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TOPIC: OMAN - MUSCAT - PDO Christian Cemetery

OMAN - MUSCAT - PDO Christian Cemetery 08 Feb 2014 13:35 #1

  • Tony H
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Hi All

I have managed to track down a few interesting items "out here" which include the following located in one of the two Christian Cemeteries in the area

[IMG]/community/140819=15704-006 - Copy.jpg

This is the sadly weather worn & sun-faded grave of the four crew lost in the crash as described below (info gleaned from research various forums on the web)

Date: Sunday 27 August 1978
Time: 22:10
Type: Douglas DC-6B
Operator: New World Air Charter
Registration: N122A
C/n / msn: 45327/819
First flight: 1957
Engines: 4 Pratt & Whitney R-2800
Crew: Fatalities: 4 / Occupants: 4
Passengers: Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 0
Total: Fatalities: 4 / Occupants: 4
Airplane damage: Damaged beyond repair
Location: Mt Hameem, Oman
Phase: En route
Nature: Cargo
Departure airport: Muscat-Seeb Airport (MCT/OOMS), Oman
Destination airport: NK
Narrative: The DC-6 took off from Muscat at 2207 and was advised to climb to FL120. At 22:10 the pilot reported climbing through 1000 feet. This was the last radio contact with the flight. It appeared that the aircraft had flown into a mountain.

Chat found on PPRUNE

. . .Was this the one that required the crew sleeping onboard whilst it was unloaded and reloaded? Bit of a problem in 40 deg C on the Muscat ramp where temperatures can rise at night?

Then briefed for a 26 departure with a right turn on course with homes in Lebanon as destination .... then experienced a last minute runway change trap on taxi out...they used 08 and still made the right turn out into the hills?

Possibly well tired by all this and got caught out as a result.

American Captain with all Lebanese crew.....freight based operation out of Lebanon and it all happened (as it did again) on a very black and dark Gulf night when you do not see the hills or the stars or any lights on the ground...just a big black hole

As a result of this crash.... a 08 left turn out and emergency left turn were then published.....also crews were now allowed to enter and sleep in the airport building and later actually off airport....not that much in the way of accommodation there in 1978 and crews were required to stay at their aircraft due security during long transit turnarounds . . .

Hope this is of interest?

Tony H

Not quite Sleaford at the mo . . .

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OMAN - MUSCAT - PDO Christian Cemetery 08 Feb 2014 14:02 #2

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Also in the same cemetery are these three graves which also led me to some www research as well

[IMG]/community/140821=15705-012 - Copy.jpg
[IMG]/community/140821=15706-013 - Copy.jpg
[IMG]/community/140821=15707-014 - Copy.jpg

The info I found surfing the net is as below; (from RAF Commands Forum)

W/C Aubrey Rickards OBE. AFC, P/O. Robert Henry McClatchey and AC1 Leslie George O'Leary were killed in the crash of Vickers Vincent K6436 of 84 Squadron on October 30th 1937 at Khor (also written as Khawr) Gharim on the southern coast of Oman and was buried there. They were reburied at Muscat in 1998

Note: Khor Gharim is listed as in Iraq in some accounts of this incident but it is in Oman, the confusion is that 84 Sqn were based in Iraq at the time

At this point I have to hang my head in shame, as despite being a keen aircraft enthusiast, lover of military aviation history and a current serving member of 26 years (Man and Boy) I have never heard of a Vickers Vincent . . .

So further research revealed this!

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Again hope it is interest and none of you are suffering too much from the floods/rain/wind etc back home in "Blighty"

Tony H

Not quite Sleaford at the mo . . . .

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OMAN - MUSCAT - PDO Christian Cemetery 21 Feb 2014 09:33 #3

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Hello again all.

I've recently found some more filed records on the Vickers Vincent loss which completes the story. . .

On 30th Oct 1937, three Vincents were flying in to Khor Gharim, the landing ground on the mainland to the south of Masirah. The landing ground was marked only by 4 stones painted white and difficult to see from the air if there was any wind to raise the dust. The leading plane, piloted by PO R.H. McClatchey, came in to land but the pilot got himself across wind. Lifting off again he turned to approach the landing ground again, but in the middle of the turn the aircraft went into a flat spin and smashed into the shore on the far side of the salt water lagoon. His horrified colleagues managed to land and rushed to the rescue but there was little they could do - the pilot and both his passengers had died on impact. Their bodies were placed in a temporary grave 10 yards from the crash site, with the intention of moving them later to the Christian cemetery at RAF Habankyah in Iraq for burial. However the confusion of WWII swept the Gulf soon after and the Khor Gharim landing site was abandoned. By the time ships and men were again available, nearly 10 years had passed and the RAF decided that due to the length of time that had elapsed, the probability of finding the bodies was small and they declined to mount an expedition.

There the matter rested until 1995, when a skeleton was discovered on Masirah. This reopened the subject of fatalities in the area; it was initially thought that the body could belong to the 1937 crash, but all the evidence pointed to the Vincent having come down on the mainland. It was decided to mount an expedition to relocate the bodies of the crew to mark the 60th anniversary of the crash and so, armed with all the available documents and maps, the Air Attache at the Embassy in Muscat set off. Arriving at Khor Gharim on the 30th October 1997, the expedition set off around the lake to locate the crash site. Although they quickly identified two rock structures that match photographs of the burial site, it took them two sweeps of the shore to find what they were looking for; a shard of metal from a Vincent, embedded in the sand. Encouraged by this find they decided to dig for the remains and very soon came upon human remains. The lost crew had been found. After much discussion, the (then) RAF Personnel Management Agency at Innsworth decided the remains should be exhumed and transferred to Muscat until the families could be tracked down.

Despite extensive searches the families of PO McClatchey and ACI O'Leary could not be found. However the daughters of Wg Cdr Rickards OBE were located. Amazed their fathers body had been found after so long , they agreed that internment at the Christian cemetery at Mina al Fahal* was the right action and so it was decided to bury all three men together. A year later, as the sun set over the hills of Mina al Fahal and as a lone Piper played a lament, the three servicemen were finally laid to rest

* Mina al Fahal is now known as the PDO Christian Cemetery (PDO)** complex. Muscat

** PDO = Petroleum Development Corporation, Oman

Hope this is update is of interest?

Tony H

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OMAN - MUSCAT - PDO Christian Cemetery 10 Apr 2014 09:57 #4

  • jimo
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Hello All ,

I was most interested to find reference to this air accident as Wing Commander A.R.M.Rickards was my uncle , and I attended his re-interment in Muscat .

Tony , you seem to have already found out a lot about this accident . I am curious to know where you found it ! What/where are the 'filed records' to which you refer ?

If you have a serious interest , I have a great deal more information about this incident .

Regards , jimo

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OMAN - MUSCAT - PDO Christian Cemetery 10 Apr 2014 11:08 #5

  • WJT
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Dear Jimo.

Welcome to AiX. I'm pleased that Tony has been able to help with information on your family member and I hope that more will come to light.

I spent a very brief time in Oman myself, with a squadron of Tornados, but that was only 30 years ago!


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