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The David Hindley Collection
This collection of photographs was assembled almost sixty years ago by David who joined 1LF shortly after the Battalion arrived in Egypt in April 1950 as a National Service subaltern. It covers events and activities which occurred during his service in Fayid, Aqaba and Moascar. He had a keen interest in photography so he quite quickly became the Battalions unofficial photographer. We are lucky that he retain these pictures to remind us of life as a Fusilier in those far off days.
Egypt was such a different country back then. It was certainly hot with day time temperatures of about 105 F and seemed to be populated with people who did not wash or bother about sanitation. They also hated our guts. It was only later I realised that the average yearly wage for a hard working man was £8 a year and from that he had to pay his taxes, feed his family which usually included a donkey and save for the future. He was also liable for conscription and could at any time be rounded up to work on Government projects without pay. No wonder they wanted us out and cast envious eyes on our possession.
When we arrived we joined 3 Inf Bde commanded by Brigadier Exham a part of 1 Div with Headquarters in Tripoli. The other Battalions in our Brigade were the 1 Lincolns and 1 Loyals. Our role was first to defend British interests on the Suez Canal which was the foundation of our countrys Foreign Policy and second to Guard and maintain the stores and equipment of UKs first line reserve. There were three enormous depots located at Tel El Kebir, Geneva and Port Said. They were staffed by 20000 troops and 9000 locals the latter mainly employed on vehicle repair and maintenance. Each dump contained enough equipment and vehicles to keep a large army in the field. There were almost daily raids by large groups of Arabs and once they were inside the miles and miles of perimeter wire they might stay for days sorting out the stuff that they wanted to steal. To illustrate the problem a Platoon from 1 Lincolns held the record when they spotted a gang of thirty breaking through the wire they shot twenty two and captured the other eight. Security was a big problem.
The pictures from Fayid show how the Battalion trained in the desert, played sports on the sand and carried out its duties to the highest of standards. We were lucky to have Lt Col Geoffrey Bamford DSO as the Commanding Officer and WO1 Stanley Price as the Regimental Sergeant Major. We rapidly became the best unit stationed in Egypt. We Trooped the Colour on Minden Day the first Trooping of a Colour in Egypt since 1938.
We moved to Aqaba in January 1951 were our role was to keep the Jews out of Tran Jordan where they wanted to seize the deep water port. We faced them on the wire with the sea on our left, the mountains behind and the desert up to the Dead Sea on our right. It would have been like Custers last stand if they had the courage to attack. Some of Davids pictures show the visit of King Abdullah, he was assassinated not long after in Jerusalem and also the memorable visit of HMS Euryalus on Gallipoli Day.
Six months latter as the pictures illustrate we were back in Moascar where we Trooped the Colour on the 190th anniversary of the battle of Minden in front of 5000 spectators with the C in C General Sir Brian Robertson taking the salute. We also became much involved in preparing to invade Abadan after the Persian Government nationalized the Anglo Iranian Oil Fields.
I believe David left us before the rioting in Ismalia started and the battalion disarmed the Egyptian Police at the Caracol and Beaureax Sanitaire this part of our history is illustrated elsewhere.