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Middle East

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

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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Audrey Chitty with Helen Pine at the ATS Training Depot, Sarafand, Palestine, Summer 1942

Audrey Chitty and the ATS in Palestine

Audrey Chitty was one of many women who stepped up to meet the challenges of the Second World War. She played a key role in establishing the Auxiliary Territorial Service in the Middle East.

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The Battle of Alexandria, 1801

Egyptian campaign

From 1798 to 1801, an Anglo-Ottoman alliance competed with the French for control of Egypt. Their victory resulted in French troops withdrawing from the region and also helped safeguard Britain's possessions in India.

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Soldiers huddle under helicopter

Iraq War: The counter-insurgency

Between 2003 and 2009, British troops in Iraq were engaged in a counter-insurgency war. They also helped train local security units, assisted with reconstruction and provided humanitarian aid.

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A Royal Irish Regiment vehicle passes a burning oil well during the invasion of Iraq, March 2003

Iraq War: The invasion

In March 2003, British troops took part in a coalition invasion of Iraq. After a month of combat operations, they overthrew Saddam Hussein's regime and occupied the country.

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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), Lieutenant ‘Jock’ Lewes played a vital role in establishing the unit’s ethos and high standards of training and discipline.

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Commonwealth soldiers in Palestine

KS3 (Ages 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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