Troops of 6th Airborne Division searching a Jewish immigrant ship, Haifa, 1948

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The British Army in Palestine

In the 1940s the British Army found itself stuck in the middle of a growing conflict between Arabs and Jews in Palestine. The momentous events that followed led to the creation of the State of Israel.

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General Sir Charles Keightly, Commander in Chief Operation Muskateer, meets French paratroopers at Suez, 1956

Suez Crisis

In 1956, British and French forces invaded Egypt in collusion with Israel. Although the military operation was a success, the political storm it caused led to a humiliating withdrawal.

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British and Gurkha troops, 1917

Egypt and Palestine campaign

The struggle against the Turks in Egypt and Palestine began with a test of endurance and engineering in harsh desert terrain. It evolved into a fast-moving mobile campaign, which resulted in Allied victory and the fall of the Ottoman Empire.

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Turkish prisoners after General Brooking's victory at Ramadi, September 1917

Mesopotamia campaign

During 1914-18, British troops fought the Turks in Mesopotamia. After many setbacks, they finally took Baghdad in March 1917. This marked the high point of a long and tragic campaign fought in a harsh climate.

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March past of the South Persia Rifles, c1918 

Persia mission

In June 1916, a British military mission began recruiting a local force in neutral Persia. Its goal was to bolster Allied interests and prevent enemy influence in the region.

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A British officer with the Armenians, Baku, August 1918

Dunsterforce in the Caucasus

In 1918, the British assembled a handpicked unit to carry out a daring secret mission to the Caucasus. Their aim was to unify into an effective force the various anti-Bolshevik and anti-Turkish groups fighting there.

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Private William Bowyer of 1/1st Buckinghamshire Yeomanry (Royal Bucks Hussars), 1915

Senussi Revolt

During the First World War, the British position in Egypt was threatened by rebellious Senussi Bedouin tribesmen. The campaign against them took place in the unforgiving climate of the Western Desert.

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V Beach at Cape Helles, April 1915

Gallipoli campaign

Gallipoli was the first major amphibious operation in modern warfare. In 1915 British Empire and French troops landed on the Ottoman-held peninsula in the Dardanelles Straits with disastrous consequences for the Allies.

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Lieutenant Jock Lewes, 1940

'Jock' Lewes: SAS mastermind

As the co-founder of the Special Air Service (SAS), Lewes played a vital role in establishing the unit’s ethos and high standards of training and discipline.

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Field Marshal Lord Allenby of Megiddo and Felixstowe, c1925

Edmund Allenby: The bull

General Sir Edmund Allenby led the British Empire to victory in the Middle East in 1918. He successfully pioneered the combined use of infantry, cavalry and aeroplanes at the Battle of Megiddo.

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3rd Battalion The Parachute Regiment searching for snipers in Gaynaeim village, 1951

Suez Canal Zone

Between 1945 and 1956, British soldiers garrisoned bases on the Suez Canal in Egypt. A harsh climate, disease and attacks by local nationalists made Suez one of the most unpopular Army postings.

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Aden Emergency

Aden Emergency

The insurgency against British rule in the south of the Arabian Peninsula marked the end of a 20-year retreat from Empire.

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British infantry vehicles advancing, Iraq, 1991

Gulf War

The war against Iraq in 1990-91 saw the largest single deployment of British troops since the Second World War. Altogether about 35,000 British servicemen and women served in the campaign.

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The Great War and the Middle East
Talk

16 November 2018, 11.30am

FREE

The Great War and the Middle East

Rob Johnson addresses the First World War in the Middle East, looking with a fresh perspective at the thinking that lay behind the operations there.

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Commonwealth soldiers in Palestine
Video

KS3 (Age 11 to 14)

Commonwealth soldiers in Palestine

Discover the diverse range of soldiers who contributed to the British First World War effort in Palestine.

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"First time @NAM_London today. Thoroughly enjoyed it. Thought the presentation & interpretation made the subject accessible..."