The first picture is Hulele from Dunidu. You can see the windsock on the left hand end of the airstrip. I had to send a daily weather report to Gan. Half an hours training in meteorology before leaving Gan! No instruments just a poster of cloud types. I knew that the strip at Hulele ran roughly north-south so I would stand here and wet my finger and compare the cold side with Hulele to judge wind direction.
Picture No. 4. Approaching Dunidu on HMS Cavendish.
Picture No. 5. The Maldivi Govt. Boat yard on Hulele. Run by a British Marine Architect, Bob Saunders and manned by political prisoners and Maldivi military as guards.
Picture No. 7. Dhonis lying offshore at Dunidu which created a crisis. The boss seemed to think that we were going to be invaded.
Picture No. 8. The water supply was straight from the roof into our taps via the big built in tank. The beer can on a string at the top of the wall shows that the tank is nearly empty.
Picture No. 9. The farewell to Hulele was taken from the Valetta. The UK Rep is in white with a couple of saliors from Cavendish and lots of my Maldivian admirers!
Picture No. 17. This is the front page, Ceylon (Maldive Islands) of the Maldivian government's Official Stamp Album. They used to make a big living out of postage stamps. Funny story about this one. It was one of these 'Year of the ....something or other' and the UKRep wanted to get a first day cover set so we went over to Male in our boat 'Victoria'. We were walking towards the Administration Building Post Office when the boss said "Oh Good! He's there". 'He' was the Postmaster General. I said "How do you know" and he said "That's his bike leaning against the wall." The PMG was holding the album for me to take this photo. I tried to buy the first page of the album but he wouldn't be in on it. You can see the Friday Mosque depicted on quite a few of them.
Picture No. 24. The front patio of the residence was where the UKRep entertained visiting RN or RAF officers. The Captain and First Lt. of HMS Cavendish (the ship that took me up to Male from Gan and then stood off as the 'Guard ship' or 'Gunboat', according to the Male Government) occasionally came ashore and had tea with the boss. The First Lt. took a disliking to me from the moment the Captain invited me onto the bridge as we approached the Male Atoll. As ADC to the UKRep I took my place with them drinking tea. No way a RN Petty Officer would have been allowed such an honour.
Picture No. 28. Funny story with this one. This is the Toilet water supply for the residence. I used to have to hand pump the water from the ocean into the 40 gallon drum before going to the loo. I knew nothing about plumbing. Sometimes I had to pump it hundreds of times to get enough to flush the loo properly. The RN blokes came ashore just before I left, another story, so the tank got a lot more usage. They did a check on the system and found a hole in the pipe just below the high water mark. Whenever the tide was just slightly down, I was pumping air!!
I joined the RAF in November 1946 as a ‘mens service’ direct entry and trained as a W/op. TPO. D.F/Op. After tours in Libya, Germany and Cyprus and occasional short spells in UK, during which I became a Wireless Fitter, I was posted to Gan as a Sgt. in late Jan/early Feb 1963. After the Comet had returned from Singapore with my kit, it had forgotten to unload it with me, I was called into the Wingco’s office who said “Get up there sergeant and get that bloody corporal back here before he starts a bloody war.” ‘There’ was the island of Dunidu in Male Atoll. 300 miles north of Gan. The residence of the UK Rep. to the Maldives; sort of Ambassador. Total population: the UK Rep. his 3 Indian servants, 3 Maldivian servants (if diplomatic relations were good), an airman W/op and an NCO W/Fitt.
A RN Ship stood in Male Atoll. ‘Guard ship’ according to the British, ‘Gunboat’ according to the Male Govt. There were no SRO’s,
POR’s, AMO’s or pay parades. All pay was accumulated in one’s account at Gan. Only communication with anywhere in the world was the twice a day wireless schedule with Gan. Not even a radio link to the ship. Mail, food and other supplies were brought up by the Valetta from Gan, to the Hulele International Airstrip fortnightly,...if serviceable. The W/Fitt NCO was Officer i/c Catering, Fire services, Administration, SWO, Signals, Meteorology, Engineering, Air Traffic Control, i/c Hulele, ASF, Cryptography, Supply, Bowman on our boat Victoria and Medical Officer.
I travelled up to Male aboard HMS Cavendish leaving Gan at mid-day on the Saturday after receiving training in all the above during that morning. Honest!