A bit of research on Google revealed that this ad for Abbots Lager was painted near Tobruk, Libya, in January 1941 by the 6th Division of the Australian Army. (‘Journey to Tobruk: John Murray – Bushman, Soldier, Survivor’ by Louise Austin).
My father wrote under the photo: ‘Australian beer is best’.
This clock tower is in Beirut. The caption my father wrote under the photo gave the town of Tripoli as the tower’s home, but a search for it on Google images showed me where it really is. It was built in 1934 and survived the troubles in Lebanon in the 1970s and 80s. Four new clock faces with Roman numerals have replaced the faces you see here. The tower is no longer encircled by concrete, but flower beds.
The Australian troops trained in Palestine on their way to Egypt and Libya. In the war album there are a number of photographs from Lebanon, indicating they must have had rec leave in Beirut.
This week’s theme has me questioning what are appropriate photos for a blog. My submissions for this weekly photo challenge are all coming from my father’s war album, and this morning I had to choose between a number of photos that tell a story of regret. In the end, I couldn’t put them on my blog. It’s enough to say that my father regretted volunteering to defend Australia in the Middle East. It’s also true, though, that those who were defended didn’t regret his contribution and were very thankful for the servicemen and women of the AIF (Australian Imperial Forces).
This photo, however, makes me wonder what the driver was thinking.
It was a toss-up tonight between two photos that suited the theme of ‘ready’. One was of my father and his mates in the training camp, ready and waiting to be sent to the Middle East. And there was this one of an Egyptian kitchen hand bearing about 50 plates with more behind him, ready to serve all the extra patrons. His hands have a firm grip on his load…
The wedding of an Australian General Hospital sister, approx. 1941. The church is the Basilique Notre Dame d’Héliopolis, Cairo. I’ve written a little about the church here, and included a photo of the whole structure.
The nurse probably worked at the hospital in Kantara (also El Qantarah and several other spellings), Egypt, close to the Suez Canal. My father may have known her since he was a patient in this hospital, but he didn’t record her name.
A wedding in the middle of a war zone. A triumph of hope over reality.
In the album I found a few photos of Arabs snapped in the simplicity of their daily lives. This one really narrows it down: a shadeless desert, a man stopping to pray, a curious and patient camel. Bowing over his mat in prayer, the Arab blocks out the Allied soldier behind the camera lens, and the complications of war.
This week, it really was a challenge to find a photo in the war album that suited a peaceful theme… I like this one of the sun rising behind the pyramids, though even this photo has a disturbing darkness.