On Sunday 6 November 2016 the Ministry of Defence and The Royal British Legion will host an event at the National Memorial Arboretum, home of the Suez Memorial, to commemorate 60 years since the ceasefire was announced in Egypt.
The 450 British military fatalities in the Suez Canal Zone from 1951 to 1956 will be remembered along with those from former Colonial forces, including British East Africa (now Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda), Mauritius, The Seychelles and Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe).
The history of British involvement in Egypt and the Suez Canal dates back to 1875, with Egypt becoming a British Protectorate between 1914 and 1952. British and Colonial Armed Forces were deployed in the Suez Canal Zone for all of this period until a temporary withdrawal in April 1956.
In 1951, Egypt declared void the Anglo-Egyptian Treaty of 1936, that granted Britain a lease on the Suez base for a further 20 years. Tensions led to the declaration of an emergency period from 1951 to 1954.
In October 1956, the British and French owned canal was nationalised by the Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser, in response British and French forces secured the Canal Zone on Operation Musketeer. A ceasefire was announced on 6 November 1956 and all troops were withdrawn shortly afterwards.
Defence Minister Earl Howe, who will attend the anniversary service, said:
The deployment of British and Colonial forces to Suez is a significant part of our history and it is important that we remember this period and all those that were lost in the conflict. The 60th anniversary event provides us with an opportunity to remember this sacrifice while reflecting on the role of the thousands of personnel deployed.
The Royal British Legion will support the event and will offer welfare advice and support to those attending.
Terry Whittles, National Chairman of The Royal British Legion, said:
Our Armed Forces, and others from around the Commonwealth, serve in tough theatres around the world. The five-year conflict in the Suez Canal Zone was no exception, with significant loss of life and with many veterans and their families requiring support long after the British withdrawal from Egypt.
The Legion has been here to care for veterans of Suez over the past sixty years and we are now pleased to host this important commemorative event at the National Memorial Arboretum and to encourage the Nation to appropriately mark this important anniversary.
How to Apply
Ticket applications are welcomed from all who have a personal connection with the operations, including veterans and their spouses, widows/ers, and direct descendants.
Applications should be made via The Royal British Legion website. An online application form can be found at the following link: www.britishlegion.org.uk/suez60. The closing date for applications is Wednesday 19 October 2016.
For any queries, contact the Legion’s Commemorative Events Team via email firstname.lastname@example.org or on 0203 053 7216.