Alec Riley was a signaller in the British Army’s 42nd (East Lancashire) Division. Egypt Diary 1914–1915 tells of the mobilisation of the East Lancashire Division at the outbreak of war, and the territorials’ eight-month-long period of training and garrison duty in Egypt prior to being deployed to Gallipoli. It brings to life the strange and exotic sights met by the Lancashire lads, most of whom had previously travelled no further than the annual camps held in North Wales.
Written in Alec Riley’s dry style, the diary relates with wit and humour the many fascinating experiences and events Riley and his comrades encountered. Interactions with Egyptian locals are interspersed with Riley’s acute (and at times subversive) observations of his own officers. Desert marches, exercises and various mundane duties are recorded, as well as measures taken to guard canteens against Australian raiding parties.
The book is lavishly illustrated with contemporary soldiers’ photographs of Egypt and four specially-produced maps. The editors, Michael Crane and Bernard de Broglio, have added extensive footnotes and detailed biographies of almost 40 officers and men who come to life in Alec Riley’s writings.
Alec Riley was a territorial soldier in the Manchester Brigade of the British Army’s 42nd (East Lancashire) Division. He served as a signaller in the Gallipoli Campaign of 1915.