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February 23, 2017

Members of the Australian 11th Battalion 3rd Brigade Sitting on the Great Pyramid of Khufu, January 1915

It is one of the most memorable Anzac photos of World War I, depicting about 700 soldiers of Western Australia’s 11 Battalion on the Cheops Pyramid at Giza, in Egypt in January 1915.

Group portrait of the original officers and men of the 11th Battalion, 3rd Brigade AIF (Australian Infantry Division). The group of over 685 soldiers are spread over the side of the Great Pyramid of Khufu (Cheops) near Mena camp (taken January 10, 1915) (Image: Australian War Memorial).

Captain Charles A Barnes, one of the officers in the photograph, made a note in his diary of the event, which is quoted by the Australian War Memorial.

“After Church this morning the whole Battalion was marched up to the Pyramid (Old Cheops) and we had a photo took or at least several of them,” he wrote.

Amidst the training undertaken by the men, there was time on Sundays, days off and evenings when leave was granted to visit local sites of interest such as the pyramids, the Citadel and the many mosques in Cairo. The trams struggled to keep up with the demand and local transport such as carriages were heavily used.


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