Snapshots of the British military's advance up the Tigris

[WWI - Mesopotamian Campaign]. [Photo album of the Mesopotamian Campaign].

Egypt, Iraq, India, and Pakistan, 1915-1917.

Oblong folio (330 x 205 mm). 13 ff. with 152 albumen photographs, ranging from 140 x 85 mm to 60 x 40 mm.


The photo album of a British officer in the First World War, tracing the path of the East Lancashire Regiment from the Suez to the British push up the Euphrates in the Mesopotamian Campaign, culminating in snapshots of a newly conquered Baghdad. The 6th Battalion of the East Lancs served in Egypt, Gallipoli, and from 1916-18 on the Mesopotamian Campaign; photos show a few views of India and Pakistan as well.

The anonymous photographer had a curious eye, and photographed what took his fancy: a European couple surveying the entrance to the Suez Canal, ships like the HMT Corsican and several of the so-called 'monitors' (the gunships which were one of the new weapons of the First World War) cruising the Tigris, and almost tourist-like photographs as his battalion trailed the British advance up the Tigris, of Ezra's Tomb, a sheikh's palace in Basra, and a mosque in Amara seen from the river Tigris - the latter possibly even taken in 1916, when nearby General Townsend's forces were being besieged and starved out of the fortress in Kut-al-Amara.

The British recovered from their defeat in Kut Al Amara by 1917, when they entered the gates of Baghdad. The photographer evidently arrived soon after, and photographed its sights: the Mosque of Two Imams, the Baghdad tram line, and the new General Headquarters, a palatial building which before the war had been purchased as the British Residency; when the British had fled Baghdad at the outbreak of war in 1914, the Ottomans had converted the building into a hospital.


With a professional portrait of Captain William E. Hart laid in. Hart was probably the original owner of the album, as a "Billy" appears often in photographs, as do photos of "Billy's quarters," "Billy's horse," etc.


Occasional light fading; altogether in quite good condition.