Web Page No 2166
7th June 2015
Top Picture: Ships sunk as a blockade in the Suez Canal
Middle picture: Building the Aswan High Dam
Bottom Picture: British Troops
As we grew up all was not peaceful. We saw the aftermath of the Second World War, Korea and other trouble spots on the the International Front but there were two centres of trouble that really worried the average person in the UK, Suez and Cuba. Cuba really had the country worried and we were of an age to know why but we were only just aware of Suez and the trouble it caused.
On October 29, 1956, Israeli armed forces pushed into Egypt toward the Suez Canal after Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser nationalized the canal in July of that same year, initiating what was to become known as the Suez Crisis. The Israelis soon were joined by French and British forces, which nearly brought the Soviet Union into the conflict, and damaged their relationships with the United States. In the end, the British, French and Israeli governments withdrew their troops in late 1956 and early 1957.
The situation had been brewing for some time. Two years earlier, the Egyptian military had begun pressuring the British to end their military presence (which had been granted in the 1936 Anglo-Egyptian Treaty) in the Canal Zone. Nasser’s armed forces also engaged in sporadic battles with Israeli soldiers along the border between the two countries, and the Egyptian leader did nothing to conceal his antipathy toward the Jewish nation.
Supported by Soviet arms and money and furious with the United States for reneging on a promise to provide funds for the construction of the Aswan High Dam on the Nile River, Nasser ordered the Suez Canal seized and nationalized. The British were angry with the move and sought the support of France (which believed that Nasser was supporting rebels in the French colony of Algeria) and Israel (which needed little provocation to strike at the enemy on its border) in an armed assault to retake the canal.
The Israelis struck first, on October 26, 1956. Two days later, British and French military forces joined them. Originally, forces from the three countries were set to strike at once, but the British and French troops were delayed.
Behind schedule, but ultimately successful, the British and French troops took control of the area around the Suez Canal. However, their hesitation had given the Soviet Union–also confronted with a growing crisis in Hungary–time to respond. The Soviets, eager to exploit Arab nationalism and gain a foothold in the Middle East, supplied arms from Czechoslovakia to the Egyptian government beginning in 1955, and eventually helped Egypt construct the Aswan High Dam after the United States had refused to support the project. The Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev railed against the invasion and threatened to rain down nuclear missiles on Western Europe if the Israeli-French-British force did not withdraw.
The response of President Dwight Eisenhower’s administration was carefully measured. It warned the Soviets that reckless talk of nuclear conflict would only make matters worse, and cautioned Khrushchev to refrain from direct intervention in the conflict. However, Eisenhower also issued stern warnings to the French, British and Israelis to give up their campaign and withdraw from Egyptian soil. Eisenhower was upset with the British, in particular, for not keeping the United States informed about their intentions. The United States threatened all three nations with economic sanctions if they persisted in their attack. The threats did their work because by the end of November 6th, Port Said had been taken and the military estimated that full control of the Suez Canal would only take another 24 hours. However, they were ordered to stop fighting at midnight.
The British and French forces withdrew by December; Israel finally bowed to U.S. pressure in March 1957. Faced with the possibility of a major dent in the UK economy, the cabinet under Anthony Eden, took the decision to order a ceasefire. By November 7th, casualty figures could be assessed. It is believed that about 650 Egyptians were killed including civilians, with 2,000 wounded. The Anglo-French forces lost 26 men killed and 129 wounded – included in these figures were Royal Marines killed and wounded in a friendly-fire incident involving the RAF.
There was little doubt that Britain had been humiliated on the international scene. However, Eden remained defiant. On November 17th he said: “We make no apology and will never make one for the actions which we took.”
On December 20th, in the House of Commons, Eden was asked if he had ever had prior knowledge of an Israeli attack preceding a British/French one. Eden told the House that he had not – clearly misleading the House on what he actually did know. However, his health was failing and British troops started to withdraw on December 23rd.
On January 8th, 1957, Eden addressed his cabinet for the last time. He gave his reason for resigning as increasingly poor health. The Queen accepted his resignation on January 9th and Harold McMillan succeeded him. In Egypt and in the whole Arab world, Nasser became a hero idolised by millions. He was seen as the man who had stood up to the ‘imperial ambitions’ of Britain and France and had defeated them. In the aftermath of the Suez Crisis, Britain and France found their influence as world powers weakened.
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DOES ANYONE KNOW WHERE PETE BRADY BOARDMAN IS?
One of the main reasons why Peter could cross the Havant Rd back in the late 50's and early 60's without being run over and flattened was due to the Bedhampton Halt Railway crossing gates which spanned the very busy London to Portsmouth railway line.
Who else has sat in the traffic to think Great! the gates are opening and the traffic moves forward only for the gates to begin to close again for another 10 minutes after 6 cars have passed over the lines.
These gates opened and closed at very regular intervals causing massive tailbacks in the Summer. No left hand turn back in those days which gave you the chance to go around Havant to join the Hayling Island road. I have taken this road detour when the railway gates road by-pass was eventually opened ( 1963? ) and actually beat the next gate opening for Bedhampton traffic.
Yes, Hayling Island traffic was a nightmare back in those far off days and you set your watch to leave Hayling Island beach before the mad rush to get off the Island otherwise you would be sitting in a traffic jam for hours.
It's obviously a lot better these days but it still gets congested getting off the Island as I found out only last Summer. It took me 20 minutes to join the M27 with big car queues over Langstone bridge.
News and Views:
On this day 7th June 1960-1965
On 07/06/1960 the number one single was Cathy's Clown - Everly Brothers and the number one album was South Pacific Soundtrack. The top rated TV show was Sunday Night at the
Palladium (ATV) and the box
office smash was Psycho. A pound of today's money was worth £13.68 and London Burnley were on the way
to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.
On 07/06/1961 the number one single was Surrender - Elvis Presley and the number one album was GI Blues - Elvis Presley. The top rated TV show was
No Hiding Place (AR) and the box office smash was One Hundred and One Dalmations. A pound of today's money was worth £13.25 and Tottenham Hotspur were on the way to becoming the Season's
Division 1 champions.
On 07/06/1962 the number one single was Good Luck Charm - Elvis Presley and the number one album was Blue Hawaii - Elvis Presley. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was Lawrence of Arabia. A pound of today's money was worth £12.89 and
were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions. The big news
story of the day was Ipswich Town England lose World Cup Quarter Final 3-1 to . Brazil
On 07/06/1963 the number one single was From Me To You - The Beatles and the number one album was Please Please Me - The Beatles. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was The Great Escape. A pound of today's money was worth £12.64 and Everton were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions. The big news story of the day was Buddhist monk burns himself alive as protest.
On 07/06/1964 the number one single was You're My World - Cilla Black and the number one album was Rolling Stones - The Rolling Stones. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was Dr Strangelove. A pound of today's money was worth £12.24 and Liverpool were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.The big news story of the day was 1st World Book Fair in
On 07/06/1965 the number one single was Long Live Love - Sandie Shaw and the number one album was The Sound of Music Soundtrack. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was The Sound of Music. A pound of today's money was worth £11.69 and
United were on the way to becoming
the Season's Division 1 champions.The big news story of the day was 750th anniversary of Magna Carta. Manchester