Please note that changes to the website are recorded in an Update log which you can access via the button below.
Due to incompatibilities between the FrontPage software I use on my PC and the new host server software, you will find a number of links and photographs in galleries may no longer appear. I am looking into alternative options but fear a re-write is the only solution. Please accept my sincere apologies for this inconvenience but hope there is still something of use for you to see.
Website last updated on: 28/03/15
As the history of the Hawker Hunter and its service with the RAF has been extensively aired over the years, it is not the objective to replicate it here other than to present a comprehensive record of the outstanding role the aircraft played in policing the hostile environment of the Middle East in the 1960s. For it was in the Middle East and the Radfan mountains in particular, that the Hunter established its outstanding credentials in the ground attack and aerial reconnaissance roles. Much of the factual material you will find in these pages contains extracts from squadron and station Operations Record Books (ORB or F540) held by The National Archives at Kew.
A second objective of this website is to produce an account of life on the RAF Khormaksar Hunter Squadrons during those hectic years using anecdotal material contributed by the pilots and airmen whose duty it was to fly and service this outstanding aircraft. In response to increasing interest being shown by people who served on other Khormaksar-based units, the author has broadened the remit for the website to include their material. To this end, new buttons with links to pages for 37 Squadron (Shackletons), 653 (AAC) and the Fleet Air Arm have been added to the Contents column. In addition, further sections comprising highlights from the RAF Khormaksar ORBs, the Stationís rundown and closure, plus a brief item on the fledgling South Arabian Air Force, have been added.
Air Forces, Middle East (AFME) was formed on 1 March 1961 as the RAF element in a new unified command, Middle East Command (MEC), having been originally named Middle East Air Force (MEAF). With the impending withdrawal of British forces from Aden, authority for the command moved to Muharraq (Bahrain) on 1 September 1967, where it became HQ British Forces, Gulf. The dark shaded areas in the accompanying map indicate the locations of RAF airfields and the extent of the Command's control.
The Middle East Command territory covered a vast swathe of Arabia, from Bahrain Island in the Persian Gulf in the north, down through the Trucial States, Muscat and Oman, the South Arabian Federation and across the Horn of Africa to Kenya, a distance of some 2,500 miles. The centre of operations was located at RAF Khormaksar in the Aden Protectorate. Units based at RAF Muharraq on Bahrain Island in the northern sector maintained constant vigilance as to the behaviour and intentions of nearby Gulf states, Iraq in particular. Intermediate replenishment airfields were provided at Sharjah, Masirah Island, Salalah and Riyan. To the south, lay Ethiopa and Somalia and beyond that, the lush green plains of Kenya where, close to the city of Nairobi, RAF Eastleigh provided the main operating base for the East Africa region.
Over the past three years, the website has expanded far beyond the authorís initial concept and the subject matter broadened in scope, an achievement that would not have been possible without the support of all those who contributed their photographs and anecdotes. There is no doubt that the site would not have been so interesting without your support and I would like to offer my sincere thanks to you all. The job is not yet done, however, as there is still a lot more to be added, so please keep browsing.
As with any written work, mistakes will materialise and I am indebted to Ben Bennett who, by his diligent error checking, has kept them to a minimum.
If you have any comments, suggestions for improvements or contributions you wish to make to this website, you can contact the author, Ray Deacon, via his Facebook page.
I am in the process of writing two books using extracts from this website as a starting point. One will be a factual account concentrating mainly on Hunter operations and entitled 'Hunters over Arabia', while the second will contain anecdotes and tales contributed by personnel who served in the Command. A specialist publisher has offered to publish the first during the second half of 2017 and the second in 2018. Contributors will be accredited for their submissions in the appropriate places.