El Kabrit, Egypt March 1943
Kabrit was an immense camp with many buildings housing the post office, PX, the combat crews and of course Group. There was a movie theatre where "Mr. Shifty Shafto" sold Ballantyne's for 63 cents a can. The walls and roof were well ventilated with shrapnel holes and the place being equipped with wide rafters, did double duty as a bird sanctuary. These birds although without the benefit of schooling in the theory of bombing, still did mighty well in practice.
there was sand, sand everywhere and not a tree in sight. But we had air conditioned latrines and washrooms with most invigorating cold water assisted by ice-cold breezes right off the lake.
We had our first mail call -- one that made a lot of us fathers and the way some folks acted, You'd think it had never been done before. Those who didn't rate babies began to adopt Egyptian chow hounds.
A shave and a haircut cost all of 12 cents -- two minutes for the haircut and fifteen seconds for the shave. It was asserted but never proved that we bought back the skin in the form of leather souvenirs.
On April 4th we had a rip roaring sand storm, the wind a howling gale, visibility about 25 feet and powder-fine sand and seeping into everything, no matter how tightly it was closed. Many tents pulled their stakes and ambled off across the desert followed by the belongings of their occupants, the latter bringing up a cursing rear.
Life at Kabrit was mostly routine relieved by swimming in the lake or baseball and trips to Ismailia, Cairo, Tel Aviv and Palestine. Then one morning Group told us there would be parties for all - A, B, C, and D. The combat crews were "A" and flew off to Medenine. Some of the elite of the ground personnel were "B" and , in DC-3's waddled along above the desert in the prop wash of the A party..
Some men stayed behind to play baseball, swim and take three-day passes to Cairo to establish the custom still followed of throwing water on the heads of gheri drivers form the windows of the Grand Hotel. Others had their pictures taken on camels in front of the pyramids.
By far the largest party however was that which threw its baggage into an assortment of war-weary Canadian and British trucks and pursued Rommel across the desert from Alemein to Sfax while the Eighth Army got all the credit. Fifteen days and some 1900 miles after leaving Kabrit, the convoy unloaded at Medenine and the combat crews more or less reluctantly, returned to them the privileges of guar d duty and KP details and other odd jobs.