THE DEATH SENTENCE IN EGYPT
SOLDIERS FOUND GUILTY OF MURDER
1950 & 1952
30th AUGUST 1950 at Fanara Military Prison Gunners John Golby & Robert Smith, R.A. & Driver Edward Hensman, RASC
On April 7th 1950, Gunners John Golby & Robert Smith, R.A. & Driver Edward Hensman, RASC, all from Fayid, armed with service revolvers and ammunition, purloined an army jeep and set out to find excitement in Cairo. They put on civilian clothes and sold various items of army equipment to finance their entertainment. By evening their money had gone and their jeep had disappeared. They decided to steal a car, drive back to camp and take the punishment. They found a garage, but it had a night-watchman/taxi driver. Hensman was to knock him out while the other two got a vehicle, but he saw them coming. Hensman tried to force him into the office, but he refused to move, so he put the gun to his back. The gun went off, he staggered out into the street, where Hensman shot him through the head. Golby & Smith said they didn’t see the shooting. The three men fled. They sold two revolvers and bought a car. On April 17th they were arrested in a cinema at Ismailia. The Prosecutor, Lt. Col. R.S. Gulliver, said they were all guilty, although Hensman pulled the trigger, they were all involved in the attempted robbery with violence. He said that Golby & Smith knew Hensman was going to use force. He regretted that his case was not complete as the Egyptian authorities would not co-operate with the M.Ps on the investigation. After a three day trial all were found guilty of murder and sentenced to death. Albert Pierrepoint was flown out to perform the execution.
(The above was forward by Arthur Morley)
OTHER CANAL ZONERS REMEMBER:
Ted Darrah remembers the silence which fell over RAF Abyad at 11 o’clock that morning –
Roy Cordall recalls the official publication from GHQ in which the C. in C. announced the death of (the word regret being omitted) …..by ‘Lawful Execution –
Ronald Pinnell’s wife Cpl D.M. Treviss ATS, was working for CRE GHQ Egypt who constructed the gallows, and she typed up the job description. The gallows were constructed to hang two and one separately She came back to England on the same plane as the mothers and was instructed not to cheer on landing at Blackbush as normally took place.
Doug Hampshire remembers that the hangings took place in the Diesel Loco shed at Fanara where of 10 Rly Sqdn RE kept their American Diesel Locos. They were told by the MP’s to move the locos and all their equipment out. The reason this shed was used was because of the inspection pit.
MARCH 1952 at Fayid Military Prison Cpl Tom Houghton, 23, 74 Coy RASC
Cpl Tom Houghton, 23, 74 Coy RASC was accused of murdering Capt. Herbert Walter
Mason & NCO Cpl W. Carter, during the evening of the Supply Depot dance.
The trouble had been over 20 yr old Iro Hadjifoti with whom Capt. Mason has
been dancing. Rose Heilbron, QC, was flown out to prosecute the case. Defence
counsel, Mr. Percy Grieve, told the court martial that Houghton was “a
decent man” who had suddenly turned into a raving lunatic. He had suffered
from delusions about his supposed relationship with Miss Hadjifoti. The army
psychiatrist had given evidence that he could have been mad or in a jealous
rage when he committed these murders. Witnesses had seen Houghton storm through
his camp, firing a Sten gun. Capt Mason, who was said to have ordered Houghton
not to see the girl had seven bullets pumped into him after he had gone to investigate
the firings. He was found guilty of both murders and sentenced to death. Albert
Pierrepoint was flown out to perform the execution. Capt Mason & Cpl Carter
are buried in Fayid Military Cemetery.
(The above was supplied by The Daily Mail (Hull) March 28th 1952 & Alan Wedgbury MBE who was Chief Clerk 74 Coy RASC)
OTHER CANAL ZONERS REMEMBER:
Jim Harrison, a staff car driver with 58 Car Coy GHQ Fayid,
was assigned to picking up the Judge Advocate from RAF Fayid and taking him
to the Courtroom each day. He remembers standing outside and listening to the
case as the windows were wide open due to the heat.
Dick Payne recalls saluting as a small dark officer wearing the insignia of a full colonel passed and was told that it was Pierrepoint – the hangman
Joe Kelly informs us that the hanged bodies where handed over to the RMP and buried in Moascar Cemetery, the graves being angled differently than those who had died with less disgrace.
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