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Memories of Libya 1956 to 1959

 

Contributed by Trevor STUBBERFIELD 52A

 

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Libyan Climate

 

Libyan

Scenes

 

Libyan History

 

Libyan Farming

 

 

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Military

Memories

 

Supplementary

Index

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Introduction.

Brought to a standstill in a sandstorm, blown up in the searing heat of a Ghibli wind, the Libyan desert was not the most comfortable place to be. It was akin to being hosed down with red hot grit whilst standing in front of an open blast furnace door. On one three man desert walkabout, down on the Algerian border, we met just such conditions and had to hole up for the best part of three days. When the storm abated, and we were able to get ready to move on, the view before us was quite startling. First the vehicle had to be dug out of the sand which had built up against one side and halfway across the roof. The track we had been on had almost disappeared, it was just possible to make out a few sections in the direction we were heading. The landscape had undergone dramatic change, the wind had altered the shapes of the surrounding dunes and it was a whole new scene before us. One had the greatest respect for the people who walked with the camel trains, heading unerringly across the desert for the isolated towns and villages to deliver supplies of salt and vital commodities. Not for them the luxury of the Sat-Nav of today. Stars, an understanding of nature, and an inbuilt sense of direction were all they had or even needed.

That preamble paints a very harsh picture of the country and yet it could be a land of stunning scenery and outstanding history. My three year tour there, 1956 59 based on Tripoli, passed all too quickly. In the linked sections I try to show a side of Libya that many on short postings may not have seen. The main pictures have lain hidden in the back of an old album for nearly fifty years. They were saved from two calendars which I think were 1957 and 1958, and I have mixed them to show the scenic and historic sides of the country.

There is a great variance in the spelling of many place names due to different periods of history, some having up to six alternatives. I have gone with the spelling as I knew it but fully accept that others will remember things differently.

The names of the photographers have been lost in the mists of time but I fully acknowledge their work in recording the best sights of Libya. They are supplemented with some of my own photographs, unfortunately in black and white, and a few comments to help paint the picture of life as I knew it in Libya.

One enduring memory I have is of lying back against the wheel of a vehicle, wrapped in a blanket in the middle of the night and gazing up into a blue-black inky sky, unspoilt by man-made light pollution, and looking at myriads of stars with the occasional shooting star flashing across the horizon at breakneck speed. There was the feeling that to stand up and take one pace forward would be to step into a whole new universe.

 

Please Note:

Some photos are numbered to identify them as the work of Galen R Frysinger, a much travelled man, and as such remain his property. His web site contains many remarkable collections of photographs from his world travels. I have used some to illustrate areas I visited but of which I have no photographs of my own.

Copyright Galen R Frysinger.

 

His web site can be visited from here. Click

 

 

First Published: 1st February 2008.

Revised Layout and Updated: 1st May 2017

Latest Update: 15th May 2018.

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