Egypt trip for veterans of Suez

Alf Avison
Alf Avison

SERVICEMEN who defended the Suez Canal in the 1950s are being urged to take part in a reunion in Eqypt.

Former squaddie Alf Avison has been organising reunion visits to the Canal Zone area in Egypt since he retired.

At its peak, the Canal Zone area “emergency” saw 800,000 servicemen and women drafted to patrol the region, which came under attack from the Egyptian Government after it went back on a treaty that said British troops could retain a military base there until 1956.

Mr Avison, president of the Middle East Land Forces Association, was called up for national service in 1954 and was posted to GHQ Fayid Canal Zone with the Royal Army Service Corps before moving on to Cyprus.

As a hobby he arranges annual visits to Egypt’s Fayid and Ismailia area and he has appealed for people from Hartlepool and east Durham to join in.

Mr Avison, a retired industrial relations consultant and former trade union official, said: “I organise return visits back to the Egyptian canal zone where I also served in the 1950s along with thousands of other service personnel. Many of our service personnel died and are buried in the cemeteries that we visit , Ismailia, Fayid, Moascar and Tel-el-kebir.

“I can arrange for photos to be taken of any friends or loved ones’ grave if any of your readers would like me to.

“Also if any readers would like to join us on our next group could they please contact me for details.

“I am limited to 30 places on this reunion visit due to the fact it is still a military restricted area – spouses are welcome.”

Mr Avison, a father of two and grandfather of nine with two great-grandchildren, has helped to organise more than 30 of these trips.

The next trip is taking place from May 16 to May 29 next year.

Any ex-servicemen or relatives interested in the trip can find out more by e-mailing alfavison@d-lweb.net or writing to Alf Avison (president), Middle East Land Forces Association, PO Box 99, Spalding, Lincolnshire, PE11 9NS.