Salalah Photographs

Tom Bramley - Updated June 18th 2019

 
 


Some personal history first..... and in memory of my father Joseph Bramley.

I had lived in Egypt as a child until the wives and children of contracted government employees were hurriedly evacuated just prior to the Suez Canal Crisis in 1956. We were flown out in a Sunderland flying boat from the Great Bitter Lakes to Malta, and then onto London in a Hermes aircraft. We ended up in a refugee reception centre in Richmond Park having lost everything but the contents of the one suitcase my mother had been allowed to bring with us. There is a British Movietone news reel of us getting off the plane at London Airport in August 1956. Title Suez Families Home. Story BM67877.


















About Joe...

Anyhow - My father was left behind and later imprisoned for spying by the Egyptians until the Red Cross negotiated his release over a year later. Ironically he had been commended by their Government for rescuing an Egyptian soldier who had been blown up in a minefield just before his imprisonment by them.


As a Regimental colour sergeant he had served with the Coldstream Guards from 1937 to 1946. He joined the newly formed guards armoured brigade in 1943 and saw action over 577 days while the process of liberating France, Holland, Belgium and then breaking over the Rhine took it’s course.  As a tank commander he was blown up “brewed up” twice. When the Guards Armoured brigade was disbanded he completed his service with the 4th battalion British army of the Rhine HQ until his transfer to the reserve list in May 1946. I hope to write more of his amazing stories one day. He died just three days before the Millennium.

He earned the France and Germany Star, the 1939-1945 Star and the 1939-1945 War Medals

it is one of my enduring regrets that I never saw his campaign medals or heard first hand from him, his own accounts of his wartime and Egyptian exploits.


My appreciation to the dedicated Archivist, Captain R W C Matthews of the Coldstream Guards for his assistance in digging up the information above.



Salalah Town Photographs

The areas around the Suez Canal Zone had been pretty basic places between 1954-56 but visiting Salalah Town in 1969 was like stepping right back into the 14th century.

The town was dominated by the old Sultan’s Palace - The shutters on the palace windows had eye holes in them where it was reputed he would watch what his people and slaves were up to. There was a huge punishment log in front of the palace.

There were no functioning schools or medical services in the whole country and as the old Sultan had invested nothing in his people, a rather understandable Chinese and Russian backed communist insurrection had been in progress in the Dhofar provence from 1962 onwards.

By 1969 they controlled 90% of the Dhofar region and urgent action was finally instigated with London as the war was effectively on the verge of being lost.


The new Sultan, His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said started to quickly change all this when he ousted his father Said bin Taimur on July 23rd 1970. One of our own contributors Ray Kane was highly involved and actually wounded in the coup d’état that overthrew the old sultan.

It still took another six years to defeat the communist insurgency and bring eventual peace and modernisation to the country.


The streets, shops, Sultans Gardens, boat yard and market place are represented here along with some of the wonderful inhabitants of that incredible medieval enclave.


RAF Station Salalah Photographs


The second batch of photos are taken on and around the RAF airfield. They are pictures of the station, some of the men who worked there and how they passed their free time. I recognise many but nowhere near all of them.

They have no photographic merit other than they are a record of that place and those people who gave up over a year of their own lives to serve there. We all benefited from the experience. The airfield was central and instrumental to the eventual defeat of the insurgency.


Four RAF men and a civilian meteorological officer got to have a free weeks R&R in RAF Changi, Singapore, courtesy of a draw that the station CO must have kindly rigged for us. You may spot the odd shots which were taken in Tiger Balm Gardens. Alan Cooper and I are now in touch, so will the other three winners we went there with please kindly step forward and remind us who exactly they are ..... We hope they are all well and have prospered as we have. I would be delighted to feature their own photos and memories on this site.


Viewing photos

Photographs are much smaller than their original versions to aid download speeds.

To see all photos with commentary - scroll down - there are a lot of photos to see on these two pages



The Small Print...

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Salalah Provence Photographs

 

Salalah Town & RAF Salalah - A Time Capsule from 1969/70









Salalah 1969 -53


The effect of too much sun and a very hard Jebel existence, I have looked at this often

and wondered just how old he actually was.





RAF Station Salalah



The photographs below are from RAF Salalah, it’s layout and it’s 65 Penguins. (non flying airmen)

At that time we all did a thirteen month tour with one months leave back in the UK taken between three and nine months. Being a total masochist I opted for the latter.