Battle of the Wazzir

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Damaged buildings in Cairo, possibly the aftermath of the riot

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[1] – 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.[2] A second incident occurred on 31 July 1915, which was subsequently described as the "Second Battle of the Wazzir".[3]

In February 1919, the Auckland Star recounted another incident, following the armistice:[4]


  1. ^ "Gallipoli Diary – April 1915". Wayz Press. Retrieved 22 June 2014.
  2. ^ "Lancers' Despatch August 2005". Retrieved 22 June 2014.
  3. ^ "Anzac soldiers riot in Cairo's Wazzir brothel district". New Zealand History Online. Retrieved 22 June 2014.
  4. ^ "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.

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