The  Royal  Engineers  in  Dhofar

Two Troop  48 Squadron Royal Engineers
RE Postal and Courier Services

The Hornbeam Line

Gunfire Support

Helicopter Support

Living on the Jebel

The Coastal Plain, Headquarters
&
The Moon Country (Jabal Al Qamar)

HQM-9H

Air, both RAF and SOAF

R and R

Royal Engineers Postal & Courier Services RAF Salalah

Roger Hicks (RAMC), John Jackett (RE), Gerry Farrell (RAMC), Dave Barrow (RAMC)

Some edited comments from John Jackett.

Graham Warden:
In 1974 the RE Det, was known as DOE Salalah with an RE Major (?), 2 Staff Sgts and five or six L/Cpls and Sprs. – the DOE also had a large Indian civilian artisan contingent of approx 100.
(The late) Jack Griffiths – 1975:
A small group of RE’s led by a Clerk of Works WO2 and a few NCO’s acted as a DOE unit and employed quite a number of Indian civilian labour and looked after the infrastructure of the base and all the energy facilities etc (including the important swimming pool).
It was at this time that I procured a set of wheels for the postal unit. I was good friends with the QM of 94 Regt and as their vehicles were going to be desert dumped, I demanded a ‘Gizit’ a form of recognised trading of goods in Salalah. I got the Land Rover albeit a bit battered, the RE lads serviced it and supplied the fuel and the post office bike was redundant.
As the only other REs on the base beside the DOE contingent, we were granted membership of the Indian Club. If you were into curry this membership was invaluable and a curry in their mess hall was a great way to start the weekend.

John Douglas – 1977:
Cash to bank became a chore, transfer now to the RE Field Sqn, thank goodness that we still had some independent transport.

Brian Felks – 1977: The only regulars left behind were 2 Posties, 2 RAOC Butchers and the RAF FST. There was also half a Sqn of REs a couple of miles down the road.
Although a ceasefire had been implemented, a couple of daily unclassified sitreps that I retained dated June 1977, indicate regular skirmishes. With a distribution to 35 addressees, amongst them: 11 Fd Sqn RE, Bde Wksp, UAG Hosp, 55 FST, BATT (SAS of course) – indicates that a wide military presence beyond SOAF, remained there.

John Jackett:
What I remember of REs in Dhofar 1971-72. There was a WO 1 overseeing the local Asian workforce in / around the airstrip, mainly (from memory) about grading / maintaining the Sultans side of the Airfield, as opposed to “RAF Salalah”, he never used the RAF mess (that I remember) but I did meet him socially in the Indian Club for their curries – fantastic social life out there – along with your guys in the FST!!

I note that you are including “ R & R “, the RAF had afternoon beach trips by 3 Tonner – with Armed guards

When Dave Gladwin came back for his second Posting, indeed to close FPO Salalah, he was looked after by the RE troop from “Down the road”, 2 photos attached of members of that Troop, unfortunatley they are not designated as to which RE troop. however the OC is named by David:

August 1977 when I came back again, to formalise the closure, we were initially going to do that as soon as the major celebrations of the birthday of Sultan Qaboos bin Said was over on 18th November.

The Holiday Inn [ now The Crown Plaza ] was home to King Hussein of Jordan – guest of honour, plane loads of UK personnel were flown in, including The Red Arrows and The White Helmets display teams.

However our leaving was all delayed to support BATT, the Captain RE was appointed OC and disappeared on a swanee. I retained the certificate, of formally transferring the FPO building and some postage stamps etc over to SOAF on 22nd December 1977.

Dave Wrigglesworth [ FPO Cpl ], the Capt RE and myself flew up to Muscat and then by 1st class on British Airways, arriving Heathrow just before Christmas. Living close to South Cerney, a vehicle arrived over the next few working days and transfer of all FPO “remaining bits” was made.