The Suez Emergency

The forgotten war of the conscript soldier

Published 31st October 2016

Sixty-five years ago thousands of British conscripts were sent to Egypt to defend the Suez Canal in the wake of rising Egyptian nationalism. 

In October 1951 a tense stand-off between the British and Egyptian governments broke down over the number of UK troops stationed in the country. In response, the British government mobilised 60,000 troops in 10 days, in what was described as the biggest airlift of troops since the Second World War.

It was the beginning of the end of Western control of the Suez Canal and the start of the three-year Suez Emergency, which has been described as a "forgotten war fought by a forgotten army".

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