• Short Summary

    Nomadic Arab desert dwellers rubbed their eyes and gazed in astonishment as they watched a caravan of 27 camels move slowly across the desert in Tripolitania, Libya - for each camel was ridean by an Englishman or American.

  • Description

    Roll No 1

    Before the members of the party set off on their camels they look round a house built in the side of a hill - a Troglodyte dwelling-at the village of Sidi Sharaf, Libya.

    The camels are assembled by the local Arab farmers, who have collected them from many miles around, and the party of British Army, RAF and American servicemen, plus RAF and USAF wives, have their first lesson in camel riding.

    Close up of Driver Maurice Crookes, aged 23 of 135 Honeysuckle Road, Sheffield, mounted on a camel for the first time in his life. Driver Crookes is serving with 38 Company Royal Army Service Corps in Tripoli.

    Close up of Driver D.K.Walker, RASC who lives at 26 Fergus on Street, Londondarry, Northern Ireland.

    Close up of 2nd Lieutenant Philip Petersen, RASC, officer in charge of the British Army group of 17. 2/Lt Petersen, who has been in Libya about six weeks, lives at 34 Chatsworth Road, Ainsdale, Southport.

    It's easy enough to start, but how does one stop a camel? Driver Walker disappears into the distance as the camel fails to comply with his "Whoas" and "Stops".

    Close up of camel. "Oos! Oos!" (pronounced Uzz) is the Arabic command for Stop.

    Mrs. L. Schwartz, wife of an American serviceman, dressed in Arab attire, is a keen horsewoman and found herself quite at home on a camel.

    Each member of the party has been allotted a camel and they move in a caravan towards the village of Sidi Sharaf.

    Roll No 2

    Close up of L/Cpt. Colin Ferguson RASC of 42 Blacklaw Road, Dunfermline, Fife.

    L/Cpt. Kenneth Swinnerton, aged 21 of 2 Elliott Crescent, Bedford, seems to be getting the idea of camel riding, as the caravan enters the village of Sidi Sharaf.

    When Mum goes out in the desert carrying the Englishmen, baby camel follows. Close up of young camel feeding.

    The camel has knelt down for its rider to mount and amid shouts of "Barra", "Barra" (Go! Go!), the animal rises with Driver James Reynolds, RASC of 10 Little Grosvenor Street, Belfast, in the saddle, or rather, on the hump.

    The caravan has passed through the village and in time honoured fashion spreads out in a line across the desert as the party sets off to visit the village of Sugh El Guma ("Friday Market", en route to see the petrified remains of the "Dead Man of Tarhuna" - a 400 year old body petrified in stone in an old Roman farmhouse.

    6,7,8,9, etc.
    Shots of the British "Camel Corps" in full stride as they plod across the Libyan desert shrub and with each member of the party, apparently, having his or her own idea on how camel rider ought to be dressed.

    Roll No 3.

    Shots of the Camel Corps taking a rest. Until one becomes proficient in the art of guiding a Desert Traveller, a hump is not always a comfortable seat. Several members of the party had navigation troubles and the "breakaways" had to be rounded up and brought back to the main body before the party set off again.

    Final shot.
    Close up of Flying Officer L. Littler of 118 Southmoor Road, Oxford, the leader of the party, who is stationed at RAF Idris, Libya, and also 2nd Lt P. Petersen, officer in charge of the Army personnel in the party. Flying Officer Littler, dressed in the pukke Arab dress, is a veteran camel rider having owned six camels during his stay in Libya.


    Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved

    Background: Nomadic Arab desert dwellers rubbed their eyes and gazed in astonishment as they watched a caravan of 27 camels move slowly across the desert in Tripolitania, Libya - for each camel was ridean by an Englishman or American.

    A 27 strong party had hired the camels in order to enjoy a holiday with a difference in the Tarhuna district of Libya.

    Led by Flying Officer Leslie Littler of RAF Idris who first mooted the idea, the party consisted of 17 members of the Royal Army Service Corps stationed in tripoli, four Americans (including two women), five Royal Air Force personnel (including two wives), and an Arab guide.

    They spent three days in the desert travelling some 50 miles on their camels and visited an ancient farmhouse to see a 400 year old petrified body known a the Dead Man of Tarhuna, searched Roman ruins and made friends with the villagers of Sugh El Guma (Friday Market).

    For the men of 38 Company Royal Army Service Corps, the trip formed part of their adventure training programme, for not only did they learn how to ride camels but they camped in the desert at night "under the stars" without tents or beds, and cooked their own meals.

    "But why don't you use your motorcars?" asked the amused Arabs when they hired their camels to the English and Americans.

    After the first few hours of riding, many of the party were asking the same question for the art of riding a camel cannot be mastered quickly and takes about a year to become really proficient.

    Veteran rider, Flying Officer Littler, who has owned six camels during his stay in Libya, taught the members of the party how to make the camel kneel in order to mount and move off when the rider was "in the saddle"."Zaa!" and "Barra!" are the commands for "Go" and "Oos!" for stop.

    But camels are unpredictable and often stubborn animals and there were several minor mishaps - camels refusing to stop, others going in the wrong direction-before the riders became used to their mounts and set off into the desert from the village of Sidi Sharaf on their off-beat holiday.

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