Text & Pictures: Jean-Marc Kesch & British Archives ©SBAP 2014

 

This Museum is part of a complex including other museums (Archeological, Science Museum, Art Museum) located on the old airfield of Sharjah, one of the emirates of the United Arab Emirates. The Museum was opened in 2000 and focus on the early years of aviation in the region.  Sharjah was the location of the first airport in the country. In 1932, Sultan of Sharjah offered a site just to the southeast of his city to the British authorities who were setting up air routes via the Persian Gulf to Iraq and India. The RAF built the runway and Imperial Airways accommodations for the travellers including a rest house, a wireless station and a control tower. From October 1932, Handley Page HP42s Heracles en route between London and India stayed overnight.   RAF Sharjah was used by the Royal Air Force until 1970.
The first aircraft to operate in Sharjah were HP 42 from Imperial Airways. This era is evocated by scale models and artifacts as the office of the local representative of Imperial Airways.
From 1949, a local airline started operations. Originally known under the name of Gulf Aviation Company, the company was founded in Bahrain in 1949 by a former RAF pilot, Freddie Bosworth. Originally, the company offered flights
cabotage services between the Gulf States, as well as charter/air taxi services, aircraft handling services and flying training services. From July 1950 the company operated between Doha, Sharjahand Dharan. The company operated several Ansonís, a de Havilland DH.86B Express. The de Havilland Dove replaced these aircraft, followed de Havilland DH.114 Heron and Douglas C-47/Dakota. From 1973, the company became the national carrier under the name of Gulf Air and is still a major player today.

The creation of the Gulf Air is evocated with a small but pristine collection of aircraft Avro Anson C19 G-AKNV. In reality, this aircraft was built in 1946 for the RAF (Serial nr TX183). The aircraft remain in service with RAF until 1968. After his military career the plane received the civil registration G-BSMF. The plane was acquired by the Museum in 2001 and repainted as G-AKNV, one the Anson operated by Gulf Aviation Company. DH Dove 6 G-AKVW Composite of various airplanes marked as G-AKVW. The aircraft is suspended and the cabin is not accessible. Douglas DC3 'G-AMZZ' (c/n 12254), acquired in 2003. DH Heron 2  G-ANFE with constructor's number 14072, used from 1955 by West African Airways Corporation with the registration VR-NAQ. Acquired in 1961 by Overseas Aviation Ltd (G-ARKU) and sold to the Royal Navy. Converted to a Sea Heron C20 (XR443) and used until 1989. Sold as G-ODLG, in 1993 it became VH-NJP with Heron Airlines in Australia.  As from 1995, stored at Sydney and finally sold to the Museum to represent G-ANFE in 2003. The Auster J/1 Autocrat, G-AJRE c/n 2603 was built 1947 and delivered from Coventry on October 5th, 2012 on the 80th anniversary of the first landing at the airbase. DH Comet Nose section XK655. This was the first Comet to be used by the Royal Air Force in 1953. Later on owned by the Strathallan collection, the Comet nose arrived at Sharjah in 2005. The Comet was the first jet to operate from Sharjah. The Museum also included interesting vehicles used for aircraft maintenance and ground handling. A documentary is also proposed to show the old airport's activities.  

   
   
   
Handley Page HP42 "Hanno" at Sharjah De Havilland DH.114 Heron at arrival
   
   
The Royal Air Force station build as from 1932 The early years with a Swordfish and Avro Anson
   
Aerial view in the 1960's The central point of the base
   
Westland Wessex HS.2 from 78 Sqn De Havilland Canada DHC.4 Caribou from Kuwait Air Force visiting Sharjah
   
Armstrom Withworth AW660 Argosy C.1 from 105 Sqn Blackburn Beverly C.1 from 30 Sqn
   
Hawker Siddeley Andover C.1 from 84 Sqn Avro 696 Shakelton MR2 from 37 Sqn above Sharjah air base
   
Line up Hawker Hunter from 208 Sqn 8 Squadron Hunter at Sharjah take off
   
The museum
   
Handley Page HP42 remembering the Imperial Airways era Auster J/1 Autocrat
   
Avro Anson C19 De Havilland DH.114 Heron 2
   
De Havilland DH.104 Dove 6 Douglas DC3
   
De Havilland DH.106 Comet nose section Comet cockpit
   
6 tons BP refueling tanker in service from 1940 Another refueling system
   
Address: P O Box:5119, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates
Open Week days & holidays : 9 am to 1 pm & 5 pm to 8 pm
Fridays : 5 pm to 8 pm only.
(Museum is closed on Mondays)


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