Monday, June 30, 2008

The day the British enterd Jerusalem







Turkish and German POW in W.W 1 IN Jerusalem 1917
and Jaffa gate during the arrival of General Allenby

Allenby was sent to Egypt to be made commander-in-chief of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force ( on 27 June 1917, replacing Sir Archibald Murray. Allenby quickly won the respect of his men by making frequent visits to front line troops (something which Murray, who generally ran his campaigns by remote control from Cairo, rarely did during his tenure with the EEF) and moving GHQ from comfortable Cairo to Rafah, much nearer the front lines at Gaza. His usual installation of discipline and organization, organizing the heretofore disparate forces of the EEF into three corps - the XX and XXI Corps, both of infantry, and the Desert Mounted Corps, made up of mostly Australian Light Horse (mounted infantry). One of Allenby's first moves was to support the efforts of T. E. Lawrence amongst the Arabs with £200,000 a month. Many of Allenby's men said after the war that they were willing to tolerate his strictness and rigidity because he gave the impression that he was in control of the situation, a feeling which Murray never inspired in his soldiers.

Having reorganised his regular forces Allenby won the Third Battle of Gaza (31 October - 7 November 1917) by surprising the defenders with an attack at Beersheba.
The victorious General Allenby dismounted, enters Jerusalem on foot out of respect for the Holy City, December 11, 1917

His force pushed on towards Jerusalem, the Ottomans were beaten at Junction Station (November 13-15) and Jerusalem was captured on 9 December 1917.

Honouring Jerusalem on foot

Although he was a supreme master of cavalry horse warfare, before entering Jerusalem, Allenby dismounted and together with his officers, entered the city on foot through the Jaffa Gate out of his great respect for the status of Jerusalem as the Holy City important to Judaism, Christianity, and Islam (see his proclamation of martial law below). He subsequently stated in his official report:

* "...I entered the city officially at noon, 11 December, with a few of my staff, the commanders of the French and Italian detachments, the heads of the political missions, and the Military Attaches of France, Italy, and America.
* The procession was all afoot, and at Jaffa gate I was received by the guards representing England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Australia, New Zealand, India, France, and Italy. The population received me well..

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