Classic History Books

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

to a neighbourhood they had long inhabited. I was standing on Raspberry Hill, the battle headquarters of
XXIst Corps, when I heard a terrific report. Staff officers who were used to the visitations of aerial

marauders came out of their shelters and searched the pearly vault of the heavens for Fritz. No machine

could be found. Some one looking across the country towards Atawineh saw a huge mushroom-shaped

cloud, and then we knew that one enormous dump at least contained no more projectiles to hold up an

advance. This ammunition store must have been eight miles away as the crow flies, but the noise of the

explosion was so violent that it was a considerable time before some officers could be brought to believe

an enemy plane had not laid an egg near us. The blowing up of that dump was a signal that the Turk was


The Lowlanders had another very strenuous day in the sand-dune belt. First of all they repulsed a strong
counter-attack from the direction of Askalon. Then the 155th Infantry Brigade went forward and,

swinging to the right, drove the Turks off the rising ground north-west of Deir Sineid, the possession of

which would determine the question whether the Turk could hold on in this quarter sufficiently long to

enable him to get any of his material away by his railway and road. The enemy put in a counter-attack of

great violence and forced the Scots back.

The 157th Brigade in the early evening attacked the ridge and gained the whole of their objectives by
eight o'clock. There ensued some sanguinary struggles on this sandy ground during the night. The Turks

were determined to have possession of it and the Scots were willing to fight it out to a finish. The first

counter-attack in the dark hours drove the Lowlanders off, but they were shortly afterwards back on the

hills again. The Turks returned and pushed the Highland Light Infantry and Argyll and Sutherland

Highlanders off a second time. A third attack was delivered with splendid vigour and the enemy left

many dead, but they renewed their efforts to get the commanding ground and succeeded once more. The

dogged Scots, however, were not to be denied. They re-formed and swept up the heavy shifting sand, met

the Turk on the top with a clash and knocked him down the reverse slope. Soon afterwards there was

another ding-dong struggle. The Turks, putting in all their available strength, for a fourth time got the

upper hand, and the Lowlanders had to yield the ground, doing it slowly and reluctantly and with the

determination to try again. They were Robert Bruces, all of them. It's the best that stays the longest. After

a brief rest these heroic Scots once more swarmed up the ridge. Their cheers had the note of victory in

them, they drove their bayonets home with the haymakers' lift, and what was left of the Turks fled

helter-skelter down the hill towards Deir Sineid, broken, dismayed, beaten, and totally unable to make

another effort. The H.L.I. Brigade's victory was bought at a price. The cost of that hill was heavy, but the

Turks' tale of dead was far heavier than ours, and we had won and held the hills and consolidated them.

The Turks then turned their faces to the north and the Scots hurried them on. The Imperial Service

Cavalry Brigade had also met with considerable resistance, but they worked up to and on the ridge

overlooking Beit Hanun from the east and captured a 5.9. By evening these Indian horsemen were linked

up with the 4th Australian Light Horse Brigade on their right and the 52nd Division on their left, and

pursued the enemy as far as Tumrah and Deir Sineid.

General Headquarters directed that two infantry divisions should advance to the line Julis-Hamameh in
support of mounted troops, and the 75th Division was accordingly ordered from its position east of Gaza

up to Beit Hanun. On the 9th November the 52nd Division was again advancing. The 156th Brigade had

moved forward from the Gaza trenches. One officer, five grooms, and two signallers mounted on second

horses formed a little party to reconnoitre Askalon, and riding boldly into the ancient landing place of the

Crusader armies captured the ruined town unaided. There are visible remains of its old strength, but the

power of Askalon has departed. It still stands looking over the blue Mediterranean as a sort of watch


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