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El Adem + Tobruk

Some memories of people and places.
Do you know anybody mentioned on these pages?

All pictures on this page courtesy George Mirowski
Last Parade leaving El Adem 1968Last Parade leaving El Adem 1968
Last Parade leaving El Adem 1968Me

A wave of nostalgia prompted me to find (amongst others) your web page.
I was in el Adem in 1967 on detachment from Malta with the Loyals, with the enviable task of guarding the bomb/ammo dump across the runway. This was at the time when the RAF were doing heat trials? with their new toys ie.C-130's. Bloody things operated at night and kept us awake.... which I thought was a thoroughly poor show at the time.

Halcyon days of being on guard and then lovely exercises in the ABU Admin Base Unit .....turn left at Bomba and then drive 5/6 hours into the desert.
Does anyone remember a desert air strip there? Allegedly an aircraft had gone down there with some paras on board but memory dims with the passage of time and the story smacked of the same credibility as of John Brill and his shoe-polish painting. I can find no record of any such crash.
Ive attached a picture of us looking pretty just before we departed Libya.

George Mirowski

[Don]: There was an aircraft crash at El Adem 1961 with Maltese soldiers on board, I was on guard duty on that aircraft overnight. It was horrific!
The only other that comes to mind was the American 'Lady Be Good' quite a long way south of Benghazi.
UPDATE: by Ernie Bullock, this page

I am trying to find out about Miss Olive Brittan who was in a large residence. in RAS EL HAL which was about a hundred miles west of Torbruk.
She was the Beekeeper to King Idris and lived on her own in complete isolation with only paraffin lamps as her source of lighting at night. The residence was used as HQ unit for the German SS. during the 2nd world war.
We used to use the residence as a stopping off point on our way to Benghazi or Tripoli.
Whatever happened to that dear old lady who was in the pay of King Idris for many years ? Because of her complete isolation I doubt whether it is possible to find out.

John Seccombe

[Don]: Look here... Miss Olive Brittan's residence
For the final answer on the fate of Miss Olive Brittan please visit Libya's last Queen

My first passenger flight was in a DC3 from Cairo West to Cappodochino airstrip near Naples, Italy. We put down on the airstrip at el Adem to refuel and have some breakfast. It was 1944, I think in June. The site consisted of a few huts, and I felt sorry for the few men stationed there in the middle of nowhere.

Gordon Skinner. Ex Sergeant RAF.

Hello Donald
Thanks for your email. Please use my recollections if you wish. I remember that the words EL ADEM were painted on the roof of one of huts, as a visual aid for pilots to find the airstrip, No, I have not returned there, but having been stationed in Malta for 15 months in 1944/5, I returned there last year for an enjoyable nostalgic holiday.
My comments about El Adem were included some time ago in my war story found on "WW2 People's War. Life As An RAF Codebreaker".

Regards. Gordon Skinner.  Read it here at the BBC

I refer to George Mirowski's article requesting information on an air crash at El Adem and to a subsequent reply about the Hasting crash which killed many Maltese soldiers. The writer stated that he did not know of any other crashes during that time.
There was another crash (or incident) involving a Beverley transporter plane. I recall that it either crashed on landing or that it's undercarriage collapsed on landing. I remember that a SAC who had obtained a lift to El Adem in this aircraft and was travelling in the hold was killed.
Ernie Bullock
RAF Tobruk 1961 - 1963

Dear Don,
I found your site when I was looking for some up to date pictures of Tobruk, I lived there from August 1960 to May 1962, I visited Bardia on several occasions and recently I had prints taken from the slides of the mural, even then it was crumbling at the base.

I have often wondered if it was still there and if anyone had seen fit to try and preserve it, it would be a great shame if it disappeared - a real piece of WW2 history, sad too that J Brill did not survive the war.

When we lived in Tobruk we had a friend called Mohammed Ezzedin he owned the Shell garage on the road to El Adem.
I would like to find someone who might know him and to find out if he is still alive (he would have known me as Pat Porter).

I often wonder about other Libyans I worked with as well.
From the one picture I have found so far Tobruk seems to gone from the war ravaged village I knew to quite a city, it would be nice to find out if the house we lived in is still there and what the city looks like now I don't think I would recognise it now.

Trisha Dawson

Hi Don
Thanks for a swift reply I found the new photo of the Bardia mural, as I feared it is mouldering away.

My home was in a block down from the church square, if you stand in the square with the church on the right and walk forward, turn right at the end of the block follow and it down, we were the last door on that block which was called Miserata Street and was owned by a man called Nibu who will now be long gone. He was old in 1962 and had just taken a 15 year old wife. He lived behind us, we had a small courtyard and behind our wall was the courtyard to his house - really flat topped one storey places rather than what we call a house in UK.
If you carried on round the corner from ours you would come to the king's palace which had its advantages when the electricity was going off we were among the last to lose it because we were near the palace.

I worked in the NAAFI office in the Tobruk Garrison and worked with two Ali's who were in the butchery - always had to patch up their cuts-
a 'workman' called Mabruk and the charge hand who was Palestinian and called me his daughter, his name was Selim Naghatti.
Both he and Mohammed Ezzedin will be getting old now, when we were there Mohammed was married to a Polish woman and they had three little girls who of course will now be around their 50's. There was also a driver called Hussein he was quite small and often drove the 3 ton truck and by the ? of Ramadan he would fight anyone, the rest of the time he was as mild as anything, he too will no doubt have passed away by now.

I remember it like yesterday and it is hard to think I left there 44 years ago and I am 65 now.
Any news of the people or places mentioned will be great.

[Don]: We tried for many months with the assistance of Major Mousa Saad in Tobruq, but unfortunately, failed to get the two together.

Hi Don

I read about the crash from Don (Jones), I remember thinking at the time... what a waste, particularly as it was the end of an exercise.

But then war too is such a waste, a time when one sees the very worst and the very best in people.
It's reassuring that my brain hasn't atrophied altogether though and memory works selectively from time to time.

I've attached some more piccies of Libya when we were there and whilst I'm not in touch with any of the blokes in them, for my part please feel free to use them if you so desire.

Keep well and if there's anything I can do to assist you, please feel free to get in touch.

George (Mirowski)

MH [Mohammed Ezzedin] was a man of parts - I believe his Polish wife was the sister of the wife of a British serviceman, who presumably arranged initial contact etc. (I was a kid at the time and recall gossip about the matter).

Mohammed also owned a shop for a while (certainly in 1955) - in Tobruk's main street opposite the Bon Marche. The Vigorelli electric sewing machine he sold to my mum in 1956 was still going strong in 1988 when she passed away...

Happy times - and a very "different" childhood for me - I may be going back after 50 years on a TEARS trip..

Bill Krouwel

Libya 67Libya 1967
Libya 68Libya 1968

Hi Don,
Further to my last I have attached some piccies for you, the first being the R&R at Bomba that Chris mentions. Please feel free to use them or not as you see fit. It may bring back memories for some.
Best regards George Mirowski

Bomba R & RBomba R & R
Back to Malta after 4 days of vomitBack to Malta after 4 days of vomit
Back in MaltaBack in Malta

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