Classic History Books


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

their hands and raised shrill cries of delight in a babel of tongues. Women threw flowers into the car and
spread palm leaves on the road. Scarcely had the Turks left, probably before they had all gone and while

the guns were still banging outside the entrances to Jerusalem, stray pieces of bunting which had done

duty on many another day were hung out to signify the popular pleasure at the end of an old, hard,

extortionate regime and the beginning of an era of happiness and freedom.

After leaving Jerusalem the enemy took up a strong position on the hills north and north-east of the City
from which he had to be driven before Jerusalem was secure from counter-attack. During the morning

General Chetwode gave orders for a general advance to the line laid down in his original plan of attack,

which may be described as the preliminary line for the defence of Jerusalem. The 180th and 181st

Brigades were already on the move, and some of the 53rd Division had marched by the main road

outside the Holy City's walls to positions from which they were to attempt to drive the enemy off the

Mount of Olives. The 180th Brigade, fresh and strong but still wet and muddy, went forward rapidly over

the boulders on the hills east of the wadi Beit Hannina and occupied the rugged height of Shafat at

half-past one. Shafat is about two miles north of Jerusalem. In another half-hour they had driven the

Turks from the conical top of Tel el Ful, that sugar-loaf hill which dominates the Nablus road, and which

before the end of the year was to be the scene of an epic struggle between Londoner and Turk. The 181st

Brigade, on debouching from the suburbs of Jerusalem north-east of Lifta, was faced with heavy

machine-gun and rifle fire on the ridge running from the western edge of the Mount of Olives across the

Nablus road through Kh. es Salah. On the left the 180th Brigade lent support, and at four o'clock the

2/21st and 2/24th Londons rushed the ridge with the bayonet and drove off the Turks, who left seventy

dead behind them. The London Division that night established itself on the line from a point a thousand

yards north of Jerusalem and east of the Nablus road through Ras Meshari to Tel el Ful, thence

westwards to the wadi behind the olive orchards south of Beit Hannina. The 74th Division reached its

objective without violent opposition, and its line ran from north of Nebi Samwil to the height of Beit

Hannina and out towards Tel el Ful. The 53rd Division was strongly opposed when it got round the

south-east of Jerusalem on to the Jericho road in the direction of Aziriyeh (Bethany), and it was

necessary to clear the Turks from the Mount of Olives. Troops of the Welsh Division moved round the

Holy City and drove the enemy off the Mount, following them down the eastern spurs, and thus denied

them any direct observation over Jerusalem. The next day they pushed the enemy still farther eastwards,

and by the night of the 10th held the line from the well at Azad, 4000 yards south-east of Jerusalem, the

hill 1500 yards south of Aziriyeh, Aziriyeh itself, to the Mount of Olives, whence our positions

continued to Ras et Tawil, north of Tel el Ful across the Nablus road to Nebi Samwil. This was our first

line of positions for the defence of Jerusalem, and we continued to hold these strong points for some

time. They were gradually extended on the east and north-east by the Welsh Division in order to prevent

an attack from the direction of Jericho, where we knew the Turks had received reinforcements. Indeed,

during our attack on the Jerusalem position the Turks had withdrawn a portion of their force on the

Hedjaz railway. A regiment had passed through Jericho from the Hedjaz line at Amman and was

marching up the road to assist in Jerusalem's defence, but was 'Too late.' The regiment was turned back

when we had captured Jerusalem. Our casualties from November 28 to December 10 - these figures

include the heavy fighting about Tahta, Foka, and Nebi Samwil prior to the XXth Corps' attack on the

Jerusalem defences - were: officers, 21 killed, 64 wounded, 3 missing; other ranks, 247 killed, 1163

wounded, 169 missing, a total of 1667. The casualties of the 60th Division during the attack on and

advance north of Jerusalem on December 8-9 are interesting, because they were so extremely light

considering the strength of the defences captured and the difficulties of the ground, namely: 8 officers

killed and 24 wounded, 98 other ranks killed, 420 wounded and 3 missing, a total of 553. The total for

 

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