Seminars about Stranded in the Six-Day War

Twice this month, I’ll be giving an illustrated talk. It’s about the merchant ships that became trapped in the Suez Canal during the Six-Day War in 1967.

Stranded in the Six-Day War, Cath Senker
Photo: Brian McManus

University of Brighton

I’ll be at the University of Brighton on 5 February 5.30 – 7pm Room G4, Grand Parade.

It is part of the seminar series for the Centre for Memory, Narrative and Histories. Go to > Events > Seminar series > 2019/20

University of Sussex

I am speaking at the University of Sussex on 12 February 1 – 3pm, Arts C, 333. It is part of the Geography seminar series.

I’ll give an illustrated talk for 45 minutes, followed by a 4-minute clip about the story, broadcast on the BBC One Show in July 2017.


In June 1967, at the outbreak of the Six-Day War, 14 merchant ships were passing through the Suez Canal. As hostilities erupted, they were ordered to halt in the Great Bitter Lake. Although the war was brief, after it finished, the Egyptian government refused the ships permission to leave. Those ships were trapped in the Suez Canal for a full eight years, until June 1975. Over the period, 3,000 seafarers served on the trapped ships in the middle of a war zone, maintaining the vessels and protecting their valuable cargos. Despite coming from countries on opposing sides of the Cold War, the crews forged a strong community, exchanging supplies and skills, and coordinating social and sports activities through the Great Bitter Lake Association (GBLA).

1 thought on “Seminars about Stranded in the Six-Day War”

  1. During the six day war I served on a ship called mv Ambassador. Although she was chartered for the Suez war we never made it that far. We were in a convoy of about ten ships that were assembled at ports all over the UK for several months waiting for the war to start. The Ambassador was sailing under the blue ensign as she was on army charter. They had done carpentry work in some of the holds which enabled us to carry about 150 soldiers of the Devonshire Regiment We were also carrying prisioner of war vehicles, empty jerry cans and unprimed shells. I can’t quite remember where we set out from, it may have been Cardiff, but we ended up in Gibraltar where we waited for several days, by which time the war was over so we returned to the UK. Job done!
    Dave Maggs [email protected]

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