Saturday, July 25, 2015

PATHE VIDEO: RAF Bases In Iraq 1955


Harry Barnes said...

Apologies if I have covered this before -but old men ramble. I undertook the bulk of my National Service at an RAF Movements Unit at Basra from 26 February 1955 to October 1956. The camp was situated on the banks of the Shat-el-Arab river. I also spent three brief periods at the RAF camp in Habbaniya which is shown in your film. I first of all arrived in Iraq via Habbaniya. I then undertook an RAF regiment's training session there, which gave me time to make a short stay in Baghdad at its YMCA. It included a visit to the Iraqi parliament. My next visit to Baghdad was to catch a train to Basra. I later had a period in hospital at Habbaniya, then eventually returned to it to catch a plane back home to Britain to be demobbed. But this departure fell during the Suez crisis. Flights home over Syria were then refused. I made it home on the first flight which then went out via Ankara - flying over Iraqi Kurdistan. Then moving on from Ankara via Malta. I only finally visited Iraqi Kurdistan around 2006 with a group I was then Joint President of called "Labour Friends of Iraq", which I had helped to found after the invasion in 2003 and when I was a Labour MP. I have been attempting to work out the exact position of our camp, recently via the RAF. But I am having difficulty getting a researched answer. It may be near where Clem Attlee who became a British Prime Minster was hospitalised when in the British Army during the First World War. And near where Saddam Hussein had a warship of his own placed. I don't know if you can advice me on how to sort out my former camp's exact placing. The internet is obviously jammed with post 2003 material on Basra, which makes a search for a old non-expert such as myself rather difficult.

Joel Wing said...

Hi Harry,

Thanks for sharing your experiences.

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