Classic History Books


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

going, but direction was kept perfectly and silence was well maintained, the loosened stones falling into
mud. The assault was launched at a quarter-past five, and in ten minutes under two hours the two

brigades (the 181st Brigade being in reserve just south of Kustul) had penetrated the whole of the front

line of the defences. The Queen's Westminsters on the left of the Kensingtons had cleared the Turks out

of Ain Karim and then climbed up a steep spur to attack the formidable Khurbet Subr defences. They

took the garrison completely by surprise, and those who did not flee were either killed or taken prisoners.

The Queen's Westminsters were exposed to a heavy flanking fire at a range of about a thousand yards

from a tumulus south-east of Ain Karim, above the road from the village to the western suburbs of

Jerusalem. Turkish riflemen were firmly dug in on this spot, and their two machine guns poured in an

annoying fire on the 179th Brigade troops which threatened to hold up the attack. Indeed preparations

were being made to send a company to take the tumulus hill in flank, but two gallant London Scots

settled the activity of the enemy and captured the position by themselves. Corporal C.W. Train and

Corporal F.S. Thornhill stalked the garrison. Corporal Train fired a rifle grenade at one machine gun,

which he hit and put out of action, and then shot the whole of the gun team. Thornhill was attacking the

other gun, and he, with the assistance of Train, accounted for that crew as well. The two guns were

captured and Tumulus Hill gave no more trouble. Both these Scots were rewarded, and Train has the

unique honour of wearing the only V.C. awarded during the capture of Jerusalem.

At about the same time there was another very gallant piece of work being done by two men of the
Queen's Westminsters above the Khurbet Subr ridge. When the battalion got to the first objective an

enemy battery of 77's was found in action on the reverse slope of the hill. The guns were firing from a

hollow near the Ain Karim-Jerusalem track, some 600 yards behind the forward trenches on Subr, and

were showing an uncomfortable activity. A company was pushed forward to engage the battery. The

movement was exposed to a good deal of sniping fire, and it was not a simple matter for riflemen to work

ahead on to a knoll on the east of the Subr position to deal with the guns. To two men may be given the

credit for capturing the battery. Lance-Corporal W.H. Whines of the Westminsters got along quickly and

brought his Lewis gun to bear on the battery and, with an admirably directed fire, caused many

casualties. Two gun teams were wiped out, either killed or wounded, by the corporal. At the same time

Rifleman C.D. Smith, who had followed his comrade, rushed in on another team and bombed it. Smith's

rifle had been smashed and was useless, but with his bombs he laid low all except one man. His supply

was then exhausted, but before the Turk could use his weapons Smith got to grips and a rare wrestling

bout followed. The Turk would not surrender, and Smith gave him a stranglehold and broke his neck.

The enemy managed to get one of the four guns away. The battery horses were near at hand, but while

this one gun was escaping at the gallop the Westminsters' fire brought down one horse and two drivers,

and I saw their bodies on the road as evidence of how the Westminsters had developed the art of shooting

at a rapidly moving target. The two incidents I have described in detail merely as examples of the

fighting prowess, not only of one but of all three divisions alike in the capture of Jerusalem. Perhaps it

would be fairer to say that they were examples of the spirit of General Allenby's whole force, for English,

Scottish, Irish, Welsh, Australians, New Zealanders, Indians, cavalry, infantry, and artillery, had all,

during the six weeks of the campaign, shown the same high qualities in irresistible attack and stubborn

defence.

The position of the 179th Brigade at this time was about one mile east of Ain Karim, where it was
exposed to heavy enfilade fire from its right and, as it was obvious that the advance of the 53rd Division

had been delayed owing to the fog and rain, the brigadier decided not to go further during the early part

of the day but to wait till he could be supported by the mountain batteries, which the appalling state of

 

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