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4. The Indianization of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force, 1917–18: An Imperial Turning Point

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Chapter Summary

When Sir Edmund Allenby ceremonially walked into Jerusalem on 11 December 1917, he symbolized the end of the British Army's most successful major campaign to date in the Great War. Relieving Sir Archibald Murray in command of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force (EEF) in April, Allenby had transformed a directionless, demoralized army into a military instrument that hammered a Turkish opponent remarkable for its staying power, and whose effectiveness was significantly greater than generally recognized. Elements of the Indian Army had been deployed in Egypt since the beginning of the war, as a garrison force to guard the Suez Canal. The EEF's reorganized cavalry included another element of India's armed forces. The use of Indian troops against nationalist demonstrations tested their loyalty and identity to new limits. On the whole the Indian Army built on its Great War experience to lay the foundations for greater success in a larger conflict.

Keywords:British Army; Egyptian Expeditionary Force (EEF); Great War; Indian Army; Sir Edmund Allenby



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