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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Suez Veterans Association.

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Forum: Suez Veterans Forum page
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Re: William James (Jay) McDowall, RASC.

Bill, Rod, Bob,:
Regardless of how the Forum finally ends I think we can all agree it has been of considerable value to all of us. At the very least it proves we are still around.

Being in contact with Suez Veterans over these few years changed my outlook on my time in the Canal Zone. For many years I thought my time spent there was an empty hole in my life, but exchanging experiences with all of you changed my mind about its importance in my life.
I spent my nineteenth and twentieth birthdays (not much more than a teenager) in a small army camp in the desert at the foothills of Mt. Atiqa, just north of the Gulf of Suez ( Believe it or not - I just recently found out the desert had a name, "The Eastern Desert").

I used to think of my buddies back home continuing with their lives and I was stuck in "this hell hole". On perimeter patrol I would stand staring out into the great Wadhi which had created the Lawrence of Arabia landscape and wondering what my pals at home were doing. I was wrong - they were doing nothing. Through talking to you lads I finally realized it was me who was doing something:

How many of my pals were rushing out in the middle of the night to man a road-block to stop a stolen supply truck on the Treaty Road. Watch it crash through our barrier, go racing around a bend to be blown to smthereens ( the Airborne didn't use barriers, they used road mines).
How many of my friends got involved in rescuing a submerged truck in a canal (not the 'big one') and rescuing the troops sitting on the roof.
How many of my friends visited an Egyptian tavern (Auberge de l'Atiqa) pretending to be merchant sailors and running for our lives from a gang of Egyptian taxi drivers wielding starter handles.
I had many adventures during my time in Suez, I just didn't know that was what they were. I just knew I was missing all the fun my mates at home were probably having.
How many of my friends drove as an armed guard on a convoy up the desert alongside the Suez Canal ( that duty was called "riding shotgun")?
How many of my friends spent New Year on foot patrol in the Sinai Desert and not knowing why?

When I came back home my friends were just the same
. . . I thought I was but I wasn't.

The Forum opened my eyes to what I couldn't see . . . That I was having an experience which would last lifetime.


Let the Forum outlast us all. Let the Forum itself be "Last man standing" - Maybe I will turn off the lights.

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