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

precisely the same route that has been taken by armies since the time when Joshua overcame the
Amorites and the day was lengthened by the sun and moon standing still till the battle was won.

Geography had its influence on the strategy of to-day as completely as it did when armies were not

cumbered with guns and mechanical transport. Of the few passes from the Maritime Plain over the

Shephelah into the Judean range only that emerging from the green Vale of Ajalon was possible, if we

were to take Jerusalem, as the great captains of old took it, from the north. The Syrians sometimes chose

this road in preference to advancing through Samaria, the Romans suffered retreat on it, Richard Coeur

de Lion made it the path for his approach towards the Holy City, and, precisely as in Joshua's day and as

when in the first century the Romans fell victims to a tremendous Jewish onslaught, the fighting was

hardest about the Beth-horons, but with a different result - the invaders were victorious. The corps which

actually took Jerusalem advanced up the new road from Latron through Kuryet el Enab, identified by

some as Kirjath-jearim where the Philistines returned the Ark, but that road would have been denied to us

if we had not made good the ancient path from the Vale of Ajalon to Gibeon. Jerusalem was won by the

fighting at the Beth-horons as surely as it was on the line of hills above the wadi Surar which the

Londoners carried. There was fighting at Gibeon, at Michmas, at Beeroth, at Ai, and numerous other

places made familiar to us by the Old Testament, and assuredly no army went forth to battle on more

hallowed soil.

Of all the armies which earned a place in history in Palestine, General Allenby's was the greatest - the
greatest in size, in equipment, in quality, in fighting power, and not even the invading armies in the

romantic days of the Crusades could equal it in chivalry. It fought the strong fight with clean hands

throughout, and finished without a blemish on its conduct. It was the best of all the conquering armies

seen in the Holy Land as well as the greatest. Will not the influence of this Army endure? I think so.

There is an awakening in Palestine, not merely of Christians and Jews, but of Moslems, too, in a less

degree. During the last thirty years there have grown more signs of the deep faiths of peoples and of their

veneration of this land of sacred history. If their institutions and missions could develop and shed light

over Palestine even while the slothful and corrupt Turk ruled the land, how much faster and more in

keeping with the sanctity of the country will the improvement be under British protection? The graves of

our soldiers dotted over desert wastes and cornfields, on barren hills and in fertile valleys, ay, and on the

Mount of Olives where the Saviour trod, will mark an era more truly grand and inspiring, and offer a far

greater lesson to future generations than the Crusades or any other invasion down the track of time. The

Army of General Allenby responded to the happy thought of the Commander-in-Chief and contributed

one day's pay for the erection of a memorial near Jerusalem in honour of its heroic dead. Apart from the

holy sites, no other memorial will be revered so much, and future pilgrims, to whatever faith they belong,

will look upon it as a monument to men who went to battle to bring lasting peace to a land from which

the Word of Peace and Goodwill went forth to mankind.

In selecting General Sir Edmund Allenby as the Palestine Army's chief the War Cabinet made a happy
choice. General Sir Archibald Murray was recalled to take up an important command at home after the

two unsuccessful attempts to drive the Turks from the Gaza defences. The troops at General Murray's

disposal were not strong enough to take the offensive again, and it was clear there must be a long period

of preparation for an attack on a large scale. General Allenby brought to the East a lengthy experience of

fighting on the Western Front, where his deliberate methods of attack, notably at Arras, had given the

Allies victories over the cleverest and bravest of our enemies. Palestine was likely to be a cavalry, as well

as an infantry, campaign, or at any rate the theatre of war in which the mounted arm could be employed

with the most fruitful of results. General Allenby's achievements as a cavalry leader in the early days of

 

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