The Suez Canal is located in Egypt and was not only a strategically important route, but also very economically beneficial to Britain, giving her access to oil and trade in the Middle East. A treaty was signed in 1936 which agreed that British forces could be kept in the area. However, this was resented by Egyptian nationalists and riots broke out from 1945 onwards. Between 1950 and 1956, violence increased leading to many injuries and servicemen being killed.
Colonel Nasser came to power in April 1954. He was a strong nationalist and began negotiations with the British to withdraw their troops. The first British troops left in May 1955 with the last units leaving in March 1956. The Suez Canal had been owned by the Suez Canal Company (controlled by the French and British). The British and Americans had decided not to fund Egypt’s efforts to build the Aswan High Dam, revoking on a previous promise due to growing ties between Egypt and the Soviet Union. Nasser was angered by this decision and decided that in retaliation, he would make Egyptian forces occupy the Suez Canal Company so that their profits could be filtered straight through into the Dam fund.
Fearing that they may loose their strategic and economic stake in the region, Britain and France, tried to deal with Nasser diplomatically at first. When this failed, both countries decided that military action was the only alternative and that Nasser should be deposed. Britain began to prepare its military including calling up over 20,000 reservists.
They found that Israel were supportive of deposing the Nasser regime in Egypt. On the 29th October 1956, the Israeli military invaded Egypt and headed for the canal. Britain and France called for a ceasefire between Israel and Egypt and withdrawal from the canal zone. If this was not complied with, then British and French forces would intervene. On the 5th-6th November, British and French forces landed at Port Said and Port Fuad. Allied air attacks were also ordered on Egypt.
Horrified, the United Nations (UN) threated Britain with sanctions should there be any civilian casualties. The US opposed the British intervention as they were worried that any support for the allied actions may push Arab states further into Soviet hands. Due to the threat of sanctions, economic pressure mounted on the UK and lots of the British’s reserves were lost. A ceasefire was called from midnight 7th November 1956. UN troops were brought in and on the 22nd December British and French troops were evacuated from the area.
This conflict continues to show Britain’s declining imperialist power and caused big problems in the UK with an economic crisis, rationing of petrol, and the resignation of the Prime Minister, Anthony Eden. It threatened the good relationships that Britain had with the USA, Middle Eastern countries and even countries within the Commonwealth. Egypt kept control of the canal and limited the British’s access to trade in Asia.
Christopher attended Oakham School between 1948 and 1952. He was in Deanscroft house.
Spring 1952 Hockey Review: “His play has steadily improved throughout the season. He has become a clever tackler and is adept at eluding the tackle-back; in addition he stops the ball well and passes accurately, but he could be more constructive in attack and quicker to recover in defence”.
Christopher served as Second Lieutenant in the 2nd Battalion, The Green Howards, taking part in the Suez Canal Crisis.
The cap badge of the Green Howards.
John attended Oakham School between 1938 and 1941. He was in Hodge Wing and then School House.
Oakham School Cricket 1st XI, 1940 - John is sat at the front on the left.
Oakham School Cricket 1st XI, 1941 - John is standing third from the right.
Summer 1940 Cricket Review: “ A much improved batsman, who is now learning to hit the ball: quite a good field”.
Good’s batting average in Summer 1940: 7 innings, 1 time not out, 32 highest score, 98 runs, and an average of 16.33.
Good’s batting average in Summer 1941: 10 innings, 0 times not out, 169 runs, 38 highest score, and an average of 16.90.
Summer 1941 Cricket Review: “a steady and consistent opening bat; has a tendency to lose his wicket by trying to sweep a straight ball to leg: a fair field, but must learn to throw”.
Good served in the Second World War as a Lieutenant in the Royal Marines.
John would also serve as a Captain in the Royal Marine Commandos during the Suez Crisis.
The badge of the Royal Marines.
Colin attended Oakham School between 1948 and 1954. He was a Day boy.
Colin went to the Rugby College of Technology and studied Engineering BSc. He became an engineer in an electric company.
Colin served on HMS Albion off Port Said.
Guy attended Oakham School between 1943 and 1950. He was a member of Junior House and then Wharflands.
Guy served in the Royal Navy on HMS Eagle off Port Said.
David attended Oakham School between 1948 and 1952. He was a Day boy.
David went to Jesus College, Oxford University to study Theology (BA, MA and BD). He worked as a clergyman, a rural dean and the Canon of Sheffield Cathedral.
During the Suez Crisis, David was a Private in the 1st Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment.
The cap badge of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment.