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Designed and developed by Stuart Gradwell and Helen Robinson.

Heroes Past & Present



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Interviews with heroes

Canal Zone Personal Tales

Jim was a vehicle mechanic. When he arrived in El Aden in the outskirts of Tubruk he was put on Attack HQ. “The vehicles were in bad shape so Mike and I worked on them in the day to do what we could to them.  

He remembers working hard to keep vehicles running in case they needed to mobilise quickly.

“At that time we expected to invade Alexandria by road.” This often meant jump starting vehicles with flat batteries to just get them running for the expected invasion.

James Brady

“Like everybody it was the mystery of the East - it was going to be sun and camels and sand and it was going to be good. You didn’t think about the flies and the smells and the mosquitoes” Jack laughed about his arrival in Egypt.

“It was a bit overpowering to start with because the RAF base we were on was the largest aerodrome in the Middle East and at that time was far busier than London Heathrow, believe it or not! But it was also a bit of a relief to find you had been posted to a unit which was attached to the RAF so you hadn’t really got a lot of the strict discipline that you would have in a proper unit. ….It was good in a way …..I said “I can’t believe my luck!”

As Chief Clerk if any top secret messages came in overnight Jack would receive them and deliver them to the Commanding Officer. “The difficulty was trying to keep yourself in good health. I got dysentery once and that was quite an experience. I finished up in the RAF Hospital. So you were watching what your food all the time - you hoped it wasn’t contaminated - and water of course because in those days there was no such thing as bottled water. Your basic drink was Coca Cola.”

Jack Raine

Mr Mallinson