the NEW CRUSADERS : with the British forces on the Palestine Front

This film is held by the Imperial War Museum (ID: IWM 17).


The British campaign on the Palestine Front, February to November 1917.

(Reel 1) The raid against the stronghold of Sayad Ahmed of the Sennusi tribesmen at Siwa, made in February 1917 by a force of three light armoured batteries and three light car patrols under Brigadier-General H W Hodgson. The force, consisting of Rolls-Royce armoured cars, Ford Model T light cars, Napier light cars and Vauxhall D staff cars, leaves the assembly area and crosses the Shegga pass on 2 February. A field wireless is set up. Hodgson, in Siwa on 3 February, addresses the local leaders. This is followed by scenes prior to First Battle of Gaza. A pan of El Arish with soldiers of 52nd (Lowland) Division in the foreground, street scenes of El Arish, and British Yeomanry (with New Zealand Mounted Rifles ?) patrols on the road from Magdhaba to El Arish. Royal Engineers laying a telegraph wire from a limber across the desert. RAMC men dressing wounds. (Reel 2) A Yeomanry bivouac at El Arish, surf boats landing supplies on the beaches, and an RE officer directing the building of a railway by members of the Egyptian Labour Corps. Men of 1/8th Battalion, the Hampshire Regiment, 54th (East Anglia) Division eating. Three Mark I tanks, two males (including HMLS 'Otazel') and one female (HMLS 'Nutty') in a trench crossing trial near the Suez Canal in July 1917, filmed from inside the trench as they cross. A 13-pounder Mk III anti-aircraft gun on a motor lorry mounting in action. Also 8-inch and 6-inch howitzers and 60-pounder guns in action, during the Battle of Gaza. Men of 1/4th Battalion, the Norfolk Regiment, in the front trenches preparing for the Second Battle of Gaza on 19 April 1917, followed by a panorama of Gaza. (Reel 3) British troops building a railway. Troops of the Imperial Camel Corps entering Beersheba in November 1917. General Sir Edmund Allenby, Lieutenant-General Sir Philip Chetwode, and Lieutenant-General Sir Harry Chauvel (commanding the Desert Mounted Corps) leaving their headquarters at Beersheba, ending with a portrait shot of Chauvel.


Summary: the 5 February 1917 entry in the War Diary in the Public Record Office (PRO 95/4438) says "cinema operator much in evidence" but does not give a name (information from David List). No official cameraman has been identified as being in the country at that date. See also IWM 5, IWM 58 and IWM 60. An incomplete copy of a version of this film with French subtitles is held as IWM 658a.

Title: The Film and Video Archive holds a copy of a programme for a screening of this film under the title WITH THE FORCES ON THE PALESTINE FRONT at the New Gallery Kinema, Regent Street on 21 March 1918. At some point this programme has been annotated "exactly equivalent to 'The New Crusaders' ". At the screening covered by the programme, the portrait shot of Chauvel was followed by GENERAL ALLENBY'S ENTRY INTO JERUSALEM (IWM 13).

Remarks: disjointed to the point of incoherence, the film depends chiefly on the novelty value of desert scenes rather than any message or narrative of events for its impact.



  • the NEW CRUSADERS : with the British forces on the Palestine Front

Technical Data

Running Time:
40 minutes
Film Gauge (Format):
2394 ft

Production Credits

Production Countries:
Ministry of Information
Hurley, Frank (?)
Jeapes, Harold
Jury, William F
Production company
Topical Film Company