Where did the troops stationed in Egypt during the Second World War chose to spend their leave? 

Where did ‘men fresh from sandy months in Egypt’  find ‘fresh greenness a welcome change’? . Where did they go for its ‘sunny Mediterranean atmosphere, its smart modern towns, its abundance of gay night haunts and restaurants’?

Answer: Palestine. 

Nancy in Gaza around 1943

Nancy escaped to Jerusalem when it looked as though the Germans were going to occupy Cairo in 1942, and she stayed there for the next five years. Some of that time she was working in a refugee camp in Gaza – the refugees were Greeks who had escaped from the Nazi invasion and the famine that followed. She spoke enough Greek to be useful there. 

Parade, the Picture Post type magazine for troops in the Middle East, painted an idyllic picture of the country that had been under British control since 1918. 


Parade 1941



Gaza is described as ‘one of the oldest Arab towns of Palestine, with a history going back hundreds of years.’ A place of tranquillity and rest.

Everything in those images must now be rubble. How Gaza got from there to here …

Gaza November 2023 – a heap of rubble

one watches and weeps