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R.A.F El Adem - Tobruk
Families Page

Were you a child of someone serving here in the 1960's
Do you know anybody mentioned on these pages?
If so please email.

Recently I explained to Kathy Ring that I could not post her request because I was about to close the site after 13 years due to reducing source material.
However, my wife and the following email caused me to re-think and finally decide to keep going...

Thank you for your answer. Of course I fully understand what you are saying.
For me, though, it was fascinating recently to read the reminiscences of another young person, about life in Tobruk and El Adem during the same period, on a TEARS website.
I had thought that no-one else could ever share my memories of that time - life there definitely was a completely different world to modern day Britain.
Much of what I experienced at that time had become little more than a dream (and sometimes a nightmare), so to find someone who shared so closely my own experiences was a joy and a relief.

As young people we were carted across the world in the wake of our Service parents and just had to get on with it. Twice I lived in countries on the brink of war. My memories have no place to go, and no one who can identify with them. Adults have choices but children do not.

I do wish you well. Thank you for what you have done so far in bringing people together and giving them an opportunity to share.


...and to add this page, which was Kathy's suggestion. The 'links' will follow.

Hi Don,

I'm not sure how you're getting on with the website, but thought I'd mention a couple of things I've just thought of.

Perhaps you could have a Tab for Families of Service Personnel - maybe something like RAF Families, or RAF Kids (whatever fits in the Tab Box best!), so viewers would be drawn directly to that, if they were exploring the website for that sort of thing.

Also, when I was searching the web for reminiscences I happened across your website completely by accident - I'd never heard of the Bardia Mural, as I was too young to have known of it.

If the aim of the site is partly to give people a forum to exchange reminiscences, would it be an idea to provide an area where links to other sites could be put?

It's obviously been a challenge developing the website into areas of interest for other people, yet maintaining it's original focus, because everyone wants something different !!

Actually, I found your website very helpful - it had lots of stuff about Libya / Tobruk / El Adem that I had no idea about, and found interesting, and most importantly (for me) lots of photos and reminiscences.
All these things, whether directly related to me or not, helped me build up a picture of those places and those times, which has been invaluable. So thank you :-)

Very best wishes, Kathy

17 Oct 2017

As a 7 year old child I lived for a while with my family in Tobruk and was evacuated to Famagusta just before the Libyan coup.

My siblings were Rachael and Gordon.

My parents were Tony Sparkes (Ernest Anthony) and Dagmar.

Tony worked at RAF El Adem on 'Statistics' as an SAC as far as I know, and played golf in the dunes in his spare time!

Does anyone have any recollections of them?

Thanks. Kathy Ring :-)

Here's the view from the roof of our house in Tobruk...... not quite the usual English suburban view - we also saw animals being slaughtered in the street.

I'm told we lived round the corner from Gadaafi. Unfortunately I cannot remember the name of the street.

3 Sep 2017

Hi Don,
I was very happy to see your website. I lived in Lybia as a child up until 9 years of age. We lived in Tobruck until 1967.

My dad was sub-contracted to work for the R.A.F as an electrician in the cold stores. I have many happy memories of my childhood in Tobruck, including going to visit Miss Britain.

I would love to hear from anyone that may have know us! Or more about what became of Miss Britain.

Thank you. Lindy Norton

[Don]: Hello Lindy
Thank you for your email. For more info on Miss Olive Brittan you could follow this link... Libya's Last Queen or several places on this site. Sorry, no search.

Yes please post my email! Are you watching 'The Last Post' on T.V? Brings it all back for me as we were in Aden before Tobruk!
I hope you are well!

25 Sep 2017

Hi Don,
I stumbled across your webpage this afternoon, what an interesting collection of memories.
The reason I found it is that I'm currently working through my father-in-law's affairs with my wife; he passed away a few weeks ago.
We were both taken aback to find he was at El Adem between October 1959 and October 1961 for his national service. I'm not sure if he was there for the duration, but he was a ground wireless fitter.

It's a long shot, but after such an unexpected discovery in his paperwork we thought we'd see if you'd happened across his name (Ronald Hanson) at all in other correspondence.
Kind regards, Paul Duley.

Hello Paul and wife,
You may have noted that I was at El Adem commencing 1961 and I was also Ground Wireless although I spent a good deal of that time at the Bombing Range further out in the desert.
I did spend the earliest part at El Adem (which may? have overlapped your Father-in-Law's time) working on the airfield (the only place for Ground Wireless) but do not recall the name Hanson.
I would imagine he will have done the same work, control Tower communications equipment and the airfield rescue vehicle radio sets.
The website is due to close down soon. I am sorry that I personally cannot help further.
Best regards, Don

Hi Don
Thanks for the reply. Regardless of whether you can continue it I think you've done a great job on the site. It's been interesting to see a little about where Ron was stationed. Like I said, it was a long shot that you'd have happened across him in previous correspondence.
Thanks again and we wish you all the best.
Kind regards, Paul.

13 Jun 2017 - Copied from Hastings Crash Page

Hi there Don,
my name is Kylee Psaila and I am the granddaughter of Sappa Joseph Psaila who died on the 11th October 1961 of injuries from the El-adem crash. He was one of the 4 not buried in the Pembroke Cemetery (a few years later he was moved there though after my nunna, Joseph’s wife had a change of heart).

I write to you on the off chance that you knew him? My nunna is now 82 and although in good health she doesn’t speak too much of her late husband as she is still heartbroken and as I get older I wonder more and more about this man, my grandfather that I wish I knew.

My father was 6 when his father [Joseph] died and it’s obviously had a great effect in his life and I would just like to offer any information I can to him. I understand this is a long shot but it’s the only ‘shot’ I’ve come across.

I appreciate your site and the information and support you provide, it’s cathartic to read anything about that the terrible accident and gives me a good insight to the event so thank you.
Kylee Psaila
Melbourne, Australia

Copied from Can You Help Page

I am trying to find 2 good friends for my dad.

He [James (jim) Kelly] was stationed in Tobruk fire section in the mid to late 60's.

His 2 great friends were Larry Lamb (wife - Rose, daughter - Heather) and Benny Rodgers.

Anyone on your site know his name? Or do you know the best place to search?

Kindest Regards

14 Feb 2018

Hi Don, thanks for the website.
My Dad was Brian Priestley and we lived in Tobruk for a few months in 1963 while we waited for a quarter at El Adem, which we eventually got (No. 6 AMQ) and where we lived until December 1964.
Dad worked at the gas plant, an horrendously noisy place on the edge of the camp. It made him somewhat deaf in later life.

I was 7 at the time and used to climb over the fence into the bondu to play among the detritus of WW2. A friend picked up an old mortar round once and threw it, producing a satisfying but thankfully harmless explosion.
I was kept within the wire after that but found the swimming pool could be just as much fun, although if a ghibli blew up the water would go a sort of khaki colour. Talking of colour, the gazooza they sold at the pool and at the Sgts' Beach in Tobruk came in radioactive green, dayglo orange and fire engine red but all colours tasted the same.

My prize possession was a pet chameleon, which my Mum didn't mind because it ate the flies. Fond memories of Saturday film matinées at the Astra, when we kids would misbehave and the manager would stop the film and threaten to throw us all out.

I found Tobruk much changed when I revisited in 2005 but was able to find and even gain entry to the flat we'd lived in. Couldn't persuade the CO at El Adem to let me in but by then the MQs had already been demolished (you can just make out their ghostly outlines on satellite photos).
I attach some scans of my Dad's slides, taken at the time.
Best wishes, Steve

Christening at El Adem churchChristening at El Adem Church

Italian Square, TobrukItalian Square, Tobruk

Sergeant's Mess, El AdemSergeant's Mess, El Adem

Sergeant's BeachSergeant's Beach

Married QuartersMarried Quarters