F/Lt Maddick and I set
off late on August 19th for the truck ride to EL Adem, for an early
morning flight to Heliopolis at start of our 10days leave Then another
flight to Lydda, and a lorry hitch-hike to Haifa with a night in
an hotel. Next morning we hitched in a staff car to Beirut and 3-4
nights in a Hotel overlooking the harbour. Sunny and hot, so opted
for the beaches. The forces beach was dirty, but met an old friend
S/Ldr Sanderson who introduced us to the superior American University
Next day went to the
French Bains Militaire beach - much sandier with flat boarded boats
(Peloussieres) that were good fun. Everyone there was very excited
by the news that the Allies had entered Paris. Next day, Maddick
injured knee on rocks, so following day we went sightseeing in Damascus.
Explored the Souk, said to be the largest Bazaar in the Middle East.
Sixth day hitchhiked back to Haifa after a final swim. Seventh day
hitch-hiked to Tel Aviv to meet my pal F/Lt Freddie Belcham, plus
2 WAAF friends. Next day went to Nataniya beach and got involved
in two life-saving efforts because of the strong currents.
Ninth day, back to Cairo
by air, and train to Alexandria. Next day we had flight difficulties
as I learned I was leaving 16SOR and was being sent to set up and
command a new unit 5FFCU. A plane was laid on to take me back to
Cyrene, collect my gear and fly back. Then my gear was sent on to
Heliopolis, and I flew to Bari in Italy for a conference, where
I would learn what it was all about.
F/Lt Freddie Belsham
F/Lt pop Rolfe
American University & French Militaire beaches
'Street called Straight', Damascus
CO of 5FFCU
of American University, Beirut Aug.1944
'Street called Straight' Damascus Aug.1944
Beach north of Tel Aviv August 1944
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