The Middle East 1948-1956


For most of the Regiment’s forebears, the Middle East featured as an area for operational tours during the period 1948–1956. Battalions from The East Surreys, The Royal Sussex, The Royal Hampshires and The Middlesex Regiments tackled problems associated with the Stern Gang and the Jewsish declaration of the Independent State of Israel in Palestine.

The Royal Sussex spent from 1949–1953 in Suez, Egypt and on a six month tour to Jordan. The latter deployment was to counter potential Israeli action, however, the Battalion ended up experiencing aggression from the Egyptians at Suez, where they carried out internal security duties. Guard duties were shared with The Buffs during 1951/52. On one occasion a major of The Buffs was shot through the head, whilst travelling in a Royal Sussex carrier! Miraculously, he survived. The East Surreys were also deployed to Suez in 1953, where the Battalion suffered a number of casualties at Telel-Kebir.

The Queen’s Own Royal West Kents was the only Regimental forebear to become embroiled in the more well-known Suez crisis of 1956. In October 1956, the Israelis invaded Egyptian Sinai, and Great Britain and France informed the United Nations that if fighting broke out around the Suez Canal they would be forced to intervene. On the 5th November, British and French paratroops dropped in the area of Port Said. Lieutenant Colonel Crook of the Queen’s Own Royal West Kent was commanding the 3rd Battalion The Parachute Regiment for the drop. The 1st Battalion The Queen’s Own Royal West Kents took part in an amphibious landing, but the opposition was light. As is known, all forces were forced to withdraw under pressure from the United States.