Postcard from a World War I album from Egypt containing 33 postcards, most featuring Egyptian themes.

Sepia image of the Palace Hotel in 'Helouan.' The postcard was sent to John Peile (Snr.) from his 'loving old daughter VS.' It seems likely that 'VS' is a reference to Violet May Peile, the sister of John and Albert Peile, who married Thomas Smith in 1903, therefore her initials at the time the postcard was sent would have been 'VS.' The inclusion of 'Tom' in the closing of the missive would give further credence to Violet being the sender.

'Helouan' is the French name for 'Helwan,' a southern suburb of Cairo that served as the capital for the now defunct governorate of Helwan (2008-11).

Helwan was founded in the late 1800s and is located on the eastern bank of the Nile River. The city originally served as a 'rest place' for pashas, noblemen and the Egyptian Royal Family but is now famous for its university and summer rest house of King Farouk. Helwan is also the site of 10,000 graves of 'middle level' officials from the Predynastic period.

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

View past trees to large, low-rise building.

Physical Description

Sepia image with a thick white border of a large building, or a group of buildings, surrounded by trees.

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

  • Person Named

    Private Albert V. Peile - Australian Imperial Force (AIF), 9 Sep 1915

  • Place & Date Depicted

    Helwan, Egypt, 1914-1918
    Approximate date, based on dates of World War I

  • Format


  • Inscriptions

    Printed on the front of the postcard: 'HELOUAN / VUE SUR LE PALACE HOTEL' (Helwan / view of the Palace Hotel) Hand-written in faded black ink on the back of the postcard, top right corner: 'Spet 19/9/15' Hand-written in faded black ink on the back of the postcard: 'Dear Father / Many happy / returns the day & / hope the wishes nearest / to your heart will be / realised & guess they / have a connection with / the sender of this card / (Albert) hope the view is / different to any you got / from him. This is / the first one I have used of / them am going to get a / small album for the others / so once more wishing you / all sorts of good luck / fondest love from Tom / & your loving old daughter / VS. / Mr. J Peile / "Flowerville" / South Taradale'. Printed on the back of the postcard: 'Carte postale / Poste Egyptienne'

  • Classification

    Military history, Souvenirs & mementoes, Postcards

  • Category

    History & Technology

  • Discipline


  • Type of item


  • overall dimensions

    140 mm (Width), 91 mm (Height)

  • References

    Ian Shaw (ed.), The Oxford History of Ancient Egypt, Oxford University Press (Oxford, 2000); p. 81 'Helwan,' Tour Egypt, at: [Link 1] accessed: August 6, 2012 'Helwan,' Wikipedia, at: [Link 2] accessed: August 6, 2012 For Albert Peile's war record see the National Archives of Australia website at: [Link 3] For John Peile's war record see the National Archive of Australia website at: [Link 4]

  • Keywords

    World War I, 1914-1918, Hotels, Postcards