55 Field Surgical Team RAMC

Local Overseas Allowance

The FST was composed of members who came from the UK and from BAOR. None of the members were “posted” to the FST but were “detached” from their parent units to the FST.

This led to all sorts of perceived injustices upon which the FST members were wont to ruminate as they ticked off the “days to do” in the murky monsoon days of July 72. A long running battle had been fought with the Tidworth administration to obtain leave for those returning to the UK but the Rinteln administration were a harder nut to crack and had rostered us to be back at work almost within a day of returning to BAOR. (The attempt failed in the face of an unrestrained expression of views from “Wife of” who ambushed the CO along with her three infant children as he passed her front door on his way to work)

Naturally those who rejoiced most in sorting out the consequences of our precise legal status and administering any changes were the pay sergeants. Ever faithful guardians of the Queen’s shilling they obsessively stripped us of what they could. Even though they did not know where Salalah was or even how to spell it, any notion of a concept familiar in the RN as “Hard Lying Money” was completely alien to them. However the notion that our own bank in the UK could practically enter into an arrangement with one of the banks in “Salalak” was so wide of the mark as to be derisory.

Compensation for the discomfort and rigours of active service in Salalah was a reduction in pay.

It had been a mistake to raise the question in the first place  

An assessment of how much the LOA would be was made by an “LOA Team” whose visit to RAF Salalah was recorded in the Operational Record Book. Even after all these years they are no longer anonymous…

and what was the result of their visit ?

However this was not the end of the matter as there were problems recruiting RAF personel for secondment to SOAF.  It centred around the job, the effect on a pilots RAF career and the poor living conditions. In a letter to PHR Wright of the FCO from RA Lloyd-Jones on the 11th of December 1972 he makes the following observations.

and this is then followed up with some hard figures acouple of days later