Away from the Western Front: From Islington to Egypt, Palestine and Syria.

In December 1915 Islington’s local regiment, the 1/11th (County of London) Battalion, London Regiment (the Finsbury Rifles), left the shores of Gallipoli. After months of disease, malnutrition, challenging weather and flies, the disastrous campaign was over. However, their greatest challenge was still to come as their Battalion began a new campaign that would take them to Egypt, Palestine and Syria.

‘Away from the Western Front’ is a two year project (2017-1019) funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, with additional grants from the British Institute for the Study of Iraq (Gertrude Bell Memorial) and the Centre for Hidden Histories.

This project explores the heritage of the men and women from Britain and its former Empire who served in the campaigns of Salonika, Egypt, Palestine, Syria, Mesopotamia and Africa. We are one of a number of regional sub-projects exploring these campaigns. Find out more about the project, the campaigns and our partners’ fascinating research at

© IWM (Q 57819) men sheltering from sand and having lunch

© IWM (Q 57819) 1917: The Advance across the Desert: Officers of the 1/11th County of London Battalion London Regiment having a picnic meal at Romani, Egypt, with blankets erected as screens against the blowing sand. 

Learn about the Finsbury Rifles. As part of this project we have transcribed the Finsbury Rifles’ War Diary, which charts the regiment’s time in Egypt, Palestine and Syria. We’ll be blogging this on our website, alongside incredible photos and archival resources. To explore this resource as it develops, click here.

We will also be working with local youth people to create animations about the campaign. We will tell the stories of local men experiencing a war far away from the Western Front, including that of local railway worker John Christie, who was awarded the Victoria Cross in Palestine in December 1917.

Stay tuned to hear about our upcoming displays and to experience the results of our animation project inspired by the stories we have uncovered. You can follow the project on twitter via @aftwf1418 and @IslingtonMuseum.