Classic History Books


W.T. Massey - How Jerusalem Was Won. Allenby's Campaign in Palestine

process, but small parties working in support of each other gradually crushed opposition, and the huge
rocky rampart was ours by three o'clock in the afternoon. Meanwhile two brigades of the Anzac Mounted

Division were moving eastwards from Muntar over the hills and wadis down to the Dead Sea, whence

turning northwards they marched towards Nebi Musa to try to get on to the Jordan valley flats to threaten

the Turks in rear. The terrain was appallingly bad and horses had to be led, the troops frequently

proceeding in Indian file. No guns could be got over the hills to support the Anzacs, and when they tried

to pass through a narrow defile south of Nebi Musa it was found that the enemy covered the approach

with machine guns, and progress was stopped dead until, during the early hours of the following

morning, some of the Londoners' artillery managed by a superhuman effort to get a few guns over the

mountains to support the cavalry. By this time the Turks had had enough of it, and while it was dark they

were busy trekking through Jericho towards the Ghoraniyeh bridge over the river, covered by a force on

the Jebel Kuruntul track which prevented the left column from reaching the cliffs overlooking the Jordan

valley. By dawn on the 21st Nebi Musa was made good, the 1st Australian Light Horse Brigade and the

New Zealand Brigade were in Jericho by eight o'clock and had cleared the Jordan valley as far north as

the river Aujah, the Londoners holding the line of cliffs which absolutely prevented any possibility of the

enemy ever again threatening Jerusalem or Bethlehem from the east. This successful operation also put

an end to the Turks' Dead Sea grain traffic. They had given up hope of keeping their landing place on the

northern shores of the Dead Sea when we took Talat ed Dumm, and one hour after our infantry had

planted themselves on the Hill of Blood we saw the enemy burning his boats, wharves, and storehouses

at Rujm el Bahr, where he had expended a good deal of labour to put up buildings to store grain wanted

for his army. Subsequently we had some naval men operating motor boats from this point, and these

sailors achieved a record on that melancholy waterway at a level far below that at which any submarine,

British or German, ever rested.

 

CHAPTER XIX. THE TOUCH OF THE CIVILISING HAND

It is doubtful whether the population of any city within the zones of war profited so much at the hands of
the conqueror as Jerusalem. In a little more than half a year a wondrous change was effected in the

condition of the people, and if it had been possible to search the Oriental mind and to get a free and frank

expression of opinion, one would probably have found a universal thankfulness for General Allenby's

deliverance of the Holy City from the hands of the Turks. And with good reason. The scourge of war so

far as the British Army was concerned left Jerusalem the Golden untouched. For the 50,000 people in the

City the skilfully applied military pressure which put an end to Turkish misgovernment was the

beginning of an era of happiness and contentment of which they had hitherto had no conception. Justice

was administered in accordance with British ideals, every man enjoyed the profits of his industry, traders

no longer ran the gauntlet of extortionate officials, the old time corruption was a thing of the past, public

health was organised as far as it could be on Western lines, and though in matters of sanitation and

personal cleanliness the inhabitants still had much to learn, the appearance of the Holy City and its

population vastly improved under the touch of a civilising hand. Sights that offended more than one of

the senses on the day when General Allenby made his official entry had disappeared, and peace and order

reigned where previously had been but misery, poverty, disease, and squalor.

One of the biggest blots upon the Turkish government of the City was the total failure to provide an
adequate water supply. What they could not, or would not, do in their rule of four hundred years His

Majesty's Royal Engineers accomplished in a little more than two months, and now for the first time in

history every civilian in Jerusalem can obtain as much pure mountain spring water as he wishes, and for

this water, as fresh and bright as any bubbling out of Welsh hills, not a penny is charged. The

 

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