Soldiers of the 11th Battalion pose for photo in Cairo, 1915

THIS group portrait of all the original officers and men of the 11th Battalion, part of the 1st Australian Imperial Force's 3rd Brigade, was taken on January 10, 1915.

The 11th Battalion, raised in Western Australia within weeks of Great Britain's declaration of war in August, arrived in Egypt in December 1914 to prepare for the Gallipoli campaign.

The group of 703 soldiers is spread over the side of the Great Pyramid of Khufu (Cheops), near Mena camp, on the outskirts of Cairo.

The photograph has become popular with military history enthusiasts over the years, and it was originally lent to the Australian War Memorial in the 1930s by Colonel K McLennan MBE, who was one of the officers pictured while he was still a lieutenant.

According to the Western Australian Genealogical Society, which has created a website dedicated to identifying the men in the photograph, a number of myths have also developed about the picture - including one that there is a dead man being held up by his fellow soldiers so he could still be in the photo.

This group portrait of all the original officers and men of the 11th Battalion, part of the 1st Australian Imperial Force's 3rd Brigade, was taken on January 10, 1915, on the side of the Cheops pyramid near Cairo, Egypt.
This group portrait of all the original officers and men of the 11th Battalion, part of the 1st Australian Imperial Force's 3rd Brigade, was taken on January 10, 1915, on the side of the Cheops pyramid near Cairo, Egypt. Courtesy of Australian War Memor

Many of the soldiers in the photo remain unidentified, but officers identified in the front row are, from left: 2nd Lieutenant (Lt) FP Strickland; 2nd Lt J Newman; Major (Maj) S R Roberts; Lt JH Morgan; Captain (Capt) JS Denton; Capt AEJ Croly; Capt Charles A Barnes; Lt K McLennan; Padre Fahey; Lt (later Capt) APH Corley (later killed in action September 17, 1915); Lt (later Capt) CA La Nauze (later killed in action June 28, 1915); Capt JH Peck; Capt WR Annear; Capt RR Reilly; 2nd Lt ML Reid; Lt DH McDonald; Lieutenant Colonel JL Johnston; Capt RW Everett; Maj EAD Brockman (later awarded a Military Cross); Capt ET Brennan; Capt RL Leane; 2nd Lt AH Darnell; 2nd Lt AH Priestley; Lt WH Rockliff; 2nd Lt JH Cooke (later killed in action May 2, 1915 ); 2nd Lt H James (later awarded a Military Cross); 2nd Lt CF Buttle; 2nd Lt HH Walker (sitting); Lt J Williams (top).


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