First Battle of Gaza

“Desert Trek from Kantara to Raffa. Early Spring 1917.”

All of the following photographs were taken by Harry Belson, or with his camera, and captions, where present, are as noted by him.

The first battle of Gaza took place over the three days of 26-28 March 1917. This set of photographs covers the period from leaving the Suez Canal in the early spring of 1917 to the attack on Gaza, crossing the Sinai Desert on the way.

“Desert Trek from Kantara to Raffa. Early Spring 1917.”


Oasis on the way across Sinai desert



Watching the old melon patch



On the coast – palm grove & wells – Sinai Desert near El Arish





Arab scouts used on the Suez Canal defences



For Pa – Taken on a Sunday afternoon approaching Gaza the day before the first battle of Gaza – Somewhere near Raffa – motor tractors taking up ammo’…. 60lb artillery shells

Below the above dedication to his father this photograph is signed “Hy 1918”, suggesting it was posted home a year later.

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Khan Yunis on the way to Nu Seirat near Deir el Belah preparing for the attack on Gaza


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Gordon Trodchett & self – when at Bir El Abd in the Bardawel area on trek across the Sinai

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Deir el Belah – in front of Gaza



Our camp at El Arish – Sinai Desert


Pumping drinking water into the reservoirs: Artesian wells sunk in desert by Australian well borers



Blockhouse – Sinai desert


Home sweet home – Sinai desert – Bivouacs had not then been issued



Old Turkish Barracks – El Arish


Water from Artesian wells sunk by Australian well borers

HB_1602First battle of Gaza. A recollection of our first touch of Active Service in Palestine when a small section of us went up & assisted another Brigade clean their wounded, a day which every man who went up will ever have cause to remember, especially the retirement at night, we being one of the last to leave. Note Turkish prisoner on left hand of photo just below the elbow of the man with his back to the camera. We took a load down that night. We couldn’t get these men away & they laid out all day.

HB_1603Our advanced dressing station during the attack last Spring. This was only a few hundred yards away from the ridge we had just captured. I am knocking about somewhere. Behind Sheik Abass Ridge. A shell exploded in here & killed several of our fellows.

HB_1633_After KantaraSad reminders of some who went before us and were killed on the desert. Note bulge in helmet on top of cross where the bullet passed out. After leaving Kantara during march up.

© Paul Barham, March 2018

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