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Aspi Rabadi

Aspi recently wrote to the site. Aspi lived in Crater and worked for BP at the refinery in Little Aden. Aspi has sent me some wonderful e-mails and photographs recalling his memories of life in Aden and his time with BP.

"My hands are trembling as I decided to write this story after seeing the bpadenkids website. I was born In Aden colony,(The year will remain a secret) and joined the Aden Petroleum Refinery Ltd. as it was known then, as an apprentice, in the power station, after completing the Machine-shop engineering 4 years course @ Maalla Tech. Inst. on 25th July 1955.  Just a few 5 weeks after a tragic death of my elder brother Homi, in a road accident near Bishop's Stortsford, and Dunmow, Essex.  (He worked as an L.A.Eng. with Scottish Airlines @ Stansted.) It was an thrilling experience working in the station, as it was hammered in to us that the safety of refinery depends on continuity of elect.power and other utilities, i.e.process steam ,compressed air, sea water, etc. and after going through training in various sections of the station, I was appointed as shift charge Eng. in may be 1962. I am proud to say that the station never had a shut down on my shift, due to through training by very competent eng's, if I may mention some names, like Jerry Fitzgibbon, Bill Duff, Eric Reid, Jim Christie, Late David Whitehead, the late George Budd and Jack Kellett, and Despite having the severest rain storm on 8th Aug. 1963, at mid night, and a ankle deep water in the turbine room, and a resultant short-circuit, which tripped one turbine unit, we managed to save the other unit by load-shedding  un-essential load, thanks to my further training in the stations @ B.P.Isle of Grain  refinery and the London Hackney "B" station.

Click on the flash movie for Aspi's photo album

 Other personnel I remember are Dennis Cantlon, Mike Daly, in training Dept. who helped me a lot. I lived with my parents at Seera Island, and use to travel every day to the refinery in my little Morris Minor, (reminds me of  Mr. Spencer of  "Some Mothers Do Have them")  and  a distance of approx 25 miles, where my dad was the chief Eng. working for Pallonji  Dinshaw & co, for a water desalination plant and 2 ice plants, and a CO2 plant, so engineering genes were already in me.  I got married  and then moved to L/Aden Bander Sheikh Rhiley Newsum houses, where Nigel Stoneman and Craig Young were growing up in the houses opposite to mine. Nigel would come and play with my new born and say "How strong his wrists are'?  and then after independence and a "special Tax was imposed on all National staff, plus normal income tax on the rest.  I and my friend and co-worker Sammy decided to move. We resigned from B.P. and shipped my 3 years old Alfa Romeo to Aaqaba, Jordan, and flew to Beirut, and drove with a friend to pick-up the car, but it was blackened with the ship's stack smoke ( the car's original colour was white), we washed it with "Tide" soap, and drove to Amman, Damascus,  to Beirut, stayed there for 10 days and  fixed the car brakes, (parts were not available in Aden then)  and drove to London UK  via Turkey Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Italy, Switzerland, and France. It took us 14 days for that trip. Got another Job in Jeddah Saudi Arabia, for 6 years and then Immigrated to Canada, where we are settled now for 33 years." ASPI

Aspi tells me that after Independence the refinery workers paid 50% of their salary as a special tax, and than paid normal income tax on the remainder half of the monthly salary.  No wonder they left Aden !. 

 "Another amazing site was around 1953-1954  when a water fall seen dropping from the Seera island mountain after 4 days, 4 nights of non-stop rain, which caused the softening of the land and it caused the outer bearing of an diesel engine, carrying 6 ton fly-wheel to sag and it broke the engine crank-shaft. My dad had to arrange for 440 V. elect. supply from Aden Elect. and find motor to replace the engine till a new crank shaft was shipped in from UK.   N.B. I would really like to get in touch with Nigel Stoneman. of M.1.Bunder-sheikh L/Aden.  if any one can help, so I can give him his picture when he was 5 years old. " "I forgot to mention, in my letter, (as I said I was nervous before writing that letter,) that I visited Aden in Oct.2000.  Stayed in a hotel arranged by my Arab friends, in Crater, and they came to receive me at the airport @ 2.a.m.  The hotel Rambo was near the Crater, football ground. They took me in their car wherever I wanted to go,( they took me to Ras Imran and Bir Foqum ) and I had my old refinery (plastic pass with me) , I went to the main gate, showed him the old pass, and explained the gate keeper in Arabic that I was an ex. employee of B.P. and if he can allow me to visit the power station.? he said No, but then (what a luck)  a co. car came along from inside the ref. and the security chief was in it. The guard asked me to take permission from him. I talked to him, and he said get in the car. He drove me to the stn. and took me upstairs to the chief's office, introduced me, and he called an shift chg. eng. to show me around. It was an very exhilarating experience, just to climb those dark & light green painted stairs, to the office block.) after a period of 31 years.  And to see the plant again after 31 years was an heart warming experience, remembering all people who worked there for years. Another thing I forgot, (and there will be many more) that I did see an Hyena between the Shell Gas station, (sorry petrol stn. for you,) and the round about, which takes you to the ship jetties, on the main Rd. going home back to Seera island @ 11.10 p.m. "  Ieuan Sims of process dept. is my very good friend, and we are sending each other, mails since year 2000, must have his 700 mails so far."  "John Degg I remember him very well, as an Elect. eng. there,  I would like to hear from George Budd's daughter. Aspi.

   "I remember, My Simca's windshield was sand blasted, due to daily commute to Seera, and I had to replace it with a spare one I had from a spare "written- off" Simca I purchased from Sheikh-Othman, as a"Spare parts car." and kept it at Sorabji's Seera." "I also remember, when my L.1. Bunder-sheikh Riley Newsom house's garage was "Moved by the winds." but not blown away." "One day me and Sammy were returning to L/Aden, in my, Alfa Romeo, in day time, and faced a very strong wind and sandstorm, and my(2 years old car) conked out in the middle of road, just a mile or two after Sheikh.Othman roundabout. It took me a few min. to figure out that there was no spark at the plugs, and traced it back to the ignition fuse box,(in the engine compartment,) which broke contact due to believe me, a grain of sand, jammed, between the fuse cartridge and the Ign.wire terminal. (I traced the wire from the distributor to the fuse-box) while keeping my weary eyes, for a rear end collision when I could not see more than a few feet. )What a day that was. Both of us, covered in sand form head to toe. ) You should have seen us.  It was scary stopped and stranded in the middle of a no visibility storm, not knowing when a car or truck can run in to you. though I had my 4 way flashers turned ON.  Did I tell you how Almighty saved me from disaster 3 times on one trip to seera, after a night shift.???? If not will tell you  next time." " A 1950's fact just came to my mind (I am very slow.) After missing  to take the Seera mountain's waterfall pictures, after 4 days of continuous rain, (1953-54,)and also missing to take the picture of 20' long sword fish with at least 7 ' long sword, I, remember some friends taking me to Sec.B. street no. 3, just before Bohra bazzar,  in Crater, (I was 15-16 at the time,)  where they showed me a totally blind man lock-smith, who was given a brass lock whose key was missing, and this man would feel the lock's, slot shape and find a appropriate used key from his box, and press the new key hard to make an impression, and than feel the impression, and file the new key, where he felt was necessary, and hand you the  lock and new key within 5 min. In those days we did not had t.v. but even later when T.V's came out, we did not had the brains to promote his skills and his excellent abilities.   May his soul rest in peace." ASPI". 

 "The decision taken by B.P management to send us to U.K. for further training, paid back many times,as without that experience I would not have been able to control the situation on 8-8-1963,@ midnight, as very similar incidence had occurred there, and also @ Hackney" B" power station, in London, had a different kind of trouble,you would not believe this that a reconditioned motor about 300 H.P. was installed by electricians, for a boiler feed pump and they forgot to tighten the bolts to the frame, being electricians, instead of riggers. A  few min. later it sounded like a machine-gun, and the control  thought it was the main turbine's bearing "Gone" and shut it down, until the Aux. operator found out the culprit, and stopped it. I remember asking question to J.D.D.Davies just a  2 to 5 days before the midnight trouble, what various elect. relays were for , and he explained well. and you know those relays were very much involved in protecting the generators in case of short-circuit between the Gen. and the 11 k.v. busbars. He also was surprised that I asked questions which only a few days later were transformed in to reality. Next time I went to ask him about other subject, he would express concern, that another trouble was in the making, or waiting to happen. ASPI. "

A further memory is  when I ,and the bike and the school books in a leather bag, fell in to the sea, while riding along, going to school, over the Seera bridge, and a fisher-man jumped-in and brought me and the bike and the wet books out of the sea, and was late for school by an hour and a half. Aspi