Heroes Return Blog – Stories from Second World War veterans’ trips

Camels….. by The National Lottery Community Fund
November 26, 2009, 11:43 am
Filed under: Africa | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

One sight we do hope to recall in our minds is that of a herd of camels wandering through the desert with their herder. Apparently a man’s wealth is measured by how many camels he has. It was lovely seeing them in their natural habitat as opposed to all dressed up for giving tourist rides.

Visiting the Cemeteries by The National Lottery Community Fund

The cemeteries play host to the dead from many faiths:- Jews, Muslims, Christians, and are all beautifully maintained. This we found surprising as we had only expected the war graves to be so well tended.

The War grave we visited this morning was the final resting place for not only the fallen of WWII but also, the battles of a bygone age – now seen only in films. Napoleon fought battles along these shores and many dead from this time can be found in the graveyards. Whilst my father inspected the row upon row of pristine and highly respected graves of WWII I found myself very touched by a tomb dedicated to the family of one Daniel Frazer. The epitaph read:-

Maggie Frazer died 1892         34 years

Also lie here her children

Elizabeth         died 1887        11 months

Isabella            died 1891        6 years

Daniel              died 1891        3 years

“Sleep on loved ones and take your rest, I loved you well, but Jesus loved you best.”

Other inscriptions I found touching included, “He does not die who lives on in the hearts of loved ones.”

We both were wondering what these cities/ places must have been like in 1892.

Alexandria by The National Lottery Community Fund
November 26, 2009, 10:51 am
Filed under: Africa | Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

The Hotel Cecil in Alexandria, with its 150 year old lift was a hotel highlight. Along with its ancient façade and wonderful historical feeling – it was a lovely hotel with excellent food and nice rooms. Alexandria is a cosmopolitan and fascinating city which I really enjoyed vsiting. So in contrast with Cairo, that is so chaotic busy and smog filled.

My father couldn’t really remember this city very well, but he will now, as I found and bought him the most lovely antique walking stick – for all of £3.50. (Maybe it wasn’t an antique!)

Alexandria retains the vestiges of an elegant age – it shows in its buildings and the care that is taken of them. Apparently they re-paint them every 5 years.

First Day in Egypt by The National Lottery Community Fund
November 26, 2009, 10:43 am
Filed under: Africa | Tags: , , , , ,

On our first day in Egypt we visited the Sphynx and the Pyramids. For me, much more impressive this time around (I had last visited over 25 years ago). For my father whose last visit was nearly 70 years ago, things had changed a great deal and he wasn’t impressed by these changes. In the early 1940’s the army barracks were positioned next to the Pyramids and in the evenings, the soldiers would clamber to the top of them and have a beer in the cool night air. There would probably only be around half a dozen people around. Now you are not allowed to climb on the pyramids and there are hawkers, camels, tourists and horses, not to mention the poor area of Giza right next door.

Still none of this can detract from the awesome pyramids, standing as they have done – bar their original facades – for thousands of years.

Robert Day’s journey by The National Lottery Community Fund
November 26, 2009, 10:29 am
Filed under: Africa | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

The BA 747 was yet another cause for bewilderment. Cramped seating, televisions that have no knobs – in the back of seats what’s more…..earphones, all needed to be got to grips with. A gin and tonic settled things down and we had an excellent flight with us both talking to extremely interesting new acquaintances. One an Egyptian business man and the other an ancient astrologist. The latter was my companion for the 4 ½ trip and he described to me the things that have only recently been discovered about nomadic tribes that existed in the Western Desert, West of Abu Simbel, until climate change 3-4,000 years ago which forced them to alter their way of living and head towards the Nile Delta.

Robert Day’s trip back to Egypt by The National Lottery Community Fund
November 26, 2009, 10:12 am
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Set out on our journey on October 22nd. Our arrival at Terminal 5 was unspectacular. However, this was a first for both of us as we hadn’t travelled from this terminal before. My father’s amazement and bewilderment at the self check in and vast expanses of concourse, plus the much appreciated buggy ride through the underground tunnels , led my father to announce that had I not been with him, he would have headed straight back home as it was all too overwhelming.