JUN 72 PD FOR RAFDET PD YOU ARE TO RETAIN SUBJECT ITEMS IF LOAN ISSUE REQUESTED IN OUR MDJ 231000Z MAY HAS BEEN ACTIONED
For the record desert boots would have been entirely inappropriate in our immediate work environment. Blood and gunge cannot be removed from desert boots – even Desert Boots manufactured by Clarks in Norwich. Flip flops were ideal – blood and gunge could be sluiced off.
It is of interest to reflect that in 2020 we are so sensitive to diseases that are blood borne – HIV, hepatitis etc – that the conditions that we found ourselves in back in 1972 would now be regarded as totally unacceptable; surgeons and OTTs bare skin soaked in the patients blood; anaesthetist inhaling anaesthetic gases as there was no scavenging of such in the operating area.
Outside the perimeter of the FST desert boots were ideal and probably essential where healthy feet were concerned. It is a matter of censure that 2 Fd Hospital had neglected to establish the needs of the FSTs passing onwards through their hands to Salalah. It made what was already a difficult situation just that bit more difficult.