Photographs from Beersheba

Photographs taken by Francis Gillard Rathkey of the Australian Light Horse going into action at Beersheba

Photographs taken by Francis Gillard Rathkey -1961 from his photograph album which contains nearly 200 photographs taken in Egypt and Palestine between 1914 and 1919 when he was about twenty. Each photograph is annotated and most of them are snaps of a Welsh Regiment Cycle Division of which he was a member. An excerpt from the inscription on the front of this photograph album is below.

The following photographic work was a modest attempt on my part to record the happenings of a Cyclist Coy:- (The 53rd Division Cyclist Company) whose work was of a versatile nature. After the evacuation of Gallipoli the Coy earned a rest and were posted to the Fayism district of Egypt there to carry out Patrol Duties in conjunction with various cavalry units. That year, notably 1916 was the hottest of the campaign, 120 and over being recorded.
The Turk, during these months was pushing down through Palestine to Gaza, the key position which B.E. Forces twice suffered defeat before General Murray relinquished command.
Only in the full capacity of a Private throughout my Service, I am often questioned as to my authority for carrying a Camera, but there were cameras in France as our Press and Films show today, and this was only a Number ‘O’ Brownie carried hundreds of Miles in an old piece of Tent. A “Free-Lance Effort” which afforded me wonderful pleasure during the years abroad.

Many thanks to Mike Rathkey and family for their time, trouble and generosity
in getting these photos to us.