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Kelly’s 12 Christmas Days – No 6, Egypt 1914

December 17, 2016

Acting Lieutenant Colonel Kelly was commanding officer of the 105th Indian Field Ambulance on the Suez Canal on Christmas Day 1914.

He had been on only his second period of leave home to Ireland since 1897 when war was declared and was immediately recalled to India. Already a Major he was promoted so he could take charge of a large medical unit and was quickly on his way to Egypt with them.

By December 1914 they were stationed at Ismalia on the Suez Canal, soon to be the front line as the Turkish Army launched a major attack against Egypt. Kelly was determined his unit would be ready when the fighting started. He was so concerned about the challenges of moving casualties from the first aid posts he had established along the long frontline to the field hospital that he even arranged a training exercise for Christmas Day 1914.

It proved worthwhile as the fighting erupted early in February and Kelly’s unit was in the thick of it, winning praise for its efficiency, including for coping with large numbers of Turkish casualties. He was Mentioned in Dispatches for his part in the fighting.

The Kelly story is told in Fighting for the Empire.

Follow his remarkable life through 12 Christmas Days.

Next: No 7 – Mesopotamia, 1916

Previous: No 5 – Iran, 1906

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