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'A bond is shared by all who have served together’

This year on ANZAC Day, we honour the sacrifice made by our residents who have been involved in active service. Narangba Aged Care resident, Keith Walton, shares with us his service in the army and memories from his time in Egypt and Borneo.

Keith served in the British army R.E.M.E. from February 1950 to May 1974. ‘In February of 1954 I was posted on active service to Tel-El-Kebir, I travelled on the troopship, The Empire Halladale,’ Keith says. ‘We docked at Port Said and travelled to Fayid by troop train, an attempt was made to ambush the train, unsuccessfully.’

Keith recalls spending several days guarding an airstrip being made by engineers and was eventually transported to Tel-El-Kebir, Egypt, where he spent approximately 18 months in active service. Keith says that the living conditions were not too bad, with pit toilets, but he does recall the place had a shower block.

‘We were not allowed to attack but we could defend against mainly the “Muslim Brotherhood,”’ says Keith. ‘They would from time-to-time fire random rifle shots into the camp area also then would work their way through the barbed wire fence and across the mind field to try and wreak havoc, therefore now and then we would have to carry out desert sweeps to clear the camp area of enemy. The camp at Tel-El-Kebir had a perimeter of 17 miles.’

Keith tells us that he was a craftsman at the start and a corporal by the completion of his service in Egypt.

In 1961, Keith was posted to 10 infantry workshops in Singapore when the Malaysian troubles began, before then being posted to Borneo.

Keith told us about a challenging time during his service in Borneo where one of his shared tasks was to seal coffins with airtight seal to enable unfortunate service personnel to be returned to their country of Origin. ‘This could be a quite harrowing experience’ he says.

Now living at Narangba Aged Care and at the age of 89, Keith reflects on his experience during active service. ‘I made several good friends whilst on active service, a bond is shared by all who have served together,’ he says. ‘One friend who I served with became God father to my children and I his.’


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