Here’s a direction sign from World War II Libya. The photo taken in about 1941 is in my father’s war album, and is marked as “Signpost Libyan Desert”. The camps are named after Australia’s state capitals, and might have helped the Australian forces to feel (slightly) connected with home, several months’ sail away.
All the capital cities are there except for Hobart. But this board is a palimpsest, a surface where earlier writing has been removed, scraped off, to make way for later writing. Here, the former text has been rubbed or washed away but if you look closely you’ll see the ghosts of smaller words, including the name of Hobart. Whatever happened to Camp Hobart?
There’s also a bit of graffiti on the bottom where a few blokes have scratched their names.
Searching for the locations of the other place names, I learnt that Ikingi Maryût was in the Western Desert outside Alexandria, Egypt, to Libya’s east. But I’m not sure about Abd-el-Kader, though it had been the name of a popular nineteenth-century leader of Algeria, to Libya’s west.
Thanks to WordPress for the photo challenge. See what the word ‘connected’ triggered in others.