Uncommon images of Deir Dibwan

[British Armed Forces - Palestine]. [Photograph album: Palestine during the First World War].

Deir Dibwan, Cairo, Port Said and other places, ca. 1915-1917.

8vo (145 x 210 mm). 48 original silver-gelatin prints, 37 of which captioned in ink. Inserted into window mounts (55 x 80 mm). An additional 21 photographs loosely inserted (9 captioned), 5 of which are from commercial studios. Contemporary giltstamped olive cloth.


Photograph album compiled by a British soldier serving in the Sinai and Palestine Campaign of the First World War, including rare images of Deir Dibwan, an Arab Palestinian village (now city) four miles east of Ramallah. The album features native men and women, dwellings, olive groves, camel convoys, markets and roadwork, showing the village and its surroundings piror to the drastic changes it faced after the Mandate period, coming under Jordanian rule after the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, followed by Israeli occupation in the wake of the Six-Day War of 1967.

Further images show Bethlehem, Abbassia, the interior of the Sultan Hassan Mosque, the Pyramids, the Delta Barrage, the statue of Ferdinand de Lesseps in Port Said, Alexandria port, and Giza zoo, along with British ships (HMS Superb and SS Caledonia) and steam trains. The loosely inserted pictures include images of the German colony at Haifa, the British camp in Alexandria, antique ruins in Jericho and Ramleh, the Nile and the Suez Canal.

Though the bulk of the photographs is not dated, one picture of Luna Park in Heliopolis shows the first amusement park in the Middle East still operating, suggesting that the owner of the album was based in Egypt as early as 1914/15. The image shows the main attraction, the water slide, before the basin was drained and floored when Luna Park was converted into a military hospital in 1915. Two of the loosely inserted snapshots are dated 1917, displaying a tank deployed in the Second Battle of Gaza (17-19 April) and a group portrait of British troops in Jerusalem on the 9th of December.

A unique find.


A few photos faded but generally good, evenly toned prints. Spine sunned, light wear to extremities, binding a little loose but holding firmly, otherwise very good.

Stock Code: BN#63859 Tags: , , , ,