This is a fascinating and historically significant archive from the papers of Brigadier General Frederick Walshe (1872 - 1931), a commander of an ANZAC Mounted Brigade during World War I (serving in Egypt, Gallipoli and France) who, during other times, served in India and Russia; Walshe capped his career upon being appointed Aide-de-Camp to King George V.
The archive is diverse, consisting of several different forms of media, dating between 1906 and 1920. The highlight of the archive, billed as Part I, concerns the Battle of Romani (August 3-5, 1916), and related events, which marked the turning point in WWI in the Egypt and the Levant, when a British Imperial force (of which Walshe was a senior field commander) repelled a large Ottoman-German army bent upon seizing control of the Suez Canal, the British Empire’s most important lifeline. Critically, prior to Romani, the Ottoman-German side was always on the offensive the region; however, following the battle Britain assumed the offensive, driving the enemy ever further northwards towards Jerusalem and eventually Damascus. Present here are two gargantuan 360° manuscript panoramas and a collection of several hand-drawn and hectographed views of the Romani battle theatre, featuring all topographical aspects of this epic showdown in the Sinai Desert, all being original works created by Walshe immediately before, during and after the action. As Walshe was an exceptionally gifted draughtman and artist, these works are of uncommonly high quality.
Additionally, the archive includes Walshe’s original manuscript diary covering the entire Romani battle period, granting an incredibly detailed and candid account of the dramatic action as seen through the eyes of on officer who personally led hundreds of troops though the thick of the fighting. Especially when considered together, the panoramas, views and diary, which have never been studied by scholars, are surely one of the most valuable and authoritative primary sources on one of the most consequential military events in the modern history of the Middle East.
Part II of the archive features typescript and manuscript directions for ‘war games’, military exercises organized Walshe in India in 1907, accompanied by a manuscript graphic plan of an amazingly innovative design. Part III is Walshe’ diary for the calendar year 1914, where he records the opening salvos of the Great War and his call to serve on the frontlines. Part IV is important and merits much further study, being Walshe’s original manuscript diary he kept during his service on the Western Front, in France and Flanders, from June 1917 to March 1918. Part V consists of four of Walshe’s original Manuscript drawings from his service on the Gallipoli Campaign, one being a scene drawn from the trenches. Part VI features a series of manuscript sketches made by Walshe in Egypt, mostly made while he was on leave from the frontlines in the Sinai. Part VII features a few of Walshe’s drawings from his time assisting the White Russian cause in 1919-20, in Archangel and Crimea. Part VIII is a diverse collection of other documents, including personal correspondence, various sketches, as well as the 1920 War Office letter appointing Walshe as the Aide-de-Camp to King George V. This is a fascinating and beautiful archive that provides a gateway to much further exploration of a key period in modern history.
Brigadier General Frederick Walshe: A Man at the Centre of Key Events on Three Continents
Brigadier General Frederick William Henry Walshe (1872 - 1931) was an Anglo-Irish soldier, a senior field commander during World War I and the Aide-de-Camp to King George V. During his 36 year-long military career he served in Britain, India, Egypt, Gallipoli (Turkey), France. Belgium and Russia.
Born to a landed family from County Kilkenny, Ireland, Walshe was educated at Bedford School and at the Royal Military Academy at Woolwich. It is likely at Woolwich that he was trained in draughtsmanship, and combined with is great natural artistic virtuosity, he became an unusually skilled artist; he sketched what he witnessed constantly throughout his life (as evidenced by many works within the present archive).
In 1892, Walshe was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in the Royal Artillery and served for many years in India, where he organized ‘war games’ and was renown as prize-winning big game hunter. After being posted in Scotland for time, he was promoted to lieutenant-colonel and called to service in World War I. He became the chief-of-staff of an ANZAC Mounted Brigade and was station in Cairo, before leading his men during the horrific Gallipoli Campaign. Returning to Egypt, he played a key role in Britain’s victory at the Battle of Romani, which saved the Suey Canal from being taken by the enemy and turned the tide of the conflict in the Levant. Called up to the Western Front, he served in Northern France and Flanders before being given leave to Britain.
Walshe, who was promoted to the rank of Brigadier General in 1919, saw his final combat assignment as an advisor to the White Russian generals Deniken and Wrangel during the Russian Civil War. Upon his return home in 1920, he was made the Aide-de-Camp to King George V. Walshe was awarded the Distinguished Service Order (1917), the Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George (1919) and the Companion of the Order of the Bath (1928). After serving 36 years in the army, he retired in 1928 and died in Dorset in 1931.
PART I - THE BATTLE OF ROMANI (1916): THE TURNING POINT OF WWI IN EGYPT & THE LEVANT
During World War I, the Suez Canal was the most important single lifeline of the British Empire, the funnel through which hundreds of thousands of troops and vast amounts of critical commodities flowed in from India, Australia, New Zealand and Malaya. The 100-mile long channel was also considered by the German-Ottoman side to be the ‘weakest link’ in Britain’s global transport network. The Suez Canal was bordered on the east by the vast deserts of the Sinai Peninsula, on the other side of which was Ottoman Palestine. On one hand the Sinai provided a level of protection for the Suez, as with no roads, few waterholes and scorching temperatures that could reach 50 Celsius, it was notoriously difficult to cross. On the other hand, the place was so desolate that it would be difficult to detect any force that somehow managed to traverse the peninsula, leaving the Suez vulnerable to stealth attack. Moreover, a clear breach of the canal by a large enemy force would leave Cairo in grave danger.
The Ottoman-German desire to strike the Suez was hardly a secret. Djemal Pasha, the Ottoman Navy Minister, and one of the ‘Young Turk’ triumvirate that ruled the Sublime Porte, set off from Istanbul on November 21, 1914 to lead the Ottoman Army in Syria, publicly declaring to a large crowd that he would not return until he has conquered Egypt.
Meanwhile, the British command in Cairo was highly confident that the vast expanse of the Sinai could not be crossed by a force strong enough to overcome their entrenched defensive system along the canal, manned by the 50,000 troops of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force. They attributed Djemal’s declaration to be one of the Young Turks’ many grandiose, yet empty PR exercises. However, these assumptions bred a dangerous sense of complacency.
As it turned out the Ottoman-German side was deadly serious about striking the Suez. While Djemal remained the figurehead, the field commander of the project was the German Colonel (later General) Freiherr Kress von Kressenstein, a brilliant logistical planner, albeit not the best tactician. In early January, in Beersheba, in Sothern Palestine, the Ottoman-German side assembled the Ottoman Expeditionary Force, a mixed army of Turkish regulars, a wide assortment of Arab volunteers, plus a small number of German officers, their total numbers rivalling those of the British forces in Egypt. Kressenstein gradually moved his force into the Sinai, all the while building rough roads, and setting up re-victualling stations at regular intervals to maintain a healthy army and a tight supply chain; he even extended the Palestine Railway a bit to ease the route.
Kressenstein’s plan was to methodically cross the Sinai to make a stealth strike upon the canal, hopefully breaching the British defences, and leading the enemy into disarray. It was also hoped (and confidently assumed by Djemal, amongst others) that upon seeing the weakness of the British forces, the Egyptian masses would rebel against their ‘infidel occupiers’ in favour an invading force dominated by fellow Muslims. In the best-case scenario, the British side would fold, leaving the Ottoman-German force to simply march into Cairo, cheered by the people.
The Ottoman Expeditionary Force was aided by the fact that the British command decided upon a defensive strategy, to simply bunker down along the canal. They elected not to send any reconnaissance parties into the Sinai lest they be cut down by the enemy. While the British and French sent planes to fly over the desert, their coverage only extended a short distance.
In January 1915, the Ottoman-German forces crossed the Sinai in about two weeks, perfectly following Kressenstein’s masterly plan, their final approach to the canal concealed by a sandstorm. While the British gained some last-minute intelligence that the enemy was approaching, the had no idea as to where along the canal they would strike, or in what kind of numbers. Fearing being trapped between the enemy and the water; the British withdrew all their forces to the western (far side) of the canal.
On the night of February 2-4, 1915, the Ottoman-German forces struck the Suez Canal near Ismailia, mounting smaller diversionary strikes at other areas. The British were caught off-guard and initially struggled to marshal their forces. However, Kressenstein’s plan called for the rapid and smooth crossing of the canal and the opening
of a breach in the British lines on the opposite side. As it turned out, the crossing of the canal was conducted in clumsily, slow manner, giving the British time to arrive on scene in great force. The British managed to blow up the pontoon bridge the attackers had constructed before significant numbers of Ottoman troops were able to cross the canal; those that did were promptly cut down or captured. The British then directed hellfire on the Ottoman-German side, rendering their crossing impossible. Realizing that their objective was lost, they Ottoman-German forces mounted a hasty and disorderly retreat eastward into the Sinai.
While the British crossed the canal and mopped up stragglers, they decided not to pursue the enemy into the desert. This decision was subsequently criticized, as many thought it possible that the British could have annihilated the Ottoman Expeditionary Force if they gave chase. However, desert warfare is inherently unpredictable (especially, as the true size of the Ottoman-German force was unknown the British), and it was reasoned by the local British command that it was best to guarantee the safety of the canal, and not risk an excursion into the Sinai.
The Ottoman-German force managed to safely return to their bases in Palestine and the far eastern Sinai, having preserved most of its men and equipment; they lived to fight another day.
For the next 18 months both sides generally assumed defensive positions. The nightmarish the Gallipoli Campaign (February 1915 – January 1916) distracted the high commands of both sides, as well as severely depleting their local troop strength (as many divisions were sent to fight in Turkey). Additionally, the Ottomans were concerned about the loyalty of many of the Arab subjects. These fears would prove to be well-founded upon the outbreak of the Arab Revolt in June 1916, when the Hashemites of Hejaz joined the British side, with the help of ‘Lawrence of Arabia’.
During the early part of 1916, once the Gallipoli Campaign was over, the Ottoman-German forces created a massive forward base at El Arish, in the north-eastern Sinai. There they received significant troop reinforcements and shipments of the most advanced equipment from Germany including airplanes and mobile heavy artillery.
Meanwhile, the British established a forward base at the Qatiya Oasis, about 35 miles east of the Suez, toward the Mediterranean shore. This ultra-modern encampment was eventually served by a railway, as well freshwater pipelines running from the Suez. This positions was manned by approximately 15,000 troops, primarily of the ANZAC Mounted Division (including Lt. Col. Walshe) and the British 52nd (Lowland) Division. The force was commanded by Lieutenant General Archibald Murray, assisted General Herbert Lawrence and the Australian General Harry Chauvel.
On April 23, 1916, Kressenstein mounted a daring raid upon the periphery of the Qatiya area. Amazingly, he surprised and easily captured an entire British cavalry unit of almost 600 men. This emboldened the Ottoman-German side towards mounting a grand operation.
Despite this event, in the weeks that followed, the British command at Qatiya naively assumed that Kressenstein would not dare mount a full-scale attack upon their forward base during the summer, when temperatures regularly exceeded 40 degrees Celsius. That being said, the British moved the location of their main camp, to the tiny village of Romani, amidst some great sand hills above the Qatiya Oasis.
During the last part of July, British advance parties reported enemy activity in the desert moving towards the Qaitiya area; however, this was mistaken for Ottoman-German reconnaissance parties.
However, during the night of August 3-4, 1916, Kressenstein managed to stealthfully move his main force of 16,000 men, armed with heavy artillery within striking distance of the Romani camp. Walshe and his fellow officers were woken in the middle of the night facing a crisis.
As the sun came up on August 4, the Ottoman-German force had moved in towards the British potions but met with fierce resistance. The attackers eventually managed to take many of the highlands around Romani, including Wellington Ridge, seemingly a bad sign for the British. However, Kressenstein’s fierce artillery barrages fell off their mark, allowing the defenders to regroup. The British fought valiantly, while the Ottoman-German forces, suffering from heat exhaustion and lack of ammunition, started to flag.
On August 5, the British side forced the attackers off the highlands into unfavourable terrain, within the range of their heavy guns. This forced the Ottoman-German army to move further back to Qatiya, an untenable lowland position. Kressenstein then ordered a full retreat towards El Arish. The German commander, always good at logistics, managed to quickly move out his heavy artillery and valuable equipment, ensuring that they were safe for use another day. Some of the Ottoman-German detachments likewise beat a clean retreat, while others straggled, making them vulnerable to attack or capture.
The British pursued the retreating Ottoman-German army; however, they were slow out of the gate. While they did manage to take 4,000 prisoners, they failed to entrap the main body of Kressenstein’s force. The British chased the Ottomans for some days until reaching Bir el Abd, where meeting a fierce rear-guard action, convincing the British to call off the pursuit. Kressenstein managed to return to El Arish with the core of his army intact and almost all his prized equipment.
While the British Imperial forces had fought brilliantly against the attack upon Romani, Whitehall was bitterly critical of Murray, Lawrence and Chauvel’s failure to hunt down and annihilate Kressenstein’s retreating army. While it is possible that this could have been achieved, in retrospect the criticism seems a bit too harsh, as mounting such a chase in the desert in summer is certainly easier said than done. While it true was that Kressenstein’s force lived to fight another day, so did the Egyptian Expeditionary Force. Moreover, the Suez Canal, the great lifeline of the British Empire, was henceforth resolutely safe from attack.
The Battle of Romani marked a major turning point in that prior to the event, the OttomanGerman side had always been on the offensive; from the point onwards, they were always on the defensive.
For the next five months the British cautiously pushed eastwards, evicting the Ottoman-German forces from El Arish and the Sinai altogether by early January 1917.
The British forces in Egypt where then given the green light to invade Ottoman Palestine. However, this proved to be an exceedingly difficult task, as the Ottoman-German side mounted fierce resistance. The British were for a time stopped cold by Kressentein at the Second Battle of Gaza (April 17-18, 1917). However, the they eventually regrouped and moved forward, although it was not until December 11, 1917 that they took Jerusalem. The British capture of Damascus on October 1, 1918 is generally viewed as the end of major hostilities in the Levant, coming less than a month before the Ottoman Empire’s general surrender at the Armistice of Mudros (October 29, 1918).
A. Walshe’s Panoramas and Sketches of the Battle of Romani Theatre
Frederick William Henry WALSHE.
“Looking North from a point on Wellington Ridge 1 ¼ miles W. of Katib Gannit / 24/7/16” [adjoining:] “View from Wellington Ridge Looking S.W. (1 ¼ miles W. of Katib Gannit)”.
Near Romani, Egypt, July 24, 1916.
Manuscript panorama, in black ink on the versos of 8 joined sheets of ‘Messages and Signals’ forms, initialed ‘J.W.’ twice (Very Good, light creasing), 14.5 x 176.5 cm (5.5 x 69.5 inches).
This is gargantuan and exactingly detailed 360° strip panorama of the Romani-Qatiya area, from the vantage point of Wellington Ridge, the area’s highest point. It is an original manuscript work of Lt. Col. Walshe, composed in late July, shortly before Kressenstein’s Ottoman-German force attacked Romani on August 4, 1916. The panorama (along with the one to follow) is likely one of the first, and certainly the most detailed topographical rendering of this key battle site and is drafted with exceptional professional skill. All key points of land, villages, oases, trails, watering holes, as well as the location of the British camp and the Qaitiya Oasis are carefully labelled. All these places would soon feature prominently during the showdown that was about to unfold.
Interestingly the panorama is drawn on the versos of joined telegraph message forms; paper was in short supply at the Romani Camp.
2. Frederick William Henry WALSHE. “View from Wellington Ridge 2/8/16”. Near Romani, Egypt, August 2, 1916. Manuscript panorama, in black ink on 6 joined sheets initialed ‘J.W.’ (Very Good, light creasing), 20 x 180 cm (7.8 x 70.8 inches).
This is another gargantuan 360° panorama of the Romani-Qatiya area taken from the heights of Wellington Ridge, but from a slightly different vantage point. Likewise, an original composition by Walshe, it was drafted on August 2, 1916, less than 48 hours before the Ottoman-German forces attacked. The present work features much of the same information as the other great panorama, but is executed on higher quality paper, lending it a more refined form.
3. Walshe’s Manuscript Sketches of Scenes in the Romani-Qatiya Area
Present here is a collection of eight manuscript sketches by Walshe of scenes in the RomaniQatiya area. These sketches seem to have been done both before and after the Battle of Romani, as some feature references to specific Ottoman military actions in the area. All the views are drafted in black pen on the versos of printed message forms and measure 14.5 x 21 cm, unless otherwise noted. They are as follows:
A) “View of a point on sand ridge half-way between Katib Gannit & Mount Meredith above new wells” (on 2 joined sheets of versos of message paper, initialled “F.W.”, 14.5 x 38 cm).
B) “Katib Gannit and camp of 1st L. H. Bde.”
C) “Looking N.W.” [Towards Katib Gannit and Hill before Romani Camp].
D) “Looking S.E.” [Towards “silenced” Turkish Mountain Battery].
E) “Wellington Ridge Looking S. by S.W.”
F) “Looking W. from NORA” (drafted in pencil)
G) “Qatia – View from a point about 1 mile N.E. of Qataia looking N.W.”
H) “View showing Eastern Edge of Sandhills, through which the Turkish left wing advanced on the morning of 4th August 1916 to make their enveloping attack on Romani Camp…”
4. Walshe’s Printed Sketches of Scenes in the Romani-Bir el Abd Corridor
This is a collection of five views of scenes in the Romani-Bir el Abd corridor, after original sketches taken by Walshe on scene. Importantly, some of the sketches feature battle information.
All are printed through an improvised technique (perhaps a portable hectographic press) in blue ink and were almost certainly made at the Romani Camp in the wake of the Battle and Romani and the pursuit of Kressenstien’s force. All the views are initialled “F.W.”, and measure 20 x 25.5 cm. They are as follows:
A) Mt. Meredith at 4.30 A.m. on the 4th. Aug, 1916 with Turks firing on the East End of wellington Ridge… (With additional title in manuscript, “Battle of Romani”).
B) Looking N.W. from appoint near Et Maler Camp 4th. Aug. 16 / Front Line of the ANZAC Mtd. Div. 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. (With additional title in manuscript, “Romani Battlefield”).
C) Turkish Rearguard at Qatia from position of Ayrshire battery 9.30 a.m. to 4 p.m. 5/8/26 Looking East.
D) Bir el Abd – View from point on track 2 miles W. of Hod looking due East (With additional title in manuscript, “Battle of Bir el Adb – 9th Aug. 1916”).
E) View from a point 300 yrds E. of Palm Grove at Bir el Abd, looking due W….18/8/16.
B. Walshe’s Romani-Sinai Diary
Frederick William Henry WALSHE. [Lt. Col. Walshe’s Original Manuscript Diary of the Battle of Romani and its Aftermath]. Sinai Peninsula and Suez Canal Zone, Egypt, August 4 to October 6, 1916. Manuscript, 34 pp., pen of various dark inks on loose unnumbered sheets of octavo graph paper, in two parts each joined by original pins in upper-left corners (Very Good, light toning, old light vertical fold).
This is an extremely valuable primary source relating to the Battle of Romani and its aftermath, being the highly detailed ‘battle diary’ of Walshe, who was a senior commander directing hundreds of troops during the thick of the events described. Importantly, has remained undiscovered until now, and has certainly never been studied by scholars. It is especially interesting to read the diary in relation to Walshe’s above panoramas and views of the battle sites. The diary covers the period from the beginning of Walshe’s involvement in the Battle of Romani, in the early morning hours of August 4, 1916, and continues until his arrival in London, on home leave, on October 14, 1916. Naturally, the sections detailing the battle and the subsequent pursuit of Kressenstein’s army are lengthy and detailed, whereas the ‘peaceful’ days following feature short, relatively mundane entries.
The diary commences with the “Battle of Romani / 4th August 1916” (first 7 pages), starting with the moment that Walshe was woken from bed at 12:30 AM to be told that the “Turks were attacking”. This section goes on to give an exceedingly precise record of the day’s events, involving the actions of the Ottoman-German forces, as well as the movements with exact times, of named British-ANZAC brigades, as well the locations of key altercations, mentioning named sites and headlands (which are depicted on the Walshe’s present panoramas).
The next section, “The Pursuit / 5th August 1916” (4.5 pages) covers the disintegration of the Ottoman-German attack on Romani, and the beginnings of their retreat.
The following section, covering the dates from August 6 to 13 (9 pages), record the experiences of the British Imperial detachments that pursued Kressenstien’s force eastwards to Bir el Abd. It includes exciting details of the chase, such as of the enemy’s sharp rear-guard actions, executed to ward off the pursuit.
The remainder of the diary covers Walshe’s return to camp and the exercise of his regular duties; his departure from Egypt, at Port Said on October 6, 1916; and, finally, his return to London on October 14, commencing a well-deserved period of home leave.
PART II – Walshe’s ‘War Games’ or Night-time Military Exercises in India, 1907.
Frederick William Henry WALSHE. et al. Junior Division 1906 – 1907 / Tactics Night Operations… In or near Nasik, Bombay Presidency [today Nashik, Maharashtra], India, 1907. Related series of typescript (quarto size), indigo copy and manuscript documents: 2 pp. (typescript); 1 p. (indigo copy); 4 pp. (manuscript with mss. diagram in text, signed by Walshe); 2 pp. (indigo copy, fist page upper-left corner missing with loss to text); 3 pp. (manuscript) accompanied by a manuscript graphic plan (25 x 18.5 cm).
This is a fascinating collection of related documents, variously in typescript, indigo copy and manuscript, regarding ‘war games’, or night-time military exercises, organized by then Captain Walshe in the vicinity of Nashik, India, in 1907. The documents detail exacting plans for how the challenging exercises are to be undertaken.
The highlight of the collection is a fascinating graphic of the exercise executed by Walshe’s colleagues, Captains Williams and Howell, accompanied by Walshe’s written text, “Points noted in Leading Night March”. The plan was made in an innovative, stylized form making it easy to read at night. The text notes that “The sketch…was done in black Crayon on ordinary white nonluminous cardboard. All the figures & letter stood out most clearly & could be read with ease.”
Part III - Walshe’s Manuscript Dairy of the Calendar Year 1914.
Frederick William Henry WALSHE. [Walshe’s Dairy for the Calendar Year 1914]. [Principally Scotland, 1914]. Manuscript entries within printed quarto ‘Campbell’s Extended Scribbling Diary 1914’, in blue cloth with title blind-stamped in gilt.
This is Walshe’s personal diary for the calendar year of 1914 - the year that the Great War commenced. Walshe was generally stationed in Scotland during this period. The early part of the diary concerns his daily peacetime duties, but also refers to rising tensions between Britain and Germany. After several blank pages in June and July, the diary suddenly comes alive again, noting on July 28 that “War declared by Austria-Hungary on Serbia”. This is followed on August 4 with “War declared (11p.m) by Great Britain on Germany”, and then the first of many “days of mobilization” in which Walshe provides details on the major diplomatic and military events of the war, as well as the deployment of British forces (Walshe would soon be called to Egypt, in preparation for the dreadful Gallipoli Campaign).
Part IV - Walshe’s Manuscript Sketches of the Gallipoli Campaign.
Lieutenant Colonel Walshe led an ANZAC Mounted Brigade during the horrific Gallipoli Campaign (February 1915 – January 1916), the Entente Powers’ disastrous attempt to seize control of the Dardanelles, the gateway to Istanbul. Present here are 4 manuscript views of scenes drafted by Walshe while on the campaign.
The first view, “Entrance to Harbour of Mudros in Lemnos Island” (blue pen on 3 joined sheets of graph paper, 12 x 46 cm), depicts the entrance to the great base that the British had created at
Moudros on the island of Lemnos, near the Gallipoli Peninsula. The view labels “Mouth Athos” and the British destroyer “H.M.S. Swiftsure”.
The second view, “Peak near Sarpi Camp - near Mudros – Looking W” (black pen on graph paper, 16.5 x 12 cm) showcases a British camp on Lemnos, the island where Entente troops staged the Gallipoli Campaign.
The third and most important view “Everyday scene at Helles “Rest” trenches from 52nd Divn. H.Q. looking E…” (blue pen on graph paper, 12 x 16.5 cm) is especially interesting, as it shows the British camp at their hard-won beachhead at Cape Hellas, at the tip of the Gallipoli Peninsula, labelling several key sites in the distance. The reference to “Rest trenches” is an instance of dark humour, as the earthworks were disease infested hellholes constantly pounded by Ottoman artillery.
The fourth view “Kastro from the East” (12.5 x 16.5 cm), shows the village of Kastro, on the island of Sifnos, in the Cyclades, viewed by Walshe as he travelled towards Lemnos by ship.
Part V - Walshe’s Small Sketches of Scenes in Egypt.
Away from the battlefront protect the Suez Canal from Ottoman-German attack, Walshe spent some time on leave in Cairo and along the Nile, where he made several manuscript sketches of street scenes and archaeological sites; such as “Cairo Citadel from across the Nile” and “Ballah Stn. and camp from the West”, which are preserved here.
Also included, but directly relating to the Suez Campaign and the Battle of Romani, Walshe’s supposedly humorous sketch “Said to have actually occurred at Qatia 5/8/16” (pencil on graph paper, 14.5 x 19.5 cm), in which a British solders is seen chasing an Arab Ottoman fighter while exclaiming to his colleagues “Don’t Shoot” Don’t Shoot! Can’t you seen I’m trying to harpoon the flighter”. This scene allegedly occurred when Kressenstein’s Ottoman-German force commenced their retreat from Romani eastwards, all the while persued by British Imperial cavalry.
Part VI - Walshe’s Western Front Battle Diary.
Frederick William Henry WALSHE. “France 1917…”. Northern France and Flanders, Belgium, 1917 – 1918. Manuscript, 44 pp. various inks and pencil on octavo graph paper, affixed with original pin in upper-left corner.
This is Walshe’s personal battle diary encompassing his service on the Western Front in World War I from June 12, 1917 to March 18, 1918. It is an extremely detailed and, at times disturbing, first-hand account of life in the trenches in Northern France and Belgium. It includes details of Germans attacks, Entente counterattacks and the horrific misfortunes suffered by the troops, as seen through the eyes of senior battle commander in charge of hundreds of men along the front lines. It is a valuable primary source, worth of further study.
Part VII - Walshe’s Sketches from the Russian Civil War, 1919 – 1920.
Following Walshe’s service during World War I, he was promoted the rank of brigadier general and appointed senior advisor to the White Russian side during the Russian Civil War (1919-22). Britain and the United States wished to prevent Russia from being taken over by the Bolsheviks; however, exhausted by the Great War, they were only able to offer token assistance to the ill-fated Russian monarchist forces. During 1919 and 1920, Walshe was variously posted to Archangel, in the far north of European Russia, and in Crimea, where he advised the top White Russian commanders, General Anton Deniken and General Pyotr Wrangel.
Present here is a collection of Washe’s small-format sketches, of which the “Kuban Cossack Colonel, Kornikovski Regt.” (pencil on card, 17.5 x 12.5 cm), is exquisitely rendered. The other sketches are: a view of “Archangel / One of the Bigger Churches here / 8/V/10” (pen on blank paper, 20.5 x 12 cm); a scene of “Peasant Refugees” (16.5 x 20 cm); plus, a series of 12 rough pencil sketches of scenes in Crimea (each 13 x 17.5 cm).
Additionally, there is a pair of White Russian administrative documents in Russian Cyrillic mentioning Colonel Walshe.
Part VIII – Diverse Other Items.
The present archive includes a series of diverse other items, highlights of which include:
* A War Office letter, addressed to Walshe, dated March 30, 1920, appointing Walshe to become the Aide-de-Camp to Kling George V, plus a War Office message, dated April 18, 1920, confirming that the commission will be entered into the GHQ List of Appointments.
* Military Justice: A Series of 28 letters (most manuscript, some typed) dating from January and February 1915, concerning a dispute between a Lt. Colonel Lane and Lt. Col. T.H.B, Forester. Lane accused Foster of spreading rumours about him being involved in a scandal in South Africa some years earlier. Lane denied his involvement in the affair and essentially accused Forester of libel. The matter was adjudicated by Major General G. Edgerton, with Walshe’s involvement. In the end, Edgerton decided that there was no evidence to bring the matter forward against Forester.
*Series of 6 telegrams and letters concerning Walshe’s personal business.
* 3 Envelopes addressed to Walshe.
* Series of British Newspaper clippings concerning the Russian Civil War.
* Several of Walshe’s drawings of animals and landscapes, etc.
* A manuscript sketch of a mosque drafted upon on envelope from ‘Lahore’.
References: N / A – Archive seemingly unrecorded.