Royal Air Force Khormaksar or more simply RAF Khormaksar was a Royal Air Force station in Aden, Yemen. Its motto was "Into the Remote Places". During the 1960s, it was the base for nine squadrons and became the RAF's busiest-ever station as well as the biggest staging post for the RAF between the United Kingdom and Singapore.
|Aden in Yemen|
Motto: Into the Remote Places
|Type||Royal Air Force station|
|Owner||Ministry of Defence|
|Operator||Royal Air Force|
|In use||1917 – 29 November 1967|
|Identifiers||IATA: ADE, ICAO: OYAA|
|Elevation||1 metre (3 ft 3 in) AMSL|
It later became Aden International Airport.
Established in 1917, RAF Khormaksar was enlarged in 1945 as the British spread their influence deeper into the Arabian Peninsula. No. 8 Squadron RAF arrived in 1927, and stayed until 1945, operating the Fairey IIIF, Vickers Vincent, Hawker Demon, Martin Maryland, Fairey Swordfish, and the Lockheed Hudson.
On 10 June 1940, Italy declared war on Britain and France, and Aden quickly became an important British base for the East African Campaign. Khormaksar launched its first combat sorties three days later, when 8 Squadron sent nine Blenheims to bomb an airfield at Assab in Italian-occupied Eritrea, across the Red Sea from Aden on 12 June. Five Vincents attacking the same airfield that night. On 5 August 1940, Italy invaded British Somaliland, and 8 Squadron's Blenheims flew missions against advancing Italian troop columns. The Italians heavily outnumbered the British and Commonwealth defences, and the port of Berbera, immediately south of Aden across the Gulf of Aden, was occupied by the Italians on 19 August.
In 1943 a Communication Squadron, HQ British Forces Aden Communication Squadron, was established here. It changed names twice in 1951 and 1955 before being disbanded in 1956.
In 1958, a state of emergency was declared in Aden as Yemeni forces occupied nearby Jebel Jehaf and RAF squadrons were involved in action in support of the British Army. In the 1960s, during operations around Rhadfan, the station reached a peak of activity, becoming overcrowded and attracting ground attacks by rebels. In 1966, the newly elected Labour government in the United Kingdom announced that all forces would be withdrawn by 1968.
In May 1967, it was expected that planned final force levels at Kormaksar ahead of the January 1968 withdrawal would be:
*The Army element, comprising Tactical Headquarters Aden Brigade, one commando, one battalion, one armoured car troop, one light artillery troop, one engineer troop and elements of the small Joint Headquarters. Total of some 1,150 personnel.
*The RAF element, comprising a squadron of Hunters and a Wessex flight (both with servicing support parties), a visiting aircraft servicing party, the Communications Centre, elements of an ATOC, movements, airfield services and elements of the Joint Headquarters. Total of some 350 personnel.
Khormaksar played a role in the evacuation of British families from Aden in the summer of 1967. The station closed on 29 November 1967.
Units and aircraftEdit
|No. 8 Squadron RAF||1927–1945; 1946–1967 with some interruptions||Frequent changes of aircraft type (see below)||See below|
|No. 12 Squadron RAF||1935–1936||Hawker Hart|||
|No. 21 Squadron RAF||1965–1967||Douglas Dakota
Hawker Siddeley Andover
|No. 26 Squadron RAF||1963–1965||Bristol Belvedere||HC.1|
|No. 37 Squadron RAF||1957–1967||Avro Shackleton||MR.2|
|No. 41 Squadron RAF||Oct 1935 – Mar 1936||Hawker Demon||Mk I||To Sheikh Othman Mar-Aug 1936|
|No. 43 Squadron RAF||1963–1967||Hawker Hunter||FGA.9|
|No. 73 Squadron RAF||1956||de Havilland Venom||FB.1|
|No. 78 Squadron RAF||1956–1967||Scottish Aviation Pioneer
Scottish Aviation Twin Pioneer
|No. 84 Squadron RAF||1956–1967||Various|
|No. 94 Squadron RAF||1939||Gloster Gladiator||I and II|
|No. 105 Squadron RAF||1962–1967||Armstrong Whitworth Argosy||C.1|
|No. 114 Squadron RAF||1945||de Havilland Mosquito||VI||Originally used the Douglas Boston|
|No. 203 Squadron RAF||1940||Bristol Blenheim||IV|
|No. 208 Squadron RAF||1961–1964||Hawker Hunter||FGA.9||also 1956 detached from RAF Akrotiri|
|No. 216 Squadron RAF||1942||Lockheed Hudson||VI||detached from Cairo West|
|No. 233 Squadron RAF||1960–1964||Vickers Valetta||C.1|
|No. 244 Squadron RAF||1944||Vickers Wellington||XIII||detached from Masirah|
|No. 259 Squadron RAF||1943||Consolidated Catalina||IB||detached from Dar es Salaam|
|No. 265 Squadron RAF||1943||Consolidated Catalina||IB||detached from Dar es Salaam|
|No. 413 Squadron RCAF||1942–1945||Consolidated Catalina||IV||detached from Koggala|
|No. 459 Squadron RAAF||1942||Lockheed Hudson||III||detached from LG227 and LG143|
|No. 621 Squadron RAF||1943–1945||Vickers Wellington||XIII|
|No. 683 Squadron RAF||1951||Vickers Valetta||C.1|
|No. 1417 Flight RAF||1958–1960||Gloster Meteor||FR.9|
|No. 1417 Flight RAF||1963–1967||Hawker Hunter||FR.10 / T.7|
|Aden Communication Squadron RAF||1 December 1951 – 31 August 1955|
|Aden Protectorate Communication and Support Squadron RAF||1955–1956|
|Headquarters British Forces Aden Communication Squadron RAF||1943–1951, became Aden Communication Squadron|||
|No. 131 Maintenance Unit||March 1942 until 1966||Servicing Blackburn Beverley, Armstrong Whitworth Argosy, Scottish Aviation & Bristol Belvedere aircraft in 1965|
- 1927–1945 operating the Fairey IIIF, Vickers Vincent, Hawker Demon, Bristol Blenheim, Martin Maryland, Fairey Swordfish, Lockheed Hudson and Vickers Wellington
- 1946–1950 operating the de Havilland Mosquito, Hawker Tempest and Bristol Brigand
- 1950–1951 operating the Bristol Brigand, Avro Anson and Auster AOP6
- 1951–1952 as before
- 1952–1953 operating the Bristol Brigand and de Havilland Vampire
- 1953–1956 operating the de Havilland Vampire and de Havilland Venom
- 1956–1961 operating the de Havilland Venom, Gloster Meteor and Hawker Hunter
- 1960–1967 operating the Hawker Hunter FGA.9 and T.7
- 1960–1963 operating the Hawker Hunter FR.10
- Pine, L.G. (1983). A dictionary of mottoes (1 ed.). London: Routledge & Kegan Paul. p. 115. ISBN 0-7100-9339-X.
- Shores 1996, p. 18–19.
- "The Ethiopian Campaign - 1940-1941". 8 Squadron Royal Air Force, 4 September 2006. Retrieved 19 September 2012.
- Shores 1996, pp. 45–54.
- Halley, 1988, p. 35
- Brian Lapping, 'End of Empire,' Guild Publishing, London, 1985.
- Air Forces Middle East. "(extracts from) Operational Order AFME/S216/Air, dated 23 May, 1967". radfanhunters.co.uk. Retrieved 30 November 2020.
- Jefford 1988, p. 28.
- Lake 1999, p. 9.
- Lake 1999.
- Lake 1999, p. 128.
- National Archives – A History of 131 MU: Khormaksar
- Ashworth, Chris (1989). Encyclopaedia of modern Royal Air Force squadrons. Wellingborough: Stephens. pp. 43–45. ISBN 1-85260-013-6.
- Jefford, C G (1988). RAF Squadrons. A comprehensive record of the movement and equipment of all RAF squadrons and their antecedents since 1912. Shrewsbury: Airlife. ISBN 1-85310-053-6.
- Lake, A (1999). Flying units of the RAF. Shrewsbury: Airlife. ISBN 1-84037-086-6.
- Sturtivant, Ray, ISO and John Hamlin. RAF Flying Training And Support Units since 1912. Tonbridge, Kent, UK: Air-Britain (Historians) Ltd., 2007. ISBN 0-85130-365-X.