Childhood memories of the Libyan capital

Tripoli, Libya Mr Grey-Wallis said Tripoli is nothing like it is now when he was there

As world leaders urge Col Gaddafi to step down from his 42-year rule, one man has been looking back on the years he spent in Libya as a child.

Hugh Grey-Wallis, 61, went to live in the capital, Tripoli, in the early 60s, after his father was assigned a job in the city.

He attended a school in Tripoli for two years from the age of fourteen.

Mr Grey-Wallis, who now lives in Helston, said the capital had "changed enormously" over the past 42 years.

"My family were in Libya until September 1969 when the colonels' coup happened and then Gaddafi subsequently took over."

He said it was a happy couple of years for himself and his family, and it was an exciting place to be as a child, but added: "Libya was very different then."

Mr Grey-Wallis returned to the UK and joined the RAF. At that point, he said "going back to Libya wasn't a good idea".

"The Tripoli I remember and the Libya I remember has changed enormously.

"I've seen pictures on television of skyscrapers in downtown Tripoli and it was nothing like that when we were there."

He said the British Army were in Tripoli at the time and he was a member of a British Scouts Group.

"I did my first class hike through the desert just outside Tripoli and visited the Roman ruins and the Leptis Magna which were wonderful places.

"It would be nice to go back to Sabratha for a holiday, which has been possible in more recent times, but it would only be as a holiday."

Mr Grey-Wallis said he has fond memories of Libya and often wonders what happened to the Libyans he knew.

"Perhaps some of them didn't make it through the Gaddafi regime, I don't know. I have no friends there anymore sadly."

He hopes that the Libyan people can "find their future without the regime imposing itself upon them".

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