by James Aldridge Edited by Jimmy Dunn Although I must admit to a bit of a complex about the "behaviour" of Aussie troops! Cairo filled steadily with soldiers other than Englishmen, Scotchmen, Welshmen and Irishmen. This time the Egyptian authorities asked that the Australians should be sent somewhere else, so they were sent to Palestine instead, but the Free French arrived and so eventually did Greeks, Czechs, Poles, Danes, Slavs, New Zealanders, Cypriots, Maltese, Palestinians, South Africans, Rhodesians, Americans and Indians. While possibly not as glamourous as a posting in Singapore and afternoon tea at Raffles, the British military in Cairo seemed to be up to the challenge......... Remembering what Storrs had written about Cairo at the outset of World War I, it is worth reading what that other excellent observer Alan Moorehead wrote about Cairo at war in 1939 in his African Trilogy (1944): “The Turf Club swarmed with officers newly arrived from England, and a dozen open-air cinemas were showing every night in the hot, brightly lit city…We had French wines, grapes, melons, steaks, cigarettes, beer, whisky, and abundance of all things that belonged to rich, idle peace. Officers were taking modern flats in Gezira’s big buildings looking out over the golf course and the Nile. Polo continued with the same extraordinary frenzy in the roasting afternoon heat. No one worked from one till five-thirty or six, and even then work trickled through the comfortable offices borne along in a tide of gossip and Turkish coffee and pungent cigarettes…Madame Badia’s girls writhed in the belly dance at her cabaret near the Pont des Anglais.” History was laughing at itself, and once more Clot Bey’s brothels filled to overflowing with British Tommies. Once again, Shepheard’s and the Continental were jammed with staff officers with suede boots, fly whisks and swagger sticks. Once again the nightshirted street Egyptian began to invent a thousand new ways of getting a few piasters out of the pockets of these red-faced soldiers. But as it was before, so it was again – the street Arab got the pickings, and the European and Levantine speculators and black marketers and the rich Egyptians and the British as well made the fortunes. But Cairo blossomed. British soldiers seeing sun and desert and clean air for the first time in their lives looked hungrily at the beautiful European girls who swished their pretty legs in the streets and on the trams and in the cafes. Many of these soldiers had come from appalling conditions in the black and grimy back streets of British cities not yet recovered from the depression. Many of them had never seen before what they now enjoyed every day in Cairo, and Cairo’s Europeans were generous with friendship and help. But it was not long before the relationship between the British soldiers and officers and the European girls in Cairo became an intricate and complicated entanglement which very few escaped, and many good British marriages foundered in the those soft Cairo evenings when love rushed through the city on the wings of an exotic escape. Read the rest here: WWII Excerpts from "Cairo, Biography of a City This has also given me the thirst for a couple of books mentioned.