Atrocities, Mass Murders and War Crimes during the 1956 Anglo-French invasion of Port Said and Port Fouad Suez War Part - 1

Dr.Yahia Al Shaer

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Operation Musketeer
The other Side of the Coin
By Yahia Al Shaer


Atrocities, Mass Murders and War Crimes
during the 1956 Anglo-French
invasion of Port Said and Port Fouad
Suez War

Part - 1



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This is a sad chapter in my book, because talking about the other Side of the Coin will neither include the hereoising any person on either sides of the War. It simply demands FACTS.

Re-documenting an account of horrible crimes committed (off the battle fields)during the war days as of 29th October 1956, demand doubtless facts and prerequisites emotionless neutrality


As many other wars, the Anglo-French-Israeli war was no exception. It did have its share of disgrace and shame...

On all fronts and in all Wars, massmurders is neither the issue of how many killings were committed ,to be counted as a war crime ?, nor how many innocent civilians were murdered to be classified as massmurder?.

It is the simple moral obligation to ask the question,.. How did we allow it to come so far ??... How was it allowed to happen ??.

The worse of all is killing POWs because this is a crime against the UN Charta signed by all the states on this Earth. Killing innocent civilians by armed soldiers is disgraceful and unhonorable. It is not only a crime against humanity, but also an act of terrorism which degrades its doers to a very low level and places them aside to the meanest criminals. Such crimes do not comply to the military honoure and will never fit in its frame..

The courage to admit that it has happened requires a great deal of civil courage. Many have denied that such crimes have took place - when they had the chance to do it.-, others have just done it, and simply committed the crime and thought that it will never come up and will sink down in the forgotten minutes of history. We had that once in the Nazi Germany.. But justice is holy, and the truth will always pop up and pervail.




May God forgive
and
May their souls rest in peace


We have heard in Port Said about some of the atrocities committed during this war against us. We have been talking in Egypt and propagating, that innocent civilians and soldiers have been killed either in cold blood, or at point blank, or may be just for the sake of killing.

The cold blood killing of non-combatant civilians or military persons. We have either propagated the stories or waited for evidences, because such crimes were categorically denied by the Tripartite Alliances , that they never ever could have happened or committed by any of their soldiers.

They argumented, that such war crimes never happened after 1945.

The history proved that they were wrong and that we - who never thought it could be true -- are mistaken.

To document these crimes for history,I have chosen the following (known and published thus documented) crimes, genocide and atrocities that were committed by all three Alliances of the 1956 War against Egypt. Starting with Port Said and ending with Sinai. I shall refer to the sources of these information for the creditability of my lines....

One more remark. I struggled with myself to puplish the death photos within the text, but as I am writting for history, and the magnitude of such crimes is unforgivable, I have decided to publish them..., lest we forget.....!!



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French military honour ??

The importance and the magnitude of the French inhuman acts against some helpless and innocent Egyptians during the 1956 Anglo-French-Israeli-War seem unbelievably horrible, compared to the behaviour of the British soldierd who clearly kept their military honour not stained as much.

These facts, oblige me to document the committed massacres for the future Generations.
with some amusement and satisfaction; every body is having his turn! I refer once again, to the often quitted and referred to famous book written by Pierre Leulliette, a member of the B.P.C Battalion Parachutiste Colonial ( "St. Michael and the Dragon " memories of a paratrooper),who participated in the French Para Assault on Raswa and the took part in the invasion of Port Fouad.

The book was seized by the French Government upon its publication and is republished under another name (The War in Algeria).



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Death for a broom
French Paras shoot a courage Egyptian "POW" officer



Pierre Leulliette documents on page 218 of his above mentioned book , quote "....Among these poor devils, there's an officer.

Though he surrendered just as fast as the others did, he nevertheless has that haughty air characteristic of so many officers.

You wonder why he hasn't got a swagger stick - probably lost it running away.

He's just as much a prisoner as his men, but he continually scolds and bullies them, staring scornfully at the French sentinel, who couldn't care less.

Unfortunately for him, there comes a moment when the sentinel is D. R.

There is nothing mean about this D. R., but he doesn't like officers putting on airs, whateverarmy they're in.


He therefore definitely wants to humiliate this officer before his men. As there is still a room left to clean, he holds the broom out to him.

The man doesn't move. The Egyptian soldiers look on with interest,and with some amusement and satisfaction; every body is having his turn!


R. gets tired of holding that broom in one hand and his gun in the other, and he finally throws the broom at the officer.It lands on the floor.

The Egyptian hesitates a second, bends down, picks up the broom, and throws it in R's face, on which he lands a resounding slap at the same time. R. goes white, but doesn't move.

The officer waits, probably for us to fall on him and tie him, but R. beckons us to stand back.


Very pale, without a word, he pumps a cartridge into the barrel of his Mass 36, clac, clac,..

The regulations are explicit: slapping a sentinel in wartime is aggravated rebellion, and the penalty is death. I have full right to shoot his filthy "boukak" on the spot, in fact it's my duty! Says R. to himself...

The officer is leaning Against the wall, still not making the slightest move. R. lowers the barrel of his rifle - whereupon the captain, who unnoticed, had seen the whole thing, put his hand on R's shoulder, and, with a tense look on his face, stops him. "Follow me with that individual...".


He turns on his heel and heads for the sea, across the dunes, followed by two of us., with the prisoner in between.

The later's scorn is withering.He doesn't condescend to look at any body, even the captain. He is still thinking: The war is over. Tomorrow I'll be free, and my men will be telling about my courage.

The group stops onthe shore. The captain gives a brief order. Someone cocks his submachine gun.

The haughty face turns from bronze to grey. He opens his mouth to speak: " I....I...."- but the bullets are in the way. The man falls in a heap. "That's that..." Says the captain. "Good job....A prisoner is sacred, but a sentinel. Get him buried in a hurry, after the last bullet."

Sergeant S., a good Alsatian with infinite respect for army regulations,resented that slap as if it had been on his own cheek. He asks for a rifle and fixes the bayonet, the long slender bayonet of the Mas 36, sharp and round like a rat's tail, but with four grooves, for the blood. And bending over the man, who may be not yet dead, instead of giving him the usual coup de grace with a pistol, he pierces his chest twice, with two precise little motions.....The two round holes do not make one drop of blood.

We bury the body in three minutes,in the soft, watery sand. The sea is near and will soon carry it off........" No useless prisoners ! "



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French Paras shoot civilian fishermen in cold blood

Pierre Leulliette, as a member of the B.P.C Battalion Parachutiste Colonial ,documents further on pages 208-209 of his above-mentioned memories of a paratrooper, the following massacre which was committed on Tuesday 06th November. quote

"....At dawn, more shots, mingled with reports of grenades. Moored along the Canal in front of the barracks, are a dozen old ships and a few feluccas. We didn't have time to attend them , andit's from them that all this noise is coming. We ran over, with our PM's cocked. About a dozen fishermen have been found hiding in their boats.

They have their hands up and are trying to convince us that they are non-combatants, - which is quite likely -. suddenly finding themselves right in the middle of our position, they may well have had no choice but to hide to escape the shooting.
"...

No useless prisoners ! They're a nuisance, and they have to be fed.."We empty our magazines ... And one after another, the prisoners fall into water.There are only two left, and they jump overboard in a desperate effort to hide along the hulls. Private L. has never engaged in this sort of sport before, but, to show us that he's really tough, he gets on the last boat. Nobody insight.....?? He leans over the gunwale, and kneels, waiting for the moment when the two suffocating men have to put their heads out
.
After several minutes, a face emerges "Ta...ta...ta...tatata...tata..." goes private L.'s PM. And the head disappears, mangled blasted, at point blank range.

Three more minutes go by, and the head reappears, dripping blood and water. Second burst of fire....

The head sinks and does not come up again. A large round pink spot slowly widens on the surface, then grows more and more faint.

The second head comes out of the water a little further off, with close-cropped hair like the first and the same wide open, terror-stricken eyes; and it shares the same fate, and there is the same widening ring of little scarlet waves.

Two days later, crossing the great Canal, we see these two corpses again, all swollen, floating slowly toward the sea. We knew them by their mangled faces.......".

These were the accounts of two committed criminal acts as described and documented by a French soldier, and a member of the B.P.C Battalion Parachutiste Colonial Pierre Leulliette. One of the persons who witnessed the massacres..... It is not an Egyptian tail.



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French Paras shoot civilians
waiting for a flour ration


Another disgraceful crime committed by the French Legion Etranger (Foreign Legion) was documented on pages 485- 486 in a book written about the CRM " The Royal Marienes, from sea soldiers to special force, written by Julian Thompson " by an honorable British RMC Royal Marines Commando officer, (RM) 2nd Lt. (later Lt. Col.) N. F. VOX, who had the courage to report about the following killing committed by the French soldiers "... By now, the French have come across from Port Fouad. Because I could speak French I was seconded to the French Foreign Legion for a couple of days.

This was fascinating because in those days the troops were mainnly German World War II veterans, who had been fighting in indochina and Algeria.

They were the most experienced troops I have ever met. Not all their officers had so much experience, but they were all from the top of the calss from St. Cyr. Their dicipline was different from ours, informal, but hard, if you did not pull your weight.

They were clear that the priority was protecting themseleves, and that everybody else, including civilians, came a long way second.

They did not believe in minimum force.I was with a company who were issuing flour to the civil population. When it looked as if a riot might start as the crowd jostled for their rations, the French company commander spoke to his Sergeant Major, and his men immediately shot six people who were identified as stirring up trouble. It sorted the problem out.


When i gently remonstrated with the company commander, he said, "which would you rather have. Kill a few now, or more later?". It was a difficult question to answer....." unquote


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British patroul shoot at journalists

Lt. Vox, documented on page 486 of the above-mentioned book, the following shooting at journalists.Presumingly,it deals with the same killing, published also in internet - see the next paragraph -.


Quot "...We eventually began to patrol a road quite far south of Port Said, near which the road came in from Cairo. As I was travelling south to releive another troop on a road alongside a lake (Lake El Manzala), I heared firing ahead. When I quiried this over radio to Commando HQ, I was told to get on with it, and stop being difficult.

When I arrived there certainly was aproblem, the troop were firing at two small dhows, across the lake; claiming that they had been fired on first. Although by the time I arrived, there was no fire in reply from the boats. Our Egyptian interpreter hailed the boats, and discovered that the passengers were European, and some were women. They were all journalists, so it turned out.

We had to wade out to the boats, where we discovered that two Egyptian crew were dead. Among the passengers was a truculent American woman reporter, who promised to report the incident to the President of the USA personally.

There were also two Russian journalists who, convinced that they would be shot without further ado, clung to the others.

We carried them all carefully ashore on our backs. We subsequently had to have a comprehensive course of injections because the Sweet Water Canal through which we had waded, is a misnomer if there ever was one...." unquote


White as wax

The Vatican documents a story
Innocents amid the horrors of wars

"...

Olive-like where the clasped hands of the young

mother, white as wax were the ones of the child....."


lng Igor Man has published a Web Page about (Innocent amid the horrors of wars). He included the following lines about his experience of Suez 1956
"....Here's another memory: Port Said,1956, the Suez Crisis.

A group of journalists rented a boat to get to Port Said by sea, it was atthe time occupied by British parachutists under General Stockwell.

At the entrance to the port, they started shooting at us. One bullet pierced the forehead of an Egyptian woman, who had got a ride with us. She was withher child, and they wanted to get to the rest of the family. The bullet that pierced her forehead made the blood squirt out like it was coming out of a bottle. She was holding her child by the hand. We knew right awaythat for the women it was over.

But the child looked like she was sleeping. But, when we touched her we knew she was dead. Even her. I don't know how. Maybe her small scared heart, gave way, just like sometimes the heartsof kittens gives up.

It took us a while to untangle their clasped hands.Olive-like where the ones of the young mother, white as wax were the onesof the child....."


No reason for Fame
British pilots shoot civilian fishing boats as sign of frustration


Brian Cull, David Nicole and Shlomo Alonidocument the the following situation committed by the pilots of the involved Venom FB4 of 8 Squadron aircraft, of the Royal Airforce Regia Aeronautica Military Serial Registration Number (WR528/G), whose pilot's name and photo (Flt Lt David Harcourt-Smith, B Flt Commander -ACM Sir DavidHarcourt-Smith) details to be found on pages 298 - 299 of their Book, (Wings over Suez)

This attack has been witnessed by other survivors and was propagated by us in Port Said but it has been always denied by Britain and France.
"........

Meanwhile, Sqn Ldr Blyth (WR528/G)of 8 Squadron led a strike against Shallufa., followed by an armed reconnaissanceof the Ismailia/al-Qantara area in company with Flt Lt Harcourt Smith (WR528/G).

They overflow a lagoon in which several fishing boats were observed: "suddenly I saw a lot of stuff coming from the Boss's aircraft. He was shootingat the boats. I followed suit. Perhaps we shouldn't have shot at them. We knew it was strictly forbidden to fire at civilians. It may have been a sign of frustration.

For the last few days the campaign had seemed tobe without any real purpose.

There were virtually no opposition, but wewere still waiting for a D-Day style landing. I recall wondering why wedidn't just drop a few Paras with their jeeps and tell them to drive downthe Canal with a Union Jack. Simple thoughts of a humble Flight Lieutenant..."




 

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