x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Time Frame: Torrential downpour in Sharjah that lives in infamy

Rain runs off the roofs of tin accommodation huts at the Royal Air Force base at Sharjah during a particularly heavy storm that swept across the emirate in late 1963.

Courtesy of Vic Cozens
Courtesy of Vic Cozens

From 1940 to its closure in 1971, the Royal Air Force base at Sharjah was a major British strategic asset in the Gulf.

Sharjah's place in aviation history began in the 1930s when Imperial Airways negotiated landing rights with the Ruler for its long-range route from London to India.

This photograph is the first of a short series looking at life on RAF Sharjah and comes courtesy of Ray Deacon, who served at the base and has created an excellent archive of memories, both visual and written, at his website www.radfanhunters.co.uk (Radfan is an area of Yemen that saw heavy fighting during the Aden Emergency in the 1960s).

This atmospheric photograph shows torrential rain pouring off the roofs of tin accommodation huts during a particularly heavy storm that swept across the emirate in late 1963. It was taken by Senior Aircraftman Technician Vic Cozens, who served in Aden, Bahrain and Sharjah, maintaining Hawker Hunter strike aircraft which used a bombing range at Jebajib, located near what is now the Palm Jebel Ali in Dubai. The date of this storm might have been forgotten were it not for the fact that, like millions of others, Cozens remembers where he was on November 22, 1963, the day John F Kennedy was assassinated.

Time Frame is a series that opens a window into the nation's past. Readers are invited to make contributions to yourpics@thenational.ae