here and see the Pathe news film on the riots The LF's in Action
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1st Bn XX The Lancashire Fusiliers
The Times Newspaper 23rd October 2003
A note from David Prince
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.
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
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
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)
§ Following is the statement:
§ 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.
§ 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
§ 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.
§ 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.
§ 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 hoursnearly 20 minutes earlier.
§ 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
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.
A few Memories of the day the XXth
Disarmed the Egyptian Police in Ismalia
Photograph of a couple of trophies taken from the Armoury of the CaracolMaurice
1LF Road, Rail and Canal Blocks on the Routes from Cairo to Ismailia
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.
Cairo-Ishmaili Road Block
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!!
These Photos have been
locked away in a camera for 40 years what gems they.
The next two photos have been
sent to us by Malcolm Bingham
19038787 L/Cpl. Eastham, H. "C
22208211 L/Cpl. McKenzie,J. "C
Lest We Forget.
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
Also Killed in terrorist action
" 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