Historical information

This photograph was with a number of others associated with Harry Holmes of Ascot, Victoria.

The postcard was written on by Harry Holmes who was a member of the Australian Imperial Force based in Egypt at the time.

Nurse Kirkham is Laurie Hemsley Kirkham She was admitted to the Suez Public Hospital (Abbassia) post 06 January 1916. She left Australia with a group of South Australian nurses.

Egypt was a major base for the AIF from December 1914. A number of campaigns were fought in this theatre. There were two campaigns involving the AIF. Note that not all the fighting was actually geographically in Egypt. (http://www.aif.adfa.edu.au:8888/about3.html)

The Nurse Kirkam mentioned by the writer is probably Sarah Alice Kirkham, Staff Nurse with the Australian Army Nursing Service. Nurse Kirkham was from North Perth, Western Australia. She was posted to the Auxiliary Hospital, Egypt on 09 November 1915 leaving for France on 23 June 1916.

Samuel Gordon Spittle (8005) enlisted into the AIF on 17 July 1915, a member of the 18th Australian Army Service Corps (AASC). He left Alexandria on 15 June 1916 disembarking at Marseilles 24 June 1916. Harry Holmes was discharged from a hospital in Egypt on 15 August 1919. He was awarded the Military Medal promulgated on 11 December 1919. (NAA: B2455, Spittle Samuel Gordon)


Not only does this photograph portray life in Egypt during World War War, it highlights the role played by members of the Australian Army Nursing Service in both professional and social activities in the theatre of war.

Physical description

Two Australian nurses and a number of Australian soldiers in Hospital Uniform pose for a photograph in Egypt during World War One.

Inscriptions & markings

Verso: "A little group of Australians at Suez Hospital Joe F[awcett] & I [Gordon Spittle] are standing in the back row with Nurse Kirkham standing between, she is on the short side so stood on a box. Gordon S."