The Suez Veterans Association

The main aim of the Association is to re-kindle and promote a spirit of comradeship amongst those who served in the

Suez Canal Zone, Egypt.     

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Re: Memories

Rod, if I had my choice of postings it would have been Malta (preferably doorman at the British Consulate).
Our troopship had a one-day stop in Valetta and we had a lovely time ashore before being summoned to leave by the sad moan of the foghorn from HMTS Lancashire. And then it was . . . "Next stop Port Said!!" and memories to last a lifetime (good and bad) which I wouldn't change for anything.
I loved Valetta and the people were very friendly to us when they heard we were enroute to the Canal Zone.

After a few days confined to camp at Port Said and I was on my way to REME Station Workshops (dropped off at the gate like the day's mail) in Suez at the southern tip of the Canal Zone, just before the Gulf of Suez. I got to swim in the Gulf about three times and sailed around it once aboard HMS Peacock, dropping depth charges all over the place (just the Brits flexing their muscles).
Not bad for a nineteen year old, whose knees were still pink.

When I got back home in 1953 I was twenty . . . going-on-twenty-five.

Re: Memories

Jim, I can understand that, my late wife read a book about a priest in Malta and she asked if we could go there for a holiday, so we had a fortnight out there and we really enjoyed it, the people were friendly and helpful, my wife was in a wheelchair and at bus stops they used to carry the wheelchair on and off the bus for us, I too liked Valleta though rather hilly, the only thing I was not keen on was everybody driving in centre of the road until the last minute, so I realise why the bus drivers had religious icons hanging in the windscreen.

So I to would have had Malta or Cyprus but I did enjoy my time in Malaya although it was a bit hot and sticky.

Like you I was 25 when I returned, I was going to sign on for further service, but girlfriend said she did not want to be an Army wife so came out, she regretted it later when she saw my son and his time in service and his and his wife's married quarters, but that's life.

Cheers Rod

Re: Memories

Rod, this thread you started is called "Memories" and you couldn't have picked a more appropriate title, because Memories is all we have left of this important sojourn in our lives. Or it would be all we had -- if it hadn't been for the tireless efforts of a group of veterans, like our own Tony Tolan, who took on the blind stubbornness of our government in Westminster and forced them to finally concede (from the comfort of the leather chairs in their London clubs) that we had earned a medal for our time in the deserts of the Suez Canal Zone.

However, back to "Memories":
we each had different experiences and, depending on where you were posted, they could be anything from downright squalid to living beside a Lido, with regular in-town visits. My own experiences were often of my own doing - good and bad. My camp was very small, we had less men than the crew of a WWII submarine. It's small size set it apart from what we usually associate with what is called "army life" e.g., rank meant very little ( first names were common) - it was difficult to put someone on a '252' and be sharing a beer with him that night.
I put my memory to test and started writing down the names of anyone I could recall from REME Station Workshops (Suez) and I came up with 44 and I don't think I missed a blessed soul (all ranks). Our total manpower was in the mid-forties.

Recalling each name was a great experience -- as I recalled their name, I heard their voice and their Geordie, Brummie or Glasgow accents and a fleeting look at a face from that time we spent in the Egyptian sun.

So Rod, "Thanks for the Memories" and Tony, thanks for the medal to pin on them.
I will keep them both.


Re: Memories

And thank you Jim for the chat, names I served I can no longer recall, they dimmed with age, best wishes to you and all reading this.

Cheers Rod