The Suez crisis of 1956 is
often viewed as a major focus of post-war political history,
less well-known, certainly among the wider British public, were
the years of conflict that preceded it. It was from those
earlier years that the roots of the 'Suez Crisis' were sown in
the towns and villages of the Suez Canal Zone in what became
known as the 'Egyptian Emergency' of 1951-54.
The Canal Zone was known
as 'the worst posting in the world' and the British Armed Forces
(about a third of whom were RAF personnel) stationed there were
mainly conscripts of Nation Service. The hostile climate,
primitive sanitation, diseases and poor food all combined to
make life very unpleasant. As if this was not enough, Egyptian
terrorists began murderous attacks upon servicemen and their
families, army camps, airfields and installations.
By the time the
Anglo-Egyptian agreement ended the conflict in 1954, the numbers
of post-war casualties accounted for some 1,400 lives. It took
50 years of campaigning before veterans finally received the
Canal Zone Medal.