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WWI Photo Archive - East Kent Regiment in Egypt - RARE Embroidered Silk "Buffs" Banner
Egypt, 1916. Egypt, 1915-1919. Archive of Private Ernest Jarrett with the East Kent Regiment, Cairo and Alexandria comprising 202 photographic views, 1 embroidered silk panel commemorating the regiment's service in Egypt (46 x 46 cm), 2 entertainment programmes from Cairo, and a manuscript letter sent to him 12 May 1919. Views include 113 original snapshot photographs (mostly mounted into a small 8vo. album 11 x 13 cm and a small 8vo. journal 10 x 15 cm), 38 photographic postcards, 28 printed photographic views, and 23 professional portrait postcards of several fellow service men. The lot contained in an elegant wooden box with brass handle and studded perimeter, measuring 26 x 21 x 10 cm. Some fading to photographs in the journal, otherwise the lot in Very Good condition, crisp and fascinating images. The Buffs, officially the East Kent Regiment, participating in the Middle Eastern theatre of World War I, and encountering indigenous Egyptian custom, most for the first and only time, is well illustrated in this personal archive of photograph views. Most uncommon for this type of war archive, we find several studio portraits of the regiment's members who fought and worked alongside one another. Belonging to Ernest Jarrett of Sittingbourne in East Kent, this young lad was serving with the East Kent Regiment (The Buffs) No. 3246, and later the Royal Field Artillery Regiment No. 911593, then the Royal West Kent Regiment No. 6083. Highlights from the archive include: A small album of 24 original snapshot photographs centering mainly on the Egyptian ways of life, including women in various burquas, street merchants, rail and river transport, city streets and mosques, also with two views of war destruction, a photograph of the Cairo Kasr-el-Nil Bridge, and an excavation near the Sphinx. A spectacular collection of 23 studio portrait postcard photographs of fellow servicemen in the Buffs regiment, some of whom are merely boys, each of whom are named in manuscript caption to verso. In and of itself a pleasing mini archive which serves to remember some of the gallant soldiers and officers who may or may not have survived the war, and also to illustrate the various divisions and ranks by way of their uniforms. Several are dated. Thirteen (13) original sepia photographs of the Buffs regiment in their routine, including aviation exercises, aerial views over Egypt, interaction with the locals, land drills, camp and and the like. Seventy-three (73) small silver print photographs which thoroughly illustrate military camp life in Egypt, dispersed with occasional city views, local people, camels, and the like, mounted with incisions into a small notebook. A superb set of 25 collotype and sepia postcards, showing ancient pyramids, nostalgic Nile scenes, majestic mosques, colonial monuments, and the like, many being landscape views, printed in Cairo nearly 100 years ago now and beautifully preserved. One of these is postally used, inspected and stamped at the British Army Field Post Office 24 April 1916. Two band programmes for performances held at the Ezbekieh Gardens in Cairo, 17 June 1917 and 31 March 1918, respectively. [The YMCA rented three acres of Ezbekieh Gardens to provide roller skating, movies, swimming, food, a library of 300 books and a post office. Religious services and lectures were also provided. Thousands of men flocked there each night after work.] Scarce embroidered WWI commemorative sky blue silk tableau specific to the Buff's service in Egypt, featuring the regiment's dragon insignia and the year 1916, dentelle border. In original condition, one small age-toning spot, otherwise beautifully preserved, clean and bright. In the beginning of 1917 the Royal East Kent Mounted Rifles (REKMR), with the West Kent Yeomanry, was formed into the 10th (Yeomanry) Battalion, The Buffs (East Kent Regiment). The Buffs unit became part of the 74th (Yeomanry) Division on 21 March 1917. The new Buffs battalion left Sollum Egypt on 23 March 1917 travelling by sea to Alexandria where it disembarked for Sidi Bishr. Early in April 1917, the Regiment left Egypt for Palestine, marching via Kantara, Sheik Zawieh, and Belah to the vicinity of Gaza. The 74th (Yeomanry) Division was placed in Reserve for the Second Battle of Gaza. From April 1917 to October 1917, the Battalion had a strenuous time with little fighting, but much digging and even greater discomfort. Wadi Ghuzzi, Wadi Nukabir, Wadi Levi, Tel-el-Fara and Khan Yunis are names which the Yeoman of 1917 will never forget. They will always bring back memories of intense heat by day, extreme cold by night, shortage of clean water, and a superabundance of dust, flies and every form of torment! At the end of October 1917 the Battalion took part in the Battle of Beersheba, after which it was withdrawn to Karem for rest and re-equipment. Then began the job of pushing "Jonny Turk" northward through the Plain of Sharon, Esdud, Hamsukerieh, Kutrah, Latron and Beit Nuba. On 7 December 1917 the Battalion reached Kubeibeh and took part in the Battle of Jerusalem which was finally captured on 9 December 1917. Northwards again towards Beit Manana and onto Ramillah after which the Battalion was withdrawn to Moiya Wadi near Bethlehem where it spent Christmas 1917.. Very Good.
      [Bookseller: Voyager Press Rare Books & Manuscripts, ]
Last Found On: 2015-10-11           Check availability:      Biblio    

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