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1st Bn XX The Lancashire Fusiliers
Egypt
Ismalia

The Ismailia Riots

When the Egyptian Government abrogated their treaty with Great Britain on the 15th October 1951, the 1st Bn. The Lancashire Fusiliers was warned to be ready for internal security duties in Ismailia on the following day. "A" Company was placed on one-hour notice to move, while the remainder of the Battalion was held at four hours notice. Since no measures were allowed to be taken that would give the Egyptians any cause for complaint, it was not possible to send troops into town, as a precautionary measure, to be immediately available in case of trouble. The Battalion was therefore held in readiness in its barracks at Moascar, some two miles from the British residential area of Ismailia.

At about 8.15 am on the 16th October, a party of Egyptians arrived from Cairo and started anti-British demonstrations in the square outside the railway station. A large crowd soon collected and was whipped up into an excited frenzy. The mob started by overturning British cars and trucks, looting their contents and setting them on fire. The civil police made a few half-hearted attempts to disperse them and there was a comparative lull at about 8.45 a.m. British service families, who were in the town in the normal way, took the opportunity to return to their homes but some thirty women and children took refuge in the N.A.A.F.I grocery store in Station Square.

At about 9.15 am the ringleaders led a large crowd to the N.A.A.F.I, set fire to the fence, forced an entry and started looting. The N.A.A.F.I staff and service families were driven into the back premises. At the same time, large crowds were wandering about and shouting in different parts of the town. The situation was completely out of control, the police making little effort to restore order. The Commander 3rd Infantry Brigade, therefore ordered "A" Company of The Lancashire Fusiliers into the town. The Commanding Officer(Lt Col Bamford-Joe) issued instructions for "A" Company to establish itself in French Square and to rescue the British people cut off in the N.A.A.F.I.

"A" Company(OC was Major T.P.Shaw-Joe) immediately proceeded to French Square in three-ton lorries. The square was full of rioters, who were crowding around buses, army vehicles and private cars, which they had set on fire. There were a number of Egyptian police in the square but they were not taking any effective action to disperse the rioters. As soon as the crowd saw the troops arrive they dispersed rapidly in the direction of the station and without any further action being taken the square was cleared. Major T.P. Shaw debussed his company, less one platoon, and put them on the ground in French Square with a Bren gun covering all roads leading into it. At the same time he ordered 2 Platoon to proceed without delay to the N.A.A.F.I with the two empty three-ton lorries in order to rescue the trapped families and bring them back to safety, and on completion of this task to rejoin the company.

There was a large mob in the square outside the N.A.A.F.I, who were by this time completely out of control. They were looting, overturning and firing vehicles, and throwing stones and bottles at any Europeans who showed themselves. The crowd outside the N.A.A.F.I scattered as the vehicles drove up and they pelted them with stones and bottles. 2nd Lt Inchbald debussed his platoon a few hundred yards from the N.A.A.F.I, left an escort of about five men with the vehicles, and proceeded with the rest of his platoon to the N.A.A.F.I on foot.

Four armed Military Police were in the N.A.A.F.I building protecting the families, but they were hemmed in by the crowds. The N.A.A.F.I grocery store by this time was swarming with looters and the building was on fire. 2nd Lt Inchbald drove the crowd back from the immediate vicinity of the N.A.A.F.I, and disposed his sections around it.
He then proceeded to escort the families from the buildings to the waiting vehicles. The crowd closed in again by this time. Many of them were drunk from the whiskey they had looted from the grocery store and the vehicles were again pelted with stones and bottles. 2nd Lt Inchbald then ordered Cpl. Kennedy and the Platoon Sgt. to fire two rounds at the rioters and this drove them back to a safe distance. The women and children were then put in the vehicles and covered up with tarps and camouflage nets to protect them from flying stones and bottles. Most of the families were put on the centre vehicle with the two halves of the platoon in the rear and leading vehicles. 2nd Lt Inchbald drove the families and the N.A.A.F.I staff to the Blue Kettle Restaurant where there was a Military Police Post and then rejoined the Company in French Square'


"Army Mansions" : One of the Ismailia
blocks of flats in which Moascar
families were installed

In the meantime Lt. Col. Bamford arrived in French Square shortly after the Company. He immediately took Major Shaw and a small escort to the N.A.A.F.I to reconnoitre the area. 2 Platoon, with the families, were leaving the N.A.A.F.I just when this party arrived. There was still a very hostile crowd in the square that seemed to be increasing in numbers. Lt. Col. Bamford ordered the party to fire several shots into the N.A.A.F.I to clear it temporarily of looters and also at the crowd, which at this time were closing in and pelting the party with stones. As a result of this recce the Commanding Officer ordered Major Shaw to clear the area of the N.A.A.F.I, of the rioters and drive them back along the parallel roads leading into Arab Town. He also ordered "C" Company to proceed to French Square as quickly as possible from barracks.

As soon as "C" Company arrived in French Square, "A" Company moved out to disperse the rioters from the square in front of the station. The Company moved in column of platoons with a party of Sten gunners, together with the platoon commander in front of each platoon. After a few shots had been fired, the crowd rapidly withdrew from the square and crowded into the streets leading into Arab Town. On the approach of the leading troops, most of the looters in the N.A.A.F.I fled in panic. It was noticeable that amongst them were one or two Egyptian policemen.(Nothing much changed there then,we are still seeing it in Iraq -Joe)After the N.A.A.F.I and the square had been cleared the Company paused to reorganize before clearing the streets leading into Arab Town. At this time a large number of police reinforcements under the command of their own officers arrived in the square but it was evident that they were in sympathy with the rioters and very little could be expected of them. Their own officers, at this stage, were mainly concerned with trying to persuade the various commanders of troops on the spot to exercise the greatest moderation in dealing with the rioters. They seemed oblivious to the fact that the N.A.A.F.I close to them was looted and burnt, that the square was full of vehicles overturned and gutted by fire, and that a large mob was trying to break into the cellars of Army Mansions, a large block of married quarters near by.

On the arrival of one of "C" Company's platoons at the N.A.A.F.I, "A" Company proceeded to drive the mob down the parallel streets leading from the station square and at right angles to the Rue Telatine, which was the physical boundary of Arab Town. At this time, the crowds who had been driven from the square were bunched together in large numbers along the streets and were still very hostile. Anti British slogans of the vilest nature were being shouted and stones and bottles were being thrown. The Company was now split up into columns, each column being in position at the entrance to each particular street. It was hoped that the threat of troops advancing towards the crowd with bayonets fixed would suffice to get them moving back in different directions but this was not so. Although the crowd at the head of each street started to move back, those behind them who could not see what was happening in front, held their ground. After one or two unsuccessful attempts to move the crowd back in this way, the centre column fired two or three bursts of Sten on the ground at a safe distance from the crowd. This was immediately taken up by all the columns on the left and right who did likewise. The noise of these bursts, which opened up almost simultaneously and was accentuated by the echo from the numerous buildings, sounded most effective and the crowd began to move back in haste. After advancing another two hundred yards or so, the columns opened up again and panic set in amongst the rioters as they ran in confusion back across the Rue Telatine into Arab Town. During this advance communication was temporarily lost between the columns, but the rate of advance was approximately the same and each column knew that Company headquarters was moving at the head of the centre one. On arrival at the Rue Telatine, contact was re-established throughout the Company.

Major Shaw put small parties of men, about half sections, on the ground to cover each of the numerous streets leading off the Rue Telatine. The latter was bounded on one side by the Rue Mohd Ali and the Sweet Water Canal and on the other side by the railway line. There were a great many of these streets, and as a result so long was the company perimeter that they were of necessity rather thin on the ground and the whole company was committed without the Company Commander being able to keep a reserve on hand to move to any threatened point. No. 31 set communication with Battalion HQ, which by this time was established, in French square, and each platoon had a No. 88 set. On account of the numerous buildings that separated platoon HQ from each other. No. 88 set communication was not satisfactory.

During the clearing of the square and subsequent advance into Arab Town, several casualties had to be inflicted on the more extreme of the rioters. This had a great effect on the remainder, who for the rest of the day showed a healthy respect for the troops. The troops themselves, many of them young soldiers who had just recently completed their preliminary training and only recently arrived from the United Kingdom, remained very calm in the face of extreme provocation from the crowd who were in a very ugly mood. There was no indiscriminate firing and when fire was opened it was controlled and the minimum of force was used.

The perimeter along the Rue Telatine was established by 1300 hrs, and the situation seemed to be completely restored. The large crowds had vanished amongst the many streets and garrets of Arab Town. Tea and a very welcome hot meal were sent up at this time and the C.Q.M.S distributed the food by doing a "milk round" to each street in turn.

In the afternoon crowds began to concentrate along the Rue Telatine at various points. The main concentration was on the extreme right in front of 2 Platoon's area near the railway line. They were crowding in along the perimeter and gradually increasing in numbers they seemed to be regaining their confidence. These crowds were difficult to deal with. They were not a vast mob out of control under the influence of mob hysteria as the morning rioters had been. They contained an equal number of extremists and talkative individuals who were urging moderation to the former and curious onlookers.

The extremists were attempting to force their way through the cordon and engage individual sentries in arguments. The more moderate individuals were arguing with the extremists and trying to engage the troops in reasonable discussion, while behind there was a rapidly increasing number of curious onlookers who might be persuaded either way and who were gradually pushing those in front closer into the perimeter. Major Shaw visited 2 Platoon area and decided to reinforce this area with troops from quieter parts of the perimeter. 2nd Lt Inchbald made several attempts to drive the crowd away by the threat of troops moving forward with fixed bayonets. He then ordered a few shots to be fired at the crowd and the latter dispersed rapidly. A similar crowd had concentrated close to 1 Platoon perimeter and Sgt. Wall was compelled to open fire, after which the crowd dispersed rapidly.

While the crowds were forming, the Egyptian police, moving from east to west along the Rue Telatine in trucks, attempted to disperse the crowds. On two occasions the method used was to drive rapidly up the Rue Telatine and to fire over the heads of the crowd from moving vehicles. These methods were quite ineffective and on two occasions completely innocent individuals, sitting by the road at street cafes, were hit and wounded.

click on photo to enlarge

At approximately 1600 hrs, Lt. Colonel Bamford sent up supplies of concertina wire and tar barrels filled with stones to form some sort of physical barrier for the cordon. C.S.M. Smith quickly dumped these stores at the end of each street and organized their erection and within an hour each street was blocked with two strands of concertina wire with two or three tar barrels behind them... The half sections protecting each street took up positions behind these obstacles and the Bren gun was put into position at the end of each of the larger streets. Although these wire barriers were not in themselves very formidable obstacles, their psychological value was beyond measure and it became obvious to all the population of Arab Town that any attempt to force these barriers would result in fire being opened from behind the wire. On the extreme left of the perimeter a roadblock was established on the Rue Mohd Ali. This was part of the main road to Port Said and was very crowded with traffic. Captain Porter, second in command of the company, was in charge of this sector. All vehicles moving up the road were stopped and the occupants inspected.

At 1600 Hrs Lt. Colonel Bamford visited Major Shaw and inspected the perimeter in detail. He considered that the company was too thin on the ground for their night dispositions and decided to reinforce the area with "D" Company, who arrived at the Rue Telatine at approximately 1730 hrs. The perimeter was accordingly strengthened. By this time several Egyptian police officers and NCOs had arrived at the perimeter and rendered valuable assistance at the barriers.

The night passed quietly and soon the company settled down to a normal routine. A curfew was imposed on the whole of Arab Town each night after 1900 hrs.

The company "stood to" each morning and evening and were inspected by Major Shaw or Lt. Colonel Bamford. Sentry rosters were made out for the day and double sentries were on duty for two hours at a time by day and night at the barriers. In each platoon area either the platoon Commander or platoon Sgt. was standing by. C.S.M. Smith organized the distribution of food, stores and ammunition. The platoon commander and platoon Sgt. relieved each other for varying periods by day and night. The troops, in their usual adaptable manner, made themselves comfortable in the narrow and dirty streets behind the barriers and were cheerful throughout. Several isolated officers and other ranks families living close to the perimeter did everything in their power to add to the troops comfort. Relays of tea and sandwiches were sent by them to the barriers, newspapers and magazines of every sort were distributed amongst the troops, and several of them allowed the officers and sergeants to take very welcome hot baths in their houses.

Except for one small demonstration on the 17th October, no further incidents took place in the town while the Battalion remained in control. On Thursday 18th October, the GOC agreed to allow the Egyptian police to resume control, although two companies were to be held in the town in immediate readiness in the event of the police losing control. The Battalion therefore handed over the cordon to the Egyptian Police at 1600 Hours. "A" Company returned to Moascar, while "C" and "D" Companies went into billets in the town.

AN ANTI-TERRORIST PATROL

During the month of December there had been considerable sniping at vehicles using the road that passes via Abu Sueir from Moascar to Tel El Kebir (TEK). This road is one that was peculiarly suited to the terrorists' practice of lying up for a vehicle, firing a few bursts of automatic fire at it and then hastily disappearing to avoid reprisals. The road was, until recently, the only one between Moascar and TEK and was therefore much used by military traffic. Added to this was the fact that along its entire length on one side it was bordered by the Sweet-Water Canal, where high banks gave excellent cover for snipers, who could easily retreat into the villages and hamlets that lay in the cultivated land beyond. It was from behind this cover, in fact, that all the sniping had come. Up to the beginning of January the only counter-measures that had been taken were motor patrols along the road but these had proved unsuccessful as the high banks of the canal prevented aimed fire from being directed at the snipers. On 4th January, however, it was decided this nuisance had continued long enough and that the battle would be carried into enemy territory and foot patrols sent across the Sweet Water Canal.

Three platoon commanders Lt.'s Taylor, Inchbald and 2nd Lt. Davis,(Later Major John Davis OC D Coy Weeton-Joe) were therefore called by Major Agar to be briefed on the tasks of their patrols. Lt. Taylor was to command the road patrol which, in conjunction with a troop of the 4th/7th Dragoons, was to cover the crossing of the Sweet Water Canal by the two other patrols commanded by Lt. Inchbald and 2Lt. Davis.

Due to the very heavy guard commitments it was decided that the patrols should consist of entirely volunteers; these were very quickly forthcoming and two patrols of two non-commissioned officers and eight men were formed. Their task was to cross the canal and patrol areas about two miles apart, from which sniping had recently taken place and to intercept thugs going to and returning from the canal bank. The G.O.C. himself had taken an interest in the patrols and expressed confidence in a "bag". It was rumoured that Lt. Taylor wanted to use his Vickers machine gun as indirect fire support but the other two patrol commanders quickly squashed his suggestion.

Once assembled, the orders for dress and administration were soon given to the patrols. They were to leave barracks at 1715 hrs, so an early meal was ordered for 1630 hrs. Dress was to be warm but to give complete freedom of movement. Cap comforters were decided on as being the best form of headgear, sweaters and battle-dress trousers for warmth, with denim slacks to keep off the mud. Gym shoes were worn for quiet movement and speed if necessary. Their armament catered for any eventuality. They took with them two Bren guns, a 2-inch mortar with both illuminating and H.E. bombs, five Sten guns and three rifles. In addition each man carried two Mills grenades. During the afternoon a rehearsal of the patrol formations and signals was held and all the automatic weapons and magazines were tested. As well as the offensive weapons taken, two Very pistols for communication between the patrols were included. The signals were simple. One red light to show position, and request assistance, and one green for cease-fire.

The final preparation was completed with a coating of wet sticky cocoa powder plastered over face neck and hands until the patrol was almost taken for its opponents.

The patrols left barracks at 1715 hrs and moved down to the road junction where they were to rendezvous with the armoured cars of the 4th/7th Dragoons. They had not arrived when the patrols got there but a great deal of shooting could be heard going on up the road and tracer was being fired across the Sweet Water Canal. 2nd Lt. Davis decided not to wait for the Dragoons but to push across the Canal and attempt to join the battle with the terrorists. The assault boat was hastily unloaded, assembled and sent on its way across the canal. As it reached the other bank the armoured cars could be heard approaching and Lt. Taylor decided to wait for their arrival before moving off. When the cars were about 300 yards away, rifle fire was opened on them from across the Sweet Water Canal; they immediately stopped and fired back. 2nd Lt. Davis's patrol was then moving in this area and only by promptly putting up a green very light was disaster averted. 2nd Lt. Davis immediately went in search of the thugs but was unsuccessful. The two other patrols went on in company with the Dragoons, who said they had been involved in an incident in which the Egyptians had shot up two RAF vehicles, killed one NCO, and wounded another and one officer. They hastened up the road towards this place, where it was decided that Lt. Inchbald should take his patrol across. After going about a mile they were fired on from an area by an orchard and Lt. Taylor stopped and returned fire with a light machine gun and 2 inch mortar while Lt. Inchbald and the armoured cars pressed on up the road. A good crossing place was reached close to the scene of the accident and the assault boat launched. The crossing went without incident and the armoured cars joined with Lt. Taylor and continued with their patrol.

On reaching the other bank, Lt. Inchbald left Cpl. Hardy and two Fusiliers with a light machine gun to guard the boat and taking the rest of his patrol, moved quickly along under cover of the Canal bank. After going for some 200 yards they struck inland to the cover of a line of palm trees. There was no sound of enemy activity now and the patrol therefore laid up in ambush on one of the main paths leading to the Canal in the hope of waylaying some of the culprits returning to the villages.

After lying up for about twenty minutes on the cold wet ground, the patrol was becoming a little restless when three shots rang out from the canal bank. Instantly the whole patrol was alert. After a few minutes Cpl. Wilson(was this the Tug Wilson later to be CSM of SP Coy in HK?-Joe) suddenly saw three natives hurrying down the path towards them. The patrol was tense, waiting for the absolute recognition of the natives. They came towards the waiting patrol one man lagging about ten yards behind the other two. When they were about forty yards away it could be clearly seen that they were carrying weapons of some kind and at the patrol commanders order, fire was opened. All three natives dropped in their tracks, the first two killed outright. The third one however, was not hit and fired back at the patrol. He then disappeared, presumably along one of the irrigation ditches, and a search failed to find any trace of him. The first two were found to be armed with Sten guns that had obviously been fired that evening, and several magazines of ammunition. These were taken and the bodies left on the track where they would be found next morning.

The patrol continued on its way until it came to the village from which a great deal of the firing had come earlier in the night. This had been heavily strafed by the armoured cars, and there was no sign of life whatsoever. One of the native palm-thatched huts was still burning, and nearby was a dead donkey lying grotesquely on its back. They cautiously entered the village and slowly and silently moved through, seeing and hearing nothing until suddenly rounding the corner of a house a big dog leapt snarling and whining from almost under their feet. Startled Fusilier Walters, who was carrying a mortar, jumped back and crashed into the rifle of the man behind him and fell to the ground, fortunately unhurt. The incident caused considerable mirth when we were safely back in barracks but at the time no one found it at all amusing, least of all Fusilier Walters.

It was now time for the patrol to withdraw and this they did, keeping to the cover of the embankment and watching for any signs of cable-cutters on the line of the road, nothing however was seen and they arrived back at the boat. After about ten minutes the road patrol arrived and a red Very light was put up signalling them to stop. The boat was loaded into the truck and the combined patrols moved on to pick up 2nd Lt. Davis. The road patrol had itself been engaged in an action near Moascar and had set fire to a hut from which the firing had come. 2nd Lt. Davis was waiting when the patrols arrived and reported nothing seen, save for one old man on a donkey, who cheerily wished them "saida". So all three patrols returned to barracks, a successful mission accomplished.

On the Newspaper cutting below
1.Lancashire Fusiliers at the Naafi in Ismailia to rescue army wifes shopping after terrorist set it on fire.
2. Egyptian policeman that had joined in the looting at the Naafi.
All cars belonging to servicemen where overturned and set on fire that day


This is the official report to the House of Commons at the time :-
EGYPT (BRITISH MILITARY ACTION, ISMAILIA)
HC Deb 31 January 1952 vol 495 cc362-5 362

§ Mr. Aneurin Bevan
(by Private Notice) asked the Secretary of State for War whether, arising out of the statement by the Foreign Secretary on Tuesday, he is now in a position to give the House more details concerning the recent clash between British Forces and Egyptian auxiliary police in Ismailia.

§ The Secretary of State for War (Mr. Antony Head)
Yes, Sir, I am arranging for a detailed account of the incidents in Ismailia on 25th January to be published today in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

§ Following is the statement:

§ General.

§ On 16th October, 1951, the Egyptian police failed to control the riots which broke out in Ismailia and British troops had to restore order. After this 600 auxiliary police arrived from Cairo.

§ Egyptian terrorists had been and continued attacking our troops and convoys while the Egyptian police looked on. In some cases the auxiliary police, alongside the terrorists, attacked our troops. On 17th, 18th and 19th November, 1951, the auxiliary police fired on our patrols in Ismailia. After this General Erskine arranged for the regular and auxiliary Egyptian police to remain in their barracks while our families evacuated the town. After this both regular and auxiliary police in Ismailia were replaced by fresh companies from Cairo.

§ The normal rôle in Egypt of auxiliary police is to provide a reserve for riot duty armed with staves. Those sent to the Canal Zone on both occasions were armed with rifles.

363
§ After the change over had taken place evidence increased that the new auxiliary police were taking part in attacks on our troops and installations. On 3rd and 4th December, 1951, auxiliary police opened fire on our troops near the water filtration plant outside Suez and killed 11. On 18th December, 1951, fire from the police station in Ismailia killed a British officer passing in a jeep.

§ Twenty auxiliary police and four terrorists in a lorry attacked a road block near Tel-El-Kebir. As a result of this and other attacks in the neighbourhood our troops cleared the area, finding, in the police station compound of El Hammada (a small village), a senior police major-general and 116 armed police, as well as quantities of ammunition and other arms.

§ The steadily mounting casualties amongst our troops and the attacks upon them caused the Commander-in-Chief, at the end of November, 1951, to recommend the disarming of the auxiliary police. On 7th December, 1951, His Majesty's Government authorised the Commander-in-Chief to take this step if the situation demanded it.

§ On 23rd January, 1952, when our casualties had reached 33 killed and 69 wounded, the Commander-in-Chief told the Chiefs of Staff that, in view of the repeated evidence of attack by the auxiliary police, he considered that he must disarm those in Ismailia, and that he had ordered General Erskine to do so. His Majesty's Government approved this decision.

§ Narrative of Events

§ Location of Egyptian Police on morning of 25th January.

§ The position in Ismailia on the morning of 25th January was:—

(a) About 400 Egyptian police, of whom about 60 were regulars, were in the Caracol, the normal regular Police Station and the Governor's Office.
(b) Some 600 Egyptian police, almost all auxiliaries, were in the Bureau Sanitaire located about 400 yards distant from the Caracol. The Bureau Sanitaire is normally the health office but was taken over as temporary barracks for the additional auxiliary police.

§ Message to the Sub-Governor of Ismailia

§ The operation started with a message to the Sub-Governor of Ismailia to the effect that, since the auxiliary police had been firing on our troops as well as helping the terrorists, it was necessary to disarm them. He was therefore requested to order them to come out of their barracks without arms, and told that arms would be restored to the regular police who would then be allowed to continue their duties.

§ Message to the Major-General Commanding the Police

§ A similar message was sent to the major-general commanding the police who was at his residence. He replied that both the regular and auxiliary police would resist in accordance with their orders from the Egyptian Government. In view of this statement the operations against the Caracol and the Bureau Sanitaire were put in train.

364
§ The Caracol

§ In operations against the Caracol Egyptian casualties did not exceed single figures and ours were none. The Egyptian police opened fire first and subsequently fired repeatedly. The buildings were not damaged.

§ The Bureau Sanitaire

§ The major operations took place against the Bureau Sanitaire of which the occupants were almost all auxiliary police. This building had been substantially fortified since its occupation by the auxiliary police.

§ At 0614 hours and continuing until 0640 hours broadcasts were made from loudspeaker vans calling upon the police to surrender. At 0656 hours firing by the police started from the Bureau Sanitaire and continued with increasing intensity until 0710 hours. We then retaliated by firing one round of blank from a 20-pounder tank gun as a warning. The police continued to fire.

§ At 0715 hours we returned the fire for the first time, six rounds of 20-pounder tank gun and a few rounds of two-pounder being fired as well as small arms. This produced a very heavy fusillade from the police.

§ A fresh broadcast was then made, followed by a pause to give them time to surrender. At 0815 hours fire was again opened by us on the same scale, followed by a broadcast with another pause for surrender. All this had no effect on the police and they continued to fire.

§ At 0900 hours two platoons of our infantry, supported by tanks, forced their way inside the walled compound of the Bureau Sanitaire which was used as barracks by the auxiliary police. Our infantry quickly suffered fourteen casualties and were withdrawn.

§ Final Surrender

§ At 1000 hours fire was opened again and at 1037 hours surrender started. We suffered three killed and 13 wounded. The Egyptian police casualties were 41 killed, 73 wounded, and 886 surrendered.

§ Weapons used by British Troops

§ The weapons used by our troops consisted of small arms, tanks from which 23 rounds of 20-pounder were fired, armoured cars which used a few rounds of two-pounder ammunition. No artillery, aircraft or mortars were used except for one round of 2 in. smoke.

§ Comments

§ The operation was planned with the object of avoiding bloodshed. The buildings were surrounded at dawn and every possible effort was then made to persuade the police to surrender, but the responsible officials refused to take any action and the police general in Ismailia steadfastly remained in his quarters throughout the whole proceedings.

§ The police in the Bureau Sanitaire were first called upon to surrender at 0614 hours, but it was not until 0715 hours that British troops opened fire in spite of the fact that they themselves had been under fire from the Egyptians since 0656 hours—nearly 20 minutes earlier.

365
§ The first serious attempt to enter the building was made by our infantry nearly two hours later after a series of broadcasts, and this attempt immediately resulted in fourteen casualties to our troops. In order to avoid much greater casualties on both sides it was essential to complete the operation as soon as possible and in any case in daylight.

§ There were no casualties to civilians. Transport was produced quickly after the surrender and prisoners were taken away for a meal, whilst our doctors gave immediate medical attention to the wounded, some of whom were taken to our hospital and the remainder to the Egyptian hospital.

§ If the Egyptian Government had maintained proper control over their police forces and, in particular, their auxiliaries, it would never have been necessary to carry out the operation at all.



RAF Vampire Collision
EGYPT 1952

At crack of dawn on Thursday 1st May 1952 the Battalion Second in Command, Major John Corbyn DSO, MC and I had to take out a search party of Fusiliers and a RAF doctor in two Jeeps and two Bren Gun Carriers into the Sinai desert. Two RAF Vampire fighters had collided in mid air and dropped into the sand sea towards the Palestine border.
Apparently they smashed during the morning of the previous day and RAF Desert Rescue Squads went out immediately but in twenty four hours they had only managed to cover two miles so the task was passed to 1LF.
When we arrived at the Ferry across the Suez Canal we were told that a RAF Police vehicle has managed to get within two miles of the crash site but had run out of petrol.
It took us five hours to get to the scene of the collision, a distance of about thirty five miles, the last twelve through sand dunes about three hundred feet high. Certainly the worst bit of desert I encountered in Egypt.
We picked up one of the pilots almost immediately; he had bailed out and was found by Bedouins who looked after him for twenty four hours. We did not find the other pilot for seven hours and when we reached him he was dead. He had managed to get out of his plane but did not open his parachute. The Doctor who was with us said he was not fit to be moved so we buried him on the spot.
The following morning after having supplies dropped to us we brought the first pilot in to RAF Ismailia and then went home and piled into bed.
Friday evening we travelled down to Fayid to watch the Battalion boxing team fight the 3rd Battalion Parachute Regiment in the finals of the Army Egypt Competition. We beat them by ten fights to three ….they were not as tough as they were made out to be.
An interesting couple of days with 1LF.

Maurice Taylor


A few Memories of the day the XXth

Disarmed the Egyptian Police in Ismalia


By the middle of October 1951 Fusiliers from 1 LF were always refered to as "Yellow Devils" in the Egyptian Press....can't think why? After one of our sessions in the Arab Quarter of Ismailia there was even a day set aside to celebrate the slaughter of "sons of the valley" (sounds like a dance band) when all shops and public utilities closed. But the real build up to the disarming of the police began in earnest on the 14 January 1952 when at crack of dawn that morning the Battalion removed all the local population from the town. We then cordoned the streets whilst the Parachute Regiment search all buildings and recovered large quantities of arms and ammunition. It was eyrie to be in such a large deserted town without any people, even the Banks were wide open and empty. A couple of paratroopers could not resist the temptation and stuffed their small packs with notes but being British they did not get away with it.
We moved out of Ismailia on the Monday morning and started preparing for a raid on Abu Gamus the following day but this raid never came off as we were told to standby for Operation Eagle, the disarming of the Egyptian Police.
Operation Eagle took place on Friday 25th January 1952. Inside Ismailia there were two police barracks, the Sanitaire (650 policemen) and the Caracol (750) so there was a large force against us and the full Brigade was used in the Operation
Once more we started at crack of dawn (the army never does anything at a reasonable hour) and when the town had been cordoned off by 1 Para, 1 E. Lancs and 1 Lincs we moved in supported by tanks and armoured cars. We surrounded both barracks and knocked on their doors and politely asked the police to hand over their weapons. We were happy in the knowlege that every telephone cable out of the town had been cut, or so we thought. The Police Duty Officer at the Caracol said words to the effect that he would have to consult with his bosses and when he picked up the phone and straight away got through to Cairo we had egg on our faces. He was told in no uncertain terms not to comply with our request and if necessary fight to the last man.
We gave them a long time to make their minds up and they started shooting at eight thirty so we knew they meant to stay in and we also opened up . The Police in the Sanitaire fought vey bravely but they hadn't a chance and we literaly blew them out of the place.
At the Caracol where I was with most of the MMG Platoon and a couple of Staghounds they took a longer period to make their minds up to stay in and resist. We had two carriers at the back gate of the building and at mid-day every one surrounding the Police Station opened up and we put a full MMG belt of 250 rounds (Cpl Bateman or Cpl Oliver?) and some 2 pounder shells into the compound. In next to no time the gate opened and Fusilier Chidotal with his size nines was helping a never ending stream of policemen round the walls to A Company's main position at the front.
CSM "Spud" Murphy was the only casualty in Sp Coy he caught one in the arm on a roof top where he was in position with the Coy runner Fus Warne. Regretably C Coy took a lot of casualties........brave lads who went into the Sanitaire through a hail of bullets.
Anyhow the XXth did it again the Police were disarmed and the Canal Zone went rather quiet for some time. Terrorist activities virtually ceased from that date and within a few months the Egyptian Police were back on their peacetime job.

Photograph of a couple of trophies taken from the Armoury of the Caracol

Maurice

THE DISARMING OF THE POLICE IN ISMAILIA.
The Battle

Click here and see the Pathe news film on the riots The LF's in Action
Click here for a 2nd Film of the action by ITN
It may take a while to download, so be patient.

On Thursday 24th January 1952, Brigadier Exham, Commander of the Third Infantry Brigade, held an "O" Group at Tactical Headquarters at 211 Transit Camp on the Banks of the Sweet Water Canal, opposite Arab Town.

The Commanding officer, Lt. Colonel A. A. Agar, (Newly taken over from Lt Col Bamford --Joe) was told that "Operation Eagle", the code-name for the disarming of the police in Ismailia, would take place at first light on the 25th January 1952 and that two troops of the 4th Royal Tank Regiment and four troops of the Royals were under his command for the operation. The Brigade Commander also ordered that an outer cordon around the town of Ismailia be established at first light by the 2nd Parachute Battalion, the 1st Battalion of the East Lancashire Regiment, and the Royal Lincolnshire Regiment. This cordon sealed off Ismailia proper from Arab Town Arasha.
At 1600 Hrs on the 24th January 1952, an "O" Group was held at Battalion H, Headquarters and the Commanding Officer gave his orders for disarming the police the following morning. The gists of his orders were as follows;

Tasks;

(a) Close cordon Bureau Sanitaire(Police Barracks) and Caracol

(b) Disarm all police in Ismailia.

(c) Maintain law and order in Ismailia.

Method:

(a) Close cordon of Caracol to be undertaken by one troop of the 4th Royal Tank Regiment, two troops of The Royals and six Bren gun carriers of Support Company, with infantry sections

(b) Close cordon of Bureau Sanitaire with one troop of the 4th Royal Tank Regiment, two troops of the Royals, less one armoured car, and two carriers of Support Company with infantry sections.

(c) Close cordon to be in position by 1615 hrs.

(d) "A" Company 1LFdisarming force for Caracol to be in position on the banks of the Sweet Water Canal opposite Caracol as cordon closed.

(e) Battalion Tactical headquarters 1LF, "C" Company 1LFplus Drums 1LF to be deployed to clear the barracks as cordon closed on the Bureau Sanitaire.

(f) Support Company 1LF, less detachments and one armoured car responsible for protection of France Square.

(g) Main Headquarters 1LF with "D" Company 1LF, and medical detachment in reserve in Rue Mohd Ali.

The account will now deal with the disarming of the police in the Bureau Sanitaire Barracks.

At 0620 hours a broadcasting van positioned itself opposite the Bureau Sanitaire screened by a Centurion tank and the first broadcast was aired. During the broadcast the Veterinary Surgeon living in the Bureau Sanitaire came out and asked permission to move his family. This was given and he was sent into the Bureau to tell the police to lay down their arms and surrender and that no harm would come to them. This had no effect and a second broadcast was made.

During this period and for the next fifteen minutes, the police were observed to occupy further sandbagged positions, both on the roofs of buildings and in wired and fortified positions in the garden. Further ammunition was also seen to be dumped at each position. It is appropriate now to explain that the Bureau Sanitaire consisted of two large double-storied buildings in the northeast corner and five single story barrack blocks scattered over the compound. The double-story buildings also possessed cellars.

Certain buildings had been connected by wire and oil drums and positions were well sited and sandbagged. The police were also assisted in their defence by heavy undergrowth and trees. Well-prepared positions had been made on the roofs of the double-story buildings. It was quite apparent that an attack was fully expected but it is probable that some surprise was achieved due to the swiftness of the mounting of the operation.

As the police had failed to comply with the second broadcast one Centurion tank was ordered to enter the compound by the main gate and in so doing the gate and portion of the front wall were demolished. At about 0650 hrs a third broadcast was given. Between 0645 and 0700 hours the police fired at least six rounds, which were not returned.

As the police still refused to take any notice of the broadcasts the Centurion tank, which had entered by the main gate, was ordered to fire one blank round of 20 pounder. This was, in fact the signal for the battle to commence as the firing of the round was greeted by a great volume of fire from the police directed at the tank and an armoured car opposite the main gate. Fire was returned by the troop of the 4th Royal Tank regiment and two troops of the Royals with machine guns.

The Commanding Officer now ordered the sniper section, under Lt. Broughton, (This is "Crash" Broughton who many younger LFs will remember as a Major-Joe) with a wireless OP to establish themselves on top of the Air Force building in French Square. During the remainder of the operation, the sniper section assisted in clearing portions of the roofs on the Bureau Sanitaire, which could be observed. Several hits were seen and probably four or five police were accounted for during this action.

The Commanding Officer now obtained permission from Brigade HQ, situated near the Caracol to take further action, and at 0715 hrs the Centurion fired two rounds of 20-pounder H.E. at the buildings facing the main gate. Fire was again returned by the police and so a further two rounds were fired by the tank at prepared positions. Meanwhile all available small-arms fire was being brought to bear on the police. At 0745 hours a cease-fire was ordered by the Commanding Officer and a further broadcast was given. No notice was taken by the police of this broadcast and fifteen minutes later general fire was opened again on the police positions and a further two rounds of 20-pounder H.E. by the Centurion tank opposite the main gate. A fifth broadcast was given at 0820 hours, which again met with no response from the police and so the Commanding Officer asked permission from Brigadier Exham to be allowed to take all necessary action in order to complete his task. This request was granted with the proviso that excessive force would NOT be used.

An "O" group was then held by the Commanding Officer and the gist of his orders was as follows:

(a) One troop of the 4th Royal Tank Regiment to enter the compound and fan out into position to assist assault by infantry by firing two rounds of 20- pounder H.E. per tank, (six rounds in all) prior to the assault and to support infantry with machine-gun fire.

(b) One troop of the Royals to lay a smoke screen under which the infantry would advance, and to support attack with observed fire.

(c) "C" Company to assault the building from which they could engage the police on the roof of the Bureau Sanitaire.

(d) Drums to occupy the building from which they could engage the police on the roof of the Bureau Sanitaire.

(e) "D" Company ordered to French Square and given the task of escorting and guarding prisoners when captured. One platoon also held in immediate reserve to reinforce "C" Company if necessary.

(f) Medical detachment ordered to French Square to establish a dressing station.

At about 0835 hours "C" Company, under Major Chance, supported by the fire of all available weapons (less mortars) assaulted the Bureau Sanitaire. During the operation Major Chance was hit in the thigh by nine slugs and also in the heel. The command of his Company was taken over by Captain Gribble

7 Platoon, under Sgt. Reid, working round the right flank made good progress by using a covered approach and without loss reached the smaller of the two main buildings in the Northeast corner. The platoon then deployed to assault the building, with Cpl. Connor's section alongside the building and L/Cpl. H. Eastham's section in position in the rear. During the move of this section into position, L/Cpl. Eastham was killed and Fusilier Grimes wounded.

Meanwhile 9 Platoon, under 2/Lt. Barber, had reinforced 7 Platoon. Sniping was now coming from rooms in the King George Hotel to the rear of the Bureau Sanitaire. 2/Lt. Barber silenced the snipers with two well-aimed PIAT bombs. 7 Platoon now assaulted with 1 Section under Cpl. Storer and 3 Section under Cpl. Connor and met opposition in clearing the top floor, which was overcome with No. 36 Grenades. Meanwhile 1 Section had engaged about twenty men who were trying to reinforce the smaller building. At the same time, 8 Platoon had advanced behind the tanks on the left flank, with 3 Section (Cpl. Harrison) behind the centre tank. Fusilier Lowe was killed while firing from a position near the centre tank. After the tanks had ceased firing, 8 Platoon assaulted and captured a low building without opposition but firing came from a tent ten yards behind. This was soon overcome and the Platoon then entered some showers in the rear and proceeded to clear them with grenades and the bayonet. Due to the noise of battle, the Platoon had become split and it was during the advance of the rear element that L/Cpl. Mckenzie and Sgt. Foster were severely wounded. After clearing the showers and the immediate area, a foothold was gained in the main building and further casualties were inflicted on the police. Unfortunately there was no means of access from the showers to the first floor, as the stairway was on the far side of the building.

A number of actions were now taking place simultaneously. During the advance of "C" Company the Commanding Officer had ordered a troop of the 4th Royal Tanks to fire a further twelve rounds of 20 -pdr. H.E at observed positions and the Royals opened up with their 2-pdrs. At the same time a party of Drummers under Capt. Gaw, (Charlie Gaw?-Joe) advanced down a side street to a prepared position from which the police were sniping and threw eight No. 36 Grenades into the position. Heavy casualties were inflicted on the police. One section of the Drums then occupied a roof position at the rear of the Sanitaire and killed all the police manning positions on the roof. During this action by the Drums the Commanding Officer had ordered a troop of the 4th Royal Tanks to close in on the buildings and demolish where possible. The determination of the police is now shown by the fact that the Centurions were attacked with petrol bombs. Casualties suffered by "C" Company up to this time were three other ranks killed, one Officer and ten other ranks wounded.

The Commanding Officer now met with the Brigade Commander and it was agreed that "C" Company would be withdrawn to avoid further loss of life, as the capture of the final building presented great difficulties and that the police would be battered into submission by gun fire. Consequently the Commanding Officer ordered a troop of the Royals to lay a smoke screen under which "C" Company was withdrawn without further loss.

At about 0945 hours the sixth broadcast was made and ten minutes later the police began to surrender, whereupon a section of the Drums entered the Bureau Sanitaire by the rear gate and ejected police who failed to surrender. A police officer and six policemen refused to surrender and continued to occupy prepared positions on the main stairway, firing at the section of Drums who were clearing the building. Two No. 36 grenades were thrown through a window into this police position, killing three and wounding the officer. The position then surrendered. At the same time, "C" Company had re-entered the Bureau Sanitaire and occasional shots were still being fired by individual police. "C" Company then rounded up all the police and they were escorted by "D" Company, under Capt. Evea, to cages in French Square. The remainder of the day was spent by "C" Company in collecting and checking the arms and ammunition of the police.

During this battle long-drawn-out negotiations had been in progress at the Caracol, under Brigadier Exham, with Major Shaw in command of the troops. Finally at 1210 hours, after heavy fire had been brought to bear on the Caracol with all weapons less 20-pounders, the police surrendered. "A" Company, under Major Shaw, then entered the Caracol and the police were placed under guard on the banks of the Sweet Water Canal, while other parties of "A" Company stacked all arms and ammunition, which were later removed.

Patrols of Loyals and Support Company in carriers and Stuarts, under Captain Pitt, were sent out at 1415 hours to maintain law and order in Ismailia. These patrols continued until dusk, when the entire responsibility for patrolling was given to Support Company. The Battalion, less "D" Company, at about 1600 hours concentrated on the banks of the Sweet Water Canal with one troop of the 4th Royal Tanks in reserve. "D" Company was based on French Square with one platoon in the Bureau Sanitaire under 2/Lt. Blythe-Brook and a quiet night was spent by the Battalion. The following day the battalion was relieved in Ismailia by the Royal Sussex Regiment.


 

Suez Garrison newsletter just after the LF disarmed the police
The Story of Albert ( Rouse) and his Trousers


1LF Road, Rail and Canal Blocks on the Routes from Cairo to Ismailia
October 1951

Along the Suez Canal from Port Said to Suez the internal security situation started to deteriorate quite rapidy in the first two weeks of October 1951. We read that the Moslem Brotherhood had formed Liberation Battalions and attacks on soldiers with the theft of arms and ammunition from British bases and personnel increased.
In Ismailia the rioting got going in earnest on the 14th October with looting of British occupied houses and 1LF's Rifle Companies were despatched into Arab Town to get that situation under control. In some cases they arrived too late but they did arrive before things got really out of hand. With the utmost care and precision they proceeded to send the worst offenders to heaven (as the arabic press would have us believe) or the other place depending on the individual concerned.
Support Company as we had all the heavy weapons had to form defensive positions on the approaches from Cairo. We had to deny entry into Ismailia of Police, Army, University Students (the hot-heads) and the Egyptian Press who were inflaming the situation.
John Deane the Pioneer Platoon Commander was the obvious choice to do the Jessie James work on the railway line, he took with him a section of MMGs, a couple of 17 pdr A Tank guns and a section of 3 inch Mortars. He enjoyed the work so much I thought he would be taking the job up as a profession when he left the army.
The MMG Platoon formed the basis of the Road and Sweet Water Canal Block with a similar balance of heavy weapons as the Rail Block. We had scores of visitors from the Divisional Commander downwards and told in no uncertain terms that the Egyptian Army were not to be allowed in to the town. What a balance of forces; forty against a couple of hundred thousand...."yours not to reason why etc. etc"! Nothing exciting happened for a while until a well decorated bod arrived and said he was "the officer in charge of the Egyptian Army" - what a title to give yourself? Anyhow we let him go through with an escort only to see him return a couple of hours later with two British Armoured Cars in front and two behind, showing him the way out I suppose. End of threat from superior forces.
The Egyptian Press presented the odd problem. I remember two swarthy gentlemen who could not speak English being very insistant that they be allowed in and would not take no for an answer. I think they went for a swim in the Canal. Later I learned we had a bad write up in the Argentinian Press. A straightforward case of mistaken identity - soldiers can't get it right everytime!!

I did a rough survey of Arab families leaving Ismailia through our road block; three thousand in two days about ten thousand people. A great upheaval for many poor unfortunates caught up in the turmoil. I hope their lives are better now although somehow I doubt it?

Maurice

Cairo-Ishmaili Road Block
by
Jim Costello

Well what do y'know. There's another blast from the past. A photo of Sgt Holmes, on Maurice's, Cairo-Ishmailia 'Road block' report. He and Sgt Connoly were our Mortar Pln Sgts.

As you look at the photo, the infamous Sweet Water Canal is nearby on the left. Our bivouac area with its two-man tents is to the right in a peanut field.

We were inclined to think the whole operation was a waste of time, because we could only search the male passengers and not the females, (not that we wanted to search them of course?). If any male was carrying weapons or anything of the sort, the female would hide them under her long black dress, while only the male got of the bus to be searched.

One time, while we were on the Road Block, Fus Bob Stevens, fell into the canal and had a bit of trouble trying to climb up the slippery bank to get out as nobody would give him a hand. We just stood there and laughed at him. Because, (so it was put about)if you came in contact with water from the Sweet Water Canal which was used as drinking water, a lavatory, washing the dishes, dumping dead dogs, cats and donkeys. Even dead bodies had been found in it. Then you would have to have about 50 injections and wait to see what happens.

I will today, e-mail Joe, a poem written by the Mortar's Fus Cronnoly recalling the time Bob Steven's fell into the Canal. (see A1 & A2 below Middle East Medal)

However; back to the photo. I'm having trouble trying to recognise our lad on the left of the photo who has a Black Eye and Over Developed Nipples!!
Take a look and see if you recognise him.(see C1 below)

Cheers, Jim.
Click on photo to enlarge

A
B
C
1

Ismalia

A
B
C
D
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.

Rue Negrelli
Main Shopping Street

Rue Negrelli
Main Shopping Street


Ismailia Railway Station


Canal Road
Ismailia

These Photos have been locked away in a camera for 40 years what gems they.
Kitner and Jack Nash to name but a few
They have been sent in by

ALAN WHITTALL

A
B
C
D
1.
2.


ALAN WHITTALL
"was a signaller with Major Chance on the day of the attack and spent the whole day in the lead Jeep at the Gate of the Bureau Sanitaire,he has sent in a radio log of the events from the 1st East Lancs who were manning the outer cordon

Wireless log of morning of Friday, 25th January 1952; the wireless set was on the grass running down to the Sweetwater Canal, at the bridge outside Bn HQ 1st East Lancashire Regt. Lt-Col Jones ordered the log so that he could know what was going on. He was watching the Caracol. See aerial photo of Ismailia the times are nearly all approximate as I had no watch,


Notes:

Air OP - a spotter plane overhead, a Westland Lysander, I..think
Bureau Sanitaire - the secondary police station
LF - the lst Lancashire Fusiliers
Acorn - signal code for intelligence officer
Caracol - the main police station
Seagull - signal code for second in command
Royals - the Royal Dragoons
Auxiliaries - auxiliary Egyptian police, mostly without uniforms and not disciplined.
3 Para - the 3rd Parachute Regiment
Arashiya - an Arab quarter of Ismailia
Sunray - signal code for commander
FS - Field Security
41 Fd Rgt - 41 Field Regiment, Royal Artillery
Colonel Malik - the Egyptian Army liaison officer with the British

Page 1

0637 6 police on firing position on roof (Air OP)
0640 Commander reports owing to lack of officers in Caracol he will probably have to use force (Comdr Rover)

0645 No one on roof. Police skulking under trees in rear (Air OP)

0649 Lot (8) of police on Bureau Sanitaire armed with rifles (Air OP)
0655 LFs received above message (verified receipt)(1LF)
0658 (20) police on North building of Bureau Sanitaire except for 1 on South building (Air OP)

0700 SW corner of North building of BS defended position of oil drums with 10 police on ground (Air OP)

0705 Police on roof of bureau Sanitaire appear to be drawing ammunition

0707 3 riflemen on South end of bureau Sanitaire (Air OP)

0709 Police taking up positions around Bureau Sanitaire on ground (Control to lLF and CMDR ROVER)
0715 Inform Acorn very fat officer wearing Khaki SD on roof of Bureau Sanitaire (Air OP)
Approx times


Page 2
0713 Vehicle fired on from roof of BS (?)

0715 (Exact time) Battle going on in bureau Sanitaire (control to 1LF')

0718 NW side of BS. Police collected. Only 10 on East side (Air OP)

0723 Battle still in progress (control to 1LF)

0726 Malik with Egyptian general. Egyptian general refuses to leave house until firing ceases. Caracol ordered to cease firing and to hang out white flag. Egyptian general will then go down to caracol (1LF)

0727 caracol surrounded. Officers keep arriving. ordered to get wogs out. No success. Comdr not anxious to open fire. Hopes wogs see sense, BS certain firing. Round of blank fired. All fired back. general shooting. wants to have 0726 message verified. Verified by seagull. Sounds promising. Remaining outside caracol. (From commdr)

0747 Almost all police have left roof of BS . Only 5 or 6 and 1 or 2 bodies on roof now (Air OP)

Page 3

0748 Situation status quo. Not anxious to blow place down, awaiting major-general. Then if fire from BS will try to get maj-general to BS (Commdr

0749 Eg general does not intend to get police out (seagull)

0750 Arms and thugs hidden in Stelio's Gardens in rear of cordon. Rue Abbas Makim (1 E Lan R)

Page 4

0753 (Exact Am of opinion must blow place down. Can I wait for few hours to get sense out of general (Comdr)

0754 ----i. Tell police they have acted honourably and come out.
----------ii. Use fire engine hoses. (Seagull to Bde Comdr)

0755 Follow up first suggestion in Bureau Sanitaire. (Comdr) and Caracol. (Comdr to Seagull)

0800 Our people have stopped firing at Sanitaire Bureau (B Sqdn Royals)



Page 4 continued

0813 Malik says he has reached complete impasse. In that case tell General his Caracol will be severely damaged. Lives on his head, (Seagull to Comdr) Big Sunray says good thing if regular police could come out with arms. NOT auxiliaries. Pass to Malik. (Bde Comdr to Seagull)

0824 Malik told general. General will concert officers in Caracol to see if accept these terms. Is doubtful if they wall. (Seagull to comdr)

Page 5

0835 Armed wogs running west to East in Arab Town outside cordon area of 1 E Lan R. 1 E Lan R is engaging them. only few of them. That is the sniping you can hear. (Control to Comdr)

0845 Sitrep from 3 Para

1 No of pers in cage A Army Lg 4
B 1 officer 36 OR railway police
C 26 OH army police (other? police)
2 Police cas 1OR shot dead. N side of railway.
3 Own cas 1 OR wounded
4 Arms and ammo impounded. 60 assorted rifles
1.38 revolver
small amount of var ammo.
Law and order maintained in Arashiya. (3 Para to Seagull)

0851 Still parleying with Caracol. Think things look like Happening. (Comdr to Seagull)

Page 6

0935 Seagull to set. Sunray what is position about army (Egyptian)
Seagull 1 shot fired from Egyptian camp killed 1 LF, Camp covered. Normal activity among Egyptians. Comd Make point clear to Big Sunray, Warn Douglas to be prepared. Have no success at Caracol. Am opening with 2 pounders. Tanks will return fire with Beca. (From Comdr to Seagull)
Seagull 2 dead 3 wounded our casualties.

0940 Don't endanger lives unnecessarily. (Seagull to 1LF)

Page 6 continued

0945 Seagull to Sunray Ask Sunray to call me.

0955 3 ORs killed 5 wounded - 4ORs., 1 officer (From 1 LF)

0957 2 police officers brought in by sub units. Found hiding in cupboard in Hotel Ismailia. 1 officer believed holding rank of colonel. (From 3 Para)

Page 7

1000 hrs Seagull on set Called to ask whether Caracol is to go in.
Comdr Caracol has gone in. Seagull, Pause after softeningup. Another broadcast now to Police. (Seagull to Bde Comdr)

1001 Ambulance to French Square. (1LF)

1007 Further ambulance sent to French Square (to 1LF)

1009 Confirm report that bureau S. has surrendered (To 1 LF) we confirm that (1 LF)

1010 Do you require FS team now? (To 1LF)

(1012 Se Liaison officer to set (D15) Cancelled. CROSSED OUT IN ORIGINAL

1014 (I,0, on set)

Seagull will you confirm that Caracol has surrendered. Do you want FS? Sunray No. Caracol has shown no sign of surrendering. Unconfirmed reports that BS has surrendered. Report about Caracol is quite incorrect.


Page 8

1014 Sunray what is true posn at bureau sanitaire? (To Seagull)

1015 1 LF' Sunray to set`, ( on other net)

1022 Seagull to set. Sunray Rumour of surrender in BS is incorrect. Ascertain number are now coming out hands up (acc to armd car cmdr) Tonight 1 want to relieve LFs. If possible I would like another unit to take over.
Seagull Cas to LF 7 wounded, 3 killed.

1030 IO to set,. Seagull, Tell sunray or IO to call me,

1032 Seagull Agreed that our 2nd bn be made available this evening. Had report from Caracol that police want ambulance for wounded, unwilling to surrender. Seagull Ambulance not to be sent until surrender,


Page 9

1046 Small parties coming out of BS (From 1LF) FS to be sent

1047 1 or 2 police on top of BS (Air OP)

1050 Seagull All police will now be considered POW None to be evacuated
Sunray Heard rumours that 200 people surrendered in BS
Seagull Small parties coming out now.

1050 Party of police being marched towards French Square (Air OP)

1055 We are now in French Square ( Comdr)

1056 At Caracol by green bus is deep pit which contains 6 police. Pit leads to door underground (Air OP)

1057 FS men have been sent (To 1LF)

Page 10

1103 I think BS is finished. Large crowds have surrendered (200 or 300 and more coming in) Get transport to move them.
Seagull 41 Fd Rt are providing transport (Sunray to Seagull)

1106 Will you arrange for transport to move prisoners now. Arrange through gunner rep. (Control to 1LF)

1115 We have 2 Egyptian Red X officials who want to pass cordon. Can they pass (3 Para)

1120 Who are these officials? If doctors, yes. if not lot me know who they are. (Control to 3 Para)

1122 Still one or two people being winkled out of BS (Air OP)

1125 Are these officials doctors? (Control)
..........No they are not doctors. They call themselves Red X officials (3 Para)

1127 Use initiative. If part of ambulance let them through. (Control to 3 Para) Search them.

Page 11

1130 Egyptian POW being taken away. App. no. 400 (1LF to Control)

page 11 continued

1134 Sunray Is malik with you?
..........Seagull No. Not for 3 hrs. probably on bridge.
..........Sunray Want him urgently. (Sunray to Seagull)

1137 Please confirm whether Egyptian ambulances can collect wounded from BS (Control to 1LF)

1141 Egypt. Ambulance will be let through if OK with Sunray (1LF to Control)

1143 Egypt. Ambulances will come through your cordons after searching. When return, check wounded number (To 1LF and 1 E Lan R)

1145 Malik is not on bridge. May be in HQ in Moascar. Phone him (Seagull to Control)

1146 Have you received supplies of Tear gas? (Control to 1LF)

Page 12

1155 Malik, Egyptian Army off. Also member of Egyptian Red Crescent, have gone through barrier into Ismailia looking for ambulances (1 E Lan R to Control)

1200 Everyone to look for Colonel Malik. He is to be told to report to
Sunray, Urgent,

1215 Coming out of Caracol surrendering now ( B Sqd Royals to Control)

1217 21 elderly people come out so far, Elderly sergeant type. (B Sqd Royals)

1220 Ask your Sunray to report this location straight away (Control to 3 Para)

1223 Police officer just come out of Caracol to see Brigadier. Being sent in jeep.

1225 Sunray has left location.

1225 Contacted Colonel Mallett (B.M.Rover) ( should be Malik?)


Page 13

1230 Have you sent police captain down to this location as well an Colonel Mallett (Control to BM) (should be Malik?)

No (BM)
He is still outside Caracol (BM) He is being sent dawn.

1231 Confirm whether 400 Egyptian police have been removed? (Control to 1LF)

All except about 80 men (1LF)

1237 33 thugs and 1 women surrendered at back of Caracol now (b Sqdn Royals) 100 prisoners including police,

1239 what percentage are thugs and what % police? (Control to B Sqdn Royals)

1234 3 ORs killed.1 off. Wounded.11 OR wounded (1LF to Control)

1245 Total figure is 300 now. Taking some sorting out. Percentage follows. All from Caracol. (B Sqdn Royals )

1246 Sunray at (aracoL

Page 14 ----Bill's writing

1251 19b Check 40 police killed. 3 to 4 hundred rifles SMLE. 1000s rds .300. No. of carbines (believed Italian) (B Sqdn Royals)

1254 19B 400 From Caracol- Gellabiahs, greatcoats, uniforms. Impossible to say which are police. (B Sqdn Royals)

1300 Netting call.

1315 Proceed to Ferry Pt, and check report that there are 6 Egyptian tanks on other side. (To Air OP)

1320 NO tanks, but there are 6 armoured cars, directly opposite Ferry Pt. (From Air OP)

1323 Sunray. Like to confirm that LFs reserve coy are going through
lsmailia picking up odd policeman. Pass general warning - NO looting. (Sunray to Seagull)

Page 14 continued

1324 Reserve coy go through Ismailia mopping up police. No looting. (Seagull to 1LF)

Page 15

1325 Send 3 3ton vehicles to collect arms and ammo from Bureau Sanitaire (1LF to Control)

1326 Sunray. Police officers from Caracol are to be sent to Timsah leave camp. See they are secure and well fed. (Sunray to Seagull)

(1333) Sunray requires a packet of cigarettes at Caracol, ) Crossed out in original.

1340 5 3tonners will be at BS at 1400hrs. (Control to 1LF)

1345 May this unit stand down? (Sapper to Control)

Yes. Except for small recce party. (Control to sapper)

1350 36 dead, 60 wounded,557 rifles captured at Bureau Sanitaire. (B Sqdn Royals to Control.)

1352 fr DI Sweep of this area begins 1415 (1LFs to Control)

Bill's writing.

Citation of No 14049945 Cpl (acting Sgt) Henry Foster
The Lancashire Fusiliers

Sgt Foster was platoon sergeant of 8 platoon of C Company on the morning of 25th January 1952. At about 0900 hours his platoon was ordered to enter the courtyard of the Egyptian Police Barracks in the Bureau Sanitaire, Ismalia and to clear the left wing of the building. The Egyptian Police were covering the courtyard with heavy rifle fire, and in the first five minutes of the action Sgt Foster received a bullet wound in his right upper arm. He ignored this and carried on. The platoon was held up about half way across the courtyard and Sgt Foster moved about in the open putting LMG's into fire positions and encouraging his men. About five minutes later he was again hit in the leg but ignored this wound and remained at his post. Under cover of MG fire from the tanks in support the platoon managed to reach the building and gain lodgement. Resistance was strong, and Sgt Foster led a party throwing grenades. Shortly after this, and about half an hour after receiving his first wound, he was again hit by a rifle bullet in the leg this time severely. Although in great pain, he refused assistance - he was only evacuated on the direct order
of his platoon commander.

Throughout the action Sgt Foster had shown complete disregard for his own safety and his gallantry and good leadership were an example to all ranks of his company.

 

The next two photos have been sent to us by Malcolm Bingham
This is Colin Bingham who drove the lead vehicle when Major Chance was injured at the Police Barracks Ismailia.
There are 2 questions:-
1.Is that him on the ground by the vehicle wheel (back to camera) on Alan Whittall's pics Photo A1?
2.Does anyone remember him?(It is likely that he came to us from another regiment,see the pic with a different cap badge)

22495341 L/Cpl Colin Bingham


Click on here to see Paul Harrison's Photos on the raid
at the Ismailia Police Station (Bureau Sanitaire.)

ISMAILIA CASUALTIES
Casualities During Civil Disturbances
on 25th January, 1952.
Killed


Moascar Cemetary


22278484 Fus. Eastham, A.E, "C Coy"

19038787 L/Cpl. Eastham, H. "C Coy"


22208211 L/Cpl. McKenzie,J. "C Coy"


22587881 Fus. Lowe,J. "C Coy"

The Following receivedWounds
Major. N.E.H.Chance, M.C. "C"
3443875 C.S.M. Murphy, B. Support
14049995 Sgt, Foster, H. "C"
22203239 Cpl. Harrison, W. "C"
22404460 Fus. Siddall, A.B. "C"
22587802 Fus. Grimes,W. "C"
22538468 Fus. Nally, T. "C"
22215305 Fus. Allen, A.B. "C"
21127616 Fus. Roberts, J. "C"
22393400 Fus. Fenton, A. "C"
NB. Fus A.B.Allen, later died of his wounds
in the
Military Hospial, Moascar Garrison.

Fus A.B. Allen

Lest We Forget.
Those who were killed were buried with full military honours with drums beating and a firing party, made up of members of "C" Company, was under the command of Sgt. Reid.

Citations Sgt H. Foster & WO2 Taffy Williams
Memtioned in Dispatches.

The" Lads from Lancashire" performed in the best traditions of the British Army, yet recognition was not to be theirs.

Because of Political expedience,this gallant action went almost unnoticed and was played down by the Government.

Within a very short time 1LF were off to Kenya


Fus Alex Allen
Fus Alex Allen in his hospital bed
with his mum







 

Cpl Harold Eastham
 





Also Killed in terrorist action
18th September 1951
3446527 Sgt J. Boydell
1LF attached to 2nd Brigade Main

Click on here for the Palace Barracks Menorial Gardens web site

Does anyone know anything about the action he was killed in


" The Enemy Dead at Ismailia"
As soldiers we treat our enemy with dignity and respect.
These men were killed in action against the

1st Bn The XXth The Lancashire Fusiliers
and deserve to be mentioned as part of our history.
I understand that they were all given a proper burial
in line with their own customs and beliefs.

Please do not click on the link below if you could be offended.
Click on here to go to the Photos