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1953 festive meal was a special one - it was our last one in Suez Canal Zone before flying home

By Black Country Bugle  |  Posted: January 08, 2014

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CHRISTMAS 1953 was rather special for the lads of billet A4 because it would be their last one in the Middle East. Throughout the coming year they would all, hopefully, be going home.

Biillet A4 was the home of the Equipment Section lads at 109 MU, Royal Air Force Abyad in the Suez Canal Zone.

On Christmas Day it was the tradition that the officers waited on the other ranks.

Turkey with all the trimmings, Christmas pudding and a bottle of locally brewed beer were served.

It was after the dinner that real partying began. The NAAFI shop stocked Youngers Double Century Ale.

This was very suitable. Some bottles of Cyprus wine appeared (where from no questions were asked).

As the saying goes: "A good time was had by all."

As the New Year approached the first 'demob happy' lads were packing their kit bags and, following the traditional demob party, they said goodbye.

Replacements arrived from the UK to be greeted with: "Get your knees brown." My turn came in February and on Sunday 21st I said goodbye to the lads I had lived and worked with for the past 18 months. I was transported to RAF El Hamra Transit Camp.

It was here that other airmen from other RAF camps were arriving - Kasfareet, Kabrit, Deversoir and Abu Sueir. Among them were some I had been with at basic training at RAF Hednesford.

In the early hours of Monday, February 22, 1954, we were taken to the RAF base at Fayid which was the main air base in the Canal zone.

A Handley Page Hastings of the then Royal Air Force Transport Command already had its engines running. Kit bags were loaded, we all boarded and at 06.30 hours local time we took off.

We were going home!

Don Kirby,

16 Matlock Close,


Dudley, DY2 9RP.

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