Remembering Aden: David Harrington's Time in the Port City

In a nostalgic journey back to the early 1960s, David Harrington shares vivid memories of his time in Aden, a bustling port city that held a unique place in his heart. Working as a civilian for Marconi Marine, David and his wife resided at Palida Terrace in Steamer Point (Tawahi), offering a prime view of the bustling harbor and the comings and goings of ships. His story weaves through the city's landscapes, from the P & O Building overlooking Crescent and Victoria Gardens to the intriguing world of ship repairs and navigation aids. With a blend of work and leisure, David takes us on a journey through the Gold Mohur Swimming Club, the BP Tanker fleet, and even the intriguing Queen of Sheba Water Tanks, offering a glimpse into a time when Aden was a vibrant hub of activity and culture. Join us as we step back in time to explore David Harrington's unique perspective on life in Aden during this transformative era.

Their Palida Terrace veranda provided an ideal spot for his wife to sit and watch as David embarked on his daily tasks in the harbour. The constant parade of ships, each with its own story, created a dynamic backdrop to their life in Aden. Not far from their residence stood the "Orient Pharmacy," a landmark of those days.

Their offices were located in the P & O Building, overlooking the Crescent and Victoria Gardens. Here, the local Arabs played football and conducted their bag-pipe marches, adding a touch of cultural vibrancy to the surroundings. The Crescent Hotel, a popular spot during that era, likely holds fond memories for many.

David's job was to repair vital ship equipment, including communications systems, radar, echo-sounders, gyro compasses, and autopilots. His expertise was crucial for ensuring the safe navigation of the ships passing through the Port of Aden, which included tankers like those from BP and vessels from various nationalities.

In their leisure time, David and his wife were members of the Gold Mohur Swimming Club, located around the Point past the Cable and Wireless Offices. The magnificent rock formation that extended into the sea, resembling an elephant's trunk, was a captivating natural wonder.

David's close association with the BP Tanker fleet earned him an honorary membership in the BP Club, a testament to the strong bonds formed during his time in Aden. Socializing was a common thread, as they frequented the Officers Club in Steamer Point and even had the privilege of using the club facilities of the Harbour Pilots.

Despite the vibrant social life, David's work was demanding. He was on a 24-hour call, 365 days a year, ensuring the seamless navigation of ships in and out of Aden for refueling.

Their Aden chapter became even more memorable when their son was born in the city in January 1964, making him the family's "Arab." This international family had connections spanning the globe, with a daughter born in Cape Town, South Africa, and twin daughters born in Chelmsford, UK. Their diverse origins truly made them a League of Nations.

David fondly recalls the Queen of Sheba Water Tanks, (Tawila Tanks) a local marvel that often piqued their curiosity. Their collection of slides preserves snapshots of these tanks and the picturesque Aden landscape, a treasure trove of memories waiting to be shared.

While time has passed, the memories of Aden remain vivid for David Harrington. His recollections offer us a glimpse into an era when Aden was a bustling hub of activity, culture, and international connections. Join us as we step back in time to explore David's unique perspective on life in Aden during this transformative era.