Postcard from a World War I album from Egypt containing 33 postcards, most featuring Egyptian themes. Of particular interest amongst these postcards is one containing a letter written to 'Father' (presumably John Peile Snr) signed by 'VS' that mentions Albert Peile. The inclusion of this postcard suggests that the album either belonged to or was compiled by John Peile Snr or another member of the Peile family.

This postcard is addressed to 'Florrie,' a possible reference to Florence Mary Peile, who was John and Albert Peile's sister, and is signed by 'Charles.' It is unclear how Charles is connected, if at all, to the Peile family.

Sepia image of the Palace Hotel in Heliopolis (also known as the Heliopolis Hotel). The Heliopolis Hotel was built in the desert in 1908-10 during the development of the modern suburb Heliopolis in Cairo. It was officially opened in December 1910 as Africa's most luxurious hotel with 400 rooms and 55 private apartments. The hotel closed in 1960 and since the 1980s has served as a Presidential Palace.

The modern suburb of Heliopolis was developed in 1905 by the Heliopolis Oasis Company as an upscale district in north-eastern Cairo. According to the written inscription on the back, the postcard shows the 'electric cars' that ran between Cairo and Heliopolis.

The ancient city of Heliopolis (Greek: 'City of the Sun'; Egyptian: Iunu; Biblical: On) is the oldest city in Egypt, located to the north of the ancient capital of Memphis and believed to have been the religious capital in the Old Kingdom. The only remaining remnant of the city is the obelisk of Senwasret I (12th Dynasty, Middle Kingdom) that was originally erected outside the temple of Re-Atum.

Part of a collection of material relating to the World War I service of brothers John and Albert Victor Peile, who both died in the conflict. Younger brother Albert enlisted first. He was a 22-year-old unmarried clerk when he enlisted on 27 August 1914, service number 769, 3rd Battalion. He served in Gallipoli and later France, and was eventually promoted to the rank of corporal. He died in Bullecourt, France on 4 May 1917 and his body was never found. He is commemorated at the Villers-Bretonneux Memorial. His brother John Peile was a 38-year-old unmarried miner when he enlisted on 25 June 1915, service number 2662, 2nd Battalion. He also served in in Gallipoli and France, and was similarly promoted to corporal. He died in France on 18 September 1918 and is buried at Roisel Communal Cemetery Extension, France. Their mother died only a few years later in 1926, aged 73.

Their niece was Mrs M. J. Hitchens, the donor. Margaret Joan Hitchens (1916-?) was the daughter of Albert and John's sister Alice and her husband John Henry Dinwoodie.

Description of Content

Large hotel on city square.

Physical Description

Sepia image of a large building at what looks to be the corner of two wide roads. In front of the building is a large garden.

More Information

  • Collection Names

    Military Memorabilia Collection, Returned and Services League (RSL) Collection

  • Collecting Areas

    Public Life & Institutions

  • Acquisition Information

    Donation from Victorian Branch, Returned & Services League of Australia Limited (RSL), Mrs Margaret J. Hitchens, 1986

  • Place & Date Depicted

    Cairo, Egypt, Jul 1918
    Approximate date, based on dates of World War I.

  • Date Written

    Jul 1918

  • Format


  • Inscriptions

    Printed in black ink on the front of the postcard: 'Heliopolis - Palace-Hotel' Hand-written in black ink on the front of the postcard: 'July / 1918' Hand-written in black ink on the back of the postcard: 'This was (crossed out) is the / the second largest / building in the world / it was hospital (crossed out) hotel / before the war and / now it is a hospital / dear it is lovely / to see the wounded / looking out through / the windows / Good night love / To dear Florrie / From you ever / loving Charles'.

  • Classification

    Military history, Souvenirs & mementoes, Postcards

  • Category

    History & Technology

  • Discipline


  • Type of item


  • overall dimensions

    136 mm (Width), 87 mm (Height)

  • References

    'Heliopolis (Cairo Suburb),' Wikipedia, at: [Link 2]">[Link 1](Cairo_suburb); accessed: August 6, 2012 'Heliopolis (Ancient),' Wikipedia, at: [Link 2]">[Link 1](ancient), accessed: August 6, 2012 Ian Shaw (ed.), The Oxford History of Ancient Egypt, Oxford University Press (Oxford, 2000); p. 86 'Heliopolis Palace,' Wikipedia, at: [Link 2]">[Link 1]Palace accessed: August 6, 2012 For Albert Peile's war record see the National Archives of Australia website at: [Link 4] For John Peile's war record see the National Archive of Australia website at: [Link 5]

  • Keywords

    World War I, 1914-1918, Hotels, Palaces, Postcards