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Gan Island Maldives

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  #1  
Old 24th January 2019, 21:22
johnBP1 johnBP1 is offline
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Gan Island Maldives

I have many happy memories of visiting RAF Gan Island in the Maldives on the Br. Sargent... We pumped avgas for 3 days but could only discharge during certain hours into I believe a sunken storage. But the RAF looked after us plus we invited them aboard ship.. got some stories... anyone been there?
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  #2  
Old 25th January 2019, 10:09
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I was there a couple of time on the Br Corporal, as well as a couple of trips to RAF Masirah. Similar experience to you by the sound of it.
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  #3  
Old 25th January 2019, 10:26
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I was their a few times with Brocklebank in the early/mid 60s. Great beaches and good times in the evenings in the Officers' Mess. Wouldn't have liked it as a permanent posting though. I understand that the RAF personnel served one year on the island and it counted as a two year posting elsewhere.
Happy days,
gwzm
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  #4  
Old 25th January 2019, 13:34
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A good website here for RAF Gan Island http://www.tonysirrell.com/

.... plus a BP tanker alongside the oil jetty, courtesy of the same site.
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File Type: jpg the fuel jetty1 - Copy.jpg (52.9 KB, 121 views)
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  #5  
Old 25th January 2019, 14:28
johnBP1 johnBP1 is offline
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Yes when we were there a Brockelbank ship was anchored off.... great times in the Officers mess. You could post a coconut to the UK, the postmistress was a woman, the only one on the island...
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Old 25th January 2019, 14:28
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The RAF had a couple of old RFA Wave class tankers at Gan for years. Wave Victor is the one I recall. She was in the lagoon at Addu Atoll and had a Second Engineer RFA onboard for fuel ops, the last one being late Willie Plaistow.
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  #7  
Old 25th January 2019, 14:29
johnBP1 johnBP1 is offline
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Thats a birdy boat.....
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  #8  
Old 25th January 2019, 14:41
johnBP1 johnBP1 is offline
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So here is a story. Arrived at Gan, seem to remember that we could pump only 5 hours a day, then had to anchor off.. We were invited to the officers mess to see a movie in the evening. All went ashore except sparks and the 3rd officer, plus the chief and 2 juniors... anyway had a good time with the crew of an "Argosy aircraft" they took us out after a few drinks and showed us around the aircraft even although the dog handler said "no go"... time to return to the Sargent which was at anchor. Sparks had run us ashore on a lifeboat (engine), when we called to get picked up, sparks did not appear for an hour... what had happened is that he set off on the wrong direction and clipped the prop on the lifeboat and was drifting (yes sparks was pissed).. so the other LB was launched by an array of staff on board, we were picked up and then found sparks.. got to bed at 3 am... next day the crew of the Argosy came aboard early for brunch then gave us a fly past before setting off for Singapore via Bombay... good times... we had just come from RAF Masira another story..
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  #9  
Old 27th January 2019, 00:13
Tony Maskell Tony Maskell is offline  
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Gan Island

I was Mate of the Clyde Explorer, when we visited Gan Island, after a spell on the Australian/New Zealand coast, loaded in Abadan for Gan and Colombo. The only woman on the Island was a lady from the WVS as it was then now the RWVS. The commander of the Air sea Rescue attachment was my first Best Man with whom I sailed with as 2/0 on the British Scientist, he then joined the Marine Craft section of the RAF rising to Wing Commander at Plymouth when leaving he became a Professor at Plymouth Uni. While there I drop all the lifeboats and had ALL the ships company have a race around the ship. This was in about August/ September 1963.
Tony Maskell
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  #10  
Old 30th January 2019, 16:32
DAVELECKIE DAVELECKIE is offline
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There on the Kiwi from memory.
Looks like a bird boat in the picture.
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  #11  
Old 30th January 2019, 17:14
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johnBP1, When did you meet the Argosy crew and have you a note of any names?
I was flying them through Gan to and from Singapore & HK doing electronic work such as calibrating Instrument Landing Systems.
I know I wasn't on the crew you met because I'd definitely have remembered.
We usually managed to arrange a day or two off for bar, beach and reef snorkelling.
Just had a look at my log book and was on Gan:
1 - 5 Dec 69
5 - 9 Mar 71
31 Mar 71
1 - 3 Apr 71
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  #12  
Old 30th January 2019, 18:13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnBP1 View Post
I have many happy memories of visiting RAF Gan Island in the Maldives on the Br. Sargent... We pumped avgas for 3 days but could only discharge during certain hours into I believe a sunken storage. But the RAF looked after us plus we invited them aboard ship.. got some stories... anyone been there?
I was 2nd Sparks on ss Mahronda (Brocks) when, in 1959, we spent a few days at Gan discharging cement for the runway. (Costains had the contract) Went across the runway to the seaward coast on an army bicycle - but without sunglasses the glare from the crushed coral blinded me for a while.
Spent a few hours snorkelling in the lagoon - the fish were brilliant. Clambered out when I saw a shark in the depths - the sunken vocano's throat fell steeply away into gloom - vague shapes moved around in that gloom. A bit freaky.

It was the time of the attempted secession from the capital in the north. Rebels occupied the post office. The north sent raiding parties --the RN tried to keep them away by using the wash of the ship - direct intervention was forbidden. All sorts going on. A frigate sailed out on a fishing trip using depth charges . . . I thought that an excessive use of force.

The troops were told to keep away from the native village, but a local woman had a pale baby who she named Fred.
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  #13  
Old 31st January 2019, 14:30
johnBP1 johnBP1 is offline
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I will check my discharge book. I was on the Sargent for 10 months, paid off up the Gulf.. I cant remember names of the crew however a few weeks later a Shackleton aircraft flying from Gan to Singapore was lost you probably remember this?
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  #14  
Old 1st February 2019, 22:43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnBP1 View Post
Yes when we were there a Brockelbank ship was anchored off.... great times in the Officers mess. You could post a coconut to the UK, the postmistress was a woman, the only one on the island...
The only woman was the Nurse who had her own bungalow adjacent to the CO s close to the officers beach . Couple of pics in my gallery . Cheers Derek
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  #15  
Old 4th February 2019, 18:56
Old Janner Old Janner is offline  
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I was in Gan on the British Gunner 69, visited Masirah Island, on an earlier trip, the officer's mess was tip top, only in Uniforms unless it was a Sunday, a few fell into the sea on the way back, we had our revenge two nights later, when we watched a load of them trying to get off the boat and fell in. The Reef was spectacular until you reached the edge to be confronted with a deep void, and the mind starts to think of monsters from the deep and you quickly return to shore. Fantastic visit! On the Gunner, we also did Columbo, Rangoon (drum cargo) Singapore, all good ports without A/C and no cold water machines, a very happy crew and times.
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  #16  
Old 4th February 2019, 19:38
johnBP1 johnBP1 is offline
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Yep did these ports also on the Sargent, no AC as you say. drums in Rangoon, starving locals.. we had a set to with the chief steward, we fed some of the workers from the many left overs of the awful food and he went ballistic... later we emptied the night fridge and gave it to the workers... sad.
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  #17  
Old 5th February 2019, 10:17
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johnBP1, Yes, the Shack loss rings a bell. I'd considered asking for maritime at the end of my training, but a trip in a Beverley put me off large piston multis - what a racket! Nearly as bad as the engine room.

Old Janner, reminds me of some of us B757 crew being invited to the wardroom of a destroyer in Bahrain (The RN guys were, of course, only interested in the stewardesses but manners dictated that we chaps were also invited). We left in a distinctly wobbly state.
Honour was restored a day later when a Lt Cdr had a trip to the British Embassy and joined us in our crewroom for a nightcap or three
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  #18  
Old 5th February 2019, 10:56
Riccarton Riccarton is offline  
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In the book "Winston Specials; Troopships Via the Cape 1940-1943" there are several references to Addu Atoll, of which Gan is one island.
The Atoll was know af Port T, and used a a re-fuelling point for convoys, including DM 1 and DM2 going to Singapore.
Was at Gan on Maihar, Masirah and Matheran. On Maihar we carried the reinforced concrete beams for construction of the jetty.
I recall a Sunderland flying boat landing having flown from Singapore.
The locals developed a liking for tin herring in tomato sauce available from the NAAFI.They were eventually prohibited from purchasing this item, as it was noted they were not going fishing.
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Old 5th February 2019, 12:01
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I recall going snorkelling and enjoying the beautiful underwater scene at Gan while our ship was topping up the Wave Victor. I was in only a few feet of water and able to put my fins onto the ground when I saw a fine looking pair of long legs some way inshore of me. Though I had drowned and gone to heaven. On standing up I saw a bonnie young lass who turned out to be an Air Quartermistress from an RAF VC10 which was ferrying pax from UK out to Singapore. NFIA unfortunately! Great place to snorkel.
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Old 5th February 2019, 13:55
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[QUOTE=Riccarton;2967207]In the book "Winston Specials; Troopships Via the Cape 1940-1943" there are several references to Addu Atoll, of which Gan is one island.
The Atoll was know af Port T, and used a a re-fuelling point for convoys, including DM 1 and DM2 going to Singapore.
Was at Gan on Maihar, Masirah and Matheran. On Maihar we carried the reinforced concrete beams for construction of the jetty.
I recall a Sunderland flying boat landing having flown from Singapore.
The locals developed a liking for tin herring in tomato sauce available from the NAAFI.They were eventually prohibited from purchasing this item, as it was noted they were not going fishing.[/QUOTE

In 59, on a visit to Gan, I heard that Queen Mary (the Grey Ghost) would shelter in the lagoon whilst trooping in WW2.
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  #21  
Old 5th February 2019, 16:06
Philthechill Philthechill is offline  
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Thumbs up Many happy memories----

---of Gan.
One-in-particular was a real hoot!
Our visit coincided with a change of Gan CO.

The 'size' of Gan only warranted a Wing Commander as CO whereas large Stations, e.g. Biggin Hill, would have a "Groupie", (Group Commander) in charge.

The CO of Changi was a long-time "Oppo" of the incoming Gan CO and had arranged a visit, (a "Nav" Exercise I believe), to see him and there, on the Apron when we arrived, were three Vulcans.

We had been invited ashore to the Officers Mess and I got chatting to the "Groupie" and, during our chat, I asked him if there was any chance of a Vulcan "fly-by" when they departed the following morning.

"No problem!", he said, giving me their departure time.

The following morning, (a Sunday), I was out on the boat-deck of Brock's "Maipura", (checked Discharge Book for ship and realised I had wrong one!), my 35mm camera ready for use.

I saw the three Vulcans taxiing-out and waited for my "fly-by".

To my disappointment the first two took-off and immediately headed East, "Barsteward's forgot!", was my immediate thought, then realised the last Vulcan was turning and heading our way!

It was barely making "flying-speed" as it wallowed our way with "everything hanging-out" i.e. Flaps and undercarriage, then, just before arriving overhead she was "cleaned-up" with u/c and flaps being retracted and, with clouds of black smoke from her "full-throttled" engines, the Vulcan was angled in a VERY steep clmb.

The noise was incredible as the four, (Olympus?), engines thrust the Vulcan skyward! Accommodation doors burst open as blokes, in various stages of "(un)dress", rushed-out to see what was causing all the racket!!

Even the R.A.F. blokes working cargo were impressed!!

Unfortunately I was so mesmerised by the sight/sound of this huge aircraft about 250' above me I forgot to take any photo's!!!

Whenever I've seen the preserved Vulcan, (now, alas, grounded forever), over Elvington, (about four miles from me), I've thought of that fly-by from so long, long, ago. Phil

Last edited by Philthechill; 5th February 2019 at 23:33..
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  #22  
Old 6th February 2019, 10:21
Riccarton Riccarton is offline  
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[quote=Harry Nicholson;2967257]
Quote:
Originally Posted by Riccarton View Post
In the book "Winston Specials; Troopships Via the Cape 1940-1943" there are several references to Addu Atoll, of which Gan is one island.
The Atoll was know af Port T, and used a a re-fuelling point for convoys, including DM 1 and DM2 going to Singapore.
Was at Gan on Maihar, Masirah and Matheran. On Maihar we carried the reinforced concrete beams for construction of the jetty.
I recall a Sunderland flying boat landing having flown from Singapore.
The locals developed a liking for tin herring in tomato sauce available from the NAAFI.They were eventually prohibited from purchasing this item, as it was noted they were not going fishing.[/QUOTE

In 59, on a visit to Gan, I heard that Queen Mary (the Grey Ghost) would shelter in the lagoon whilst trooping in WW2.
While the Queensfeatured numerous times in the book referenced there was no mention of being at Addu Atoll in any convoy.
However both these ships due to their speed capability regularly sail independent of convoys so iis quite possible is going between Australia and Suez with personnel for North Afriacan campaign.
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  #23  
Old 6th February 2019, 20:58
Jim S Jim S is offline   SN Supporter
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Raf gan

Quote:
Originally Posted by Philthechill View Post
---of Gan.
One-in-particular was a real hoot!
Our visit coincided with a change of Gan CO.

The 'size' of Gan only warranted a Wing Commander as CO whereas large Stations, e.g. Biggin Hill, would have a "Groupie", (Group Commander) in charge.

The CO of Changi was a long-time "Oppo" of the incoming Gan CO and had arranged a visit, (a "Nav" Exercise I believe), to see him and there, on the Apron when we arrived, were three Vulcans.

We had been invited ashore to the Officers Mess and I got chatting to the "Groupie" and, during our chat, I asked him if there was any chance of a Vulcan "fly-by" when they departed the following morning.

"No problem!", he said, giving me their departure time.

The following morning, (a Sunday), I was out on the boat-deck of Brock's "Maipura", (checked Discharge Book for ship and realised I had wrong one!), my 35mm camera ready for use.

I saw the three Vulcans taxiing-out and waited for my "fly-by".

To my disappointment the first two took-off and immediately headed East, "Barsteward's forgot!", was my immediate thought, then realised the last Vulcan was turning and heading our way!

It was barely making "flying-speed" as it wallowed our way with "everything hanging-out" i.e. Flaps and undercarriage, then, just before arriving overhead she was "cleaned-up" with u/c and flaps being retracted and, with clouds of black smoke from her "full-throttled" engines, the Vulcan was angled in a VERY steep clmb.

The noise was incredible as the four, (Olympus?), engines thrust the Vulcan skyward! Accommodation doors burst open as blokes, in various stages of "(un)dress", rushed-out to see what was causing all the racket!!

Even the R.A.F. blokes working cargo were impressed!!

Unfortunately I was so mesmerised by the sight/sound of this huge aircraft about 250' above me I forgot to take any photo's!!!

Whenever I've seen the preserved Vulcan, (now, alas, grounded forever), over Elvington, (about four miles from me), I've thought of that fly-by from so long, long, ago. Phil
It is always a pleasure to read the latest from Phil.
In my time with Brocklebank we visited Gan Island twice ( I think)
on Maidan and Magdapur this would be between 1963 and 1966'
On our ill advised football matches we were called the "NAAFI NAVY".
Fast forward to 1974 and I was C/E on Fyffes Motagua. The 2/M
was Chris Stone - Unfortunately it was later after Chris had gone on leave that I found out from Les Richmond 3/M that our 2/M was Wing Commander Chris Stone former Commanding Officer RAF Gan.
A missed opportunity! Chris had a Master's Ticket obtained before joining the RAF. I believe after his leave he returned to Motagua as Mate. A real gentleman. I guess he was sailing with Fyffes to top up his pension.

If you are reading this be aware that today I received an e-mail from Angus MacKinnon (Eriskay) - Members will recall that sadly Angus died a few years ago. The prompt to open the attachment kind of gives the game away.

Jim S
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  #24  
Old 7th February 2019, 09:31
Philthechill Philthechill is offline  
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Red face Whoops!

I referred to the CO of Changi as a "Group Commander".

There's no such Rank! He would have been a "Group Captain". Phil
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