SAS bag from WWII found in Egyptian desert

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by Poppy, Nov 30, 2007.

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    WWII army bag is found in desert

    Mr Ross (l) was a despatch rider in the Long Range Desert Group
    A bag belonging to a World War II soldier from Lancashire has been discovered in the Egyptian desert after lying there for more than 60 years.
    Alex Ross, from Burnley, lost the bag containing personal letters and photos, while serving with the 8th Army.

    Egyptian tour guide Kahled Makram found the bag in the Sahara desert and traced Mr Ross's family through a BBC website on World War II.

    The bag is being sent to Burnley to Mrs Ross's sister, Irene Porter.

    Mr Ross, who settled in Whaddon, Buckinghamshire, after the war and died three years ago at the age of 87, was a despatch rider in the Long Range Desert Group.

    He would have been a little embarrassed about having had two girlfriends on the go

    Irene Porter

    According to Mrs Porter, who was only eight years old when he was serving in Egypt, her brother was a member of Popski's Private Army - later to become the SAS.

    She has been able to read the letters - sent by her parents, herself and her brother's two girlfriends - from photographs put onto disc by Mr Makram.

    Mrs Porter, 75, of Burnley, said: "I was stunned when I found out about this and it is just incredible the way the bag has come to light.

    "I will be so pleased when I can actually hold the letters in my hand and feel something my mother actually wrote to Alec all those years ago.

    Photos and letters were found in the bag which was lost 65 years ago

    "I just wish the bag had been found a few years earlier so that Alec could have been reunited with its contents.

    "He would have been thrilled, if a little embarrassed about having had two girlfriends on the go."

    Tourist Geoff Kolbe, who helped track Mrs Porter down, is now trying to arrange for Mr Makram to go to Lancashire to personally hand the bag over.

    Mr Kolbe said: "I was on a tour of the Sahara desert in the extreme north west corner of Egypt at the Gilf Kabir when the guide happened to mention that he had recently found the bag of a soldier who had been serving in World War II lying in the sand.

    "He said he had put some details on an internet search engine and had found Mrs Porter's account of her brother serving in Egypt but didn't know how to get in contact with her.

    "When I returned home I contacted the website and managed to get hold of Mrs Porter to tell her about the find."

    I wonder how much this would fetch on e-bay :D
  2. Top squad! 2 birds on the go....good to see that some things don't change.
  3. Damm, I thought this thread was about a WW2 slapper!
  4. Sorry to correct you but - Popsky's Private Army was never part of the SAS although it performed a similar role.

    Wikipedia -

    "Popski's Private Army (officially No 1 Demolition Squadron, PPA) was an irregular unit of British Special Forces founded in Cairo in 1942 by Major (later Lieutenant-Colonel) Vladimir Peniakoff DSO MC. PPA was one of several irregular units spawned in the Western Desert during World War II.

    Peniakoff was nicknamed "Popski" by the Long Range Desert Group's Intelligence Officer Bill Kennedy Shaw because the signallers had trouble with his surname (see Lancelot Speed). Popski himself was not British (though British-educated), but a Belgian (of Russian parentage). The unit was officially formed as No 1 Demolition Squadron, PPA, part of the 8th Army, to attack Rommel's fuel supplies at the time of the Battles of El Alamein.

    Specialising in behind the lines raids (but not quite in the same form as the SAS or LRDG), PPA caused problems to the enemy for a short while in North Africa and then mainly in Italy. They entered Italy at Taranto as part of the advance guard of the amphibious landings. By the end of the Second World War, PPA had destroyed several Axis aircraft and thousands of gallons of fuel, and had taken roughly 600 Italian prisoners. The value of their reconnaissance work is hard to assess, but considerable.

    PPA also caused a certain amount of problems to the more conservative members of their own side, and one senior officer got into trouble for encountering a member of the unit in the street and putting the man on a charge because he answered "Popski's Private Army" when asked what his unit was.

    PPA was disbanded on 14 September 1945. Peniakoff became a British citizen in 1946."
  5. Nice story though, 1 in a million chance. :D
  6. The fourth time this has now appeared...Link
  7. Well done to Mr Makram ... if it had been found by a Brit it would have probably been flogged on E-Bay!!!
  8. thats four times now.....
  9. Was it an SAS kit-bag? Only that would obviously bump up its price on E-bay.

    I'll get my shemagh...
  10. Perhaps there are four different kit bags? :oops: :oops: :oops: :oops:
    Shall have to get up earlier!!
  11. You've highlighted the multiple thread twice now.
  12. That area of desert is tops for preserving items. The Makili Track in Libya was all churned up by modern day training but if you went to the end furthest from the coast here were still laager areas visible that had last been used in the39-45 aggro. Jerry can dumps intact.
  13. Popski was rather modest about his groups achievements. Comparing performance levels between his lot and David Stirling's he said,
    "Whilst we trotted, the SAS pranced."