It is over 50 years since I undertook my National Service in Iraq. I was stationed at a small Movements Unit in Basra on the banks of the Shatt-al-Arab river.
My main work was liaising with Iraqi State Railways (I had been a railway clerk before my call-up). In Iraq, I undertook arrangements to move troops by rail between Basra and Baghdad, and also saw that RAF equipment which had arrived in the docks in Basra was moved by rail to Baghdad. From Baghdad, personnel and materials were moved on to the large RAF base at Habbaniya.
I regularly rang the railway station to make arrangements via Abdul Sahib. He would respond to me in Arabic, until he quickly reflected how I had initially pronounced his name.
Abdul Sahib's children and grandchildren could well be amongst today's railway workers at Basra, who are currently on strike for a review of their pay and also want back-payments of bonuses they are entitled to. They certainly deserve to win this tussle to attempt to improve their quality of life.