Classic History Books


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

remarkable improvement in the sick and death rates, not only of Jerusalem but of all the towns and
districts. The new water supply will unquestionably help to lower the figures still further. A medical

authority recently told me that the health of the community was wonderfully good and there was no

suspicion of cholera, outbreaks of which were frequent under the Turkish regime. Government hospitals

were established in all large centres. In this country where small-pox takes a heavy toll the 'conscientious

objector' was unknown, and many thousands of natives in a few months came forward of their own free

will to be vaccinated. Typhus and relapsing fever, both lice-borne diseases, used to claim many victims,

but the figures fell very rapidly, due largely, no doubt, to the full use to which disinfecting plants were

put in all areas of the occupied territory. The virtues of bodily cleanliness were taught, and the people

were given that personal attention which was entirely lacking under Turkish rule. It is not easy to

overcome the prejudices and cure the habits of thousands of years, but progress is being made surely if

slowly, and already there is a gratifying improvement in the condition of the people which is patent to

any observer.

In Jerusalem an infants' welfare bureau was instituted, where mothers were seen before and after
childbirth, infants' clinics were established, a body of health was formed, and a kitchen was opened to

provide food for babies and the poor. The nurses were mainly local subjects who had to undergo an

adequate training, and there was no one who did not confidently predict a rapid fall in the infant

mortality rate which, to the shame of the Turkish administration, was fully a dozen times that of the

highest of English towns. The spadework was all done by the medical staff of the Occupied Enemy

Territory Administration. The call was urgent, and though labouring under war-time difficulties they got

things going quickly and smoothly. Some voluntary societies were assisting, and the enthusiasm of the

American Red Cross units enabled all to carry on a great and beneficent work.

 

CHAPTER XX. OUR CONQUERING AIRMEN

The airmen who were the eyes of the Army in Sinai and Palestine can look back on their record as a great
achievement. Enormous difficulties were faced with stout hearts, and the Royal Flying Corps spirit

surmounted them. It was one long test of courage, endurance, and efficiency, and so triumphantly did the

airmen come through the ordeal that General Allenby's Army may truthfully be said to have secured as

complete a mastery of the air as it did of the plains and hills of Southern Palestine. Those of us who

watched the airmen 'carrying on,' from the time when their aeroplanes were inferior to those of the

Germans in speed, climbing capacity, and other qualities which go to make up first-class fighting

machines, till the position during the great advance when few enemy aviators dared cross our lines, can

well testify to the wonderful work our airmen performed.

With comparatively few opportunities for combat because the enemy knew his inferiority and declined to
fight unless forced, the pilots and observers from the moment our attack was about to start were always

aggressive, and though the number of their victims may seem small compared with aerial victories on the

Western Front they were substantial and important. In the month of January 1917 the flying men

accounted for eleven aeroplanes, five of these falling victims to one pilot. The last of these victories I

myself witnessed. In a single-seater the pilot engaged two two-seater aeroplanes of a late type, driving

down one machine within our line, the pilot killed by eleven bullets and the observer wounded. He then

chased the other plane, whose pilot soon lost his taste for fighting, dropped into a heavy cloud bank, and

got away. No odds were too great for our airmen. I have seen one aeroplane swoop down out of the blue

to attack a formation of six enemy machines, sending one crashing to earth and dispersing the remainder.

In one brief fight another pilot drove down three German planes. The airman does not talk of his work,

 

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