55 Field Surgical Team RAMC

“Abdication”

Sultan Said bin Taimur came to the throne in February 1932.  He inherited a country deeply in debt mainly to Muscat mercants who had loaned the state money.  Even when oil revenues started to flow he was too conservative to do do very much to improve the quality of life for his subjects.  Hard top roads, hospitals and schools were not his priority.  Naturally his subjects, many of whom who had been influenced by what they had seen in the Gulf were restless.  None more so than his son Qaboos who had seen much of the world and had been educated in Dhofar, in India, England and later at the Royal Military Acadamy at Sandhurst. He studied local government in the west Midlands before embarking upon a world tour accompanied by a FCO approved British Major.

Returning to Oman Qaboos lived in a house in Salalah for the next six years.  The term “house arrest” has been used but I understand from what I have both read and heard that this is too extreme.  It is probable that his father simply required that he lived in Salalah and placed no restrictions on his visitors or on his personal comings and goings in the immediate locality.

This theory is supported by his central knowledge and part in the coup which overthrew his father.

Said bin Taimur “abdicated” following a palace coup on the 23rd July 1970 and his son Qaboos took his place as sultan.

There are a number of different accounts of what happened on that day in Salalah. The webmaster has come across many of them ranging from a personal account delivered in a lecture room in the basement of a hotel in Salalah, to written acccounts in various books about Dhofar, to an excitable account by one of the participants downloaded onto his Kindle.

The only contempraneous records that I have come across are those signals that came in and out of the CommCen at Salalah and that are now in the PRO at Kew.  Naturally they do not recount the eye-ball to eye-ball confrontations that occurred but drily record some of the other events that day. Bizarrely they record the need for secrecy to the extent of shutting down the local radio amateurs, the squabble with the outgoing sultan who does not want to share an aeroplane with Sheik Braik, the reluctance of the RAF  to provide an extra plane, what it would cost and who should be invoiced, finally the need to arrange for an RAF dog handler to return home on leave.  The duration of the squabble may or may not have prejudiced the recovery of Sheik Braik who was wounded in the abdomen. Oh for an FST before we set about shooting each other either intentionally or unintentionally !