British NCO served with 3rd Bn Parachute Regt in GB, Egypt, Palestine, Germany, Cyprus, Jordan and Aden, 1945-1969, including parachute landing at El Gamil airfield, Suez, Egypt, 5/Nov/1956
REEL 1: Background in London, 1911-1944: problem of cleft palate and operations; childhood; family; education; duties as civil defence volunteer and with local Home Guard; story of incident with Canadian soldier; reason for joining Army, 4/1943. Aspects of period with British Army in GB, 1944: posted to Royal Army Ordnance Corps; duties moving ammunition; posted to depot in Derby; 12 weeks infantry training in Oswestry, 11/1944; reaction to being posted to Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry; volunteered for parachute training in Chesterfield. Aspects of training with Parachute Regt in GB, 1944-1945: lack of educational qualifications; description of parachute jumping course at Ringway Airport, Manchester; reaction to being awarded wings and red beret ; posted to 3rd Bn, 1st Airborne Div. Aspects of operations with 3rd Bn Parachute Regt in Middle East, 9/1945-6/1948: description of journey to transit camp in Alexandria, Egypt; moved to camp near Gaza; tactical exercise in Khartoum, 3/1946; casualties; role in anti-insurgent operations in Tel Aviv; story of see-saw.
REEL 2 Continues: searching Jewish settlements for weapons; posted to Haifa, 1947; duties as garrison battalion; stopping and boarding boats containing Jewish refugees; posted as garrison battalion to Jerusalem; opinion of accommodation in camp; guard duties against Jewish insurgents; reduction of numbers in 3rd Bn due to demobilisation; returned to GB, 6/1948; further memories of period in Palestine. Aspects of operations with 3rd Bn Parachute Regt in Germany, 6/1948-9/1949: posted to barracks north of Hamburg; opinion of living conditions; description of training; role of 3rd Bn during Berlin Airlift; story of jump from barrage balloon; question of being spied on by Russians; farewell dance; role as corporal in mortar platoon; problem of deafness caused by gunfire.
REEL 3 Continues: Aspects of period with 3rd Bn Parachute Regt in GB, 1949-1951: sporting activities; posted to camp near Swindon; opinion of accommodation; story of tearing up Oswald Mosley leaflets; posted to Aldershot, 11/1950; Parachute Regt awarded first colours; attitude of father. Aspects of operations with 3rd Bn Parachute Regt in Cyprus, 6-10/1951: description of journey aboard aircraft carrier; duties in charge of mortar ammunition; exercises. Aspects of operations with 3rd Bn Parachute Regt in Egypt, 1951-1954: posted to Suez Canal Zone, 10/1951; living conditions in camp; opinion of tinned beer; sweet water canal; guard duties and parachute training in Jordan and Cyprus; story of accidentally shooting cook; description of attack on Egyptian police station, 1953; British troops withdrawn and returned to GB, 1954. Aspects of period in GB, 1954: demobilisation; problem of adjustment to civilian life and reason for re-enlisting with Parachute Regt, 1954. Aspects of period with Parachute Regt in GB and Germany, 1955-1956: question of rank; parachute and mortar exercises in Germany; tactical exercise on Salisbury Plain.
REEL 4 Continues: story of fight with Royal Marines in Portsmouth and punishment; called back from leave and flown to Cyprus, 1/1956. Aspects of operations with 3rd Bn Parachute Regt in Cyprus, 1956 daily routine and operations against EOKA insurgents; story of attempt to capture Archbishop Makarios; searching houses for terrorists and weapons; story of failed operation to capture Grievas. Aspects of period in GB, 1956: parachute training for operations in Suez, Egypt, 8/1956; story of having to borrow anti-tank guns from Americans; construction of special containers for guns; preparations for Suez operation; importance of maintaining secrecy. Aspects of operations with 3rd Bn Parachute Regt in Suez Canal area, Egypt, 11/1956: description of attack on El Gamil airfield, Port Said, 5/Nov/1956; weight of equipment; role in charge of re-supply of mortar ammunition and dropping containers out of aircraft; rations; description of parachute jump; height; landing; captured El Gamil airfield; role in charge of 10 man unit and distribution of ammunition supplies.
REEL 5 Continues: cleared runway of parachutes; medical supplies dropped from French Dakota; casualties; occupation of Port Said; treatment of Egyptian wounded; distribution of ammunition to companies; ultimatum to Port Said; withdrew to El Gamil airfield for night; UN ceasefire and end of operation; wounded evacuated in French helicopters; clearance and defusing of bombs; treatment of wounded; evacuated on Empress of Australia to Cyprus; reputation of paratroopers; returned to GB, 12/1956; story of courtship and marriage
REEL 6 Continues: further comments on casualties during El Gamil operation. Aspects of period with 3rd Bn Parachute Regt on GB and Germany, 1957-1958: opinion of reception on arrival back in GB; duties in charge of re-supply of rations and ammunition during exercises; storage of supplies; rum ration; jumping exercises in Germany and Scotland; recovery of parachutes for re-packing; method of dropping supplies and vehicles from aircraft; story of being stopped by police. Aspects of period with 3rd Bn Parachute Regt in Jordan, 7-12/1958: role in operations to assist King Hussein; landed at Amman airport; set up camp on airfield; story of building latrines out of royal horse boxes; relations with younger recruits; chain of command.
REEL 7 Continues: number of men in 3rd Bn; training in mountains; played football in orphanage; social work with padre; amusing story of Christmas parcels; duties organising supplies; story of burning latrines on departure; visits to Amman; question of alcohol; sporting activities; patrols in mountains; exercises with RAF; returned to GB,12/1958. Aspects of period in GB, 1959: story of operation to correct cleft palate; problem of eating; improvement in speech. Aspects of operations with 3rd Bn Parachute Regt in Germany, North Africa, Greece and Bahrain, 1960-1962: exercises in Germany and North Africa.
REEL 8 Continues: description of tactical exercise in Libya; story of aircraft accident and fatalities; NATO exercise in Greece; story of meeting artist David Shepherd; posted to Bahrain, 1961; duties in charge of sanitary facilities and hygiene at airfield; story of quartermaster; description of camp; removal of rubbish from camp.
REEL 9 Continues: returned to GB, 5/1961. Aspects of operations with 3rd Bn Parachute Regt in Norway, Singapore, Aden, Oman, Australia and Kenya, 1961-1967: tactical training in Norway; opinion of bell tents; training exercises in Singapore; visit to Raffles Hotel; visit to Gurkha house; opinion of barracks in Singapore; period in Bahrain, 1963-1964; exercises and patrols in Aden; role in counter-insurgency operations in Radfan Mountains, Aden, 5/1965; re-supply and evacuation of wounded; use of helicopters; posted to Australia, 1965.
REEL 10 Continues: description of training at Oakhampton, Brisbane; opinion of Australian national servicemen; sporting activities; posted back to Bahrain; story of padre sailing dhow; parachute jumping exercises; patrols; relations with local population; ration packs; story of building cinema; posted to Kenya for parachute jumping training exercises; further training in GB and Norway.
REEL 11 Continues: Aspects of period with Parachute Regt in GB, 1967-1969: role with Red Devils parachute display team; story of jumping from 30,000 feet; end of service and discharge, 11/1969; reaction to end of service with Parachute Regt. Aspects of civilian life in GB: story of co-founding Parachute Regt Association and El Gamil group; reflections on operations at El Gamil; opinion of memorial window in Guildford Cathedral; story of designing stained glass window to commemorate El Gamil operation.
REEL 12 Continues: unveiling ceremony for El Gamil memorial window at Dial Post Village Hall, West Sussex, 8/2010.