1950-1959 | Egypt

UN votes 64 to 5 in call for Britain to halt its aggression against Egypt

2 November 1956 In the early hours of 2 November 1956, the U.N. General Assembly expressed ‘its grave concern’ that the ‘armed forces of France and the United Kingdom are conducting military operations against Egyptian territory,’ that ‘the armed forces of Israel have penetrated deeply into Egyptian territory’, and that as a consequence the shipping…

1950-1959 | Egypt

Ministers unable to say if Britain is at war as Cairo Airport is bombed

1 November 1956 On 1 November 1956, an editorial in the Daily Mail was headlined ‘Britain at War’, however neither Foreign Secretary Selwyn Lloyd nor Minister of Defence Antony Head were able to confirm whether or not the country was actually at war with Egypt. The infuriating lack of clarity fomented consternation among MPs and the speaker…

1950-1959 | Egypt

Egyptians banned from cross channel swimming race

3 August 1956 On 3 August 1956, The Times reported that Billy Butlin, the owner of Bultins amusement parks and holiday homes, would not allow any Egyptians to participate in the annual cross-Channel swimming race he sponsored. The surprise announcement came a week after Egypt’s president, Gamal Abdul Nasser, nationalized the Suez Canal. The Egyptian swimming team…

1950-1959 | Collective punishments | Curfews | Cyprus

Empty envelopes provoke harsh British reprisals in Nicosia

24 May 1956 On Thursday 24 May 1956, Martin Clemens, the British commissioner of the Cypriot city of Nicosia, ordered the closing down of shops across several streets, and the expulsion of all inhabitants for three months. The draconian measure was described as a ‘collective punishment,’ a reprisal against the entire population for their supposed…

1950-1959 | Bahrain

Cabinet ‘mad keen to land British troops somewhere’

5 March 1956 On 5 March 1956, ministers were briefed at number 10 on gloomy assessments of the British position in the Middle East and Cyprus.  They were particularly outraged over the stoning of a convoy of cars in Bahrain conveying Britain’s Foreign Secretary, from the airport. His black Rolls Royce had been confronted by an angry…

1950-1959 | Cyprus | Flogging

Cypriot boys birched under emergency regulations

13 January 1956 On 13 January 1956, six Greek Cypriot boys from Famagusta were birched under one of several emergency regulations introduced the previous month to stamp out an island wide rebellion against British rule. By July, Lennox-Boyd, the colonial minister, admitted that a total of 118 boys had been ‘sentenced to whipping,’ of whom…