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

Rothschild, who fell within sight of some of the Jewish colonies which his family had founded. Two
hundred and sixty-five horses and two mules were killed and wounded in the action.

Mughar was a great cavalry triumph, and the regiments which took part in it confirmed the good opinions
formed of them in this theatre of war. The Dorsets had already made a spirited charge against the Senussi

in the Western Desert in 1916,[1] and having suffered from the white arm once those misguided Arabs

never gave the cavalry another chance of getting near them. The Bucks and Berks, too, had taken part in

that swift and satisfactory campaign. All three regiments on the following day were to make another

charge, this time on one of the most famous sites in the battle history of Palestine. The 6th Mounted

Brigade moved no farther on the day of Mughar because the 22nd Mounted Brigade, when commencing

an attack on Akir, the old Philistine city of Ekron, were counter-attacked on their left. During the night,

however, the Turks in Akir probably heard the full story of Mughar, and did not wait long for a similar

action against them. The 22nd Mounted Brigade drove them out early next morning, and they went

rapidly away across the railway at Naaneh, leaving in our hands the railway guard of seventy men, and

seeking the bold crest of Abu Shushe. They moved, as I shall presently tell, out of the frying-pan into the

fire.

[Footnote 1: The Desert Campaigns: Constable.]

The 155th Infantry which helped to finish up the Mughar business took a gun and fourteen machine guns.
Then with the remainder of the 52nd Division it had a few hours of hard-earned rest. The Division had

had a severe time, but the men bore their trials with the fortitude of their race and with a spirit which

could not be beaten. For several days, when water was holding up the cavalry, the Lowlanders kept ahead

of the mounted troops, and one battalion fought and marched sixty-nine miles in seven days. Their

training was as complete as any infantry, even the regimental stretcher-bearers being taught the use of

Lewis guns, and on more than one occasion the bearers went for the enemy with Mills bombs till a

position was captured and they were required to tend the wounded. A Stokes-gun crew found their

weapon very useful in open warfare, and at one place where machine guns had got on to a large party of

Turks and enclosed them in a box barrage, the Stokes gun searched every corner of the area and finished

the whole party. The losses inflicted by the Scots were exceptionally severe. Farther eastwards on the

13th, the 75th Division had also been giving of its best. The objective of this Division was the important

Junction Station on the Turks' Jaffa-Jerusalem railway, and a big step forward was made in the early

afternoon by the overcoming of a stubborn resistance at Mesmiyeh, troops rushing the village from the

south and capturing 292 prisoners and 7 machine guns. The 234th Brigade began an advance on Junction

Station during the night, but were strongly counter-attacked and had to halt till the morning, when at

dawn they secured the best positions on the rolling downs west of the station, and by 7.30 the station

itself was occupied. Two engines and 45 vehicles were found intact; two large guns on trucks and over

100 prisoners were also taken. The enemy shelled the station during the morning, trying in vain to

damage his lost rolling stock. This booty was of immense value to us, and to a large extent it solved the

transport problem which at this moment was a very anxious one indeed. The line was metre gauge and

we had no stock to fit it, though later the Egyptian State Railways brought down some engines and trucks

from the Luxor-Assouan section, but this welcome aid was not available till after the rains had begun and

had made lorry traffic temporarily impossible between our standard gauge railhead and our fighting

front. Junction Station was no sooner occupied than a light-railway staff under Colonel O'Brien was

brought up from Beit Hanun. The whole of the line to Deir Sineid was not in running order, but broken

culverts were given minor repairs, attention was bestowed on trucks, and the engines were closely

examined while the Turks were shelling the station. The water tanks had been destroyed, as a result of

 

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