John Stobbart


Good Morning

I am sending my story to you via your email link as I have not been able to attach my photos to your web link.


Hello my name is John Stobbart and I was prompted to write after reading some of the stories on your very interesting web site. I arrived in Little Aden as a 10 year old, on board our family yacht about mid 1953, we were on a trip from Hamble England to Durban in South Africa where the family was to settle. The trip was  interrupted by the unplanned arrival of my sister due to be born in December, so it was decided that my stepfather, Marshall would seek employment in Aden until we could continue when my sister, Ann was old enough.  We arrived at night so Little Aden was chosen because of the amount of shipping in and out of Aden Harbour. I think the refinery was still under construction at that time, I'm sure someone will know, Marshall found employment immediately as he was in the construction industry. Shortly after our arrival I was playing on a raft tied near our boat and I slipped and my leg went into the gap between two of the beams of the raft and came to a halt when my knee reached the gap, I was stuck fast until my brother got help, As a result I was carted off to the refinery hospital for an operation and a 3 week stay. Can you imagine the joy of arriving in a air conditioned hospital and a nice bed and everyone running around looking after me as I was the only child in there, having come off a 37 ft boat where 4 of us had spent the last year in the confines of 2 cabins and 1 toilet. I would like to thank all of those people in the hospital for caring for me and getting me fit again, I still bear the scar.


Click on the picture to go to John's gallery

 I don't think the BP Club existed at that time but I remember being taken to the site canteen, my first real experience of air conditioning, by then I was used to the heat but the first time I walked through the doors of the canteen was heaven. My brother and I were well looked after there, I remember the glasses, large beer bottles cut in half. At that time we used to get over to Aden by boat, there were two ferry boats shuttling back and forth between Little Aden and the Prince of Wales Pier, remember that the causeway was not there then and the road went via Sheik Othman. Years later, about 1962 I returned to Little Aden 3 times on the tanker British Skill. On these occasions we did visit a social club for drinks etc, was this the BP Club. We stayed in Little Aden for about 3 months and then moved over to Aden where we moored off Post Office Pier. I was to stay in Aden until 1958. Marshal got a job as Clerk of Works on the construction of The Bank Of India in Crater, (to become the National and Grindleys) and later the branch in Steamer Point near the Crescent Hotel. I have many stories about Aden but just this one for now that may be of interest to those on this site. This should be of interest to David Harrington, after we had moved over to Aden my brother who was about 16 then, got a job with Mr. Marshall (no relation) of Marconi Marine, he had to look after the dinghy used by Mr. Marshall and take him out to the ships in the harbour when required, day or night. This dinghy had an outboard motor and one day while testing!!!!, the  engine flew off the back of the boat and sank in 20 feet of water, I remember I had to dive down with a rope to retrieve it, we then stripped it down completely, cleaned and reassembled the motor, it worked perfectly, nobody ever knew, well not until now.

Places I remember

Boy Scouts hut on the road to the Lido

The Lido

Gold Mahur

Open air cinema Khormaksar

Shezam Cinema

BBQs on Khormaksar beach at midnight

The Crescent Hotel, ice cold coke and peanuts.


I hope someone will find all this interesting, I am attaching some photos of  the time, hope they come out ok.