Summer for a day at least today? Make sure your protected? RAF Desert Rescue Masirah remembered.

1974 Desert Rescue Masirah

1974 Desert Rescue Masirah – No sun protection as  we were not aware of sun damage then – just carries water . Wild days.

In 1973 -1974 I was stationed in the Persian Gulf at RAF Masirah it was a busy 9 months where I worked in the huge ration store. My job was in the Cold store and everyone wanted ice. We unloaded ships and planes regularly really hard work in baking temperatures 30 plus regularly and I also was a member of the Desert Rescue Team on the Island.   We were away every weekend all over the small Island and it was hard going with temperatures up to 40 plus on the hill though small were magic. I learnt lots on that tour and how to handle the sun unlike the pictures show above.

The old pose and me with the hat and map out.

The old posers and me with the hat and map out. Rocky hills and wild land.

We carried a gallon of water and little else it was like drinking hot tap water during the day and camped out every night under the skies, watching the stars and we could in these days navigate by them. At the end of two days you would lose about 10 lbs  but put it back on when properly re-hydrated. We knew little about sun screen or other heat related problems but were very fit and looking back they were great days.

1974 living under the stars in Masirah - wild camping.

1974 living under the stars in Masirah – wild camping.


Simple Precautions

  • take and drink sufficient water I used to take on a lot before a walk- The camel principal
  • drink when thirsty (and drinking a little often can prevent dehydration)
  • do not drink to excess just because it’s hot
  • take appropriate food (peanuts,sweets)
  • wear shorts? Many prefer long trousers that reflect the heat?
  • wear a short sleeve base layer/ I like the long sleeve option,
  • wear a hat, that can cover the neck and also a bandanna if possible wet it.
  • use sun cream and re-apply periodically
  • wear sunglasses
  • consider carry a rehydration treatment
  • plan a route that is appropriate to the forecast, i.e. shorter less strenuous one for a very hot day. Take your time
  • cool down at streams by swilling your face and forehead in cool water, or even dipping your hat in the water to wet head
  • Have fun in the sun but be careful.
  • Masirah Map
  • RAF Masirah was located on the island of Masirah which is about 15 miles off the East coast of Oman in the Arabian Sea. Masirah is approximately 40 miles long by 10 miles wide at it’s widest point and four miles wide at its narrowest point.
  • During the 1930’s Masirah became one of many staging posts between the RAF bases strung across the world, this one being essential for aircraft flying between bases from Iraq to Aden including those in northern Saudi Arabia and along the Arabian Gulf coast, or Persian Gulf as it was then.Masirah was first used as a British military base in the early 1930s. A small stone building used as a fuel store for flying boats (photograph from Terry Bate enclosed showing the inscription ‘RAF 1936’ inscribed above the door), was at the midpoint of the island on the West side.
  • The base continued to expand into the 1970s supporting British and Oman forces fighting insurgents during The Dhofar Rebellion and providing transit facilities for long distance RAF flights to the Far East. The British military presence at RAF Masirah extended until 31 Mar 1977, when the base was handed over to the Sultan of Oman’s Air Force (now the Royal Air Force of Oman).
  • Masirah continues to be used and featured during the Gulf Wars of the 1990’s and continues to be used during the Middle East conflicts and as an RAFO (RAF Oman) airbase.Turtles and Wildlife
    It is the site of the largest breeding ground for Loggerhead turtles and one of the rare locations for breeding Olive Ridley turtles. During my time in Masirah we used to have a Dawn Patrol to carry turtles back to the sea after they had exhausted themselves laying their eggs. If we had not done this they would perish within a very short time once the sun arose. A truly wonderful sight.
  • Ornithologists flock (sorry about that) to Masirah for the abundant array of birds from small Sandpipers to the large Egyptian Vultures. Hoopoes, Ravens and everything in between.

About heavywhalley.MBE

After dinner speaker Lecturer and Mountain Rescue Specialist. Environmentalist. Spent 36 years with RAF Mountain Rescue and 4 years with a civilian Team . Still an active Mountaineer and loves the wild places.
This entry was posted in Enviroment, Equipment, Gear, Mountain rescue, mountain safety, Mountaineering, Weather. Bookmark the permalink.

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