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Middle East Land Force

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Middle East Land Force

Postby plf99 » Sat Sep 12, 2015 7:29 pm

I have today found out that my grandfather served with the Middle East Land Forces in Tripoli, Libya between 1949 and 1951 and in Egypt between 1951 and 1952.

He served as a Driver Class BII in Tripoli, does anybody know what sort of vehicle this would involve driving and for what purpose? It also says he has a 'Four star' grading. What would that mean?

In Egypt he also served as a Regimental Signaller. What exactly would this have involved and would he have seen battle?

He then returned to England and became an 'M. T. Clerk'. However, I have no idea what the initials M. T. would stand for.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Many thanks in advance

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Middle East Land Force

Postby brunes08 » Sat Sep 12, 2015 10:16 pm

It is more than likely that M.T stands for either Motor Transport or Mechanical Transport, depending on where he was transferred. With his experience as a driver, this seems possible. If you look these terms up on-line, you will find several sites that may help.
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Re: Middle East Land Force

Postby plf99 » Sun Sep 13, 2015 6:43 am

Thanks for your reply Brunes.

I have been searching for most of the day online and I have found next to no information on the MELF.

I have found that he drove Large Hoods Vehicles, but other than that I'm stranded so decided to ask around on here.

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Re: Middle East Land Force

Postby AdrianB38 » Sun Sep 13, 2015 8:12 am

Do I take it from the level of detail that you have got hold of his service records? If you have, then I suspect the only way to get any more detail would be to investigate the unit that he was attached to.

My wild guess is that he drove the Army equivalent of commercial lorries of the day, transporting anything and everything.

MELF just sounds like an overall title for all the British Army garrison forces in that area. Again, I suspect that the only way to put detail on what was happening, would be to identify the units and follow them up. I can't think of any military actions going on there and then. It's way too early for the Suez Crisis or any fallout from the Algerian War of Independence. I suppose that the Army might have assisted the civil government in any police type actions - don't know.

About the only other thing that you might do is identify some sort of forum for post WW2 Army discussions and see if anyone on there can fill in any detail perhaps from personal experience.

It may be that he was very lucky and little happened in his area at that time

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Re: Middle East Land Force

Postby JaneyH » Sun Sep 13, 2015 12:18 pm

I'm no military historian but I've just turned this up from Wikipedia:

"After 1945, the Middle East Command was reformed as Middle East Land Forces. Middle East Land Forces commanded the forces in Libya (25th Armoured Brigade, which was later subsumed into 10th Armoured Division) until 1957, and the 1st Infantry Division, 3rd Infantry Division, two armoured regiments and other forces, in the Suez Canal Zone until the early 1950s.

In 1959 Middle East Command was divided into two commands split by the Suez Canal. The two parts were British Forces Arabian Peninsular, which was based at Aden, and the rump of the former Command which was based in Cyprus and which in 1961 was renamed Near East Command. Middle East Command was disbanded on 28 November 1967 and the command of British forces in the Persian Gulf was transferred to Headquarters, British Forces Gulf which was based in Bahrain."

With regard to what was happening in Libya post-WW2, Tripoli was part of the area under British control (other parts were under French control). Following various international disagreements over Libya's future the UN took over jurisdiction in 1949. Independence for a united Libya was granted at the end of 1949, albeit with a leader "picked" by the British and US governments. British troops were only withdrawn in 1966 ... and Gaddafi took over in a coup in 1969.
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