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Egypt, 1916-17

This section is comprised of 6 photograph albums.

Gallipoli was evacuated in January 1916. When Turkey declared war, Egypt became a British protectorate. Kantara (now El Quantara) in Egypt became the base for the British and Egyptian allied 'Egyptian Expeditionary Force' (EEF) due to its location near the Suez Canal. 

The SHMB Field Ambulance reached Kantara early in 1916 (where the photographs in this section were taken by Wade.  They joined the Lowland Mounted Brigade in February 1916, with the units absorbed with the 1st Dismounted Brigade under the command of the 52nd (Lowland) Division to defend the Suez (there were 14 complete British Divisions of infantry and some Yeomanry Brigades near the Suez Canal at this time). 

In Egypt, desultory and episodic actions had been fought after Turkey joined the Central Powers in 1914. Patrols and raids by the Turks culminated in actions in which 20-25,000 Turks crossed first the Sinai Desert and then the Suez Canal. They were beaten back. The aim in Kantara was to secure the Canal, which was strategically critical as an vital international route that conveyed Indian, Australian and New Zealand troops to Europe, and much of 1916 was spent creating a fortified zone to the east of the waterway. Enforced Egyptian labour was employed to construct a railway and lay a water pipeline along the coast. The SHMB spent a number of months in Kantara, waiting for a Turkish attack and then an allied offensive. 

This is a large section, and the photographs provide a fascinating record of Wade's wartime experience as the EEF sought to defend the Suez through 1916, being particularly illustrative of the work of a field ambulance.  Although many of the Wade operating cars had been assembled before the new campaigns, surgical operations were often undertaken in tents and huts, as many photographs illustrate. Climatic conditions determined that it was more practicable to use the cars as sterilising units than as operating theatres. 

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