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14 May 2015

Group of World War One soldiers in front of a pyramid

Members of the Welsh public are being asked to share their images of Egypt and Palestine from 1914 – 1918 for a new online resource as part of a World War One Centenary Cardiff University project - View of an Antique Land – Imaging Egypt and Palestine in the First World War.

Most people associate the First World War with the mud and trenches of the Western Front, but the war was a global conflict and in the Middle East there were cavalry actions and fast-moving fronts. Many soldiers who served on the Western Front also served for a time in Egypt and Palestine, but their experiences are less well known.

Funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, the unique project aims to reveal the often-overlooked Middle Eastern front in a way not seen before. The project seeks to make available, via a website, images of the military camps, soldiers and archaeological sites which the soldiers may have visited, and the towns through which they passed to provide a snapshot of Egypt and Palestine at the time.

The project will include a roadshow to collate images, the first of which takes place in Cardiff this weekend (16 and 17 May) at the Firing Line Museum in Cardiff Castle between 10:00am and 4:00pm.

Members of the public are asked to bring any photographs, postcards or stereo-views showing Egypt or Palestine dating from the period of the First World War. Entry to the roadshow is free; though standard admission applies to Cardiff Castle so entrants should state that they are visiting the roadshow. Further roadshows are planned later this year on 11 and 12 July at the Regimental Museum of the Royal Welsh at Brecon in Wales, and at the Tank Museum, Bovington, Dorset in England on 24 and 25 October.

People who wish to submit photographs or memories but who can't attend the roadshow are invited to submit them to ww1imagesegypt@cardiff.ac.uk, or via Twitter: @ww1imagesegypt or Facebook: www.facebook.com/WW1imagesegypt. More information on the project can be found at: http://sites.cardiff.ac.uk/ww1imagesegypt/.

Professor Paul Nicholson, from Cardiff University's School of History, Archaeology and Religion, said: "Egypt and Palestine in the First World War are often overshadowed by the Western Front, but they are important areas. Egypt was a transit point for troops en-route for the Dardanelles, an intelligence base for campaigns against the Ottoman Empire, and in particular the base from which the Palestine Campaign was launched. Up until now access to images relating to this theatre of conflict have been limited and information on how the region was seen by those who visited it, and who lived there, has often seemed inaccessible. This project seeks to make them better-known through the collection of a series of images from the time, many of which are in scrapbooks handed down from those who took part in the conflict.

"We hope that people will come along to the roadshow with albums of photos, or individual prints, taken by their ancestors during their service in Egypt or Palestine. We are equally interested to see

the postcards which they may have bought in those countries and sent home, or other photographs which they may have bought as souvenirs. We are also interested in pictures of the ancient monuments and towns and cities as well as military subjects - if in doubt, bring it along!"

Images will be digitally recorded to form part of an online archive of images of Egypt and Palestine, becoming a perpetual online learning resource offering new views of archaeological sites, military installations and cities as they appeared during the war.