President Tommy Mulvee welcomed members to last week’s meeting, and introduced the speaker, well-known Teri Jim Wallace, who related the part he played in the Suez Crisis in Egypt in the 1950s.
President Nasser of Egypt took over the Suez canal and, as it was of great importance to Britain to access oil, the Prime Minister Anthony Eden sent British troops to defend it in 1956. This soon caused a rift between Britain and her allies, especially America.
Jim was a regular in the RAF at this time and he found himself in the middle of the action at Port Said. He referred to his activities during the crisis which ended abruptly when the USA intervened. He spent 18 months clearing bomb dumps into the Red Sea where they lie to this day in deep water. Vampire jet planes were engaged in the operation and Jim became an expert instructor on ejection seats fitted to the aircraft.
He ended up in Aden for six months before he was demobbed and returned to civvy life back in Hawick in his trade as a painter and decorator. Fifty years later he was issued, belatedly, with a medal for his part in the conflict.
Jim, an accomplished artist, compiled a journal and diary of the event which he had on display. Past-president Billy McWatters gave the club’s vote of thanks and complimented Jim on an excellent and interesting talk, the effects of which still rumble on to the present day in the region.