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[Page 69]

Chapter 12

Defending the Suez Canal

When Turkey joined Germany in her lust for conquest during the early period of the war, the British struck her the first blow by annexing Egypt. The Turkish flag was lowered and her Sultan dethroned, and so Egypt passed from a virtual British possession protectorate to a virtual British possession.

In Jan 1915 a new Sultan was elected, the British flag was hoisted, and a large garrison force of consisting of British and Australasian troops was stationed at Mena, Maadi, Zeitoun and Heliopolis.

From time to time reinforcements were drafted to the canal banks to stem the tide of Turkish attacks, which were frequently launched from time to time, to throw off the British yoke and regain their most treasured possession. Their first, but half hearted attack took place during January 1915 with only a handful of men, numbering about twelve thousand. The attempt brought them disaster at the cost of very severe casualties, while the Ghurkha, Indian, and New Zealand regiments suffered insignificant casualties losses.

Our trenches were situated along the western banks of the canal, and though well hidden and protected they were obviously wrongly situated allowing, as they did, the Turks to approach right up to the canal, and even to place pontoons across the water. Having ascertained that their attacks in the future were to be more determined

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