Imperial Outpost in the Gulf: The Airfield at Sharjah (UAE) 1932-1952
By Nicholas Stanley-Price
Distributed by the Trans-Atlantic Publications
238 Pages, Illustrated
In 1932 the Sharkah airfield was created out of nothing in the open desert, an overnight stop on Imperial Airways' route carrying mail and passengers to India and eventually to Australia. The British government drew upon the RAF's experience in the Middle East to build a fortified rest house there, for fear of possible attacks from the Beduin. Air travel then was a luxury beyond most people's means. But passengers in transit praised the comfort of the Rest House in the desert.
Imperial Airways switched during the 1930s to using flying-boats that landed on the creek at Dubai, a move that favored Dubai's emergence as a commercial hub. Then, during World War II, the airfield became a transit point for troops going to India and the Far East. For RAF and American air force personnel, a posting to Sharjah made the heart sink as it was notorious for its extreme heat, isolation and poor rations.
The history of Sharjah airfield is central to the story of the modern Emirates. In this meticulous account, Nicholas Stanley-Price brings the past vividly ro life, using an impressive array of unpublished contemporary photographs and records, and fascinating stills from documentary footage shot as Sharjah in the 1930s.
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