Featured Photographer I have chosen for this week is different and kind of unique, even though he keeps on telling me that he is not a good photographer, I beg to differ, the fact that he owned the camera than, and took photos of various scenery and culture of Oman during the 1950s and in the middle of the war, and managed to protect and preserve them for sixty years , this alone makes him among the best photographer.
Photos are all about Memories, and here today I am displaying your photos to Omanis and Non Omanis alike for scene of Oman many of us never knew existed, this is the very definition of preserving memories. Thank you John, for these lovely very precious photos of Oman during the 1950s, and I am honored you have chose me to share it to the world.
In 1958 I was Lieutenant in the British Army and serving with a tank regiment in Germany where we were facing the threat of a Russian invasion.
At that time all British men on reaching the age of 18 were “called up” to serve in the armed forces for 2 years. I was a regular officer having been through the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, as did your Sultan. As a lieutenant I commanded a troop of tanks.
The problem was that with the constant turnover of National Service soldiers, those serving for two years, one no sooner had trained your troop to a good standard than many left at the end of their two years of service so it was a little frustrating. As you know I was in Oman as a result of the Sultan asking for British help to put down a rebellion led by Ghalib, Talib and Suleiman I was one of a small number of British officers who volunteered. I had never been out of Europe so life in Oman was a totally new experience. I was supposed to go to a language school in Beirut to learn Arabic but things became critical in Oman and we were sent straight out to Oman without Arabic. Some how we muddled through!! As it happened many of the soldiers were Baluch from Pakistan and did not speak Arabic so that was another complicating factor.
At various times during my 2 years in Oman I served in Kamah Camp where I commanded a company of the Northern Frontier Regiment and also had 110 donkeys which were used to supply the company of soldiers based at Saiq. I also spent some time with a company at Izki and Saiq also at Ibri which is where I spent a lot of time doing camel patrols with four Omani soldiers because the rebels were running mines down into Oman from Buraimi. Incidentally one of these mines blew me up when I was driving a Landrover along the landing strip at Firq a couple of mile from Nizwa and the person with me was badly hurt.
By the time my service in Oman was over things were very much quieter but of course some ten years later became very much worse in the South of Oman with incursions from Aden. I left the regular army in 1964 but continued to serve as a reserve officer until 1982, while pursuing a civilian career, finally retiring as a Colonel in 1982.
As regards photography I have to admit that I have never been more than an occasional “snapper” having never had a lesson. I only wish that modern cameras had been available during my time in Oman. The problem was that really good cameras were bulky and were not really practical when running around with a rifle on the mountain.
Thank you John again for this lovely story.
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