Battle of the Wazzir
The Battle of the Wazzir was the name given to a riot that took place in Cairo, Egypt, on 2 April 1915 during World War I. The riot took hold in a street called "Haret el Wasser", an area of Cairo where there were a large number of brothels and drinking establishments. At its peak about 2,500 Australian and New Zealand soldiers were involved, many of whom were intoxicated. The soldiers were reported to have had an assortment of complaints, including recent price increases, poor quality drinks, and concerns about the spread of venereal disease. The riot resulted in considerable damage – estimated at several hundred pounds worth – to several brothels which were set on fire; firefighters who responded to the blaze were also accosted. In response, mounted police were dispatched, as well as yeomanry, Lancashire Territorials and military police. A second incident occurred on 31 July 1915, which was subsequently described as the "Second Battle of the Wazzir".
In February 1919, the Auckland Star recounted another incident, following the armistice:
|“||Several thousand Tommies took Cairo by storm, and there was looting far and wide. Many shrewd attempts were made to entice the Aussies into the mob, but they were not biting. Not content with stuffing bags with spoil, the maffickers passed on the Anzac Hotel, making a wreck of that institution, though it has been almost entirely a Tommy concern since the Australian infantry's departure, and has provided them with the only lodging within their means, together with the cheapest good quality meals. A descent was also made on the Australian and Maorilander Soldiers' club, and one small patch of Aussies left us, but a few willing Diggers soon settled that argument. The G.O.C troops in Egypt has issued a public proclamation thanking the Australians and Maorilanders for their strong support in limiting and quelling the outbreak. Since certain still-not-to-be-mentioned proceedings at the Wazzir, retaliation for numerous murders and fatal doping, the Australians have had mud thrown at them on every possible occasion. Just as frequently they have been told to take an example from the disciplined Tommy. Now those dabblers in pitch are floundering in their own defilement.||”|
|— Auckland Star, Auckland Star, 27 February 1919, p4 & Poverty Bay Herald, 7 March 1919, p6|
- "Gallipoli Diary – April 1915". Wayz Press. Retrieved 22 June 2014.
- "Lancers' Despatch August 2005". Retrieved 22 June 2014.
- "Anzac soldiers riot in Cairo's Wazzir brothel district". New Zealand History Online. Retrieved 22 June 2014.
- "Papers Past". Auckland Star. Volume L (Issue 50). 27 February 1919. p. 4. Retrieved 4 January 2013.
- Adam-Smith, Patsy (1978). "Chapter 8: The Battle of the Wazzir". The Anzacs. West Melbourne, Victoria: Thomas Nelson.
- Dennis, Clarence James (1916). The Battle of the Wazzir. Canberra, Australian Capital Territory: BWM Books.
- Images: The First Battle of the Wasa‘a or Wozzer
- Images: ANZAC Scrapbook of James Shanahan "Amy"
- A poem: "Battle of the Wazzir" by C. J. Dennis
- Destroyed Brothels
- The 2nd Battle of the Wozzer
- The first encounter of the Australians and New Zealanders with an enemy
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