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

completed the turn of the enemy's left flank, but joined up with the XXIst Corps. The working of XXth
Corps' scheme had again been admirable, and once more the staff work had enabled the movements to be

timed perfectly.

The Desert Mounted Corps was thus able to draw up to Sheria in readiness to take up the pursuit and to
get the water supply at Nejile. This ended the XXth Corps' task for a few days, though the 60th Division

became temporarily attached to Desert Mounted Corps. XXth Corps had nobly done its part. The

consummate ability, energy, and foresight of the corps commander had been supported throughout by the

skill of divisional and brigade commanders. For the men no praise could be too high. The attention given

to their training was well repaid. They bore the strain of long marches on hard food and a small

allowance of water in a way that proved their physique to be only matched by their courage, and that was

of a high order. Their discipline was admirable, their determination alike in attack and defence strong and

well sustained. To say they were equal to the finest troops in the world might lay one open to a charge of

exaggeration when it was impossible to get a fair ground of comparison, seeing the conditions of fighting

on different fronts was so varied, but the trials through which the troops of XXth Corps passed up to the

end of the first week of November, and their magnificent accomplishments by the end of the year, make

me doubt whether any other corps possessed finer soldierly qualities. The men were indeed splendid. The

casualties sustained by the XXth Corps from October 31 to November 16 were: killed, officers 63, other

ranks 869; wounded, officers 198, other ranks 4246; missing, no officers, 108 other ranks - a total of 261

officers and 5223 other ranks.

During the period after Beersheba when the XXth Corps troops were concentrating to break up the Turks'
defensive position on the left, the Desert Mounted Corps was busily engaged holding a line eight or ten

miles north and north-east of Beersheba, and watching for any movement of troops down the Hebron

road. The 2nd Australian Light Horse Brigade and 7th Mounted Brigade tried to occupy a line from

Khuweilfeh to Dharahiyeh, but it was not possible to reach it - a fact by no means surprising, as in the

light of subsequent knowledge it was clear that the Turks had put much of their strength there. A patrol

of Light Horsemen managed to work round to the north of Dharahiyeh, a curious group of mud houses

on a hill-top inhabited by natives who have yet to appreciate the evils of grossly overcrowded quarters as

well as some of the elementary principles of sanitation, and they saw a number of motor lorries come up

the admirably constructed hill road designed by German engineers. The lorries were hurrying from the

Jerusalem area with reinforcements. Prisoners - several hundreds of them in all - were brought in daily,

but no attempt was made to force the enemy back until November 6, when the 53rd Division, which for

the time being was attached to the Desert Mounted Corps, drove the Turks off the whole of Khuweilfeh,

behaving as I have already said with fine gallantry and inflicting severe losses. There were also

counter-attacks launched against the 5th Mounted Brigade, the New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade,

and the Imperial Camel Corps Brigade, but these were likewise beaten off with considerable casualties to

the enemy. When the XXth Corps had captured the Khauwukah system, a detachment for the defence of

the right flank of the Army was formed under the command of Major-General G. de S. Barrow, the

G.O.C. Yeomanry Mounted Division, consisting of the Imperial Camel Corps Brigade, 53rd Division,

Yeomanry Mounted Division, New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade, and two squadrons and eight

machine guns of the 2nd Australian Light Horse Brigade. The Australian Mounted Division marched

from Karm, whither it had been sent on account of water difficulties, to rejoin Desert Mounted Corps to

whom the 60th Division was temporarily attached. The Desert Corps had orders on November 7 to push

through as rapidly as possible to the line wadi Jemmameh-Huj, and from that day the Corps commenced

its long march to Jaffa, a march which, though strongly opposed by considerable bodies of troops, was

 

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