British coastal batteries in Egypt

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heltaher
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British coastal batteries in Egypt

Post by heltaher » 18 Jun 2015 19:22

Before, during and after WWII British forces in the Middle East maintained a naval coastal battery base at Alexandria, Egypt. The base, which I have seen many times, was located on a sand hill some two or three kilometres north of downtown Alexandria at an area called Sidi Bishr.

The Egyptian armed forces eventually took over the base in the mid-1950s until the 1980s, when it was decommissioned, the guns and the sighting equipment dismantled, and the site was used to build housing for vacationing armed forces officers. Today all you see is several high-rise apartment buildings.

I am looking for photographs of the site when it was still a coastal battery base, as well as indication as to the types of guns, etc. at that location. I had been in touch with several British retirees associations as well as the Imperial War Museum in London, but nobody indicated having any knowledge of that site.

Most appreciated;

Hassan M. Eltaher
Chief, Marine Security Strategic Planning (Ret.)
Department of Transport
Ottawa, Ontario - Canada

PavlosXorofas
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Re: British coastal batteries in Egypt

Post by PavlosXorofas » 09 Mar 2019 22:00

I lived in Alex from 1973 for several years. Our apartment was on the Cornish in Sidi Bishr, and we drove past those guns every day on our way to the harbor for our oceanographic research. I remember some locals telling stories about when they would fire those guns during exercises, saying they broke windows for blocks due to concussion.

I know I have photographs of them somewhere. We have recently moved and I am in the process of going through my records. When I find them will send them to you on this forum.

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Andy H
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Re: British coastal batteries in Egypt

Post by Andy H » 04 Apr 2019 17:37

Hi

In 1939 the port defences are listed as 4x6inch, 4x4inch 2x12pdrs and 2x6pdrs all manned by Egyptian artillery
In Dec 1941 the defences are listed as 4x6inch, 2x4inch, 2x12pdr and 2x6pdrs
Source: History of Coast Artillery in the British Army b Maurice Jones

also found this relating to WW1:-
A new 44 Brigade was then formed in England, comprising numbers 340, 382 and 399 Batteries. It landed at Alexandria in Egypt on 27 May 1917 and proceeded to Sidi Bishr.
399 Battery was then broken up and sections went to each of the other two batteries, whereupon they were retitled as A/44 and B/44 Batteries.
The brigade came under orders of 74th (Yeomanry) Division at Rafa on 3 July 1917.
https://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/army/re ... artillery/

Best

Andy H

Dili
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Re: British coastal batteries in Egypt

Post by Dili » 13 Apr 2019 20:03

Any bty numbers Andy?

I have 19 Hvy bty RA arrived Haifa in 1938 and then moved to Port Said. Then 17 Hvy Bty RA arrived in Haifa to replace it but i don't have a date for that. 4x6" guns both. 9 Hvy bty RA was in Aden. There was a detach in Port Sudan of 2 6in guns that i don't know where it came from or unit.

This seems a very obscure subject.


PS: welcome Pavlos

Brady
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Re: British coastal batteries in Egypt

Post by Brady » 02 Sep 2019 03:55

Punt

So the guns were emplacement but the personnel, the unit, just transferred ?

heltaher
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Re: British coastal batteries in Egypt

Post by heltaher » 12 May 2020 17:49

Hello my friends;

Thank you very much indeed for your replies, which provide a good chunk of material. Would anybody indicate having, or knowing where to get pictures of that site? That will be just great.

I thought Pavlos Xorofas might have, even though I doubt that anybody would have taken pictures in those days of artillery pieces without getting himself of herself in trouble. I for one did not!

Thank you;

Hassan M.Eltaher
Ottawa, Ontario
marine.canada@gmail.coom

PavlosXorofas
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Re: British coastal batteries in Egypt

Post by PavlosXorofas » 08 Sep 2020 22:54

Here I am again.. I have backup drives to old computers. I remember I scanned all my slides and photographs, and have many good photographs of those batteries. Still looking for them. I haven't forgotten you!

PavlosXorofas
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Re: British coastal batteries in Egypt

Post by PavlosXorofas » 08 Sep 2020 22:56

They seemed much bigger than 6" guns to me. I was on destroyers with 5" guns, and it seemed to me that the guns of Sidi Bishr were 10" or larger.

heltaher
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Re: British coastal batteries in Egypt

Post by heltaher » 08 Sep 2020 23:04

Wow. Thank you so much Pavlos. Thank you for keeping after this matter despite the elements of time and the pressures in our world of today. I hope you succeed and find the pictures. I will then include them in my lectures about Alexandria, and add an angle as to the purpose of these gun, etc. Your name will be mentioned as the 'saviour'.

Ephkaristo pply;

H a s s a n

heltaher
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Re: British coastal batteries in Egypt

Post by heltaher » 08 Sep 2020 23:06

I am actually a resident of Ottawa, Ontario in Canada, not Egypt anymore since many years.

H a s s a n

ROLAND1369
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Re: British coastal batteries in Egypt

Post by ROLAND1369 » 09 Sep 2020 14:08

While I have been unable to locate my document, some years ago i had a published document summarizing the British Coastal defenses of Egypt which listed an uncompleted 9.2 inch battery. The document said that only 2 of the 3 guns had been completed upon the transfer of the defenses to the Egyptian government on the British pullout. I am still looking but have not found the document.

heltaher
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Re: British coastal batteries in Egypt

Post by heltaher » 09 Sep 2020 14:31

So many thanks once again Roland. I appreciate your continuing interest. What surprises me is that all the British naval institutions I contacted over the pas few years basically indicated that they had no idea about the existence of this coastal battery. One day we will find it.

Warm regards;

H a s s a n

Dili
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Re: British coastal batteries in Egypt

Post by Dili » 09 Sep 2020 21:22

Any chance to see the photos?

heltaher
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Re: British coastal batteries in Egypt

Post by heltaher » 09 Sep 2020 22:15

Who knows whether we will find them or not. I guess, patience is the name of the game.

H a s s a n

ROLAND1369
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Re: British coastal batteries in Egypt

Post by ROLAND1369 » 10 Sep 2020 16:39

I believe the problem on this battery is that it was not completed and thus not recorded as in service. Also the Coast Artillery belonged to the Royal Garrison Artillery, which was a branch of the British Army, not the Navy. The pertinent records would be in the Army Archives.

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