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‘Ancient Egypt: Lisburn Stories’: Private Alec Martin at the Pyramids, 1915

Private Alec Martin (1895-1915) was born in Magheragall, near Lisburn. In 1913, seeking new opportunities he emigrated to New Zealand. When war broke out in August the following year Alec enlisted in the New Zealand Expeditionary Force and fought with the Anzacs. From December 1914 the Anzacs were stationed in Egypt. While in Egypt, Alec explored its historical sites including the Sphinx and the pyramids.

In 1915 the Allies (British Empire, France and Russia) sought to force a passage through the Dardanelles, a narrow 40-mile straight which cut off the Russia supply route. The Anzacs played a key role in the disastrous campaign. Alec Martin died alongside 2,779 New Zealand soldiers.

Private Martin’s diary from his journey to the southern hemisphere was later published by his brother William, himself a soldier with the Royal Irish Rifles. A copy of the diary is now on display in our ‘Ancient Egypt: Lisburn Stories’ exhibition, which runs until October.

Pvt. Alec Martin visiting the pyramids (above, second right). ILC&LM Collection.
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