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UK Royal Air Force rescue in Iran 1979


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I'm hoping to find someone who might remember this or may have been involved.

Between 1976 and 1979 I lived in Iran with my parents, near a town called Masjed-I-Suleiman (MIS). We lived in a joint US/British community called "Naftak". The US part of the community were the employees (and their families) of a US company called Bowen-McLaughlin-York (BMY) who had a military vehicle repair facility nearby. The British part of the community formed the training staff at a military technical training school located in the town. All worked closely with the local Iranian army units.

As history shows, things began to go wrong in Iran during 1978, resulting in the overthrow and exile of the Shah in January 1979. This chain of events led to the emergency evacuation of the British and American residents of MIS, by two C-130 aircraft of the Royal Air Force. With the exception of a small number of key persons, we all drove in convoy early in the morning with a large army escort to the local airfield where we awaited the arrival of the two aircraft. I can tell you they were a most welcome sight.

We were flown "below the radar" down towards Shiraz then across the Persian Gulf to Bahrain. I was on the first aircraft with my family, the second aircraft was about an hour behind I think. After an overnight stay in a hotel, we were flown by British Airways to London.

I'd be very pleased to hear from anyone who was part of that mission, particularly any of the RAF C-130 crew whom I imagine are now well into retirement.

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  • 10 months later...

Yes I was also involved in this same evacuation, with my family. We lived in northern Iran Rasht and we paid a minibus with diesel if he would take us to Tehran where we were evacuated by RAF Hercules to Bahrein, I was 11 years old at the time, I remember that we used cotton wool to block our ears from the roar of the engines. 

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  • 4 years later...

I was also involved in this evacuation!  My father (Ray Harris), worked as an Instructor at the Military School in MIS. He'd worked in Iran for 2 years and I visited twice during school holidays.  It was during my second visit, arriving in December 1978, that the situation suddenly became awkward and hostile.  We were moved from our accommodation to a more secure compound with many other families, but unfortunately, I cannot remember what this area was called.   Everyone was frantically selling cars, motorbikes, furniture etc. etc. to local people where possible and also trying to decide what they could feasibly travel with in the event of our possible evacuation.  We were only given 24 hours notice that we would be evacuated by the RAF, due to security reasons.  As a 16 year old, it was all very exciting!!  

I've visited Iran since (in 2011) but unfortunately I didn't get a chance to return to this region but would love to revisit MIS one day. 

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