The Division mobilises and moves by
train to Bombay boarding SS Karania##1 (British India line
ship) for Suez departing 20th Sep 1939. In Egypt they travel
to Beni Yusuf Camp - a dry, hot fly ridden area 15 miles
from Cairo, arriving 4th Oct 1939 and pitch camp. At war
strength Bn has 17 Officers & 700 Other Ranks, 12x 15 cwt
Canadian CMP Trucks, 6x Norton motorcycles and armed with 20
VBs, 6 UB mountings & 6 A/TK rifles. Bob could be one of the
'Boys with 3 months man service'!
Beni Yusuf ( now called Beni Sweif in Beni Suef
Governorate) has large
airfield which 1 RF was responsible for defending. Settling
in and adjusting to war footing. Lots of red tape to
overcome and adapting to Egyptian conditions.
SEP - Poland invaded and these countries
immediately declare being neutral Norway, Finland,
Sweden and Switzerland! All these countries
made lots of money during WW2. A U boat sinks SS Atenia
killing 117 passengers but a German admission of
responsibility did not come until 1946.BEF starts moving
OCT Manhattan Project starts after
For Allies this is time of the phoney war Sep '39 - May
Pas: 66 1st, 180 2nd,
2329 deck. 1942 bombed and sunk off Algeria by
Middle East Command established June 1939.
The whole area was quite until Italy's declaration of
war June 1940 when, in spite of his inferiority in troop
numbers, Gen. Wavell was able to not only defend against the
Italian attacks but by May 1941, he was able to defeat the
Italians and occupy their east African colonies of Eritrea,
Ethiopia and Italian Somaliland.