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  • Who has lived in Africa?

    I lived in Tripoli Libya from 1950 to 1955. At first in Tripoli, but there were a few riots, so they built us housing on Wheelus Field. Being younger I wasn't aware of the 'political' scence. My sister said the Air Farce picked us up in Tripoli and took us to the air base. She said the Arabs were getting some 'pay backs' on forgieners. Our house boy locked up our house & stayed til the riot was over.

    They sent all Americans packing in 1970 when the lease on Wheelus was up. Became a dictatorship soon after that.


    So, has anyone else got real life stories about living in Africa?
    Attached Files
    Last edited by GCoyote; 02 Dec 11, 23:00.

  • #2
    Nice pictures, thanks for posting.

    I spent a couple of months in South Africa and loved every minute of it plus I lived for a while in Nigeria but that was not a success.
    It made for great stories though
    Last edited by Colonel Sennef; 17 Nov 11, 06:23.
    BoRG

    You may not be interested in War, but War is interested in You - Leon Trotski, June 1919.

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    • #3
      As a kid I lived in Benghazi, 1954-58, British Army.

      We had heard about the luxury in which the Americans lived, fresh meat and real milk. I still don't enjoy cornflakes in dilute carnation (condensed) milk and I think I have eaten corn-beef in every possible variety.

      That said, the place was idyllic and am I amazed how we used to drift around town on our own and never bothered by the locals who were very friendly except for the odd bunch of Arab kids - with us and them screaming "misquois" ie naughty, bad, at each other - but that's the same everywhere.

      In any case I had come from Portsmouth where the kids were much tougher and there were still bombed out ruins and huge bomb craters even 10 years after the War - miserable, dark, damp place compared the wonder sunshine of Libya.

      Suez Crisis made a difference. There were riots and I remember seeing places on fire around the cathedral. However the block of flats (apartments) where we lived in Town had been built by the Italians with just such a possibility in mind and the Janitor refused to open the doors to the mob so we had no problem.

      The only difference was that the school bus was abandoned and we traveled to school in army lorries with wire mesh - loved it - the odd stone thrown at us would simply bounce of the side. Meanwhile we would be singing "dirty" army songs in arabic\english - still remember them but didn't understand the sexual connotations at the time.

      Still school finished at 1.00pm and then it was off to the best beaches in the World.

      Am aiming to go back soon.

      Will try and dig out some photos if any interest.

      Oh my father was training the Libyan Army and while he never had Gaddaffi in his class, one of this fellow instructors did. Gaddaffi was a lazy, insolent guy who always loitered at the back of the class but the others took their queue from him.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Major Sennef View Post
        I lived for a while in Nigeria but that was not a success. It made for great stories though
        Yeah me too- 10 years. Maybe this needs its own thread 'Colonial Boys'. I could tell you a tale or two...
        Tactics are based on Weapons... Strategy on Movement... and Movement on Supply.
        (J. F. C. Fuller 1878-1966)

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        • #5
          Originally posted by General Staff View Post
          Yeah me too- 10 years. Maybe this needs its own thread 'Colonial Boys'. I could tell you a tale or two...
          Perhaps a Third World folks thread...make it a little more diverse
          "I am the Lorax, and I'll yell and I'll shout for the fine things on earth that are on their way out!"

          ~Dr. Seuss, The Lorax


          "The trouble with Scotland...is that it's full of Scots!"

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          • #6
            Colonial Boys

            We're something of a lost generation, caught between the bush and the urban jungle.

            Just to start, I was in Nigeria from 1965-1977, attended school and played sports with the locals- race was never an issue for either of us other than I had a more palatial home- and just got on with it.

            It came in handy back in the UK when I could outdistance anyone barefoot and play a good game of anything really, courtesy of some hard competition earlier from the locals- what they could do with a broken tennis racket still baffles me to this day- which had contemporaries in the UK a little confused, given a lithe physique, a lack of intellect, and a desire to always do it barefoot, which kind of went hand in foot.

            It's also adjusted- if that's the word- the way I speak and write English, or talk to Nigerian girls at Tesco checkouts.

            Hopefully there are others out there with similar recollections.
            Tactics are based on Weapons... Strategy on Movement... and Movement on Supply.
            (J. F. C. Fuller 1878-1966)

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            • #7
              I met a chap in a pub once who was a Nigerian born white, good old lad, called Bob. He didn't have too pleasant a time on his arrival in Blighty.
              My mothers side are African born mostly,and I was born in South Africa. We moved over when I was a young lad (well, younger) but settling in wasn't too much of a problem, I spoke English as my first language - never picked up Afrikaans, never had to. We also moved to an immigrant area and I made friends with Indian Hindu's and Sikhs. I was 5 or 6 when appartheid ended but we had lived in a very white area. My grandmother's family had always had black servants, but my Father didn't.

              Coudn't play games bare-foot though
              ------
              'I would rather be exposed to the inconveniencies attending too much liberty than those attending too small a degree of it.' - Thomas Jefferson

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              • #8
                Personally, I hope they can get things under control. I'd like to go back to Tripoli. I try to find the base housing via Google Earth, it's changed a bit, more trees. We could walk to the beach from our house, but it was empty desert at that time. As a kid I have great memories of Tripoli.

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                • #9
                  Thread title changed to reflect content.
                  Any metaphor will tear if stretched over too much reality.

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                  • #10
                    Threads 'Who has lived in Africa?' and 'Colonial Boys' merged because of similar subject.
                    BoRG

                    You may not be interested in War, but War is interested in You - Leon Trotski, June 1919.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Gencallan View Post
                      Personally, I hope they can get things under control. I'd like to go back to Tripoli. I try to find the base housing via Google Earth, it's changed a bit, more trees. We could walk to the beach from our house, but it was empty desert at that time. As a kid I have great memories of Tripoli.
                      Not so much the beach, just the country club. Finish school at 3pm, 5 minutes down the road to swim from 3-5, then a bit of football- and I mean football, no shoes, another swim, then tennis 6-7, maybe an outdoor movie with the mosquitoes.

                      Not a bad life for the times.

                      Beach- taught me something about life- went from time to time. Saw one lad too far out it seemed to me- went under a huge wave and never came up again. The body rolled up a week later- not pretty what nature can do in the tropics.
                      Tactics are based on Weapons... Strategy on Movement... and Movement on Supply.
                      (J. F. C. Fuller 1878-1966)

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                      • #12
                        ...makes one think twice about eating the seafood.

                        My brother spent two years teaching in D Nijame Niger. It was made interesting by the teenage sons the nomads and rural folk would casually drop off in town for their education. A pack of sixteen year olds camped out in tents with few to no adults around to supervise. The kids took their clan rivalrys seriously & brother Eric had to intervene when the knives came out in the classroom. This was during one of the periods the Lybians were vigrously stiring the stew in Chad. Some gentelman came round from the US embassy and asked Eric if he could make some 'tourist' vists across the border to Chad. Just ot look around and report what he saw. After all Eric now knew the culture, the language, and could therefore 'blend in' among the crowd. How my white 6'4" American accented brother was to remain inconspicous among the brown and black skinned thin and shorter residents was the first question Eric thought. He did not think further before declining.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Scupio View Post
                          As a kid I lived in Benghazi, 1954-58, British Army.

                          We had heard about the luxury in which the Americans lived, fresh meat and real milk. I still don't enjoy cornflakes in dilute carnation (condensed) milk and I think I have eaten corn-beef in every possible variety.

                          That said, the place was idyllic and am I amazed how we used to drift around town on our own and never bothered by the locals who were very friendly except for the odd bunch of Arab kids - with us and them screaming "misquois" ie naughty, bad, at each other - but that's the same everywhere.

                          In any case I had come from Portsmouth where the kids were much tougher and there were still bombed out ruins and huge bomb craters even 10 years after the War - miserable, dark, damp place compared the wonder sunshine of Libya.

                          Suez Crisis made a difference. There were riots and I remember seeing places on fire around the cathedral. However the block of flats (apartments) where we lived in Town had been built by the Italians with just such a possibility in mind and the Janitor refused to open the doors to the mob so we had no problem.

                          The only difference was that the school bus was abandoned and we traveled to school in army lorries with wire mesh - loved it - the odd stone thrown at us would simply bounce of the side. Meanwhile we would be singing "dirty" army songs in arabic\english - still remember them but didn't understand the sexual connotations at the time.

                          Still school finished at 1.00pm and then it was off to the best beaches in the World.

                          Am aiming to go back soon.

                          Will try and dig out some photos if any interest.

                          Oh my father was training the Libyan Army and while he never had Gaddaffi in his class, one of this fellow instructors did. Gaddaffi was a lazy, insolent guy who always loitered at the back of the class but the others took their queue from him.
                          My ex was born in Tripoli in the 50s - he was the son of a British army officer - Lieutenant Colonel. You're not him are you!!

                          The old man was an absolute snob, a-hole of the first degree, how he commanded any respect among his men I will never know and his wife was even worse. She was some sort of opera singer (seriously) and thought she was the Duchess of Kent. Horrible nasty upper class knobs.

                          Fortunately the son was a lot nicer. Despite being sent to a military school and all the rest of it, he was a lot less stuck up than his parents and was a guitarist in a rock band when I met him .. but I digress.

                          He often spoke of his idyllic childhood there.
                          "COOMMAAAAAAANNNNDOOOO!!!!!"
                          - Mad Jack Churchill.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Tuck's Luck View Post
                            The old man was an absolute snob, a-hole of the first degree, how he commanded any respect among his men I will never know and his wife was even worse. She was some sort of opera singer (seriously) and thought she was the Duchess of Kent. Horrible nasty upper class knobs.
                            Yes, you get an awful lot of hooray Henry's and Henriettas out of these places, used to dining as kings and queens on a shoestring budget and expecting the same when they retire from the Raj or wherever else. Some comeupance.

                            My 0.02c is how old were you wnen you first wore a pair of shoes and the ants didn't hurt any more?
                            Tactics are based on Weapons... Strategy on Movement... and Movement on Supply.
                            (J. F. C. Fuller 1878-1966)

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Benghazi in 1955 - not Tripoli, although my father was based in Tripoli in 1946, as well.

                              Actually dear chap - the brother of my playmate was David, later Sir David Cousins, Air Chief Marshall, and founder of the Red Arrows but humble origins, his father was a Sargeant (in the REME), I think.

                              It was only back in Blighty that there was a real apartheid between officers' and other ranks' kids.

                              Lieutenant Colonel had the surname Lamb but a great bloke -definitely not the guy you describe.

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