A page for your memories and
shorter stories from Gan and Hittadu.
Taff, I've dug out a couple of pictures
which were taken during my tour of Gan 1971 to
1972. I was a 'Civvy' in the Met Office. One of
the outcasts over the other side of the island,
chucking balloons into the air; we weren't
allowed to mix with the smart blokes in the
First Picture is of
the 'Civvy' team which came 2nd in the dhoni
race in 1971. If I remember correctly I hadn't
been out long so this must have been in the
August of that year. I can only remember the
names of the Met guys so I apologise to the DOE
folk in the photo.
Back Row (L-R).. Ron
Bentley, DOE, Pat Slattery (with his inflatable
comforter), Jack Taylor (just visible), Zobbit
awarding the prize (crate of Charlie), Me, Roger
Row.. DOE, Dave Lord, Ralph Cooper
second picture was taken sometime in 1972 at the
skittle alley. Again non of the DOE names come
Thundercliffe (great name for the Met Office),
DOE, Jack Taylor, DOE, Roger Collins, Angus
McCloud (another good Met name), Crouching.. Me
and Dave Lord
I've got quite a few
slides up in the loft which my wife keeps
threatening to throw out ! Some of them were
taken from a C130 which I took at the end of my
tour. One day I'll scan them all in and send you
a couple if I find anything unusual.
Biene (aka. Mr Womby)
** This was the
closest the room boys got to pronouncing my
name. Strangely, it was very close to how I said
it after an evening in the Marine Bar **
few Photographs from the Marine Bar taken in
I read an article recently about "Shangri La's
latest Resort and Spa on Villingili", talks
about being able to visit the "mainland" by boat
- Gan is the mainland. Right !
Bean (SASF 1967/68)
I served on Gan in 1962 / 1963 and have a number
of slides which you may be interested in, I am
currently scanning these so if you would like
copies I could send what I have. (How would you
like these sent, ?)
I cant remember now if I sent anything to
you before but I do have a copy of the
for the 1962 Gan Christmas Show in which I took
part. I also have pictures of the whole cast if
you would like these.
I was an SAC Air Wireless Mechanic during my
tour and worked shifts turning round the
Britannia's and Comets that came in. We used to
periodically have to practice a routine for
Dragging off any aircraft that may have crashed
on the runway using the wreck of an old
Shackleton . (Forgotten now on which part of the
island it was located, old age dimming the
I found a picture of yours truly posing with the
Shack. and have attached a copy.
I’ve been looking out for any pictures of my
father Michael Kenny on your website for years.
Sadly he passed away
in July 2010 after a long battle with COPD. He
always spoke so fondly of his time stationed on
Gan as if that’s where he wanted to return. He
had so many stories that I want to visit myself
one day buy I know it will not be the same as it
was when he was there in the early 70’s.
attached a newspaper clipping from when he met
the Queen as deputy engineer of Radio Gan. I
understand he was also a DJ.
Please add this to
your site just in case others wonder where he is
Greetings, I am ex RAF ( Armaments
Technician ) having spent most of my service
with the ' V ' Force and many visits to Gan to
and from UK / Singapore..
My posting to Tengah
in 1965 began with a Flight on a chartered
Britannia of British Eagle Airways .. This
flight had a serious mishap which resulted in
the aircraft crash landing at RAF Gan .. My wife
and two children were on board with me .. Whist
the accident was traumatic for many , the people
at Gan made everyone very welcome on a base not
equipped to accommodate service families.. My
knowledge of the Island and base members I knew
made the stay for my wife and children a
pleasant experience ..
One of the first
persons to greet us after coming down the escape
chute was the RC Padre ( name forgotten ) who
was very well known to me at RAF Cottesmore
before he was posted to Gan .. It was a Sunday
and his first words to me and Family were '' God
looked after us all today ''
I am developing a
history of my World careers ( including The RAF
) .. There is one picture in '' Gan Remembered
'' of the Britannia we landed in which I would
wish a good copy of and any other pictures of
that event on your file ..
Your assistance is
appreciated and thank you for your interesting
Patrick Ronan..... RAF
Service # 1929963
Hello. I used to fly Comet 4Cs with 216
Squadron out of Lyneham in the early seventies
and actually spent a few weeks on detachment to
Gan , where we completed the handling phase of
the Comet conversion course.
I was later on 24
Squadron, again at Lyneham, in the 80's and we
shared a building with 30 Squadron. I fondly
remember that in the 30 Squadron storeroom there
was the old hand painted plan/map of Addu Atoll
that used to hang on the wall in (if my memory
is correct) the transit mess bar . A big
painting probably 6 feet square, obviously
liberated when Gan closed.
All the best
attached photo from 1972-73 of the '5 UNIT'
section latterly known as 'Nailbenders'-
although I'm damned if I know why we ended up
with that handle. I seem to remember that we
needed to come up with something for the ASTRA
pre film 'slide show' when we used to bawl
ourselves hoarse when the Hammer was projected.
That's also the
reason the photo shows everyone holding mallets
from our tool kits.
Also had some great
times playing at the G.I.C.C. and in the Addu
Atoll Darts League.
There, This is one of my old Photos at RAF Gan
in March 1973.We went to Gan, Masirah, Salalah
etc. with a CSE Show.
Left: Our Agent
Jimmy, from Cyprus. My First Wife Janette, The
Base Commander. I don't know his name.
I have several other
photos and postcards, if anyone is interested..
Jon & Janette Anton.
Hi, I'm not sure if the two photo's will
help you with the very interesting website that
you are running.
But I think everybody who was at Gan would have
had such a photo taken as Gan.jpg.
(I was there.!!)
The second one was at Radio Gan
(where I practically slept). Over the air waves
I was known as (Senior) Controller Del,. And the
well known or often played record was "Remember
when you went away" (Ha Haaa),. the B side was
the exact same but,. in reverse. The number of
times we were asked to play the B side, where we
had to play the record from end to start (all
finger work). It was always said that,. the
worst posting we could get was Gan, but its also
very funny that we or should I say I, also
remember the happy and fulfilling time that I
spent at Radio Gan,. When I wasn't on shift work
with the receivers the other side of the runway,
or Commcen, Radio Gan was the first places I
went to. After arriving on the Comet C ( never
got a ride in the Shackleton and I would have
loved to have gone up in her) But I did manage
to get a trip on the Landing Craft across the
lagoon on a liaison visit to the Transmitter.
(OMG over 46 years ago), and of course the not
forgotten Tour de Island, both clockwise and
anticlockwise by foot. Did you check how the
water went down the plughole.! Clock or
Can't remember the exact time I was there, in
1968 or 1969, as I came out in 1970 after nine
So,. as an old Ganner I hope my little bit helps
Hello, My father, Dr Stanley Goodman was the
air force doctor in Gan in 1957/8. Gan and the
Maldives made an enormous impression on him and
all his life he talked very fondly of his time
spent there. Gan particularly preoccupied his
thoughts before he died in 1997. We have a very
interesting account he wrote of his time there
and, more importantly an enormous collection of
wonderful slides. Are you interested in them?
How best should we, his family, use your
fantastic site to make connections and hopefully
find a good home / use for all this memorabilia
I look forward to hearing from you.
me re: info.. Phil]
With best wishes and kind regards
sailed as 2nd Radio Officer on Brocklebanks
Maskeliya arriving Gan May 57.
Attached photos maybe of interest
Loading the LCM Mombassa
LCM going alongside Maskeliya
I've previously put up a longer piece on this
site ("stories and articles" section):
and noted there (item #2) my concern about the
post-RAF fate of Mohammed and Moosa, who were
bartenders at the officers' mess. Courtesy of
who met up with Mohammed at the RAF reunion last
spring and kindly thought to send me the info,
I've now learned that both Mohammed and Moosa
are "alive and kicking." Mohammed lives on
Feydhoo with several members of his extended
family. I have now made direct contact and have
plans to revisit Gan and see Mohammed Feb.
10-14, 2011. If any ex-Gannites plan to be at
the Equator Village during this time I'd be
delighted to meet them. You could email me (firstname.lastname@example.org)
if you have such plans.
A Visiting Yank Oceanographer
I arrived on Gan early '58 having
been posted from Seletar. I was met at the aircraft by Wg Cdr
Stone (Stoney) with a jeep, driven direct to the jetty and by MT
out to a landing craft. The fitter on board I was to replace had
to get ashore to the plane before it left. It was a bit rough
and ready in those days but looking back, it was fun. Living in
tents then eventually kadjan huts. The film shows on two bed
sheets strung up between two palm trees. The LCM crews had it
quite good as we got to eat on the ships and there was always a
race to be the first alongside a newly arrived ship and get the
pick of the books they usually brought with them. Whenever we
met 'Stoney' ashore, he always patted his shirt pockets and then
cadged a cigarette. I am 73 now but it was one experience in my
life I wouldn't have missed. I spent 13 months on the island and
departed in the same haste as I had arrived.
[Cpl Tech Fitter Marine]
Hi, I am trying to trace a 'Q' called Celia, she
is on the 'Q' board. She used to be a honorary
member of the Gan Sub Aqua Club, and I used to
dive with her fairly regularly in 1970. The Sub
Aqua Club boat was u/s that year and as I was
Coxwain for the Hithadoo boat I managed to
get permission to take a diving trip out from
Hithadoo. Celia came over on that trip, and even
signed the visitors book in the Hermitage. Four
of us went out and dived off the reef. The other
two lads went off first and left me alone with
Celia in the boat, rubbing sun tan lotion into
her back! I have never forgotten
that experience, I am sure I did not dream it!!!
I have often wondered what happened to Celia. If
anyone else can remember her or knows what
happened to her after Gan I would love to know.
There, Just looked through IMAGES for RAF Gan & Found some
websites... We entertained at Masirah, Hittadu, & GAN in 1973.
With the CSE Show tour.
With my Wife
Janette, we did our Juggling Act, Plus 3 Dancers & Derek Dene
the Comedian.They REALLY Looked after us well... We had a
Fantastic Time!!! I wonder what happened to the Place.. I
presume it all closed down??
We also went to
Northern Ireland, Cyprus, Falklands, etc. Wherever there was
any trouble around the World. (That would be a job for
I can't remember any
individual Names... But have photos if anyone is interested...
Best Wishes to you
Jon & Janette
Anton. (Janette is 65 TODAY! ) (23 January 2010) Oh! Dear
looking at your article and photos on the web. I am writing my
memoirs (not too far off finishing depending on what year I go
up to...) I spent 10 years in the Royal Navy with several trips
to and from the Far East via Gan. On my last trip, which I think
was in early '73 myself and a mate (Tom Sawyer), both being
leading radio operators talked ourselves into swapping with two
RAF Gan guys as a sort of job exchange. We flew to Gan from
Singapore to set up a fixed service link but were not allowed to
do much so we spent the week snorkelling/drinking etc. They flew
to Singapore to do our jobs on the ship (HMS Charybdis) The pair
of us and 6 Pongo's were invited to Hittadu one evening as
guests. We had to play a large game of chess on some chequered
flagstones where the object of the exercise was to lose! You
were not allowed to leave your chair, not even to urinate. That
had to be done standing on your chair and peeing over the back.
Vomiting had to be over a wall with two hand marks painted on it
and afterwards you had to wear a large heavy brass cross (the
Honkers cross I believe it was called)!!! It was a super night
and we won (i.e. lost) for which the penalty was to get chucked
in a pool full of all sorts of nasty fish/creatures...
Do you remember any of
I am approaching 63 and
am trying to make my memoirs look a bit more interesting with
photos. I have a postcard somewhere with the famous signpost
pointing out mileage to most major cities from Gan.
It would be good to hear
from you with any other memories.
p.s. Whilst doing a milk
round in 1974 I knocked on one door and it was an SASF man that
I had met on Gan
was a Hermit 1972/73 Junior Tech in the HF
transmitter hall. On reflecting about those times, I started to
remember a few names and thought they might twang a few memory
strings among other ex-Hermits:
Fg Off Williams, not popular as I recall. A fish out of water
really in that OC position.
SAC Jim Boyd, I remember seeing
him racing down the long jetty on his RAF bike to meet the RSL
to collect stickies, except this one time he did not stop at the
end (well it was a hot day).
Cpl Dave Smith.
SAC Rod Pidd, caused a stir
when trying to rub bacon rind into the groin of one of the Maldivian
workers because they had to scrub bacon-contact areas three
times with sand and water.
LAC Ron ???
On the techie
side there was:
C/T Bernie Banks (HFP), who snorkelled in his
RAF pyjamas to stop getting burned. He chased a barracuda on the
reef once, but came hurriedly back when met by a significant
number of other barracuda.
Sgt Cornie Brown, who did
back-to-back tours (18 months) to give him time to complete his
steam locomotive scale model.
Dougie the rigger - drank like
a rigger too as I recall.
Cpl Dick Colpus, shift leader HF
J/T Dave Hewitt, Skynet (my roommate), he and I arrived
together on the same day and departed on the same day too.
Cpl Paddy (O'Reilly ?), famous for frequently turning up in the
transmitter hall about 04:00 so drunk he had no idea where he
Sgt Roy Gardner, Skynet (he has written to the site
J/T Eddie Nelson, Skynet (I think).
HF day staff.
Lots of other
faces swim past my mind, but names escape me.
I seem to
remember a silly game called Duck. Which involved shouting DUCK
and throwing a beer can into one of the fast moving ceiling
Best wishes to
all you guys.
Some images of
Hittadu scanned from film negatives I developed in the Hittadu
interest is the baggage label from my suitcase on repat at
tourex (found with my films in an old suitcase in my parents'
loft last year).
Hi - I'm not sure this is worthy of a mention but I 'served' in
the RN from 1966-69 and it must have been during the first week
of June 1969 when I flew from Changi and we landed at Gan and
had breakfast at 2.00-3.00am in The Blue Lagoon Hotel/Restaurant
(I think it was?).
served because I was one of those who made a mistake enlisting
and actually spent most of my time 'working my ticket,' having
signed on for 9 years - which was then the minimum time that
started at 18 - but I had signed on at 17. I was on my way
home to Blighty (Brize Norton) - having been sentenced to 90
days in RNDQ's, Portsmouth, for jumping ship in Oz. I always
remember that when everyone was heading off for some scran they
wanted to lock me up in the cells?
I said to
them 'Where do you think I'm going to go?' - as if I could run
off somewhere - but anyway, thankfully, they let me free to eat
Pompey DQ's I went off again on 'Long Absence' and eventually
got discharged in late October of that year.
I am a few years off retirement now and have spent the last 27
years working to help other teenagers - but I have always
thought that when I retire (if I make it) I might take time
out for a holiday in The Maldives. And I only just
discovered , today, after all this time that Gan is one of the
atolls associated with them. Your stories/memories moved me -
hence this. If I make it I might well take the boat trip to Gan
from Male. TC, JC
Good Memories: Liz WRVS in the
NAAFI never played housy housy since; Cpl Tech Phredd Chipps,
AC2 Joe (?) National Service got £1.18 bob a fortnight and never
used a room boy; Cpl/Tech Mo Bean, Taff, Stewart and Bob my room
mates for 12 months, all top guys.
Hammond Innes came to research for a book and bought us all a
‘Slopps; (Alsop’s) in the NAAFI. Sgt Entwistle claimed double 'cos
he was also in the Sgts' Mess. Cartons of dubious cigarettes
normally American (Confiscated by Customs)
Bad News: No Mail for 7 weeks thru Jan/Feb
63 believed to be snow? In UK
Good News Mail arrived
Best Memory: Arriving Changi (As a virgin
airman) for 2 weeks leave getting in to a Trishaw and being
handed a Hong Kong Bible Note: - Never picked up a Hank Jansen
Painful Memory Stood on a ‘sea urchin’ and
scraped foot on coral in blind panic spent 3 days in dock.
Submitted an article to the Gan News (as joke) using the
pseudonym ‘‘The Purple Bootlace’
More Pain Sat beside the ‘Surgeon on repat flight
Arrived Home! Boxes of colour slides of
‘hermit crabs, picturing myself as ‘looking like a ‘bronze god?
No Glory though some ‘one hit wonder band’ called The Beatles’
were grabbing the head lines along with a President Kennedy
Summary WISH I WAS BACK
of pictures of yours truly. That's me enjoying sunny Gan in the
monsoon, 1973. Just for interest, I've included the original
photo which, like all my pictures taken on Gan were damaged by
humidity. Well at least the film was, resulting in all the
photos developing with that reddish overtone. Any sane person
would have thrown them away, after all, back then, who could
have dreamed of the advent of personal computers with programs
able to fix bad photos?
is the first time since the picture was taken 37 years ago that
I have seen it in true colour! The other is a scan of a slide of
me broadcasting in Radio Gan - again, 1973. Really bad quality,
trying to retrieve my other Gan pictures from my ex-wife, I'm
quite excited to get them now I know I can fix them!
J Alex Pilling General Office,
Movements Clerk Gan 1973
Hello, I was 4th Eng. Off. on the SS Maihar
at the time.
They show the deck cargo of reinforced concrete beams for Gan,
taken in the Bay of Biscay, in fact they broke loose in a gale
and we had to heave to in order to secure.
SS Maihar Voyage 95 leave London
Heave to 23/1/1958 in Bay of Biscay deck cargo shifted.
Arr. Gan Is. 17/2/1958
Stand By 06.30
At anchor FWE 07.58
Click on Photograph for
Stand By 10.41
Full away 11.12
3rd Eng. Off.
SS Manipur leave London 19/12/1959
Arr. Gan Is 8/1/1959
at anchor FWE 04.30
Leave Gan Is 8/1/1959
Full away noon 8/1/1959
found your website by accident while looking for some gen on
Gan, I can't find anywhere to add a photograph so here goes.
I visited Gan in 1963
when I went on detachment to RAF Seletar from RAF Wattisham,
this is a picture of Mick Gregory (left) and myself Ron (Taff)
Bevan on the right, I was only there for a couple of hours but I
will always remember it because apart from anything else, it was
my first flight in the RAF.
have recently come across a photograph of my dad Serving
in Gan circa 1968.. His name is Graham Warner
He is on the front row 4th from the right.. 'C'
typed in my name by chance and found that Mo Bean
accused me of volunteering to go to Dunidu in place of
him way back in 1962 - I don't remember being given the
option. My main memories of Dunidu are the fact that
when I went there all the encoded signals to Humphrey
Arthington-Davy (The U.K. High Commissioner to the
Maldives) had to be decoded using one time pads until
someone eventually sent us a Type X machine!! Other
highlights during my three months there June1962 to
September 1962 included the wireless operator (SAC Phil
Gribben) getting malaria; the paraffin operated fridge
catching fire, and the night the supply Valetta had a
mag drop and had to stay overnight - about 12 of us sat
down to dinner that night all wearing sarongs -
compulsory dress!!! (Unfortunately I didn't have a
camera with me). I seem to remember that at the end of
my 3 months I was relieved by Sgt. Fitzgerald.
Memories of Gan (where
I was based in CCS) include the fact that we were under
penalty of death if we failed to tune in one of our
receivers in order to get the U.K. football results from
Reuters on a Saturday night. Also I seem to remember
that on Saturday nights in the Sergeants Mess we would
play Bridge until midnight and then change to Poker.
Hi, Just a few memories from 1958-1959.
Hope they are of interest. I have been going through
some old albums and was reminded of my days on Gan.
My posting notice in 1957 read “Posted to Gan ERTBA”.
Nobody at Innsworth could tell me where Gan was and
‘ERTBA’ was translated as ‘eventual route to be
annotated’! But HMT Nevasa took me from Southampton to
Ceylon (sorry Sri Lanka) where I spent two weeks at RAF
Negombo and learned that Gan was due south, just over
the equator! I flew down to Gan in a Valetta. On
arrival I was allocated a tent. There were about 50 RAF
personnel on the island then and half of them were
policemen – there was also a number of civilian AMWD
staff, a large number of Pakistani labourers and a
Maldivian village. I remember lying on the beach,
drinking from a coconut and thinking ‘People would pay
good money for this’.
a large collection of photographs which I am in the
process of rescuing onto my computer but attach a couple
for those with long memories. One is a Sunderland flying
boat taking off and the other is the Sergeants Mess. If
there is interest I can send more.
Ex RAF Police, RAF Gan 1958 - 1959
In 1944 I was commanding officer of the
advance flying boat base at Hittadu for 413 RCAF
and205 squadrons - this base was primarily used for
anti sub operations -refuelling and rearming the
Catalina flying boats a secret base in the Indian ocean
that could anchor a huge naval fleet in the lagoon of
ADDU ATOLL. Gan at that period had a runway and the
Navy controlled Gan- Number of aircraft ONE a Walrus
flying boat ( flown by an old carrier pilot known as
Wings). He used to fly over from Gan for our happy hour.
I guess today all the small islands are linked by road
Gan To Hittadu. I am 90 now but clearly remember the
sinking of a M/V in the lagoon (a lucky torpedo fired
by a Jap sub)....Check out WWII memories John Rankin on
the web site for further info on Hittadu
Hello There, My name is
my father, Bryan Henry, was an RAF Chaplain
posted to Gan in, I think, 1963-64.
He had plenty of memories of the place and swore that on
one occasion he 'won' a Royal Fleet Auxiliary ship from
the captain in a game of liar dice. Apparently the
rather drunken captain's radio message telling the MoD
(or whatever it was called at the time) that he had lost
the vessel gambling was behind the mess bar for some
He also tells the tale of a naval vessel detecting a
large amount of metal in the sea off the island. The
idea was it might have been a Russian sub. It turned out
to be a load of beer cans tossed into the sea by RAF
These tales may be apocryphal, but he loved telling them
for years afterwards.
He described Gan as an island paradise, or that it would
have been if it hadn't been an unaccompanied tour.
name is Stephen Dempsey and I was a RAF Brat in 1968. I
came across your wonderful website looking for old
photos of Gan and any that have VC10s on! I would like
to share my glorious memories of Gan in 1968 and in
1969, albeit very short, with you. My Dad who was Flight
Sergeant Thomas Patrick Dempsey, 'Pat' to his mates and
colleagues worked for 15th Field Squadron RAF regiment
or 'Rockapes'. I had a wonderful childhood disappearing
to the farthest reaches of the globe every three years
or so. Anyway, after a few rainy years of my Dad
stationed in the UK (Middleton-St-George) he came home
and said he'd been offered two posts, one of them in RAF
Seletar Singapore. Needless to say I can't remember the
other posting (in the UK). We left on a miserable day in
November 1968 and several hours later flew into a
beautiful sunny morning in Gan via Bahrain. Wow! For an
11 year old lad this was 'out of this world'!! I just
remember gazing out of the window (I always got the
window seat) at vast stretches of blue ocean getting
bored as you do, when all of a sudden here was this blue
to light green turquoise belt surrounding bright yellow
golden sands, where the heck is this?!? I remember the
glaring sun, the blistering hot hand rails of the steps
to the plane, the glorious heat. We walked to the low
roofed building of the mess where we were offered
lemonade, which in truth was like a yellowy green
sherbet mixture added to water with a ton of sugar in
it. There were a few seats under umbrellas outside the
mess with a small child's playground. We sat there next
to the grassy area which seemed to be a breeding ground
for toads or frogs, they were everywhere, and the noise!
A few hours later we traipsed back to the aircraft.
What!! Can't we stay Dad? The pilots left the cabin door
open, so I could see the sun hung low on the horizon to
the side of the airstrip, what a sight to behold. I
remember vividly as if it was yesterday taking off and
circling the atoll before heading out for Singapore.
What a lucky lad I was! I'd flown quite a bit with my
Dad and family, Cyprus, Germany blah BUT I'll always
remember those few hours on Gan flying out to Singapore
and back home. That's my little bit of nostalgia. Hope
it goes in to your site.
Steve Dempsey (now 51)
Dear Sir, Last year  I took my
wife of 25yrs to Gan for our anniversary. We had a
great time and despite the general air of decay in many
areas she would like to go back again sometime. I was
able to take a number of photo's out the ordinary which
may prompt memories. I was there during 1971 as the
first 9 month Medic. I have some cine film on a VHS tape
that might prove useful, it includes pictures taken at
the command sports day at Abingdon !!
During our stay last year I was driven round the south
side, Pakistani camp as was which is now Military and
also around the Airfield (Camcorder film). I am not too
clued up on downloading and would be happy to send you
what I have to be sent back when you have copied what is
There have been some comments on the site as
to what exactly was destroyed after we left, the only
building to have totally disappeared seems to be the
Medical centre which is a shame as that is where I
Regards for now.
Gettens, Ex SAC
I served with the RAF on the island of Gan from June
1961 to June 1962.
I am forwarding a
scan of the Christmas Menu for 1961 which was signed by
the then Commanding Officer Wing Commander Ellis who
paid a visit to our Christmas bar, a room which we used
in our block.
Dad, Ivor Evans was stationed there around 58/59 and
just loved it. Sadly he died in 2002, and although we
found GAN sites in the last months of his life we never
managed to get all his tales down on paper before he
died. He was involved in constructing the first jetty,
had his 21st birthday on the island in a rather drunken
beach party affair and hit a commanding officer for
being derogatory to the native people.......
Hi, I was the Station photographer from Nov 1960 -Nov 1961and
during my time on Gan I was able to photograph the visit of Lord
Mountbatten, and had access to the other islands in Addu Atoll
not permitted to rest of the RAF personal. This made it possible
to photograph the natives and the Headman A.Afif Didi, his wife
and family on the island of Hitaddu. I gave set of prints to
Afifi which he valued greatly as they were not able to have
photographs taken. After my tour of duty on Gan I opted to do 18
months in Singapore with my family. Afif Didi did a UDI and was
sent into exile in the Seychelles with his family. In 1985 my
Wife and I took a holiday in the Seychelles and while in
conversation with Hotel manager I mentioned my time at Gan and
that I met the Headman Afif Didi and that he been sent to the
Seychelles in exile. He informed me that he knew Afif's son who
at that time was the head of the Local radio station. A phone
call was made to his son and I was invited to go and met Afifi.
We had a long talk about our time at Addu Atoll, Afif then told
me the Mali government had taken away all the photographs I had
given him, I was able to tell him I still had all the negatives
and would do a new set of prints on my return to the UK. I
subsequently received a letter from Afifi thanking me very much
for the photo's that were part of his family's history
Ex 4158241 Cpl N.F.Cox
I've attached an
old photo from late 74 or possibly early 75 of the Catering Sqn,
or as many as were able to get to the photo-call. Very happy
days ! The second attachment is a log of those who's names I can
perhaps over time others will recognise themselves/others & fill
in the blanks. Click on Picture for full
Finally, thanks, the web-site bring back many
memories, all good!
My father (George Woodhart) was the person who
first 'found' Addu Atoll for the RAF in WW2.
I'm not sure how I could prove that, maybe it would say in his
log book? Maybe I could find a photo.
I just saw on the internet that a book of the history of RAF Gan
has been published (From Port T to RAF Gan by Peter Doling) but
it costs £20 & I really don't want to buy it to see whether or
not this guy was aware of how it was discovered.
I'm also aware that most probably some guy with bells on most
probably claimed recognition for finding it, as always seems to
happen in the forces, the ordinary 'foot soldier' gets no
mention. Does anyone out there have this book & could tell me if
such is in it? If so I would buy it, otherwise I wouldn't.
My father was aircrew (WOP/Navigator) in the area at the time
(air-sea rescue in a Catalina flying boat and photographic
recognisance in a Liberator) fighting the Japanese. Whilst doing
one of these duties (I'll have to check with him which) they
were asked to look out for a suitable place for a new airstrip
and my father spotted Addu Atoll. I would have to ask him the
date (all I know is that he was in the Far East from about 1941
and came home in time for D Day 1944)
I have one maybe two cousins who went there later (1960s) I'll
tell them about your website.
Just found your web-page and just had to add my little memory. I
passed through Gan in 1969 on my way to join my Naval husband in
Singapore. Only spent a couple of hours on this beautiful
island. Even after all these years I can still vividly remember
the views from the VC10 as it came in to land. As a young,
un-travelled person it was the most glorious sight. Spending
time in the Mess/bar until the plane was refuelled was quite
entertaining too, as there were no females resident on the
island. Thank you for bringing these memories to the fore
through your web site. Keep the flag flying
I was there. 70/71, or
maybe 71/72, I forget exactly which.
I had been writing some
( what I thought at the time were some hilarious bits, on a guy
calling himself Maxwell House, and another, Aldo something or
the other. Today, of course, these articles were not really
funny, but, what the hell, they helped to pass the time. I
recall that we had a change of Group Captain. From a very nice
one whose name I do not remember, but used to cycle about the
island, to this new fellow, a Group Captain Salmon.
So, the edition in the
week of his arrival had a leaping fish on its cover. Bad
mistake, it turned out to be, as soon afterwards, the GIP was
outlawed.Whether the GIP recovered afterwards, I do not know, as
I left in the following February, following a family crisis.
There was a corporal,
Dave Goatley, who worked in the Signal Section, who had been a
good friend for some years, and with whom, should anybody know
of his whereabouts, it would be nice to renew friendships.
This is to hope that, if
possible, in the twilight, things may be renewed, or something
I attach a photograph of
three of my pals on board HMT Nevasa in November 1959 En-Route
to Gan, via Ceylon, Colombo. The guy on the right was known as
Ginge, he came from Plymouth and was in the Marine Craft
In the middle is a rather older Cpl. who might have been in the
Safety section and the one on the left I think was in MT
section. The chap in the middle liked to sing and dance and he
once won a talent contest on Gan Tap-dancing and singing to
Jeepers 'Creepers'. I can't remember any of their names but I
would love to know if they are still around.
I remember during
1960 an American yacht put into Gan and stayed over a
few days. I cannot remember whether the guy was a loner
or had some sort of crew, but I do recall one visiting
the Cpl's club and took me on at darts. Now I have
always been a pretty good player and he claimed never to
have seen the game before, yet within two or three games
of 301 up he was beating me with my own darts. Got my
own back a couple of years later at North Luffenham when
I beat a couple of US airmen at tenpin bowling, one of
the few alleys in the country in those days. Anyone
remember the Yachtsman's visit? e-mail me
I have just put
up a website for Captain Donald Macintosh - Royal Air Force
bomber pilot of a Lancaster Bomber in 1944.
I interviewed him for 36 minutes on his experiences. You can
read or / and listen to what he went through. It's quite a
unique interview as you can imagine.
Please feel free to link to the interview from your website as I
think your readers will enjoy it.
Hi my name is Ken Standring,
I was posted to Gan in April 1964 and I think I was the only
person posted to the island on that flight. Whilst I waited for
my baggage I looked around and thought what the hell I had done
wrong to deserve a posting to this place. As it happened I
hadn't done anything wrong it was just that first impression.
You soon settled in as you where made welcome by your work
I started working on refuelling flight 24hrs on
off which was ok if there wasn't any aircraft due in on your
shift. It was in December that President Sukarno said he would
crush the Malaysian Federation and it seemed like the whole of
the RAF moved to Gan, I never knew we could get so many aircraft
on the pan. With Valiant's, Victors, Vulcan's Javelins and not
forgetting our own Shackleton, dammed good job Sukarno didn't
carry out his threat.
I wonder if anyone remembers that strange
creature known as
The Ganus Posbius Bottleus that could be found at the Astra
Cinema. In those days when you bought a bottle of lemonade you
had to pay a deposit on the bottle and a lot where left behind
and that was when the bottleus struck. It was a perk that the
cinema staff where being denied of and they did not like it, to
solve the problem they stopped drinks being brought into the
The CO at that time was W/Cmdr Geoffrey Moss and
without a doubt he was the best CO I ever had in my 15 years
service. He would stop and talk to you and ask if everything was
OK and if it wasn't you could go and talk with him. The moral on
the island was so high you would not believe it and I think it
was all down to the CO.
Was it a good posting!!! you bet it was and I
don't think many people left the island saying they would not
like to go back. Having said that one person I know tied a rope
around a palm tree at the back of SSQ shouting that he was going
to take "this f-ing island out there and sink it". Needless to
say he didn't do a full tour???.
Happy thoughts and happy memories and very happy
to say I served on Gan. Have got some photo's to send in next
Refuelling Flight 1964/65
Just read the post
from Peter Geary as I was on Gan the same time it took me back.
I remember Yorkie the cook what a great guy .Peter, I was the
purveyor (catering office) what a great time we had.
Peter very well
done would like to chat about that period in my life. I think my
e mail address is listed.
My Name is Dave
Taylor and I was a JT Gen Tech E in GEF in 1975. I have now
spent some time looking through the web site and have seen many
familiar faces and views many of which have brought back happy
memories! I was disappointed that I was not able to access
Forbes Christies photographs as Forbes and I worked together and
I remember he was never without his camera.
[Now sorted and available to view....
Attached is a
photograph of the RAF Gan Rugby team who played
in May 1975.
[Click on thumbnail for larger picture and team member names]
that it is almost 31 years to the day that I took my last look
at Gan. Regards
your site by accident. On the news last night they mentioned the
Maldives being lost to global warming. so I thought I would have
a look see how Gan was getting on. Low and behold your site. I
was at Gan with the RN HMS St Brides Bay in November 59 and we
had some good nights in the Sergeants mess, but sorry about the
message or officers left on the end of the runway on November
the 5th. Loved the place a real tropical paradise
My name is
Bob Frost I worked on Gan 1960/61 for the Air Ministry Works
Directorate My job was to oversee the construction of the
electrical installation throughout the island, I did put my
details on this site but I have been unable to find it now, has
it been removed ?
I have about 500 photo's which I took
whilst on Gan and was ready to update my contribution to this
I have attached a couple of pictures.
Bob with AMWD
Gan's First Post Office
Transformer Beside the Power House
[Click on Thumbnails for Larger Picture]
been working in Gan from 1970 to 1974+ years. I worked at
Photographic Section SAS Flight. I am a Maldivian (Adduan).
came to Gan every day from Hittadu, in a dhoni leaving home at
4am or earlier, in rain or storms windy or no wind.
from 6:30 in the morning till 3:pm and reach home by night. Some
long working hours, isn't it?
Anyway it was enjoyable time.
It is like a dream, but now only a fading memory.
can see a small group photo in the "Can you put Names". I
remember setting up the camera for this one and ran fast only
to get seated on the left. You won't miss me 'cos the only one
black and with no uniforms. I am attaching a photocopied copy of
that photograph, since i have misplaced the original. Will send
a better one when I find it.
If it interests you to know, this photo
is where the Hittadu Radio Station once was......
is a new road paved between the islands a few years back.
[Click on Thumbnails for Larger Picture]
might like to have the three attached pictures, haven't seen
them on the site. Can't remember how I came by them, the three
or so weeks I spent on Gan in October/November 1975 are a little
hazy. I was there with a party from Akrotiri to take out the
A tour of Gan
had never really appealed to me, but once there I found it was
amazing, both the place and the people - very character building
(some real characters!?).
the tapes from the RHAG's we hauled them back to the workshops
where the Maldies took one look and went 'gizzit'. We 'sold'
the nylon tapes for a few shells, which I still have.
remember walking in puddles after a rainstorm and was surprised
at getting my feet nearly parboiled. The fruit bats staring out
from the bushes were eerie.
Not a very good
swimmer but loving snorkelling I frightened myself one day out
by the Marine bar. The fish and coral were such beautiful
colours, then I suddenly found myself out over the edge of the
reef with nothing but water below me, got used to it after a
while, but for a moment it was like going over the edge of a
fit I decided to go for a run round the island one night a week
or so after arriving. Didn't allow for the humidity though and
was just about glowing in the dark by three quarters of the
way. At that time there was a Regiment guy who did the run every
day, first in shorts then in uniform with a backpack, apparently
he wanted to get into the elite regiment.
poor sod probably has a scar on his arm thanks to me. Sitting
in the Marine bar feeling pretty fed up about something I
suddenly found myself being lifted and hauled out for a dunking,
problem was someone had their arm forcing my jaw painfully
apart, so I bit down to let them know - sorry mate, wasn't done
nastily, I was in pain myself. After the dunking I wasn't quite
so fed up!!
[Click on Thumbnails for Larger Picture]
Lorraine Lee [WRAF Loadmaster]
RAF Gan Staging Post 1974-1976
[Click on Thumbnails for Larger Picture]
Phil – your excellent website is a nostalgic
treasure trove. I’ve particularly enjoyed the gallery archives,
especially those of Richard Harcourt, who with inimitable
photographic style has managed to capture the atmosphere of life
on Gan so well. I spent many days there, as a WRAF loadmaster,
between flights 'down route'.
Not all arrivals of VC10s were bathed in
sunshine; storms were quite frequent. I recall disembarking in
one downpour, gingerly walking the wooden ramp (no steps having)
in regulation high heels, slipping down the bottom section to
the tarmac, on my knees. I thought I’d go with the flow, bowed
to the ground in a sort of papal gesture, saluted in
genuflection mode and handed the paperwork to the movements
officer. He hardly flinched and said ‘Welcome to Gan’– no doubt
his impressions of aircrew visits were already entrenched. My
own are now flash back recollections, in disjointed jumble:
Received an emergency request from Bunny Bowring (pharmacy
dispenser) for make-up. Collected stash from Brize WRAF blocks
and sourced fairy costume netting from Carterton market. All
destined for Gan pantomime production.
gizzit boxes of fruit, obtained from ‘Hitler Brothers’ (I kid
you not), market gardeners of Limassol, to the Fire Section and
Medical Centre at frequent intervals.
Strangest request was a
male wig for one of the NAAFI workers (not a thespian).
Biggest mass ‘monk on’ was during the postal strike. We were
warned, under extreme threat, not to accept letters by hand, for
delivery to UK. Huge relief when that was resolved.
‘Blue Lagoon Hotel’ (prefab) - hub of activity for gozomies or
quiet respite for aircrew stragglers in the early hours.
flight ‘wind-down drinks’ (demi-johns of Kokinelli, bottles of
Tiger beer and such) followed by caffeine chasers were
frequently imbibed. Body clocks and healthy living awry.
Graveyard shift workers (cheery all hours), Radio Gan DJs (Bob
Foster et al) who played requests around the clock, duty cooks
with emergency carb snacks. All were inspirational.
Accommodation - whirling ceiling fans for
unacclimatised, transit softies.
Big sinks for dobbying of
highly inappropriate tropical uniform (crimplene dresses and 15
Note Richard’s pantomime photos - the pretty
Gannite cross dresser, in WRAF loadie cabin dress & blonde wig,
looks infinitely more appealing than the real thing.
Once received a call from Medical staff to ask if, as part of
educational advancement, I would like to assist at a birth
(perplexed, as I’d been a dental hygienist in previous career).
Young Maldivian lady looked relieved to see a woman in gown and
face mask. Thankfully, I only had to stand on the sidelines,
feeling faint and holding towels, while the men got on with it,
in true professional style.
cinema nights and traditional rolling of antiquated Pearl & Dean
slot, before the main feature. Communal mantra of dialogue for
Brylcream Boys advert was de rigeur.
Guest presenting on Radio Gan, not allowed to
touch dials or turntables but could sift through massive stock
of vinyl in LP store. Had to take care to read names and
endearments from home correctly. ‘We Gotta Get Out of This
Place’, ‘Island in the Sun’ and ‘I am Sailing’ amongst the most
Remember the Gan lemonade and tuna curries eaten
al fresco - which never tasted the same when recipe followed in
Oxfordshire flat. Neither does alcohol sipped from a coconut
Impressive sun sets and dawn breaks were lovingly
Colour everywhere - dhoni race days and fancy
dress, tropical fish, flamboyant batik shirts and frangipani
Being part of the crew on the last VC10 flight out of Gan.
There was a true carnival spirit, though it was tinged with
sadness at the passing of an era. Vividly recall farewell
parties and final bus tour of island landmarks. Our aircraft
taxied past the rear party lineout, hands held aloft in
traditional ‘Gan salute’. It was an emotional and poignant
The coral and shell gizzits are still intact after 30 years and
10 house moves – though I’m told ownership makes me ‘non
environmental friendly’. Sadly, the miniature scaled dhoni boat
broke years ago, but I still have some C60 cassettes from the
studios of Radio Gan, my fire crew gorilla t shirt and movements
section Pink Panther top.
on Gan from 62-63 as an SAC in the medical centre. I was just
checking the internet to find if Gan was below the equator when I
found the site. What a surprise.
Great memories and oodles of
stories... even a few photo's.
Oh yes Gan.
May 1971, Sqn Ldr Frank Stillwell`s leaving procession.
On Left: Flt Lt Bernard Vaughan. Seated: Stillwell. Back to camera:
Wg Cdr Brian Gee, Station Commander
Click on Thumbnail for
Hello there everyone from Ken Borrett ex siggies RAF Gan, RAF Seletar
and RAF West Drayton. A long time ago !968-1973 Have settled down
here in Fleetwood Lancashire and working at the local Civil Service
Lucky to be 60 and working only 4 days a week now but making the
most of it as i play a guitar and have been in a few bands in the
past My mate Bob who is a singer play songs naturally from the
60's era and are looking for some good backing tracks or midi files
I have searched on the internet but most of them are rubbish we
would like to play at some charity venues taking it easy.
Click on Thumbnail for
Found this tatty old photo of when I served on Gan.
It was taken Christmas 1967/68 in the Fire Section billet bar. I was
the 'Postie' there (BFPO Det 302 Postal & Courier Royal Engineers)
and had a great time, although pissed a lot!
I can name some of those on the photograph but as for the rest then
some of your readers may identify?
Click on Thumbnail for larger picture
3rd from the right is yours truly (Dennis Lacey), then on my left is
Mick Blyth and on my right Paddy Kennan (both Fire Section). On
Paddy's right are 2 lads from 51 Airfields Construction Royal
Engineers and then the remainder are all Fire Section. One a Cpl
Alex Galthaiet, but which one I'm not sure of now.
Good luck with the site and it is one I will visit regularly.
I was in Gan from 1971-1972 during
the days when Gp. Capt. Shepherd was Station Commander. He
instigated UK leave, although I forget the proper term for it, and I
was one of the fortunate ones who made it back home, ostensibly for
a week or so. A telegram or phone call should have been directed to
my home at RAF Benson telling me when my flight back would be. The
message never came, so I eventually called Air movements at Lyneham
only to discover they did not know I was in England, along with one
or two others ! Needless to say there was an inquiry as to how
this happened, and as a Cpl. working in Traffic Analysis, I was
tasked to find why no notification had been given to the appropriate
people. The message was "lost" somewhere in the communications
chain, some thought quite conveniently ! But I am sure that all
who served with "The Good Shepherd" and witnessed his departure from
this beautiful isle would never forget the emotion of the moment as
he boarded his aircraft to wing his way home. In my capacity as
chief projectionist at the Astra a certain "Q" protested at the
so-called vulgarity of the section slides we used to show prior to
each film. The Adjutant ordered the slides to be removed, and when
this was broadcast on Radio Gan there was an instant boycott. I
received a telephone call asking me to meet the Station Commander at
the cinema forthwith... I did, and he asked to see the offending
slides (remember "supply" and "demand"). Being the man he was,
with the morale of his men at heart, he ordered the slide show
re-instated. Radio Gan ensured the cinema was packed to capacity
that night ! I also remember Joe Brown and his Bruvvers being part
of a CSE show, staged in the Astra, and after the show he asked me
if he could see our accommodation. A night never to be forgotten,
with Vicki Brown sitting on my bed, along with her husband of
course, and members of his entourage. Much "forbidden" drinking
went on that night and a great time was had by all. I never knew so
many people could fit into my room.... So many fond memories, and
my best wishes to everyone. Please feel free to email should you
wish to do so. I could go on for hours, the Gan Island Post would
fill the whole page and many more. That will be another story !
Michael Gay - 1971-72
in Gan from 71-72, primarily as chief projectionist in the Astra,
but otherwise employed in Traffic Analysis, Commcen Gan. Played
cricket for Gan, and went on a "cricket tour" to Colombo. Any
members of that team, or anyone who has memories of the Gan Island
Post articles written about the "shows" put on in the Astra? Like
when Joe Brown and his Bruvvers came, and camped out in my room for
most of the night after the show drinking Sangria! Many happy
memories. Please email if you like. Now living in the U.S.A. for
sent to RAF Gan in August 1960. At the time I was the SNCO (Sergeant
or Flight Sergeant) IC Dental Centre RAF Changi (Singapore). I
cannot really recall, but think I helped to 'set up' the Dental
Centre after the staff left Ceylon. I also visited from HQ NEAF
(Cyprus) in the mid 70s, as a Warrant Officer,( on 2 or 3 occasions)
on staff duties!!!!!!!!!!!! After 1960 then 1972/5 the place looked
Leonard R Danby
I was a "Hittadu Hermit" 1969 - 1970. I have fond, if
vague, memories of great scuba diving, the Dhoni races we had with
everybody from Gan. The football team of which I was the goalie had
a marvellous record of hardly ever winning, especially against the
signal guys from Gan. Must have been the serious training we did
with Tuborg and Benson and Hedges. Also playing rugby and having the
Padre, Gareth, on the opposing team. Nothing like having the boot
stuck in followed by a "Bless you my son!"
I do remember the Skynet satellite guys coming out from England to
set up on Hittadu. They all had major attitude problems which went
away overnight when they lost their satellite!
Fishing off the back reef was always a challenge as you never new
what was going to be on the end of the grappling hook and 200 yards
of rigging rope.
The leave to Singapore was, as anyone who has been there and to
Bugis Street, an adventure in alcohol and women, for a price!
I have many slides which I could get scanned in if anyone is
interested of Hittadu etc/.
I was the guy who designed the Hittadu Hermit Tie of the Hermit Crab
and the "Not Having X11" logo
Anyone who wants to chat, just drop me an
email. I've been living
in the USA for the past 26 years just outside of New York City.
Regards to all ex Hermits and Ganites, Tony Hampton
with Brocklebank Line in the mid 1960's and had a couple of visits
to Gan Island on Maidan and Magdapur. The ship would anchor off the
island and cargo would be discharged into RAF Marine Craft (like
small landing craft). An NCO would be based on the ship during this
time as a cargo checker/supervisor, unfortunately one or two of them
enjoyed the ship's hospitality a little too much resulting in RAF
disciplinary action. It has to be said that some of the ship's
officers equally enjoyed the hospitality of the RAF on the island.
football match would be arranged between the ship and the island -
No doubt the RAF had easier team selection than the ship - with less
than 20 engineers, mates and cadets to choose from (the Asian crew
would not participate) It was a case of trying to get together 11
off duty who could walk never mind run or have even the slightest
always ended in substantial defeat for the ship - I think our best
score was a 6 - 0 defeat. This despite we had great support from the
spectating RAF personnel who cheered us on as the "NAAFI NAVY". As
one of the younger and junior in rank I was forced to play as a
forward - the more senior, older. less mobile among us always
selected themselves as defenders.
As a forward I
could easily have been cannon fodder for the much fitter and
talented RAF players. To their credit (thanks lads) the RAF boys
treated us gently unlike matches involving visiting Royal Navy ships
where inter-service rivalry could result in some blood being spilt.
Thought you might be interested in the attached
photo. It was taken by myself from a MK1 Nimrod in early 1973. I was
on detachment to Tengha from Kinloss. We stayed a few days on Gan
whilst covering Search & Rescue.
In am a Ex Army Sergeant who was attached to the Indian Army and
would very much like to exchange emails about Gan, I was on the
Island from 1943 to late 1945 with Indian Gunners and at that time
the only building there, was the Commanders house. We lived in tents
with the utilities very primitive'
From my dates of service there you will gather I am knocking on a
bit in fact I am 84 and was called up with the TA in August 1939 and
went home from India in 1946.
I would be only too pleased to swap stories about life on Gan if
anyone is interested.
I have just been told about your website by an old College friend
who was in the RAF on National Service. I was in the Real Forces in
the Royal Engineers!
I worked for Richard Costain Ltd on the construction of the air base
from August 1958 to December 1959
There were 100 Expats on the Island and 2000 Pakistani Labourers and
We too drank a lot of beer but between times worked a 54 hour week.
Not a lot of fun at 31 degrees. The money was good though
I went back there for one day about two years ago and the place has
of course changed out of all recognition. The runway is still in
good shape but the whole atoll is very overcrowded now.
I worked on the construction of the transmitter station at Hittadu,
where the old site is completely overgrown now. Just me and one
other expat there plus our cook. We used local Maldivians for the
Back to Gan after two months on Hittadu where I was in charge of
construction of the external services, so when the water came out of
the tap or you went to the loo, I had a hand in it!
It would be good to hear from some of my old mates who wee there but
I expect most of them are pushing up daisies now
Good to see your website.
Don't know why you get so many moans about the place. We had a
harder time than the RAF chaps but for me it was the experience of a
My father spent
about a couple of years in Gan as a civilian. He was anex-RAF pilot
by the name of Henry Musgrave Williams. He was born
on23/10/1916 in Liverpool and died in Gloucester on 23/3/1980.
Unfortunately, my mother and father were divorced when I was very
so I do not have too much information.
Upon leaving the RAF he became a civil servant with the Ministry of
Aviation and served in Gan as well Egypt.
I wrote to you regarding possible records for my father Henry
By sheer coincidence, I read this article on a local website.
The unfortunate victim looks to be my retired teacher from the
Colchester Institute (was Colchester Technical College), as he would
have been about that age. He taught electronics at the college and
related to me about the time he spent at Gan when I mentioned my
father's posting to him. He did not speak too favourably of Gan.
I had the good fortune to meet John McGann once after his retirement
his residence during my time as a British Telecom engineer.
John Henry Williams.
What a surprise for me to read the letter from John Barter. John you
remembered not only my first name but spot on with the surname. Its
great to see you're family have had so much use from the guitar.
Like John I'm disappointed there is no photos from Hittadu. I
suppose we're to blame. I took plenty of snaps including the Xmas
party we put on for the kids of Hittadu village in 1972 also a one
off visit to the same village and plenty of shots of our club.
Unfortunately these have been mislaid in the last few years.
I remember most of Hittadu was the "Honkers Cross". I was never a
big drinker so you can imagine I spent a lot of time polishing the
brass and it was heavy around the neck. Does any body know what
happened to this cross.
PS. John I still can't play the guitar and drink.
was stationed on Gan from January 1967 to January 1968 as the
medical laboratory technician at the sick quarters. I instigated the
bicycle labelled "The Station Vampire" as I took a sample of blood
of every service man who arrived on Gan, which was blood grouped so
that we had a record of all the blood groups and would be able to
use them in case of need..
It was while I was on Gan they had an
outbreak of typhoid in the local population, who were the main food
handlers on the island. These had to be checked to ensure they were
free of the infection as quickly as possible or the messes and
catering depts would have had a great deal of difficulty keeping
going. As I was the only laboratory technician on the island a lot
of the work fell on my shoulders as I worked for three weeks from 6
in the morning to 2 at night non stop.
The result of the work
done by the sick quarters meant Gan was awarded The Wilkinson Sword
and I was awarded an AOC's Commendation in the 1969 Honours List.
Allan McLachlan (2523142 Cpl)
15 The Smithy
Glos GL7 1HU
contact me Phil Small re
I was sent to Malaysia in 1957 based at Kuala Lumpur in the Royal
Air Force Police. We formed a group called the Vagabonds and played
on Radio Malaysia, Radio Singapore until we were sent on tour to
Singapore where we played at the Malcolm Club then to the Nickarbar
Islands [Indian Air Force] where we were attacked by wild pigs to
re-fuel before moving on to Ceylon [Sri Lanka] where we entertained
at 3 bases before moving on to the Island of Gan .
We lived in a tent, played in a bamboo and palm frond basha for all
island. Then to make things really hum we played for some 2-300
people from Pakistan who were working on the airstrip. It was a
great night to share music, song and instruments and they cheered us
back home to the tents.
I have some photographs in black and white including one of the
Aircraft that took us there and back
Contact 21a St Cuthbert Street, Kirkcudbright, DG6 4DJ
I would like to contact the rest of the group but will have to look
names. Jeff Cook, Cy Shaw etc. National Service was good to us
Just found the
web-site and note that there is a great injustice here. There is no
reference to, or picture of Hittadu, the transmitter site across the
Attoll. We were the ones known as "Hermits" as the hermit crabs
were rumoured to outnumber us by about ten thousand to one. When I
was there in the early seventies, we had a collection of small
sharks and a few puffer fish in the static tank and one of the
responsibilities of the off duty transmitter-hall staff; was to go
fishing in order to feed our captives.
I gave my Gan corporals
club tie to an American collector last year.
Whilst on Hittadu, I
met a chap called Clive, ( I think his Surname was Vaughan ) he had
bought a rather nice Suzuki acoustic guitar to go out to Gan with.
His intention was to learn how to play it.
He left about nine
weeks after I got there and as he was about to leave, he handed me
the guitar, complete with case and a Beatles song book as a 'Gizzit'
He said that as I had had more use out of it than he had, I might as
well look after it until I left.
I was then instructed to give it
to my wife. This I did and she played it for twenty odd years until
one day our daughter asked if she could borrow it. That was over
ten years ago. It never came back, but she still plays it and has
recorded some quite nice songs of her own composition using it. So
Clive: if you visit this site: Thanks.
Any Gannites who got over
to Singapore may have heard the song: "Freezing Flat-broke Britain"
Sometimes known as "When I go back to Blighty" Well I'm the one who
wrote it. I now work as a driver and have a small Ten-Pin Bowling
Pro-Shop in Blackpool.
All the best:- John Barter.
I would like to contribute to your web site by
informing you of a small part of Gan History.
My father and I lived on Gan Island for 2 years around 1983- 84 .
The air base was vacant and run down. My father made an agreement
with the Maldivian government STO to open a garment factory on Gan
and one generator was restored by the natives for this purpose.
About 450 natives were employed and trained on equipment shipped
from Hong Kong by Mr Rodney Wade, a British business man. Later
another Chinese Company opened a sweater factory. At that time the
only way to get to Gan was one flight which run every two weeks or
one boat from Mali each month. We lived on coconuts, tuna fish,
lobster and fried bananas which
reminded me of French fried potatoes, being from Tennessee, USA.
Many days I snorkelled on the inner reefs viewing an enormous array
of ocean life
The business eventually went bankrupt and we left just as the
PS I understand that now there is a tourist attraction on Gan.
I was a
civilian Gannite (Met Office) November 1973 to November 1974 (us roughy toughy Met Men did 12
months!) and May 75 to closure. I was on the last but one VC10 out.
The person I recognise is one that no doubt you have been told of
before, but he's on the first photograph, back row, second from the
left. He is, of course, that most famous weather forecaster Bert
Foord. Sadly no longer with us. I also recognise the two next to
him, but I can't remember their names.
Knowing Bert that photo must've been a golfing presentation in what
looks like the Officers Mess.
During my time there I lived in No2 Civilian Mess and I was the Bar
Officer for most of the time. People there at the time may remember
the bloke behind the bar with a huge bushy ginger(ish) beard and
typical mid seventies hair style, i.e. almost shoulder length. I still
have the beard, somewhat tidier and greyer now. I just wish I still
had the hair!!
As a matter of interest, I have recently retired from the Met Office
(early at 55, I did nearly 39 years) and my last 5 months with them
was on the Falklands. I must have some kind of penchant for small
islands in big oceans!
I was posted to Gan in Dec 1964 from
Odiham and arrived on the island on Jan 1st '65 after leaving UK on
30th Dec so, guess what, that made me a December repat! I was
probably one of the jammiest devils on the island; a full 12 month
tour but Christmas in the UK at both ends. I got away from Gan on
the 19th Dec 65 and was back home in time for Father Christmas
Obviously I was very lucky but genuinely did miss not being with the
Lads for the Best Bar Competition - I with the rest of the guys put
a lot into it. I forget the hut number but it was full of Shineys
- Clerks, Accounts etc (I worked in SHQ).
I had a weeks leave in
Singapore with Rod Martin - I've been back there on several
occasions but only passed through the Maldives (Male) when I was
Business Class on Emirates (courtesy of my daughter!), who was
flying with them, on a free ticket she got me. Better than
Transport Command Comet 4B!
Graham Thompson -
I was the SNCO at Dunidu for three months from February to May 1963.
The position was probably the only one in the RAF where one man was
Officer i/c GRSF, Signal Cabin, Island maintenance, power
maintenance, drinking and toilet water maintenance, Catering
Officer, Meteorology, motor boatcrew, cryptology, air traffic
control, airfield maintenance and fire fighting. As well I was ADC to
the UK Rep., Courier and Liaison with the Male Government and RAF
liaison with the RN Ship on station in the Male Atoll.
In 63 we
were supplied, on occasion, by the Valetta from Gan. At the end of
my three months the Valetta came up to bring my replacement and take
me home, to Gan. Its brakes failed on landing on the 800 yard runway
at Hulele and it went off the end of the runway, doing a ground loop
just short of going into the ocean. I spent a considerable amount of
time and energy digging away coral from in front of the
undercarriage, in order to place some PSP planks for the pilot to
pull himself out using his own engine power. The engines were going
the whole time I was doing this with the props just missing my ears.
We managed to get it out (only tool was a shovel) and back onto the
runway. The crew and its passengers had to stay the night on Dunidu.
Next morning we had to take off with the
brakes slipping almost as soon as the throttle was pushed forward.
Scary! I decided to hold my camera close to the window and to take a
shot as soon as I saw the water. If it was all round me then it
didn't matter. If it was below me I would treasure the shot. I
still have that shot.
That was the Valetta's last flight. It was towed to the other side
the Island back at Gan where it was used for fire fighting practice
Male and CCS 1963