Ancient Egypt
WWI In Egypt Image Credit: Ancient Egypt
WWI In Egypt Image Credit: Ancient Egypt

WWI In Egypt

Inspired by Paul Nicholson’s article (AE102) on his research into images of Egypt from World War I, Anne Midgley rifles through her collection of postcards from that era and reveals the stories behind them.

Anne Midgley

Troops who served in Egypt, Palestine and Gallipoli in WWI did not have to endure the ordeal of the Western Front but did play a prominent part over a period of four years when they helped to gain control of the region from Turco-German forces and brought about the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. Although they were not subjected to the horrors of trench warfare in France, they were involved in key battles in Sinai and Gaza. Egypt was also a training ground and troop camp for British armed forces. By 1918 these camps included Indian, Australian and New Zealand soldiers, so the number of troops reached about 400,000. During the war, troops and equipment went through the Suez canal en route for the Western Front, together with millions of tons of provisions bound for Britain and her Allies. The canal was so important that the British Government took steps to provide defences for it.

I have a postcard which was issued to commemorate the National Postal Museum Exhibition The Post Office at War – 1882-1919, which was held from July to October 1982, and shows the departure of the Post Office Rifle Volunteers (see above), leaving St. Martins-le-Grand, London, for Egypt in August 1882. I am sure there were many scenes like this all over England as troops prepared to leave for the war.

The 1/1st Royal Buckinghamshire Yeomanry was one of the many brigades that were in Egypt during WWI, departing from Plymouth on the SS Ausonia

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