RAF Masirah, in 1975
written by Colin Rhodes
I was a cook working in the JR Mess during ’75’. The catering flight had to supply ’Halal’ meat for the Muslim workforce on the island.
This had to be picked up from Dubai.not the glamorous place we see on TV today. But a very different era, It was still an old city.
We had to fly there in an Andover, with the head Omani worker from catering stores he was called ’Abbs’. He used to do this job every time the meat was collected. I can’t remember whether it was weekly or fortnightly. But one airman had to accompany him. There had to be RAF personnel with him, but basically it was a chance to get of the island for the day. And to be
able to do a bit of shopping! |
When we landed, we had to go to the depot to collect the meat items. Which was put into ’Polar Packs’ taken back to the aircraft and loaded.
We Both then had plenty of time to do some shopping. ’Abbs’ took me to a Souk so I could pick up some souvenirs. He was obviously very well known, having done this trip whenever it was required for the last number of years.
Eventually after collecting various bits and pieces for myself and Abbs. We ended up in a little shop. As soon as the owner saw Abbs, who he obviously knew well from the greeting he gave him. The shop owner pulled a chair for me to sit on and made me very welcome!
They went into a conversation with each other by a cabinet. The shop owner then picked out this block of a ’tar’ like substance, he scraped of a little which ’Abbs’ smelt. He then bought it over to me for a smell!
He then asked me if I thought it was ’ok’ which I nodded yes. He grinned at me and said something I wasn’t expecting "Hashish".
It seemed that one of ’Abbs’ other jobs he had was the local dealer for ’friends and family’ in the ’Wali’ camp!
I don’t know of anyone else who had this experience. I just didn’t know what to do. So I didn’t say a word! In case I’d drop myself right in the smelly stuff!
I do wonder if the hierarchy actually knew that RAF aircraft where being used for ’Drug Smuggling’ for years. Or whether they did, and chose not to ’mention’ it. Just to allow a quaint local custom carry on for peace and quiet. And not to upset the local’s!!!!!
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