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Synopsis of Chapter Fourteen ~ Cyrene & the Western Desert
Christmas 1943 to August 1944


 

To spoil Christmas near Cairo I learned I was to leave 22SOR early on 27th Dec. on posting to 16SOR Cyrene, as a Fighter Controller and 2nd in command. Leaving by air at 4.15am to El Adem, near Tobruk, and then by road to Cyrene. Details of position of 16SOR and history of Cyrene from it's founding as a Greek City State in 650BC. Sharing a lovely bungalow with the CO, a Wing Commander. It's grounds and 'secret' staircase. One and sometimes two, South African Hurricane Squadrons to control at nearby airfield.

Wintry weather until end of March, then delightful. Basketball, hill scrambling, gardening and 'archaeological digging' as pastimes Our Radar Unit on coast at Appolonia. Sea bathing from April. Colonel Moodie, SAAF, took over control of 16SOR from February, then W/Cdr Rayner (ex Mersuh Matruh) from July. Occasional ENSA concerts, our own concerts and Race Meetings.

Enemy air activity against convoys gradually diminishing as North African coast was cleared of Germans and Italians. Followed by invasion of Italy, and later France on 6th June 1944. Talk of repatriation to UK when we'd served 4 years abroad. My application for local leave deferred several times, but finally got it in August. I went to Lebanon and Syria with F/Lt 'Binder' Maddick. The end of the happiest period of my four and a half years Overseas Tour, particularly after two summers in the Persian Gulf.

Keywords
People
F/Lt Steve Stephenson
Marshal Graziani
Colonel Moodie (SAAF)
W/Cdr Rayner & wife (Wren Officer)
Norah Caine (Wren Officer)
F/Lt Stubbs
F/Lt Craig Cooper (Canadian AF)
F/Lt Max Stocks
F/Lt Webber
F/Lt 'Binder' Maddick
King Battus 1
King Cambyses of Persia
Kathleen Freeman (Author)
Billy Russell (ENSA)
Places
Cyrene
Appolonia
Benghasi
Burca
Derna
Tobruk
Things
Archaeological site
Silphium
Cave Tombs
Sarcophagi
Climate
Bathing sites
16SOR
Photos
Marble Arch/ Border of Tripolitania & Cyrenaica Sept. 1944
Greek & Roman ruins Cyrene July 1944
Greek ruins & bungalow Cyrene July 1944
Bungalow @ Cyrene May 1944
Senussi tribal gathering Cyrene Aug.1944
Batman, bungalow & mess Cyrene Jan 1944
Ras-el-Hillal, Cyrene May 1944

 

 

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