Visting El Alamein

Lacking Moral Fibre

Old-Salt
Book Reviewer
#1
My dad (78Yrs) has decided he wants to visit his uncles grave at Alexandria Egypt and then the El Alamein site. Is this even possible does anyone know or have advice?
The Foreign Office web site does not say its impossible, but I'm not convinced it's safe enough. I'm going to email the CWGC and ask them as well.
 
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#2
My dad (78Yrs) has decided he wants to visit his great uncles grave at Alexandria Egypt and then the El Alamein site. Is this even possible does anyone know or have advice?
The Foreign Office web site does not say its impossible, but I'm not convinced it's safe enough. I'm going to email the CWGC and ask them as well.


nip down to your local RBL, there is bound to be some old sweats who will have sage advice, also contact their head office, they occasionally arrange trips abroad for old soldiers, good luck.
 
#3
You could get a Taxi out to there from Alexandria.
"Taxi" meaning a fooked Lada driven by a suicidal local.
There were no tours to El Alamein site departing from Alex.
Its really something you could get organised at the front desk of a reputable hotel in town. There might be a "Expats in Alexandria" facebook page,thats where I would start.
 

FORMER_FYRDMAN

LE
Book Reviewer
#5
My dad (78Yrs) has decided he wants to visit his uncles grave at Alexandria Egypt and then the El Alamein site. Is this even possible does anyone know or have advice?
The Foreign Office web site does not say its impossible, but I'm not convinced it's safe enough. I'm going to email the CWGC and ask them as well.
I visited Alamein in 1991. Since then they've apparently built hotels all along the coast so the infrastructure may be better and you may be able to stay relatively close by.

I took a taxi from Alexandria and visited the three cemeteries. The Italian one was falling to bits, the German one was deeply sinister and the Commonwealth cemetery was a reminder of how superlatively well the CWGC does its business.

There was a museum of sorts which consisted of an 88mm and other bits and pieces, including a rather bizarre map of North Africa with toy vehicles parked bumper to bumper from Morocco to the Suez Canal.

Beyond that, there wasn't a great deal else. Driving the battlefield is an absolute no no, or at least it certainly was then.

If you're worried about the locals in Alexandria, you could always base yourself in Cairo/Giza and pick up a tour from there.

A quick Google shows that the Egyptians remain an entrepreneurial bunch:

Private El Alamein War Cemetery Day Trip from Cairo including lunch | El Alamein, Egypt
 
#6
This e-mail address might be worth writing to and explaining your circumstances.

For further information or assistance, please contact the Mediterranean Area Office via E-mail:enquiries@cwgc.org

I was working in Libya during the Arab Spring of 2011. During the aftermath, the CWGC at Benghazi, Eastern Libya, was totally desercrated; headstones demolished and graves, well, I won`t go into that. Anyway, the CWGC have made major inroads into restoring the graves back to their former glory. I don`t know if this happened in Egypt as well, I don`t think it did, but I would obtain as much official information as possible before setting out.
 
#7
I toured El Alamein battelfield area and the CWGC back in 2006 on a staff ride.

We stayed in Alexandria and the Cemetery was easily and safely accessible directly off the main coastal highway back then. However, a knowledgeable guide is essential when touring the battlefield as many key areas are down more isolated roads and there's still a LOT of UXO and uncleared minefields (which have shifted over the years) around.

To be honest however, the several 'stands' we used on the visit all pretty much looked the same apart from the small pyramid memorial to Hans-Joachim Marseille, the WWII Luftwaffe fighter pilot!


There's also a pretty decent museum with recovered vehicles, artillery and other hardware.

Most of the unsafe areas of Egypt are I believe in the Sinai but I would check via the Foreign Office first.

In summary, I think it's sufficiently safe to visit. However, I would plan it well and DO NOT visit the battlefield without a knowledgeable guide.

Regards,
MM
 
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#8
#10
What made the German cemetery sinister, if you don't mind my asking? :?

I suspect the "Tod Macht Frei" wrought iron work on the cemetery gates, and the swastika on every gravestone, plus the big picture of Hitler in the chapel of rest, that or the attendants, all in gestapo uniform,..... its the little things that can put you off these places.

Thread drift, true dit:- My old mum years ago had to attend a conference in berlin, in the outer suburbs, walking past a graveyard, she started clapping and cheering, plod arrested her, when asked why, she told the coppers that all her extended family in Vitebsk had been murdered by the Germans, and she was ecstatic to see dead krauts, she was released without charge. END ( Mum was born in the east end in 1932)
 
#11
Never been to that particular German cemetery, but the headstones are sometimes dark black rather than the white we are used to, leaves a slightly sinister tone.


Those headstones are common all over Europe, up here in middle England at the boxhead cemetery in Cannock, they are the same, short squat with rather overly extended dimensions to the horizontal cross arms.
 
#12
I suspect the "Tod Macht Frei" wrought iron work on the cemetery gates, and the swastika on every gravestone, plus the big picture of Hitler in the chapel of rest, that or the attendants, all in gestapo uniform,..... its the little things that can put you off these places.
Yeh, OK. You say so...NOT
 

FORMER_FYRDMAN

LE
Book Reviewer
#16
What made the German cemetery sinister, if you don't mind my asking? :?
It's a very gloomy and enclosed space with the German casualties lumped together en masse and absolutely no concession whatsoever to individuals and the sense of loss each name represents.

By contrast, the CWGC cemetery is at one with the battlefield, which stretches out into the distance beyond the boundary wall, the graves celebrate individuals (though not necessarily where tank crews are concerned) and some of the inscriptions are absolutely heartbreaking.
 
#17
It's a very gloomy and enclosed space with the German casualties lumped together en masse and absolutely no concession whatsoever to individuals and the sense of loss each name represents.

By contrast, the CWGC cemetery is at one with the battlefield, which stretches out into the distance beyond the boundary wall, the graves celebrate individuals (though not necessarily where tank crews are concerned) and some of the inscriptions are absolutely heartbreaking.

I've visited both WWII and WWI German cemeteries, they were pretty much identical with black and dark green slabs over the graves.

The guide with us at the Langemark cemetery near Ypres explained that they were designed to be sombre and that soldiers from the same units, or who died at the same location, were buried together, as in 'comrades who fell together, now at rest together', which is why you see graves with the names of 4, 6 or more engraved on the plaques.
 

Lacking Moral Fibre

Old-Salt
Book Reviewer
#18
Thanks for the replies so far, the CWGC responded but simply redirected me to the foreign office web site, the RBL promised to get back to me within the next 20 days.
Looking at the you tube and trip advisor I'm a bit more reassured about taking him out there. What puts me off about Egypt is it's full of Egyptians and rubbish and food poisoning but needs must.

I've delved a bit more into Great Uncle Albert Griggs, my dad always said he was a tank crew and had his head blown off.
I now think this information is wrong, Albert Griggs was in the 1/7 The Queens Royal Regt (West Surrey) part of 131 brigade 44 Div. From what I've read this was always an infantry regiment.
Also he's buried in Alexandria not the main Alamein cemetery (60 miles away), am I right in believing he was wounded, evacuated to hospital in Alex and died of wounds? He died on 28/10/42.
Could anyone point me in the direction of where or who could verify my research please?
 
#19
...Could anyone point me in the direction of where or who could verify my research please?
Army records should be able to provide his service records for a minimal cost. I don't know the details but I'm sure it's available on line or others here will advise.

Good luck!

Regards,
MM
 

FORMER_FYRDMAN

LE
Book Reviewer
#20
Thanks for the replies so far, the CWGC responded but simply redirected me to the foreign office web site, the RBL promised to get back to me within the next 20 days.
Looking at the you tube and trip advisor I'm a bit more reassured about taking him out there. What puts me off about Egypt is it's full of Egyptians and rubbish and food poisoning but needs must.

I've delved a bit more into Great Uncle Albert Griggs, my dad always said he was a tank crew and had his head blown off.
I now think this information is wrong, Albert Griggs was in the 1/7 The Queens Royal Regt (West Surrey) part of 131 brigade 44 Div. From what I've read this was always an infantry regiment.
Also he's buried in Alexandria not the main Alamein cemetery (60 miles away), am I right in believing he was wounded, evacuated to hospital in Alex and died of wounds? He died on 28/10/42.
Could anyone point me in the direction of where or who could verify my research please?
He appears to be buried at Hadra, Alexandria.

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