Australian troops at the Pyramids
Australian and New Zealand troops arrived in Egypt in December 1914. They set up Mena Camp near the Great Pyramids outside Cairo and began training in preparation for the Western Front and Gallipoli. This footage sees them exploring the extraordinary landmarks - the Pyramids and the Sphinx.
While they waited in Egypt to be deployed, the Australian and New Zealand forces were formed into the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) under the command of Lieutenant General William Birdwood. The training the Anzacs received was only rudimentary, and did little to prepare them for what was to come.
Lieutenant General Birdwood takes a dip
Lieutenant General Sir William Birdwood, a senior officer in Britain’s pre-1914 Indian Army, was appointed in December 1914 to command the ANZAC forces. Birdwood has been described as the ‘Soul of Anzac’. His Corps headquarters was located in the hills just behind Anzac Cove, Gallipoli, and was open to Turkish shelling. On most days, he could also be observed swimming off the beach, sharing the dangers of Turkish shelling with everyone else.
Swimming with Birdie at Gallipoli
As the weather warmed up on Gallipoli during the summer of 1915, new problems plagued the Australian and New Zealand forces. The increased heat worsened the men’s thirsts and a huge number of flies swarmed over the battlefield, due to the many unburied corpses and shallowly-dug latrines, or field toilets. A refreshing swim in the Mediterranean was the only relief, as New Zealander Bertie Cooksley recalls.