- Sep 14, 2020
British Units involved in the Suez crisis
This is a list of the British forces that served at Suez. As usual, information is hard to come by. It is NOT our intention to ignore any unit which served. We wish to get the facts correct and produce a accurate list of all the units who served.
Due to time pressures and a lack of staff, we can no longer update these pages. This may change in the future, please bear with us.
Royal Air Force
|No.800||Sea Hawk||HMS Albion|
|No.802||Sea Hawk||HMS Albion|
|No.809||Sea Venom||HMS Albion|
|No.892||Sea Venom||HMS Eagle|
|No.893||Sea Venom||HMS Eagle|
|No.898||Sea Hawk||HMS Eagle|
|No.804||Sea Hawk||HMS Bulwark|
|No.810||Sea Hawk||HMS Bulwark|
|No.895||Sea Hawk||HMS Bulwark|
|No.897||Sea Hawk FGA.6||HMS Eagle|
|No.845||Sycamore and Whirlwind Helicopters||HMS Theseus|
1st Destroyer Squadron; HMS Chieftain Captain 'D', HMS Chevron & HMS Chaplet 1st Destroyer Sqn were part of the Med fleet and had been due to go home in September. Held back for any trouble we had been in Italy when Suez started. We escorted the Landing Ships down to Suez and covered the left flank of the landings.
No ?* Carrier Borne Ground Liaison Section (?* CBGL Sec.) embarked in HMS Albion.
HMS Alamein HMS Alamein, along with Corunna, Barrosa & Agincourt formed the 4th Destroyer Squadron based on Malta. From the 1st day of action Alamein was involved in coast patrols, attacking suspected submarine with Squid mortars and participated in sinking 4 PT boats. Finally left Suez area Christmas Eve 1956, arriving Malta Christmas Day.Captain of Alamein was Cdr.D.V.M. MacLeod DSC.
HMS Anzio (LST(A) 3003) Tank landing ship. I was Yeoman on Anzio. She went past the bombarding ships and turned into the canal, finishing nose on to the side and off loading tanks and vehicles.Our assault craft were manned by RN Commando.
HMS Appleton (MS105) Sailed from Harwich with 105 & 108 Coastal Minesweeper Squadrons plus 2 inshore minesweeper squadrons and Mull of Galloway.
APPLETON was on Cyprus Patrol but joined fleet into Port Said. returned to Cyprus after approx 24 hours. Thanks to Eric Winter for this entry.
HMS Barnstone A coal burning boom defence vessel which assisted in moving sunken vessels in the harbour. The CO was Commander Tostavin.
HMS Bastion served in malta and then invasion of suez 1956, landing craft assault, commanded by Commander G.H.Abbott MBE.
HMS Barhill. The Barhill was towed from Malta to Suez by the Kingarth to save her stocks of coal. She helped in the clearance of the wrecks in the canal, and after the withdrawal I believe she came under the authority of the United Nations. I cannot seem to find anymore info on her. My interest in her is because I was part of the crew and left her to return back to UK on the Empire Fowey. Frank Sparkes
HMS Bastion Landing Craft Tank (L4040)
HMS Bulwark Commander(A) Desmond Bernard Law onboard.
No 69 Carrier Borne Ground Liaison Section (69 CBGL Sec.) embarked in HMS Bulwark.
HMS Buttress (LCT 4099) When HMS Buttress went alongside HMS Theseus, she lost her mast when it struck a sponson.
HMS Cavendish. Recalled from Leave in November 1956, on aircraft watch duties for a month and patrol duties off Cyprus for two months after that.
HMS Chaplet. Chaplet served in the Med. all of '56. After the initial 'scare' we were on our way home in late October. Rushed back to Malta, picked up a supply convoy and escorted it to Cyprus, rushed back and were the only escort for a troop convoy. Chaplet was then, Nov.6, one of the four bombarding destroyers, and afterward shelled targets as requested by the troops ashore. I was a loader on 'y' gun, one of the ships three 4.5 Q.F. guns. The ship ended up 400m from shore with only 4ft. of water under her keel. That night we shot off to Tripoli to tow back two small lighters to unload vehicles with. We were shadowed by, we presumed, a Yank sub. we did a dummy A.S.W. attack on it and dropped hand grenades as we went over its position, it buggered off then! . See also : HMS Chaplet in Cyprus.
HMS Chevron First ship in and alongside in Port Fouad. There were about 20 of us on board who were Boy Seaman/Ordinary Seamen aged just 17. We had to go ashore to receive the mooring lines to bring HMS CHEVRON alongside as there was no-one else to do the job. We cleared the beach of 'bum-boats' and other wreckage as the French Marines were about to land in their Landing -Crafts while Commandos and paras were landing in the local school.
We also had to clear the way for the large French Hospital Ship to come in close. Over time I have forgotten her name. Getting back to 'Pompey' afterwards was an excercise in deflation for us 17 year old kids after thinking we did our part and felt pretty good about it. Walking out the Dockyard Gates we were spat on and booed by a mob of the 'great unwashed'. I still remember the stigma. There were also Juniors on HMS CHIEFTAIN and HMS CHAPLET. Without us, the 1st. Destroyer Squadron could not have operated efficiently. We did receive the Naval General Service Medal with Near East Clasp, but after 52 years of letters to the Defence Minister's Office, to recognise the Suez War and also the under-aged Sailors, nothing has ever happened; except for virtual sarcastic letters of reply. I was proud to have served my country and my ship, but feel let down by political incompetence.
REMEMBER THE JUNIORS!!! Thanks to Peter Burrows for this entry.
HMS Childers (R91)
HMS Citadel LCT (L4038)
HMS Comet (D26) HMS Comet D26 - patrolled off Suez for 6 weeks. We were low on fresh water and foo ending up using the Evaps for water and ships biscuits and corned beef in the final hours for food.
HMS Contest (D48), Commander Roxburgh
HMS Counterguard (LCT 4043)
HMS Crane, Squadron leader of the squadron which sank the Egyptian Frigate on 1st November. She was mistakenly attacked by IAF Mustangs on 3rd November, she was struck by a small number of rockets which failed to inflict much damage, the Mustangs Napalm bombs all missed. She was then attacked by rocket-armed Mysteres, again believing she was an Egyptian vessel. Gunners onboard HMS Crane shot down one jet and damaged another, after Suez the ship was decommissioned at Mombassa.
HMS Dalrymple Survey vessel which became part of the United Kingdom Salvage Unit under the UN and left Suez after christmas. Malta, Suez Canal December 1955-1956.
HMS Daring Daring was enroute Kiel Canal - Londonderry when redirected to Med. Paused at Gib. Alongside at Malta. Destored A UK Destroyer sold to Egyptians and allowed her to proceed. Bombarded Suez with 4.5s. Became Despatch vessel at Suez. Observed the destruction of De Lesseps statue om the mole.
HMS Darlaston Coastal Minesweeper
HMS Decoy Took part in the Suez landings in 1956. Decoy was under the command of Captain P J Hill-Norton (later Admiral of the Fleet Lord Hill-Norton). The main bombardment was carried out by the 3 Darings of the Med fleet Duchess, Diamond and Decoy. The bombardment was carried out by the combined firepower of 18 4.5" guns and lasted about 30 mins. The Decoy had on board a Royal Artillery Officer who co-ordinated fall of shot from an army spotter plane. The Egyptians had Russian T34 tanks dug in on the beaches buried to turret level. Several of these tanks were taken out by the destroyers accurate fire, making the way clear for the landing troops to go ashore. Thanks to Roy Cragg for this entry.
I SERVED ON HMS.DECOY AS OFFICER STEWARD WE WENT IN SUEZ AS OPPERATIONAL SHIP. I rember we had some french officers on board. I was detailed with the sick bay at action station, some days I was down midship magazine stand by on the hoist with another shipmate. Captain name was GRAY. I remember watching the marines landing through the wardroom port hole the NAVY HOUSE burning. stayed for a while with the divers clearing the sunken boat blockade by the locals..
HMS Defender Ship was steaming back to UK from the Baltics, where it was escort to The Royal Yacht at Stockholm and Copenhagen etc. The ship was diverted to the Mediterranean to Ammunition ship etc. and proceeded to Suez for the Hostilities. The ships then patrolled off the coast. OC Captain HARDY. Thanks to Barry J. Teall for this entry.
HMS Diana (Captain J. Gowers commanding, sunk the Egyptian frigate Domiat)
HMS Diamond, Diamond (D35) was bombarding the beaches of Port Said to soften them up for the landing. Captain of Diamond was Captain Haworth, 1st Lt was Commander Gaunt.
HMS Duchess CO Captain Austin 1955-56.
No 63 Carrier Borne Ground Liaison Section (63 CBGL Sec.) embarked in HMS Eagle.
I was a boy seaman rated ordinary seaman, for duration, action station capt of the left gun 4.5 turret, b2. turret shut down as angled deck had been painted on deck. Was given to the air armament department,job entailed loading rockets and bombs on aircraft and retrieving hung up ordinance when aircraft landed. Helped to unload french paras that had been wounded, who were patched up aboard us, and then flown to Cyprus. When all finished Eagle was detailed to escort small vessels back. where upon a wyvern aircraft exploded in the lower hanger and caused a large fire, I was fire party and had to muster in the lower hanger, on arriving we were instructed to commence unloading the aircraft of ammunition in about 2 feet of water. At the time the guns of the aircraft in the forward section of the hanger were cooking off and ricocheting off the deck head we went under the aircraft. The ship went to emergency station my mate and I tried to leave the hanger, but found we were locked in, on reporting to the hanger control we were told to carry on unloading. We remained in the hanger for 18hrs. Thanks to James Townson for this entry.
HMS Evan Gibb (LST)
HMS Forth picked up LST Empire Cymric at Malta and sailed to Port Said, joined HMS Forth in Port Said and when the operation was over took her back to Malta. Whilst in Suez worked with the German lifting craft AUsdaeR and Energie Supplying them with coal.
HMS was tied up by Port Said and was command ship. Cdr The Hon Terence Victor Stopford was in command.
HMS Letterson Coastal minesweeper
HMS Leverton (M1161) This is the minesweeper used to tranport to Gren Gds. Machine Gun platoon from Malta to Egypt...it ran aground in Port Said Harbour. CO. Lt Stigant, 1st.L/t Lieutenant V. Howard.
HMS Lofoten LST (Landing Ship Tank) carrying eight assault landing craft. Served as part of United Kingdom Salvage Unit under the UN, left in late January or early February 1957.
H.M.S. Meon HMS Meon was the HQ ships of the SQ Squadron and carried the flag of the commodore AW. She carried the Commodore AW's staff, HQ 3 Cdo Bde and the JFSC (Joint Fire Support Committee?) coordinating Close Air Support and Naval Gunfire Support. She also operated the Air Request net and the Ground Attack Net.
HMS Modeste. HMS Modeste a frigate patrolled the red sea end of the canal for most of the Suez crisis of 1956 and was involved in a few incidents. She was part of the blockade of the Gulf of Aqaba also when HMS Crane was attacked she drove of enemy fighters there was other incidents. CO was Commander Dickens.
HMS Ocean HMS Ocean were pressed into service as helicopter carriers, also functioning as a Hospital Ship
HMS Parapet (LCT 4039)
HMS Penstone Minesweeper left Cyprus for Suez on Day one and returned a month later.
HMS Portcullis Landing Craft Tank. (L4044)
HMS Puncher We had the HQ Squadron of the 6th RTR on board together with Royal Marines.
We were the Squadron Leader of a group of LST's and were the first to enter the Canal to unload our Centurions. We also stayed alongside during the action as a possible casualty clearing station. Thank heavens not needed.
During the run in to Port Said we were actually rammed by another LST in the dark which created some confusion and the immediate thoughts of a mine! Don't at this time recall the name of the LST that hit us but I know she did manage to unload her tanks and then return direct to Malta with her bow doors welded shut. She also had the experience, as was told to me later, of steaming right through the US Mediterranean Fleet all lit up like "Piccadilly Circus" and she was completely darkened!
We did return into the Canal a couple of days later to pick up "Liberated" Egyptian equipment including Self-Propelled guns, one of which is in the Tank Museum now. Other material recovered included munitions and radar equipment all of which was ex-Russian.
Many Thanks to Chris M. J. Edwards, Former Sub/Lt RNVR for this entry.
HMS Rampart (LCT 4037)
HMS Rampura Submarine depot ship. Moored @ Maoal Island, prior to sailing to Suez Cannal. was damaged by a seriouse fire in an engineroom.
HMS Ravager (L 3505)(Landing Ship Tank) carrying eight assault landing craft. Commanding Officer was Lt.Cmdr Johnstone. Ravager carried several tanks,lorries and other military vehicles together with 42?Commando and other military personel including Paratroops to and from Port Said and Cyprus. I was ME(1)W.Ingledew.(Bill or Geordie)I was a Devonport rating and was one of the skeleton crewe who took the ship out of mothball in Gairloch and sailed it to Chatham and Portsmouth to pick up further members of the crew. Thanks to William Ingledew for this entry.
HMS Redoubt (LCT 4001)
HMS Reggio See the entry for HMS Striker.
HMNZS Royalist HMNZS Royalist under the Command of Capt (later R Admiral, Sir) Peter Phipps RNZN was the only New Zealand ship seconded for duty in the Med Fleet. The NZers were there mainly due to the fact that NZ was purchasing the Cruiser from the RN and had been in the UK since July 56, while they were doing sea trials in the Med and were in Malta they were put on "War Alert" and seconded for duty with the fleet. and were a part of the fleet for four days before being ordered home by the NZ Prime Minister. This service has just been recently recognised with the award of the Naval General Service Medal and the NZ Operational Service Medal.Many Thanks to Mike Smith for the detailed information.
HMS Salerno Landing Ship Tank
HMS Sallyport (LCT 4064) commissioned at Gibraltar for Suez Episode. Communications ship earmarked as comms support in event of loss of HMS Meon etc.....
HMS St Kitts St Kitts was in from the very beginning, and was involved in most of the action Both as flight escort for HMS Eagle,and in the bombardment of Port Said.
HMS Sea Devil Submarine
HMS Sentinel Submarine
HMS Striker HMS Striker was carrying 45/40 commando onto the beach-head, prior to going into Suez Harbour. Our escort destroyer was H.M.S. Diamond who was in front of us, firing salvo's until she peeled away to allow us to lower our assault craft carrying our contingent of marines. We then proceeded into Suez Harbour to off load their vehicles and equipment. Our sister ship H.M.S. Reggio was also involved. Both ships were then placed under the command of the U.N. after the ceasefire, and remained there helping to unblock the canal of sunken wrecks and left in late January or early February 1957. Thanks to L/S J.C.Vidler for this entry.
HMS Sulva Landing Ship Tank
HMS Swin part of UK salvage unit. Along with HMS Uplifter was commissioned to clear Nasser's block ships. Commanded by Lt. Cmdr. Scrivener left Chatham late Oct.56. With a max speed of 8 knots it took some time to make Tobruk. Sailed for Port Said but after a day at sea was recalled to Tobruk. Stayed Christmas & New Year. Was then told that for political reasons the salvage contracts had been given to the Germans. Returned UK and paid off at Plymouth Feb.67. I believe HMS Uplifter was returned from Port Said. Thanks to Frank Clayforth for this entry.
HMS Theseus served at Suez Canal November 1956 to December 1956. 2nd in command was Commander Pace. H.M.S Theseus served as a hospital ship and troop carrier. Helicopters ferried troops ashore and brought back wounded personel. Roy Davies and other personel on board H.M.S Theseus were awarded the Near East medal.
HMS Totem Submarine
HMS Trenchant Submarine
HMS Tudor Submarine.
HMS Tyne (Headquarters ship), this ship carried an RAF Element including a Telegraphist during the invasion. RAF element was transferred to a troop ship for repatriation to UK after conclusion fo hostilities.
HMS Ulysses (117), escorted convoy from Cyprus to Port Said. Co from 1955-1957 was Commander Gordon Hamilton Peters and the 1st Lieutenant was Lt.Commander Garner. Part of Sixth Frigate Squadron.
HMS Undine Part of Sixth Frigate Squadron.
HMS Uplifter part of UK salvage unit, to clear Nasser's block ships. Hms Uplifter spent many weeks in raising sunken shipping and transferring them to what was locally called the "Grave Yard"
As a matter of interest, on our arrival, just prior to Xmas, we were informed that all crew would take on the persona of civilians and indeed we all wore our own civilian clothing for the duration of our time there, arriving back in Chatham in early March.
HMS Urania Part of Sixth Frigate Squadron.
HMS Ursa Part of anti submarine screen to Fleet.Then screened Oil Tankers. Maltese Chef died with heart attack, carried out burial at sea. H.M.S. Undine, Urania, Ullysses, Ursa delayed return to U.K. by three months after nine months service in the Med. The Squadron was mainly used as Cyprus Patrol vessels. Part of Sixth Frigate Squadron.
HMS Wakeful HMS Wakeful was commanded by Commander Bax. She was an A/S frigate and went out to Suez at speed carrying diving equipment, calling at Gibralter and Malta. After unloading the equipment she went on to Cyprus.
HMS Warden Lt Cdr Gibson, Detachment Oct 56 - Feb 57.
Towed lifting craft from Portsmouth to Port Said.
HMS Whirlwind Part of 5th Frigate Squadron. One of 3 frigates used to stop gun running during the conflict. General protection of world interests involved with the suez war, the other two frigates were HMS Wakeful and Roebuck. Period covered the entire crisis.
HMS Wizzard, HMS WIZARD was part of the 5th Frigate Squadron our Captain being CDR. James Jungius. Who eventually became Vice-Admiral Sir James Jungius KBE DL. At one stage we were actually searching for a Russian Submarine supposedly manned by Egyptians.
HMS Woodbridge Haven Based in Sliema Creek, Malta headquarters ship for the Captain commanding the 108th Minesweeping Squadron. Tasked at Suez with organising a mine free path for the landing craft, and carried a team of Divers for clearing the Block Ships. The Minesweepers were later used for patrolling the shallow waters of the Canal. Thanks to John Ash ( RN Radio Operator P/J938470) for this entry.
HMMRC1097 Landing craft repair ship as part of AW squadron. Lt Cdr Crawford RN commanding.
Mediterranean Fleet Clearance Diving Team, Lt. P.A. White Diving Officer with a team of 8 Clearance Divers first to enter Suez to check harbour and dock isntallations were free from dangerous obstruction prior to fleet supply/back up. Thanks to Peter "Dinah" Shore for this entry.
" In Memory, ofd my late friens Martin Spirit - RIP- , who owned the main Web-Domain and had given us, - British and Egyptians - the
opportunity to document all these facts
Dr. Yahia Al Shaer