David Harrington recalls his time in Aden


I've just spent some time looking at the "Barren Rocks of Aden" site and of course your contribution "Little Aden".

It brought back some memories to me!  I worked in Aden as a civilian for Marconi Marine from 1961 to 1964 and lived with my wife at a block of flats in Steamer Point (Tawahi) called Palida Terrace which was just up from the pier and opposite the block that housed the "Oriental Pharmacy" in those days - you may not be able to recall it due to your age at the time and the changes that must have occurred in that area from 1965 onwards.  Our veranda enabled my wife to sit and watch me going to and fro in the harbour and the coming and going of all the ships that passed through in those days.  We also had a flat on the beach road at Khormaksar for a time.

Our offices were located in the P & O Building which overlooked the Crescent and I believe it was called Alexander Park where the Arabs played football and did their bag-pipe marches in those days.  I am sure the Crescent Hotel may well be a place you remember.  My job was to repair communications, radar, echo-sounders, gyro compasses and autopilots, and whatever other aids to navigation that ships passing through the Port of Aden carried.  Of course a number of these were tankers passing through Little Aden, including BP Tankers and ships of any nationality.

In those days we were members of the Gold Mohur Swimming Club which was around the Point past the Cable and Wireless Offices where the magnificent rock formation stuck out into the sea like an elephants trunk.  You may well recall those rocks as they would have appealed to a young lad.  Also, because of my close association with the BP Tanker fleet, I was made an Honorary Member of the BP Club.  My wife and I also had good friends in the forces when we were in Aden and would often go to the Officers Club in Steamer Point.  Likewise the Harbour Pilots had a club which we were also invited to use!  Sounds like lots of clubbing but in reality I was on 24 hour call 365 days a year as ships came and went within a few hours for bunkers and I was kept extremely busy.

 Our son was born in Aden on the 20th January 1964 - so we have one Arab in the family!!  I also have a daughter born in Cape Town - yes I worked in South Africa for many years, and twin daughters born in Chelmsford (UK).  As my wife was born in Durban we are very much a League of Nations!!

 You did not mention the "Queen of Sheba" water tanks - did you never visit them?  We often went to see them and found them quite incredible - somewhere or other we have many slides taken of the tanks and Aden and it's surrounds.  I keep promising my family I will have a slide show one of these days so they can see a part of our lives which my wife and I grew to love in those four years.

 I thought you might find the attachment interesting - I have obscured the signature for security sake, the picture would be of little use to anyone as I've changed just a little since those far off days!