SAC Ray Jones

Ray was called up for national serviceman in 1958 but decided to sign on for five years so that he could see the world! He joined 37 Squadron at Khormaksar in January 1959 straight from trade training as an Instrument/Mech/Nav at RAF Melksham. On leaving Aden, Ray spent short time with 51 Squadron at RAF Watton before finishing of his military service on an exchange posting to RAF St Mawgan.

Number 37 Squadron was probably the most interesting unit to be working with because, apart from the policing and anti-submarine roles there were numerous detachments and ‘jollies’ to fill the tour time at locations such as; Sharjah, Masirah, Salalah, Bahrain, Karachi, Mauripur, Lahore, Peshawar, and of course Nairobi and Eastleigh for regular supplies of fresh steaks and milk!

I was a member of the Mountain/Desert rescue team, mainly for reasons of the extra rations and training exercises. We didn’t rescue anyone during my tour but it was our duty to recover lost and downed aircrew in the ‘up country’ regions (some of them being 8 Squadron pilots).

On the lighter side our skiffle group, the Cotton Pickers, performed in all the messes and the Governors’ residence with mediocre success.

Accommodation and facilities at Khormaksar were very basic, but once you got through the initial ‘adjusting to the climate’ period, life was not too bad away from ‘blighty’. Where else would you get your laundry done, your bed made, your shoes cleaned, errands run, and an early call with a cup of tea! When the new Twyneham air-conditioned quarters were introduced in the latter months of my tour, there was a huge increase in ‘sick notes’ due to colds and flu viruses.”

A selection of Ray’s photographs depicting various aspects of life on 37 Squadron can be seen in the gallery below.

The Shackleton pan at Khormaksar in 1960 depicting three 37 Squadron MR.2s (Ray Jones)

37 Squadron Shackleton MR.2, coded 'K', flying high along the border with the Yemen (Ray Jones)

Looking forward through the Shackleton bomb-aimer's position as it flies over the Little Aden refinery (Ray Jones)

It's pre-AOC's inspection and members of 37 Squadron air and groundcrew line up in front of one of their aircraft. .....

..... The Station Commander is on the immediate left of the photo while Ray Jones is fifth from the righ in the back row (both, Ray Jones)

The next selection of Rays images covers a broad diversity of subjects.

Having just climbed to the 1,800 ft peak of Jebel Shamsan, Ray Jones relaxes before starting the treck back down (Ray Jones)

Yes it's the same Ray Jones, trying out his fancy dress for the folks back home (Ray Jones)

A very popular location for servicemen, women and their families, The Lido at Elephant Bay (Ray Jones)

View from one of the airmens' barrack blocks at Khormaksar, looking north across the corner of 'Wembley' towards the airfield (Ray Jones)

The Cotton Pickers were a very popular group and played at events across the Colony (Ray Jones)

Any names please?

Looking towards the Officers' Mess from an Airmen's block, with Shamsan providing the rocky backdrop (Ray Jones)

A frightening sight and a signal to take cover! Four views of a sandstorm .....

.... as it approaches Khormaksar from the north in 1961 .....

..... and deposits a thick carpet of sand on everything in its wake .....

..... before moving on to the rest of the Colony (all four, Ray Jones)