Kuwait Emergency 1961


Lantern Swinger
navyeo60 said:
Anyone else remember this?
Same story different ending. I joined Bulwark in Singapore shortly after this in August.

Interesting article, I didn't realise that so much was going on while I spent hours sitting in the crash boat wondering what all the fuss was about. The coxsn of the boat, (I think it was L/S Soapy Hudson) kept us amused by his tales of how powerful the Iraqi Air force was, and how much of a chance of survival we had sitting in an open boat , waiting in case a chopper, ferrying the booties ashore, crashed. We were supposed to be in normal watches, but my memory tells me that we did some very long spells waiting for a relief. Still , it did wonders for our sun tan. I expect higthe pig has many happy memories of those times. We went back to Singapore when Victorious and the pongoes and crabs eventually turned up, and as it was the end of the commission, after some weeks in Terror, and a short trip up north to fetch the engine of a wrecked Whirlwind back to the ship, we welcomed our reliefs and flew home. The story about the suffering of the commando ashore nearly had me in tears. They were supplied with blocks of ice by the local sheik and some nice cold drinks. Back on board , the air conditioning broke down and the booties who came back on board for rest and relaxation kept complaining that it was cooler ashore. Iwas told ( maybe true , maybe not) that they were given tents by the grateful Kuwaitis, but I'm not sure about that.
Remember it well. The !st Destroyer Squadron, based in Malta, had returned from their summer cruise. The sh1t hit the fan and Finisterre, Saintes and Camperdown sailed for the Gulf. Solebay, as Captain D, was conveniently refitting alongside and missed the frivolities! We escorted Centaur through Suez and on to Aden. After fuelling and storing ship we were off again. Spent time chasing Vic as plane guard. We got up as far as the Shatt el Arab. I can't remember if we got any runs ashore, but I don't think we did. As the squadron was due home in mid September, we probably left the gulf in late July, had a short stopover in Aden. Then back to Malta. I remember we entered Sliema creek with Arabic pennant numbers (D55) and upper deck crews dressed in white fronts, sarongs and fezzes. The skipper was dressed as a sheik.

Semper Strenuissima.
I was one of those "booties" that were supposed to have had "iced water, ice blocks and tents" supplied by the Kuwaiti government.
I was in Charlie Troop, 42 Commando and was in the second stick to be flown off Bulwark to Kuwait airport, which was still in the process of being constructed.
Our transport wasn't able to get ashore because of high winds and seas too rough for LCTs, so we had to commandeer any transport that we could lay our hands on to get us to Al Mutla Ridge.
It was 140 degrees Fahrenheit in the shade, except that there was little shade, except for the overhead cover that we rigged up from our ground sheets.
Digging in wasn't that easy, either, as the sand was so fine that it just blew back into the trench as fast as we shovelled it out.
The only "cool" water was what we had in chuggles (if you don't know what one of those is, look it up). We sent a water bowser down to Kuwait city most days to top it up from the water supply that the locals used. There was NO ICE.
The fine sand got into everything and haboob (the warm wind that blew up every afternoon in the summer) created dust storms that made the situation even worse.
Even shallow breathing in that heat hurt your lungs and we had to learn to do everything at snail pace.
After three weeks of that we were quite glad to see the back of Al Mutla Ridge and get a shower.
So you see, Jack, it wasn't quite the cushy number that it was depicted to be by your oppos back on board.
I have a picture of me somewhere, sitting in a hole with a bit of overhead cover (not a tent!) and if I can work out how to upload it, you can see for yourself that it wasn't the Hilton Hotel.


Was on HMS Centaur. We were dallying along with the "new" USS Enterprise prior to a tasty visit to the States and Canada when we got the call - did a swift left turn and sprinted through the Med, Suez and Red Sea and I think we had a run ashore in Aden. I've forgotten how long we stayed in the Gulf area but It was less than a month. Went back quite a few times until I finally climbed from Elephant Bay to Crater City, had a great run in the Mermaid Club and was told by the RAF never to return.

Similar threads

Latest Threads

New Posts