Sompting man’s book about mischievous soldiers

Bob Luckhurst with his book
Bob Luckhurst with his book
Share this article

A FORMER serviceman has brought to life memories of combat in post-war Egypt with a book that takes a light-hearted look at the “escapades” of soldiers at the time.

Bob Luckhurst, of Boundstone Lane, Sompting, saw service between 1954 and 1955 in the canal zone of Egypt during the post-war conflict that arose between guerilla terrorists from the country and British soldiers battling for control of the Suez Canal.

He has released his book, I Put One Up the Spout, which talks about his experiences as a soldier and of being stationed in the Geniefa camp in the Suez canal zone, or, as Bob describes it, a “God-forsaken, fly-infested sand pit”.

The 76-year-old said he had been thinking about writing a book on his experiences of National Service since he retired 11 years ago.

He said: “All the books you read about the Army are about battles, and mine is not, although I was in a terrorist area. It was the humorous side of what soldiers get up to that I wanted to write about.”

Bob, who owned the stationery shop Luckhurst and Co in South Street, Lancing, between the years of 1978 and 1999, said soldiers would often get up to mischief, such as wandering around the desert drunk.

He said at the time of the ongoing conflict, soldiers felt the Egyptian government was not doing enough to prevent the death of British civilians, which led them to circulate letters calling for “revenge”.

That revenge came against taxi drivers, who Bob said he and his fellow soldiers decided were “easy targets”,

“We didn’t want to kill them. We forced them off the road by driving alongside them and turning into them. We forced one taxi off the road and it ended swerving across the desert. The last we saw of it its wheels were up in the air. I don’t know what happened to the driver.”

Bob was stationed in Egypt for less than a year between 1954 and 1955 during his two-year stint of National Service.

He is now in the process of writing his memoirs.

To order a copy of I Put One Up The Spout, published by Penpress, for £6.50, phone Bob on 01903 763471.