The focus of my research is on the mobile warfare of the Sinai and Palestine campaign. This wide-ranging study covers the fighting, the transport and supply problems, the extensive lines of communication, the conditions, and includes personal experiences of some of those who served in the Egyptian Expeditionary Force. Between 2010 and the end of 2013 a detailed description of the campaign’s military operations was added to Wikipedia, using the published sources. Currently a description of the campaign which includes the unpublished letters and diaries is being prepared for publication.
The Sinai and Palestine campaign has been subjected to a great deal of mythologising, which has resulted in the complexity of the campaign being increasingly glossed over. My approach has been to recover the campaign by developing a comprehensive description of the various operations, including stalemates and occupations. A range of sources have been employed, from the official histories, the campaign histories, the war diaries, to the photographs, the personal diaries and correspondence. Often selected official histories, together with careful use of the war diaries, have added precision back into the work. The originality of my approach relies on the computer to manage the mass of material, so the sources can to a very large extent direct the story, rather than trying to make the sources fit a pre-determined theory.
This research began with my father’s service record, which did not tell me much about what I really wanted to know – his involvement in the campaign. The Australian official history helped but only marginally, so I began to read other descriptions of the campaign, noting everything which seemed factual, interesting, or contentious but with a particular emphasis on operations, units’ names, first hand accounts etc. The main difficulty was the scale of the project, but after getting a description of the campaign based on the published sources on the web, the work of preparing the unpublished material and weaving it into descriptions of the campaign is now progressing.
My background is in education; I have a Bachelor of Education (Art and Craft), a Post Graduate Diploma in Museum Studies, and work as an Art Librarian and casual teacher.