AIF - Australian Imperial Force - Aley, Lebanon

Australian Imperial Force

Aley

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Since its inception as a city in the 1800s, the district of Aley has experienced the diverse influences of many foreign authorities.

And while the presence of the neighbouring Ottomans and French has been well-documented, less is known about a group of gallant young men who found themselves in Lebanon – a long, long way from home.

 

From 1916, the AIF – Australian Imperial Force – served with Allied troops throughout the Middle East, mostly taking part in action against the Ottoman Empire.

Australian troops and the Australian Flying Corps played an important role in Lebanon and throughout the Levant during these three years.

 

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During World War 2, the Australian Imperial Forces returned to Lebanon and maintained a strong presence in many areas, including Aley and surrounding villages –  such as Souk el Gharb.

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In Aley, the majestic Hotel Gebeily – which once hosted some of the Orient’s most famous faces – including Egypt’s “Prince of Poets” Ahmed Shawqi (1870-1932), and the revered composer/actor/singer Mohammed Abdul Wahab (1897-1991) – now served as HeadQuarters for the AIF Commander and his troops.

Aley became a strategic WW2 centre of command in the Levant, and the Australian army troops, along with their British counterparts, were long remembered by the city’s residents for their friendship, generosity and good-natured camaraderie.

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We are indebted to the Australian War Memorial archive for these invaluable images of the AIF in Aley – 1941-1942.

In 1955,

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In 1963,

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Asaad

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Picture of Heather & Sami Eljurdi

Heather & Sami Eljurdi

Founders • Archivists • Editors

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City of Aley

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