Dhofar War

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by muhandis89, Sep 21, 2009.

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  1. Hello Many thanks to those who replied to my enquiry about the Sultan of Oman medal.
    My unit was the RAF Regt.Cheers
  2. Major Gen John Graham, who was Commander Sultan's Armed Forces 1969-72 died at his home in Barbados on 14 Dec 2012. There is a memorial service for him in London on 7th March
  3. 04-01-2013 21;58;038.JPG Sallah 1971
  4. I've been following this thread with a lot of interest, as I do whenever Oman is mentioned on this forum. I've been fortunate enough to spend some time over there, as a student and visiting friends.

    I'm currently writing my BA dissertation on the Dhofar rebellion, and I would be very honoured if anyone who served over there would consent to be interviewed. I am focusing primarily on the counter insurgency nature of the war, looking especially at the Firqat irregulars. Whilst I would love to speak to anyone who worked with, or encountered the Firqat, I would also be privileged to talk to anyone who served over there at any point in the war. If anyone would be interested in helping me, or can point me to someone who might, I'd be very grateful. On my last trip to Oman, I was able to visit Mirbat and took a few photos which I will try and dig out and stick up on here.

    Kind regards,

  5. Been reading and enjoying the thread. I think this is about the Dhofar campaign

  6. I was the BATT ATLO for a while and remember Dave very well along with Mike Tuson (Ex Fleet Air Arm), Steve Watson, Bill Bailey (ex AAC), Neville Baker, Nick Holbrooke et al. Great pilots all who always got us out of the s--t. And Bill Stoker and Sean Creek and the other 'Strikies' were outstanding. The Skyvan and Caribou guys (Charlie Brown and Co) often flew with only half their instruments working. Remember the fig tree on the approach into White City (or Medina al Haq). Great days and great people. It all came together because of the people involved. No bullshit whatsoever!
    I remember Neville Baker flying Mike Tuson's bullet riddled Huey, on his own, out of one of the Diana's accompanied by two chopper loads of heavily armed BATT, just in case!
    I was in UAG, Taqa, Tawi Atair, Jibjat, Ravens Roost, Habrut, Point something or other, Midway etc

    Ah, memories
  7. I was at 5 AB Bde HQ when Brig Jeapes took over. One of his first rules was that all Bde HQ staff would do a BFT one morning every week (can't remember which day it was). Anyone who came in behind the Brigadier would be on remedial PT until they could beat him round the course.

    He was a fast bugger though I'll give him that...


  8. Todays Times of Oman - http://www.timesofoman.com/News/42162/Article-Operation-Oman-Soldier-narrates-Dhofar-war-saga

    Operation Oman: Soldier narrates Dhofar war saga

    Major Nicholas Ofield, one of around 500 British Army troops in the Dhofar war, left the Sultan of Oman's Armed Forces in 1978 but continued to work in the Middle East and later in Africa.

    "My father had always talked about visiting Oman again, but it never happened. Eventually, I pestered him enough to put the time aside and for us to go. My father then asked if I would 'document' his return," Tristan wrote to Times of Oman in an email interview.

    "I had often tried to convince my father to write a book about his experience in Dhofar, but he constantly declined. This was my opportunity to make him tell his story."
    Major Nicholas Ofield said that he returned to Oman on a personal journey and his son accompanied him to record the journey.

    "It was after having paid a memorial visit to the Christian cemeteries at Mina Al Fahal and Ruwi that my son commented on the graves of the British officers buried there. From this the idea of the documentary was born," he said.

    Self determination
    Commenting on his experience, Major Nicholas said that the conflict in Dhofar was largely one of freedom and self-determination against intimidation, fear and domination. "Under the leadership of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos, it was won by a combination of military action and a vigorous hearts and minds campaign," he said.

    Since His Majesty Sultan Qaboos took over the reins of power, he has led Oman into the modern era, using the country's wealth for the benefit of his people, he said.

    The Sultanate has undergone such development that Major Nicholas described his return to Oman as an experience similar to 'visiting another planet'.

    He said, "I was truly astonished as I was unable to recognise any place. It was not until we travelled to Nizwa and Saiq that I was able to recognise the unchanging features of the mountains. It was the same in Dhofar, with Salalah and its surrounds being unrecognisable.

    "However, on the Jebel the features remain the same. One thing that remains unchanged is the open hearted hospitality of the Omanis. Everywhere we went we were made welcome, frequently being invited to people's houses to have coffee and dates," said Major Nicholas.

    "This is the memory of Oman that remains with me," he added.

    It was so important for Tristan to make this movie that he quit his job in 2013 to work on the film full time. "I have now burned through all my savings, but this has never been about money. It has been about needing to tell a story."

    The result of his efforts is a 67-minute film, which premieres at the Broadway cinema in Hockley, England, on November 16. Asked how this documentary differs from his other films, Tristan said that it is the most personal film he has ever made.

    "This was a chance for me to see my father in context. To look at the events that shaped his life as a young man. It is very scary to hold somebody familiar up in front of you and examine them. Normally, filmmaking for me is a very collaborative process," explained Tristan.

    "I have tried to build a career around working with friends. This has been a completely different experience, quite lonely. Many hours spent in my room editing, trying to craft a story out of approximately 50 hours of footage, choosing music, building composites in After Effects and colouring the picture," he said.

    Tristan wanted to do something different than most military documentaries that are based on specific campaigns. "I wanted to do something different to show the difficulties that existed and the bond that was formed between the British officers and the Omani soldiers," he said, adding that he also wanted British viewers to become more familiar with Oman and the conflict in Dhofar.

    Mystical Oman
    Asked why he was interested in making a movie in Oman, he said, "I had grown up listening to stories of Dhofar. I had spent many years in the Middle East but these were all countries of cars, air conditioning, gold, and buildings made of marble. Oman sounded so different, so mystical by comparison."

    During their stay in Oman, Tristan and his father drove from Muscat to Salalah which took them two days with one stop overnight. "We just camped by the side of the road. We woke up to find ourselves next to some incredible sand dunes. I had not seen dunes since I was about 14. Lots of memories came flooding back," he said.

    Later, they visited an area of the Jebel that had been known as Madinat Al Haq.

    "We continued to the Wadi Darbat, Shershitti and camped out in the Salalah area for about three weeks. Upon returning to the north we stopped in Nizwa and Ibri," said Tristan.

    The trip was special for Tristan not only career-wise but also because he got to see his father in a new light. "When he had been a soldier in Oman he was younger than I currently was.
    That was difficult to understand. Fear is something that I have never felt whenever I have travelled with him," remarked Tristan.

    He added, "He is still a very capable man whether map reading, building shelters, or driving off road. To see where he learned the skills that have stayed with him all his life has been wonderful."

    Tristan said that Omani people and their hospitality are what he will remember the most and he would love to come back to Oman to make more movies. "Omani hospitality is the stuff of legends. Everybody we met was so helpful. We had dinner with many people and shared stories, although most people thought we were crazy to drive all the way from Muscat just to sleep in the dust," said Tristan.

    He said he would also remember the Al Qubrah mosque, which was the most beautiful building he had ever seen. There was also an abandoned souq at Birkat Al Mawz, which features in the documentary.

    "It was like stepping back in time," he said. "I would love to make more films in Oman. The Lost City of Ubar is a fascinating subject. There are also forts at both Nizwa and Saiq that have stories worthy of study," he concluded.

    • Like Like x 1
  9. Great thread, very interesting. My Dad (ex R.E) missed my birth by a few months, while being deployed to Oman (1977). He told me a few stories from the time and remembers it fondly.
  10. There is a memorial service in the KOYLI Chaple at York Minster on Tues 06th Jan 2015 for the late Nigel Loring of 2 Coy Jebel Regiment, who was killed in 1975 during the attack on Shereshitti. Details can be obtained from (iansawers@btinternet.com).
  11. My father was a pilot for Gulf Aviation around 1964 - 1971 (DC9 then F27) he was based in Manama but flew all around the region. I have just had two of his 8mm cine films shot in Oman transferred to modern format and would be grateful for help identifying some of the areas shown, particularly a white fort. I recognise Mina Al Fahl (Fahal Island in background) and the first PDO houses, Port Sultan Qaboos and the fort, possibly the Sultans Palace, the first airstrip at Al Khuwair/Azaibah, possibly Mairah Island. If anyone can help with identification of sites I would be grateful. Please PM and I can transfer files by email (around 1,9Gb each).
  12. Just found this website and this thread by chance! I was an NCO seconded to SAF twice from 1966-1968 and then from 1971-1973 (then another 2 years on contract) so might be able to help. I was based at HQ SAF at Bait al Falaj and one of my jobs (I had several!) was to collect and deliver the mail (we were an offshoot of BFPO 63 (Bahrain) to the airstrip to meet the twice weekly RAF Beverley and twice weekly Gulf flights - so might have seen your Dad!! I was lucky enough to have travelled all over the north as well as the Gulf and occasionally to Dohfar. Let me know If I can help.
  13. Rob, I shall PM you my email to see if we can get in touch. I can then send the 2 films by email links, MD
  14. Rob I shall send a message by PM
  15. For those interested in the small war inDhofar in the 70's, Mike Tuson, one of the SOAFTAC helicopter pilots has written a book called 'A Mild Form of Insanity'. The book includes some chapters on his time with SOAF. Mike was a FAA Lt. Comdr before joining SOAF on contract. I knew him well from my time as BATT ATLO. A very good guy.
    Recommended if you can find it.
    • Informative Informative x 1