Classic History Books

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

full effects had not been wholly realised when the War Cabinet selected General Allenby for the control
of the big operations, but the improvement in the condition of the troops was already most marked, and

when General Allenby arrived and at once directed that General Headquarters should be moved from

Cairo, which was pleasant but very far away from the front, to Kelab, near Khan Yunus, there was not a

man who did not see in the new order of things a sign that he was to be given a chance of testing the

Briton's supremacy over the Turk.

The improvement in the moral of the troops, the foundations of which were thus begun and cemented by
General Chetwode, was rapidly carried on under the new Chief. Divisions like the 52nd, 53rd, and 54th,

which had worked right across the desert from the Suez Canal, toiling in a torrid temperature, when

parched throats, sun-blistered limbs, and septic sores were a heavy trial, weakened by casualties in action

and sickness, were brought up to something like strength. Reinforcing drafts joined a lot of cheery

veterans. They were taught in the stern field of experience what was expected of them, and they worked

themselves up to the degree of efficiency of the older men.

The 74th Division, made up of yeomanry regiments which had been doing excellent service in the
Libyan Desert, watching for and harassing the elements of the Senussi Army, had to be trained as

infantry. These yeomen did not take long to make themselves first-rate infantry, and when, after the

German attack on the Somme in March 1918, they went away from us to strengthen the Western Front, a

distinguished General told me he believed that man for man the 74th would prove the finest division in

France. They certainly proved themselves in Palestine, and many an old yeomanry regiment won for

itself the right to bear 'Jerusalem, 1917' on its standard.

The 75th Division had brought some of the Wessex Territorials from India with two battalions of
Gurkhas and two of Rifles. The 1/4th Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry joined it from Aden, but for

some months the battalion was not itself. It had spent a long time at that dreary sunburnt outpost of the

Empire, and the men did not regain their physical fitness till close upon the time it was required for the

Gaza operations.

The 60th Division came over from Salonika and we were delighted to have them, for they not only gave
us General Bulfin as the XXIst Corps Commander, but set an example of efficiency and a combination of

dash and doggedness which earned for them a record worthy of the best in the history of the great war.

These London Territorials were second-line men, men recruited from volunteers in the early days of the

war, when the County of London Territorial battalions went across to France to take a part on a front

hard pressed by German legions. The 60th Division men had rushed forward to do their duty before the

Derby scheme or conscription sought out the cream of Britain's manhood, and no one had any misgivings

about that fine cheery crowd.

The 10th Division likewise came from Salonika. Unfortunately it had been doing duty in a fever-stricken
area and malaria had weakened its ranks. A little while before the autumn operations began, as many as

3000 of its men were down at one time with malaria, but care and tonic of the battle pulled the ranks

together, and the Irish Division, a purely Irish division, campaigned up to the glorious traditions of their

race. They worked like gluttons with rifle and spade, and their pioneer work on roads in the Judean hills

will always be remembered with gratitude.

The cavalry of the Desert Mounted Corps were old campaigners in the East. The Anzac Mounted
Division, composed of six regiments of Australian Light Horse and three regiments of New Zealand

Mounted Rifles, had been operating in the Sinai Desert when they were not winning fame on Gallipoli,


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