In what date was Cairo blackout lifted in WW2? Was the date celebrated in the following years?

And, not less important: what notable events were in December 21st 1944?

A little background: Someone I got to know was born in Cairo on the 21st of December 1944. He said it was the night when lights were turned on.

Now that puzzles me: The battle of El-Alamein ended in Nov 1942. On 21.12.1942 Rommel was forced out of Libya, too. But it was 1942, not 1944! On Dec 1944 Hitler had just central Europe. It's hard to believe that Egypt was blacked out for 2 years and a half (probably since the fall of Tobruk).

On the other hand, it can be that the dates are wrong. But he remembers himself as a child in kindergarten back in 1949. It's hard to believe that a seven years old child thinks he's five.

What is the solution for this riddle? I don't know. So I suspect that the occasion of pushing Rommel's bombers off-range at 21.12.1942 was celebrated years later, including 21.12.1944.


  • 1
    On the other hand, the Dodecanese campaign was in late 1943 and the Germans occupied Crete until the end of the war. Cairo would have been within the range of long-range German aircraft. The Germans would have posed no real threat, but the risk of a harassing raid would have been nonzero even after 1942. Dec 26, 2020 at 13:36
  • Makes sense. Mostly considering Hitler's narcotic, furious and unpredicted nature that worsened along the war. My far-fetch guess is that Hitler still had northern Greece by Dec 1944, so British colonies & puppet governments were still threatened. The more desperate the Germans were, the more they rushed to roll out experimental weapons (V1 & V2 were mostly harassing weapons) hoping to turn the table again.
    – Meymann
    Dec 26, 2020 at 15:48
  • @Maymann: The V weapons were exclusively aimed at the west, with the overwhelming majority fired at London (as befits weapon systems with an error margin measured in kilometers...). They were all Germany had to answer the strategic bombing campaign of the US and UK... But either way, when you're at war and theoretically in range of the enemy, you don't paint yourself as a target.
    – DevSolar
    Dec 26, 2020 at 21:12
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    Btw, Luftwaffe was dangerous till the end, their last large night intrusion operation was Unternehmen Gisela in March of 1945.
    – rs.29
    Dec 30, 2020 at 8:28
  • Mostly as Hitler became more desperate and narcotic. He was less expected all the way through. By Dec1944 he still had the balkans, and still developed the Emergency Fighter that was the successor of the "America Bomber". They never rested.
    – Meymann
    Dec 31, 2020 at 10:57

1 Answer 1


We can indeed nail down a date for this:



By an order of the Military Governor, published last night, the black-out in Cairo ends to-day, and full lighting will be reintroduced...

The Times, 3 August 1944 (the story is dated 2 August 1944, so the effective date was presumably 2 August). It goes on to note that the Cairo blackout was by this stage not strongly enforced and was more of a "dim-out"; blackouts were still to be enforced along the coast and around the Canal.

  • Well done! How did you find it? Dec 27, 2020 at 2:15
  • @kimchilover Plugged 'cairo blackout' into the British Newspaper Archive, on the assumption that it was the sort of "things are looking up" story the British press would have picked up to report, and got lucky - second hit was a paper in Dundee quoting the Times. From there it was easy to get hold of the original :-) Dec 27, 2020 at 12:17
  • Wow! @Andrew, that's amazing. It almost solves the mystery, completely... With the original version of the story. Is it reasonable to assume that there were dim-outs later on - until December? Also, the thing is that he was named Victor for the occasion. It still makes sense that the name was decided months earlier, in August, and the story was "bent" a little bit.
    – Meymann
    Dec 27, 2020 at 15:48
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    @Meymann I think from August there would have been no blackouts at all in Cairo - the "dim-outs" were before the restrictions were lifted. It may have been that there was some particular celebration that day and so the city was actively lit up, rather than just "not blacked out"? It seems to have been a couple of days into the Islamic new year, so that may be a connection somehow. Dec 27, 2020 at 16:47
  • Makes sense. Could be that there were official celebrations, combined with the imminent Christmas. If I wanted to throw a party, religious celebrations would have been a good timing. I suppose that in the Middle East things run slow so it's no issue to celebrate 4 months later, when all is restored and set. Even though they were Jewish, it still was a celebration of a great event. After all, if the Nazis had won, they would not have been there to tell. I guess it makes the case solved :-) Thanks a lot!
    – Meymann
    Dec 28, 2020 at 7:46

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