(Published on February 19, 2014)
Another follow-up from the Snipe Bulletin. Click the link below to see classic photos of Snipes in Egypt.
Royal Air Force – Kasfareet 1953-1956 – Great Bitter Lake – Suez Canal – Egypt
“Many a pleasant hour spent swimming and relaxing on the shores of the Great Bitter Lake”
… Snipes image gallery and notes …
- The Great Bitter Lake is a salt water lake which is part of the Suez Canal.
- The Suez Canal was completed in 1869 after 10 years of construction work.
- The Convention of Constantinople in 1888 declared the canal a neutral zone under the protection of the British.
- Under the Anglo-Egyptian Treaty of 1936, the United Kingdom insisted on retaining control over the canal.
- In the later part of World War II, the lake was used to intern Italian warships which had surrendered to the Allies, including the battleships Vittorio Veneto and Italia.
- On 14 February 1945, on the Great Bitter Lake, U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, having flown directly from the Yalta Conference with Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin, met on board the naval cruiser USS Quincy with Saudi Arabia’s King Abdulaziz.
- In 1951 Egypt repudiated the Anglo-Egyptian Treaty, and in 1954 the UK agreed to remove its troops.
- Suez Crisis: Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser nationalized the canal in 1956 and transferring it to the Suez Canal Authority, intending to finance the Aswan dam project using revenue from the canal. UK, France, and Israel invaded Egypt.
- On 4 November 1956, a majority of nations at the United Nations voted for Pearson’s (Canadian Secretary of State for External Affairs) peacekeeping resolution, which mandated the UN peacekeepers to stay in Sinai unless both Egypt and Israel agreed to their withdrawal. Britain then agreed to withdraw its troops. Withdrawal was completed on 18 July 1956. As a result of damage and ships intentionally sunk under orders from Nasser the canal was closed until April 1957, when it was cleared with UN assistance.
- During the Six-Day War in 1967, the canal was closed, leaving 15 ships trapped in the lake until 1975. These ships became known as the “Yellow Fleet”, because of the desert sands which soon covered their decks.