Revcole.jpg (6737 bytes)   Reflections on R.A.F. Habbaniya

By: Rev. Dr.  Michael G. Cole

As you can imagine my two years at R.A.F. Habbaniya are a very important and
significant part of my life. I was only 20 years old, doing my compulsory National
Service and it was my first time away from England.

There is so much I remember and looking at a layout of the Station, givento
new arrivals, I can picture certain places quite clearly - Command Garden,
C of E Church, which I attended, the Civil Cantonment, the Race Track,
the lower airfield and the Plateau airfield, Lake Habbaniya and my many
visits and stays in Baghdad. I could go on! marshb2jpg.jpg (15636 bytes)

I have four small black and white photographs which I took on May 2, 1955 -the Parade waiting for the arrival of King Faisal; the March On of the Levies; King Faisal inspecting prior to the hand over and finally the march on of the Iraqi Army. For me it was a sad day for I'm sure after a while the Station was never the same again. I wonder if the buildings and gardens were kept up or whether the place went down and down!

During my stay in Iraq I visited Basra, by train and saw Ur of the Chaldeans, Abraham's original home . I left in December 1955 but went back to Baghdad in 1964 or 65, after the revolution.
I traveled across the desert from Damascas, and was told that the Station was
not now as I would remember it. However I enjoyed being in Baghdad again,
although it had changed quite a lot. Quite a bit of reconstruction at Babylon
and maybe not much of an improvement!

Eventually in 1961 I became an Anglican priest, served as an R.A.F. Chaplain, (Sqn Ldr)
then as a Chaplain in the Canadian Armed Forces (Maj.) and now after 38 years in the
priesthood, I live in retirement with my wife, Valerie, in Litchfield Beach, South Carolina.

As I said before, I will never forget Habbaniya and wonder if the day will ever come when
I can see it again. I will always be interested to hear more about Habbaniya and the wonderful Assyrians I knew both there and in other parts of Iraq.

I always thought they were given a raw deal for their many years of faithful service
to the Crown. I guess when you lose an Empire, as new nations seek their independence, much that seemed good and worth preserving at the time is lost. Perhaps it has to be that
way for after my earlier visits to Cairo, Beirut, Amman, Jerusalem, Petra, and, 3 years
living on the Island of Cyprus, things never seemed quite the same when revisited.

waiting for the King

Nostalgia and living in the past I suppose! 

If you know any one who served in Levies please contact us, we will be honored to post his Bibliography on this special site. Keep tuned , more photo's and testimonies will be posted soon.

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