Archive of 100 snap shots taken by a British soldier Michael Hammerson in Egypt and Palestine during the aftermath of the Battle of Beersheba, including several of the Australian Light Horse troops, accompanied by an explanatory letter on the images written by Laurence Moore of the Imperial Camel Corps (ICC) ca. 1988.
Moore notably served in the ICC in one of the units which fought with T. E. Lawrence ("Lawrence of Arabia") in the Arab Revolt. He took part in a 1985 BBC documentary on the subject.
Laurence (Rory) Moore (1898-1989) was born and educated in Leeds and served as a Trooper, East Riding Imperial Yeomanry, and as Signal Corporal, Imperial Camel Corps. He served in Egypt and Palestine from 1916-1919.
The Imperial Camel Corps was a camel mounted infantry brigade which became part of the EEF and fought in several battles. Its first units were 4 company sized formations which performed long distance patrols at the Suez Canal and the Sinai Desert. The companies were raised in Egypt in January 1916 from Australians returning from the Gallipoli Campaign. It was disbanded in 1919.
Moore's typed letter, titled "Attempt at identification of Michael Hammerson's photos of Egypt etc", is on Imperial Camel Corps letterhead ( Imperial Camel Corps, Old Comrades Association Talbot Avenue, Leeds). A handwritten note at the top reads, "Notes, c. 1988-89 by Laurence Moore, Veteran, Imperial Camel Corps".
The snap shots have been presented in 12 series. The images have been printed from the originals, probably some time in the late 1920s.
Series 1, titled "In and around Beersheba, 1917" includes:
British troops at graveside of unidentified person; camel resting on sand; Turkish troops; RASC with G.S. wagons; mosque at Beersheba; and elevated guard at POW Camp. Australian Light Horse snap shots show mounted officers with their backs to the camera, guarding a large group of prisoners behind barbed wire (Series 1, No 7, 18 & 19).
Series 2: local people harvesting a field, titled "Cutting corn in (T)eloah"; "Under the prickly pear tree" (3 British soldiers); a narrow gauge locomotive; a camel and calf; troops alongside bombed buildings; local farmer with yoked oxen; bedouins & camels.
Series 3: sports meeting at Rafa, with officers observing the games including polo.
Series 4: troops in small village, including snap shot of men in front of Kodak photo printing shop (the shop sign reads "French photographer. Special for postcard groups. Depot Films, Despatched Everywhere", with another sign "Best Watches Here"; barracks, supply depot, encampment, mosque, and military vehicles including truck alongside horse drawn carriage.
Series 5: broad palm tree lined boulevard with civilians on horseback; religious service held outdoors; dhows on wide river, possibly Port Said.
Series 6: troop snap shots, outside tents at desert encampment.
Series 7: "Cairo (caption reads: "most/all taken with same camera)": British soldiers on camel back viewing Pyramid of Cheops, Giza; stepped pyramid at Sakkara; soldiers relaxing in horse drawn carriage (known as a "gharry" in Egypt); Kasr el Nil (city street snap shot); and the exterior and interior of Sultan Hassan mosque.
Series 8: Egyptian water wheel ("sakkieh"); street scene with bombed buildings:
Series 9: troops in civilian gear. Series 10: Jerusalem street scenes.
Series 11: Palestine; possibly Judean Hills, mostly landscape views of stony hills (one with round tents in foreground), one shot of troops on train at railway siding; walled city seen from the countryside. Series 12: Dhows on the river; railway siding; church facade; building marked "Roman Catholic Church"; 2 interior snaps of mess tent, with flags hung inside; munitions depots; city view with minarets; canteen; unloading supplies at railway siding; river scenes.
The Battle of Beersheba was fought on October 31 1917. The British Empire's Egyptian Expeditionary Force (EEF) captured the Ottoman (Turk) army garrison at Beersheba.
The Battle was part of the wider offensive collectively known as the third Battle of Gaza. The final phase of this all day battle was the famous mounted charge of the 4th Light Horse Brigade. The Brigade broke through the Turkish defenses and seized Beersheba. This enabled EEF forces to break the Ottoman line near Gaza on 7 November and advance into Palestine.
Albumen snap shots 3 1/2 x 2 1/2". The typed Laurence Moore letter 8 1/4 x 11 3/4", typed on two sides. Period folds flattened. Very good condition. Item #24774