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Principal battles of
the Force in Egypt
Defence of the Suez Canal

The Force in Egypt was established in August 1914 on the basis of the forces garrisoning Egypt at the beginning of the First World War. The force, commanded by Major General Julian Byng had the objective of protecting the Suez Canal.[1] On 8 September General J. Maxwell took command.[2] Britain and France declared war on the Ottoman Empire on 5 November 1914.[3]

End of 1914 (General Maxwell)

Defence of the Suez Canal (30,000 troops)
10th Indian Division (Major General A. Wilson)
11th Indian Division
Imperial Service Cavalry Brigade
Bikaner Camel Corps
Indian Mountain Artillery
Egyptian Army Artillery

(British and French warships in the Canal served as floating batteries) Reconnaissance Aircraft.[4]

Force in Egypt August 1914Edit

3rd Dragoon Guards
T Battery, Royal Horse Artillery
7th Mountain Battery RGA
2nd Field Company RE
2nd Battalion Devonshire Regiment
1st Bn Worcestershire Regiment
2nd Bn Northamptonshire Regiment
2nd Bn Gordon Highlanders and auxiliary services.[5]

Force in Egypt September 1914Edit

In addition to the above two units from the 3rd (Lahore) Division were added:

9th (Sirhind) Brigade
III Mountain Artillery Brigade

Shortly afterwards as a result of the Sinai frontier being crossed Lord Kitchener ordered the additional

East Lancashire Division (Territorial Force) with two Yeomanry regiments to follow, although the Force in Egypt in August 1914 was shipped to France.[6]

By October 1914 the 9th (Sirhind) Brigade was under orders for France but was retained until the Lucknow Brigade arrived.[7] The following were promised and on their way to Egypt in October 1914

Bikanir Camel Corps
Imperial Service Cavalry Brigade
Imperial Service Infantry Brigade
33rd Punjabis battalion (regular British India Army)
Alwar, Gwalior and Patiala Infantry battalions
8 Indian battalions
3 more Indian brigades.[7]

Force in Egypt January 1915Edit

(total force 70,000)

10th Indian Division
11th Indian Division
Imperial Service Cavalry Brigade
Bikanir Camel Corps
Indian Mountain Artillery (3 batteries)
Egyptian Army Artillery (1 battery)
Royal Flying Corps detachment
French Naval Seaplanes

In training

Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC)
42nd (East Lancashire) Division [8][9]

Suez Canal Defences 15 January 1915Edit

Advanced Ordnance Depot Zagazig
one battalion 32nd Imperial Service Brigade
Garrison railway and Sweetwater Canal
one troop Imperial Service Cavalry
half company Birkanir Camel Corps
half company Indian Infantry
General Reserve Camp, Moascar
31st Brigade
2nd Queen Victoria's own Rajput L.I.
27th Punjabis
93rd Burma Infantry
128th Pioneers
32nd Imperial Service Brigade
33rd Punjabis
Alwar, Gwalior and Imperial Service Cavalry Brigade less three squadrons and one troop
one Egyptian RE Section (camels)
one Egyptian Mountain Battery
two sections Field artillery with Cavalry Brigade
Indian Field Ambulances.[10]

Sector I Port Tewfik to GeneffeeEdit

Headquarters at Suez
30th Brigade
24th Punjabis
76th Punjabis
126th Baluchis
2/7th Gurkha Rifles
one squadron Imperial Service Cavalry
one company Birkanir Camel Corps
half company Sappers and Miners
one battery RFA (T.)
one Indian Field Ambulance

Sector II Deversoir to El FerdanEdit

Headquarters at Ismailia Old Camp
22nd Brigade
62nd Punjabis
92nd Punjabis
2/10th Gurkha Rifles
28th Frontier Force Brigade
51st Sikhs
53rd Sikhs
56th Punjabis
1/5th Gurkha Rifles
one squadron Imperial Service Cavalry
Birkanir Camel Corps (less three and a half companies)
Machine Gun Section of Egyptian Camel Corps
one battery RFA (T.)
one battery Indian Mountain Artillery
two Indian Field Ambulance

Sector III El Ferdan to Port SaidEdit

Headquarters Qantara
29th Brigade
14th Sikhs
69th Punjabis
89th Punjabis
1/6th Gurkha Rifles
1 Battalion 22nd Brigade
one squadron Imperial Service Cavalry
two companies Birkanir Camel Corps
half company Sappers and Miners
two battery RFA (T.)
26th Battery Indian Mountain Artillery
Armoured Train with half company Indian Infantry
Wireless Section (T.)
Indian Field Ambulance
Detachment RAMC (T.)[11]

Force in Egypt April 1915Edit

During April the 29th Indian Brigade and the East Lancashire Division were sent to Gallipoli. The 2nd Mounted (Yeomanry) Division arrived to take their place by 29 April.[12]

Sent to Gallipoli Mediterranean Expeditionary Force

42nd (East Lancashire) Division
one Indian brigade (incomplete)

Sent to Basra

one Indian brigade

Sent to Aden (Yemen threaten attack)

Aden Brigade [13][14]

Force in Egypt 9 July 1915Edit

The total force of 69,765 consisted of

one Yeomanry brigade 1,054
2nd Mounted Division 8,242
Indian Expeditionary Force"E" (under orders for Aden) 15,940
5th, 6th, 7th Australian Brigades in process of arriving 5,212
ANZAC 10,243
29th Divisional Supply Column 312

Regulars, Details, Depot 829 Mediterranean Expeditionary Force base 28,134[15]

By November 1915 the Force in Egypt was almost reduced to a training and reinforcement camp, with 60,000 troops in Egypt which were mainly details of formations fighting at Gallipoli and Anzacs in training.[16]

Force in Egypt November 1915Edit

Western Frontier Force (Major General A. Wallace)

Composite mounted brigade
Three composite regiments of Yeomanry
One composite regiment Australian Light Horse
1st Nottinghamshire Battery Royal Horse Artillery
Composite infantry brigade
Three Territorial battalions.
One battalion Indian Infantry (15th Sikhs).

Some South African troops and a New Zealand battalion added after November 1915.[17]

On 10 March 1916 the Force in Egypt was merged with the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force and the Egyptian Expeditionary Force replaced them.[18]



  1. Falls 1930 Vol. 1 p. 11
  2. Falls p. 14
  3. Falls 1930 Vol. 1 p. 16 note
  4. Bruce 2002, pp. 15–6
  5. Falls 1930 Vol. 1 p. 11 note
  6. Falls 1930 Vol. 1 p. 14
  7. 7.0 7.1 Falls 1930 Vol. 1 p. 15
  8. Carver 2003, pp. 8–9
  9. Wavell 1968, p. 27
  10. Falls 1930 Vol. 1 pp. 32–3
  11. Falls 1930 Vol. 1 pp. 31–2
  12. Falls 1930 Vol. 1 p. 57
  13. Coulthard-Clark 1998, p. 22
  14. Wavell 1968, p. 34
  15. Falls 1930 Vol. 1 p. 68
  16. Falls 1930 Vol. 1 p. 85
  17. Wavell 1968, pp. 36–7
  18. Falls 1930 Vol. 1 pp. 96–7


  • Bruce, Anthony (2002). The Last Crusade: The Palestine Campaign in the First World War. London: John Murray Ltd. ISBN 978-0-7195-5432-2. 
  • Carver, Michael, Field Marshal Lord (2003). The National Army Museum Book of The Turkish Front 1914–1918: The Campaigns at Gallipoli, in Mesopotamia and in Palestine. London: Pan Macmillan. ISBN 978-0-283-07347-2. 
  • Coulthard-Clark, Chris (1998). Where Australians Fought: The Encyclopaedia of Australia's Battles. St Leonards: Allen and Unwin. ISBN 1864486112. 
  • Falls, Cyril; G. MacMunn (1930). Military Operations Egypt & Palestine from the outbreak of war with Germany to June 1917. Official History of the Great War Based on Official Documents by Direction of the Historical Section of the Committee of Imperial Defence. 1. London: HM Stationary Office. OCLC 610273484. 
  • Wavell, Field Marshal Earl (1968) [1933]. "The Palestine Campaigns". In Sheppard, Eric William. A Short History of the British Army (4th ed.). London: Constable & Co.. OCLC 35621223. 

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