British private trained with Parachute Regt Depot at Aldershot and with No 1 Parachute Training School, RAF Abingdon in GB, 1953-1954; served with 3rd Bn Parachute Regt in GB, Cyprus and at Suez, Egypt, 1954-1957
REEL 1 Background in Chelsea, London and St Mary Cray, GB, 1936-1953: family; character of Chelsea; evacuation to relatives in St Mary Cray; education; wartime air activity; return to Chelsea; family moves; sight of V1 Flying Bombs; shelter taken during air raids in Sloane Square Underground Station; story of accident while renewing ration books and subsequent hospitalisation; recieving first chewing gum; memories of friends including playing in bombed factory; employment. Aspects of enlistment in British Army in GB, 1953: enlistment; medical.
REEL 2 Continues: reason for joining Parachute Regt; story of final medical; journey to and arrival at Aldershot. Recollections of training as private with Parachute Regt Depot in Aldershot, GB, 1953-1954: journey to and arrival at Aldershot; accommodation; kit issued; rations; haircut; background of recruits; discipline; cleaning and inspections; learning of drill and discipline; dealing with loss of privacy; character of fellow recruits; first weekend leave; posting to P Company; physical training including boxing and daily routine; aim of training.
REEL 3 Continues: evening activities; passing out and leave. Recollections of training as private with No 1 Parachute Training School, RAF Abingdon in GB, 1954: posting to No 1 Parachute Training School, RAF Abingdon, 1/1954; description of school; ground training including method of landing after a parachute jump and small practice jumps; reason for joining Parachute Regiment; description of parachute jumps from balloon; learning of aircraft drills on ground including movement within and exit from aircraft; description of first jump from a Handley Page Hastings; activities following landing including catching parachute; training jumps including with equipment and at night; award of parachute wings; leave in Stroud.
REEL 4 Continues: recieving news of overseas abroad. Aspects of voaygae aboard HMT Empire Ken from Southampton, GB, to Port Said, Egypt, 1954: details of ship; accommodation and conditions onboard; voyage across Bay of Biscay; leave in Algiers; arrival at Port Said. Aspects of period as private with 3rd Bn Parachute Regt in Canal Zone, Egypt and GB, 1954-1955: journey to camp details of camp; earlier civilian employment in garage; obtaining duties as Jeep driver; maintenance of vehicle; return to GB; leave; story of accident in new vehicle and subsequent punishment; joining band; operational role; accommodation; courting of future wife; daily routine; comrades; settling into battalion; events attended with band; reason for posting to Cyprus.
REEL 5 Continues: flight to from GB to Cyprus aboard Avro Shackleton. Recollections of period as private with 3rd Bn Parachute Regt in Cyprus, 1955-1956: arrival in Cyprus; setting-up of camp; story escorting commanding officer to meeting; posting to Regimental Police; duties; opinion of postings in A and B Coys; patrols undertaken; methods used by civilians to hide weapons; fitness; attending skiing course; situation in Cyprus; searches for weapons and guard duties at prison; attitude to service; character of camp in Nicosia; leisure activities; supply of tea; atmosphere in battalion.
REEL 6 Continues: visits to Nicosia; relations with Greek and Turkish civilians; forest fires; road accidents; carriying sidearm; removal of wart and subsequent duties; shootings of livestock; story of accident with gun; build-up to Suez Crisis including relations with French paratroopers; introduction and opinion of reserve parachute; differences between French and British paratroopers. Recollections of operations as privave with 3rd Bn Parachute Regt during Suez Landings, Egypt, 11/1956: description of anti-tank rifle issued; sealing of camp; briefings for El Gamil airport parachute drop; situation in Egypt; sealing of camp; relations with French paratroopers; items taken on drop; knowledge of opposition and support; issue of spare ammunition; atmosphere before departure; reaction to removal of spare parachute; weight carried onto aircraft; boarding of Vickers Valetta.
REEL 7 Continues: description of Vickers Valetta; nature of flight from Cyprus to Egypt; final stages of flight including warnings about oil drums at El Gamil airfield; tactical arrangement of stick; exit from aircraft and parachute drop; reactions to taking fire from airfield; question of dropping with weapon to hand; collection of kit on landing ; use of weapons against slit trenches; description of El Gamil airfield; further details of attacks on slit trenches; support recieved from Fleet Air Arm aircraft; attacks from air; sight of aircraft being shot down; opinion of opposition faced; reaction to situation at time and since; advance across El Gamil airfield.
REEL 8 Continues: skirmish on beach road; arrival of other supporting troops; arrival at and description of sewage farm; natute of wait on sewage farm;, patrol to coastguard station and communications; health problems and treatment; activities during wait on sewage farm; advance from sewage farm; situation in town; occupation of flats; rations eaten; dealing with opposition around flats; looting of flat; types of weapons captured; wider situation; policy on using captured weapons; firing of SKS Semi-Automatic Carbine; reaction to change of orders; story of near fight with Sudanese soldier; burial of casualties.
REEL 9 Continues: sight of destroyed weapons pit; reaction to casualties including memories of Ron Sumners; recovery of bodies at Coastguard Barracks; desire to protect comrades when in action; reactions to El Gamil drop; opinion of Egyptian forces; impressions of Port Said; knowledge of Egyptian civilians; souvenirs taken home; reactions to success of Suez Landings; evacuation of casualties from El Gamil. Aspects of period as private with 3rd Bn Parachute Regt in Cyprus and GB, 1956-1957: reception on arrival from Royal Military Police; looting of civilian shop in camp; announcement of subsequent search of kit; disposal of illicit items in kit.
REEL 10 Continues: discovery of illicit items; freefall parachute course taken in GB, 1957; background to leaving army; reaction of civilians and self to Suez Landings; Egyptian museum on Suez landings; application for and process of demobilisation; return to civilian employment; involvement with The El Gamil Club.
REEL 11 Continues: involvement with The El Gamil Club including argument with chairman during period as secretary.