All of the following photographs, with the possible exception of the picture of Frank Clark, were taken by Harry Belson, or with his camera, and the italicised text and captions, where present, are as noted by him.
The second battle of Gaza took place over the three days of 17-19 April 1917. This set of photographs covers the period from from the aftermath of the first attack on Gaza up to the second attack, ending with Harry Belson’s hospitalisation back in Alexandria.
“From after 1st attack on Gaza when we re-lined on the plain near Deir el Belah until the time we moved forward to the 2nd attack on Gaza.”
Natives outside a Bedouin village. Quite a pantomime posing these, their one cry is “Backsheesh Johnny” – Deir el Belah
Sinai Desert – Well & reservoir
Palm grove – Deir el Belah – famous for its fine wells – in front of Gaza
“Modernisation” – One of our lightning construction tracks. Deir el Belah
Arab scouts working for the British forces in front of the Suez defences
Gaza. Mosque roof “holed in one”. Was this by the Artillery or the Navy?
The following photographs document the lead up to the second attack on Gaza, and the attack itself.
“After leaving Deir el Belah for second attack on Gaza. Sheikh el Belian Tomb &c.”
Sheik Nebhan. Tomb of the Sheik, Wadi Ghuzzeli, Gaza.
Sheik Nebhan – Tomb of the Sheik Nebhan – Wadi Ghuzzeli – Gaza
Our dear friends – Transport camel & driver
Preparing for the fray behind Sheik Abas – 2nd battle of Gaza in Wadi Ghuzzeli
2nd battle of Gaza – Wadi Ghuzzeli – Advanced Dressing Station
Party of our boys on roof of shelter at advanced D.S. The roof was ultimately covered with 3′-6″ of earth. Kh. El Burjayeh just behind Mansura Ridge – A relic of Gaza. We squared out a Waddi & built in this compound for wounded. The roof top was eventually covered so as to be level with the surrounding ground. We did all this under the supervision of 2 R.Es. Another fellow and myself did the sandbagging round the top.
2nd battle Gaza – Sheik Abas ridge, Hants Reg going into action. I carried an officer shot through both ankles on my back across the plain to the dressing station.
Group of us taken at our Advanced D.S. previous to returning to base after attack by us during which time we had experienced a very strenuous time. I have a cross marked at my feet – in a Waddi behind Sheik Abbas Ridge.
R.30 – At el Burgallyeh – Behind Mansura Ridge – A dressing station (advanced) near the line in front of Gaza
Sheik Abbas ridge in front of Gaza
54 Div. Royal Artillery (18pdr) Palestine. Gunpits in front of Gaza near Sheik Abbas.
54 Division 162 Brigade. Machine Gun position in trenches facing Gaza
Frank Clark – my constant “bivvy mate” from 1916 right through the Palestine Campaign until we returned to England together in 1919.
“After 2nd attack on Gaza – went down to Alexandria with dysentery.”
“In dock” at 19th General Hospital, Alexandria. Taken on roof
Another picture signed and dated late in 1918, in this case October of that year – suggesting that the photographs were not developed until just before the end of the War.
© Paul Barham, May 2018