‘News from the Nile’

In 1915 Private Tom Dalton sent two letters to the Leader, a newspaper published in Orange, New South Wales. In the first, dated four days before Christmas Day he wrote about his arrival and first impressions of life in Cairo: “I received a letter of yours dated October 19. It is lovely weather here, nice warm days, and cool nights. We are about 12 miles … Continue reading ‘News from the Nile’

Private Ernest Donald Gow

Private Ernest Donald Gow 4th Bn, Australian Infantry, A.I.F. Died: 03.02.15 (Double Pneumonia, Mena Hospital, Cairo, Egypt) Age: 24 Headstone Inscription: ‘At Rest’ Son of William and Minnie Gow, of Ulmarra, New South Wales. Born at Wollongong. Ernest Donald Gow (Service No. 1207) was one of the first men from the Illawarra to die in World War 1. He was born in Wollongong in 1890, … Continue reading Private Ernest Donald Gow

‘The problem is not an easy one’ … cemetery construction, horticultural schemes and the Egyptian climate

In 1948 Hubert Worthington, the Principal War Graves Commission  Architect for Egypt and North Africa was busy adding his comments to the sketch plans, estimates and reports for the new cemetery construction at Tel-el-Kebir. The war memorial cemetery at Tel-el-Kebir, 110 kilometres north-north-east of Cairo, was used from June 1915 to July 1920 and increased after the Armistice when graves were brought in from other sites, including … Continue reading ‘The problem is not an easy one’ … cemetery construction, horticultural schemes and the Egyptian climate

The Roos That Went To War

In the shadow of the great pyramids amid the piles of kitbags and Lee-Enfield rifles, an iconic image held by the Australian War Memorial shows an Australian Imperial Force infantryman encountering a kangaroo. Image Credit: The Australian War Memorial Members of the 9th and 10th Battalions regularly smuggled mascots from home aboard transport ships as reminders of home. The above photo, which was taken by Chaplain … Continue reading The Roos That Went To War

Sister Selina Lily (Lil) Mackenzie – 1st Australian General Hospital (Heliopolis)

The Victoria Museum holds a small collection bequeathed by Rosemary McArthur in 2010 commemorating the life of Sister Selina Lily ‘Lil’ Mackenzie which provides an interesting insight into the role of women (in this instance nurses) serving in Egypt during World War I.  Portrait of Sister Lil Mackenzie with a Friend, Egypt, 1915-1917 Lil returned to her hometown after the outbreak of war, and on 5 October 1915 … Continue reading Sister Selina Lily (Lil) Mackenzie – 1st Australian General Hospital (Heliopolis)

A.S.T.E.N.E Conference – University of East Anglia (21 – 24th July 2017)

The Association for the Study of Travel in Egypt and the Near East will hold its twelfth biennial conference at the University of East Anglia and Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery, Norwich, from Friday 21 July to Monday 24 July, 2017. I’ll be speaking on Sunday 23rd of July during session 10 Tourism and Perceptions of the Other on Soldiering In Egypt. My paper will aim to … Continue reading A.S.T.E.N.E Conference – University of East Anglia (21 – 24th July 2017)

‘Views of an Antique Land’ Project Conference (20th May 2017)

I was so pleased to be invited to speak at the closing ‘Views of an Antique Land’ project conference which is being held on the 20th May at Cardiff University. My paper ‘Recollections and Representations of Cairo (1914/18) – The Egyptian Expeditionary Force’ will include a brief overview of the strategic importance of Egypt and the logistical challenge of housing, feeding and caring for the large numbers of Commonwealth … Continue reading ‘Views of an Antique Land’ Project Conference (20th May 2017)

I do love a nice research mystery …

This week, knowing my research interests, my Dad presented me with a set of postcards which he felt may be of interest. The first image, taken by S Sarkis, Garrison Photographer from the Kasr-el-Nil Barracks in Cairo is of a funeral procession described as ‘Fusiliers’.  Now I’m going to make some assumptions here with regard to the cemetery. I’m 90% certain that this is the … Continue reading I do love a nice research mystery …

Military History and Colonialism: The Pigeons of Denshawai

The Denshawai Incident is the name given to a dispute which occurred in 1906 between British Military officers and the locals villagers of Denshawai, Egypt. Denshawai was one of many small cruelties of colonialism, but the arrogance of the British response gave a new impetus to the growing sense of Egyptian nationalism. Though the incident itself was fairly small in terms of the number of casualties and injuries, the … Continue reading Military History and Colonialism: The Pigeons of Denshawai

The Ethics of Collecting Medals – ‘Private James Tilbury’ of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment

Military medals are becoming increasingly valuable, but its the story of courage behind the award that ultimately counts. Whenever I  have seen personal medals for sale either at a dealers or for sale on sites such as eBay I have often wondered about the circumstances that brought them to be for sale. Over the years many sets are bequeathed to Regimental Museums or Associations however … Continue reading The Ethics of Collecting Medals – ‘Private James Tilbury’ of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment