Chapter 2: A risky landing
“Ok boys when the cargo cabin doors are opened, and the red cabin light turns to green get ready to jump in file, with your weapons and equipment strapped tightly to your body. As soon as you hit the deck stay there flat against the tarmac, Do not try to run to the nearest cover until ordered to do so by myself or Sergeant Hill, you could easily be picked off by a rebel snipers bullet, Is that clear by everyone, ? just remember you’ve been trained for a situations such as this one, good luck we will leas as soon as it’s safe to do so.” Shouted Blossom over the sound ofthe Beverly’s four roaring Rolls Royce engines, just as the landing wheels hit the tarmac runway with an almighty screech of smoking brakes.
Blossom released the rear hanger door catch, “Right get ready lads, on my command, Green light on,- Go Tiny!, - Go Bing!, - Go Dog!, - Go Woody!- Go Sick Leave!, GET THE HELL OUT OF HERE SICK LEAVE!” “But, but”, stuttered Sick Leave hanging onto the open door of the aircraftfor dear life and shaking in his boots. “Jump now Sick Leave! jump, you dizzy Mary!, shouted his O.C. angrily. - Go Torchy - Go Rasher, - Go Fletch. Time to go Sergeant Hill, I’m right behind you”, “OK Boss, good luck!” shouted Bomber Hill to his O.C. Blossom, as he dived out of the planes rear hanger doors and rolled over and over onto the hard tarmac surface of the RAF Shalala runway.
Now everyone was safely out of the plane the rear doors of the Beverly were shut tight by the Co pilot, and the aircraft quickly turned around at the end of the runway and took off
again, narrowly missing an enemy mortar shell which exploded right on the edge of the runway taking out a small oil storage shed and leaving a large crater in its place.
“Everyone Ok ?” shouted Bomber to the troop who were by this time all laying spread eagled on the runway as mortar shells came whistling in from the surrounding hillside and burst all around them.
“Keep your bleeding head down Woody or your liable to get it blown clean off, yer stupid bugger!”, shouted the troop commander Blossom at the top of his voice.
“Sorry Sir!” shouted out Woody, and back came the reply; “Don’t apologise Woody, it’s your bleeding neck you have to watch out for lad, so keep it down OK!”
At that moment a battery of the Royal Artillery who were stationed at RAF Salalah opened fire sending a barrage of shells down on the enemy who had positioned their mortars aiming them at the RAF base in the surrounding desert hillside, and enemy fire ceased immediately.
NASA photograph from space of Salalah Oman, and surrounding desert/ mountains
“Must have scored a direct hit sir, there’s no more mortar shells coming in,” shouted out Sergeant Bomber Hill.” “Right you lot, get to your feet and run like hell to that concrete bunker on the south side of the airfield, and be sharp about it, we may not have much time before the buggers open fire again,” ordered Blossom.
“Never run so fast Rasher,” said Torchy out of breath, as the pair raced across the airfield towards the empty bunker to seek cover and struggling hard to hold onto their army back packs and kit bags.
“Boy that was close Torch”, said Rasher as they finally reached the safety of the empty bunker. “Don’t know about you pal but I sure am getting hungry.” “Is that all you can think about Rasher, your chuffing stomach at a time like this, have you lost yer bloody marbles or what!” commented Torchy. “Don’t know about that Torch, but I must have been off me rocker volunteering for this bloody show”, commented Rasher.
Just as the rest of the troop reached the safety of the concrete bunker, an army Land Rover came racing towards them, “Welcome to Hell chaps,” commented the driver. “Throw all your kit in the back lads except for your weapons and ammo of course, another vehicle will be along shortly to pick you up Ok”, and with that said he spun the Land Rover around and drove off at high speed towards the main RAF base compound.
All the shelling had now ceased and the airfield apart from the sound of fire trucks racing to put out the fires from two wooden storage buildings which had been hit by enemy mortar shells, was reasonable quite once again. Blossom gathered his men together and after a short briefing everyone clambered on board an armoured truck which had just been sent out to pick them all up, before the vehicle headed off in the direction of RAF Salalah base camp and safety.