W. T. (William Thomas) Massey.

How Jerusalem was won : being the record of Allenby's campaign in Palestine online

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HOW JERUSALEM WAS WON



BY THE SAME author

THE DESERT
CAMPAIGNS

BY

W. T. MASSEY

Oj^cial Corrtspondent "with the
Egyptian Expeditionary Force

Crou'H IIt'o 68. lut

An Account of the work of the Imperial
Forces in the Deserts of Egypt and
Sinai. Illustrated with Drawings by
Jamks M'Hey, taken on the spot for
His Majesty's Government.



' This record, by the correspondent who was
selected by the Chief London Newspapers to
accompany the Egyptian Expeditionary Force,
will serve to bring home to the British Public
the great work done by our arms in keeping open
the gateway between P'a^t and West." — Times
Literary Supplement.

'Mr Massey . . . tells his story well and
simply.' — The Observer.

'The admirable drawings by Mr James M'Bey,
the official artist with the E. E. F., add greatly
to the pleasure of reading this excellent little
history.' — Morning; Post.




OFFICIAL ENTRY INTO IMK IIOLV (TIV. (iKXFRAL ALLFNP.V

RECEIVED BY THF Mn.rPARY dOYERXOR OF lERUSALEM.

Dec. II, 1917



HOW JERUSALEM WAS WON

BEING THE RECORD OF

ALLENBY'S CAMPAIGN IN

PALESTINE

BY

W. T. MASSEY

OFFICIAL CORRESPONDENT OF THE LONDON

NEWSPAPERS WITH THE EGYPTIAN

EXPEDITIONARY FORCE



WITH ILLUSTRATIONS AND MAPS



NEW YORK

CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS

597-599 FIFTH AVENUE

1920



j ROBERTS WALKER
|SCARSDALE,NEWYORK



Ct/iA- £^



Printed* in Cfreat Britain



. .* •• • • •

• • •



• • •



t>l3?33



{^

PREFACE

. This narrative of the work accomplished for civilisa-
-^tion by Greneral Allenby's Army is carried only as far
as the occupation of Jericho. The capture of that
ancient town, with the possession of a Hne of rugged
hills a dozen miles north of Jerusalem, secured the
Holy City from any Turkish attempt to retake it.
The book, in fact, tells the story of the twenty-third
fall of Jerusalem, one of the most beneficent happen-
ings of all wars, and marking an epoch in the wonderful
history of the Holy Place which will rank second only
to that era which saw the birth of Christianity. All
that occurred in the fighting on the Gaza-Beersheba
hne was part and parcel of the taking of Jerusalem,
the freeing of which from four centuries of Turkish
domination was the object of the first part of the
campaign. The Holy City was the goal sought by
every officer and man in the Army ; and though from
the moment that goal had been attained all energies
were concentrated upon driving the Turk out of the
war, there was not a member of the Force, from the
highest on the Staff to the humblest private in the
ranks, who did not feel that Jerusalem was the
greatest prize of the campaign.

In a second volume I shall tell of that tremendous
feat of arms which overwhelmed the Turkish Armies,
drove them through 400 miles of country in six
weeks, and gave cavaby an opportunity of proving



vi HOW JERUSALEM WAS WON

that, despite all the arts and devices of modern war-
fare, with fighters and observers in the air and an
entirely new mechanism of war, they continued as
indispensable a part of an army as when the legions
of old took the field. This is too long a story to be
told in this volume, though the details of that mag-
nificent triumph are so firmly impressed on the mind
that one is loth to leave the narration of them to a
future date. For the moment Jerusalem must be
suthcient, and if in the telling of the British work up
to that point I can succeed in giving an idea of the
immense value of General Allenby's Army to the
Empire, of the soldier's courage and fortitude, of his
indomitable will and self-sacrifice and patriotism, it
will indeed prove the most grateful task I have ever
set myself.

April 1919.



CONTENTS



CHAP.

I. PALESTINE'S INFLUENCE ON THE WAR

II. OLD BATTLEGROUNDS .

III. DIFFICULTIES OF THE ATTACK

IV. TRAINING THE ARMY .
V. RAILWAYS, ROADS, AND THE BASE

VL PREPARING FOR 'ZERO DAY' .
VII. THE BEERSHEBA VICTORY
VIII. GAZA DEFENCES
IX. CRUSHING THE TURKISH LEFT
X. THROUGH GAZA INTO THE OPEN
XI. TWO YEOMANRY CHARGES
XII. LOOKING TOWARDS JERUSALEM

XIII. INTO THE JUDEAN HILLS

XIV. THE DELIVERANCE OF THE HOLY CITY
XV. GENERAL ALLENBY'S OFFICIAL ENTRY

XVI. MAKING JERUSALEM SECURE .
XVII. A GREAT FEAT OF WAR
XVIII. BY THE BANKS OF THE JORDAN
XIX. THE TOUCH OF THE CIVILISING HAND
XX. OUR CONQUERING AIRMEN

APPENDICES ....
INDEX .....



1

7

18

26

32

42

53

67

81

96

112

126

137

158

19o

211

232

245

254

259

265

293



LIST OF MAPS

FACING PAOK

Plan of Southern Palestine ..... 7

Plan of Gaza-Beersheba Line .... 94

Plan of the Beth-Horon Country . . . 156

Plan of the Battle of Jerusalem . . . 194



Tiii



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS



Official Entry into the Holy City. General Allenby
received by the military governor of jerusalem,
December 11, 1917 Frontisfiece

FACING PAGE

EIantara Terminus of the Desert Military Eailway . 20 '



East Force H.Q. Dug-outs near Gaza

Wadi Ghuzze near Shellal ....

Our Waterworks at Shellal ....

On the Move in the Desert ....
The Great Mosque at Gaza ....

Turkish Headquarters at Gaza. Note the Crusader Lion

in Wall

A Desert Motor Koad near Shellal . - .

Turkish Dug-outs at Gaza

Beersheba Railway Station with Mined Rolling
Stock



Lieut.-Gen. Sir Harry Chauvel outside Beersheba

Mosque, November 1, 1917 ....
El Mughar. The Scene of a Yeomanry Charge

Burial-place of St. George, Patron Saint of England
(at Ludd) ........

Yeomanry Graves at Beth-horon the Upper, where
Joshua commanded the Sun to remain still to
enable the Israelites to overthrow the Philis-
tines



In the Judean Hills

A Roman Centurion's Tomb, Kuryet el Enab



21

32
33

46
47



56
67

78
79

114
115

126



127

140
141



X HOW JERUSALEM WAS WON

KACISO PAOIt

One of King Solomon's Pools 162

A Typical New Zealandeii 163

Wadi Surar, crossed by London Territorials on the
Morning of their Assault on the Jerusalem De-
fences ........ 176

The Deib Yesin Position west of Jerusalem . . 177

Eastern Face of Nebi Samwil Mosque, showing De-
struction BY Turkish Shell-fire . . . 192

Official Entry into the Holy City. General Allenby

arriving outside the Jaffa Gate . . . 193

Officlal Entry. General Allenby receiving the

Mayor of Jerusalem (a descendant of Mahomet) 208

Jerusalem from Mount of Olives .... 209

Jerusalem from Garden of Gethsemane . . . 216
Panel in the Chapel of the Kaiserin Augusta Victoria.

Hospice on the Mount of Oliv^bs . . . 217

Bethlehem 226

Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem .... 227

Ain Kartm, Part of the Jerusalem Defences . . 234

River Auja, crossed at Night by Lowland Territorials 236



Jerisheh Mill, River Auja, one of the Lowlanders

Crossings

Barrel Bridge over the River Auja

Destroyed Bridge on the Jericho Road .

The Wilderness, with a Glimpse of the Dead Sea

Londoners' Bridge over the Jordan. The River is

in Flood

German Prisoners crossing the Jordan

New Zealand Mounted Rifles at Bethlehem
A Hairpin Bend on the Jerusalem Road .



242
243

248
249

252
253

258
259



CHAPTER I

PALESTINE'S INFLUENCE ON THE WAR

In a war which involved the peoples of the four
quarters of the globe it was to be expected that on
the world's oldest battleground would be renewed
the scenes of conflict of bygone ages. There was
perhaps a desire of some elements of both sides,
certainly it was the unanimous wish of the AUies,
to avoid the clash of arms in Palestine, and to leave
untouched by armies a land held in reverence by
three of the great rehgions of the world. But this
ancient cockpit of warring races could not escape.
The will of those who broke the peace prevailed.
Germany's dream of Eastern Empires and world
domination, the lust of conquest of the Kaiser party,
required that the tide of war should once more surge
across the land, and if the conquering hosts left
fewer traces of war wreckage than were to be expected
in their victorious march, it was due not to any
anxiety of our foes to avoid conflict about, and
damage to, places with hallowed associations, but
to the masterly strategy of the British Commander-
in-Chief who manoeuvred the Turkish Armies out of
positions defending the sacred sites.

The people of to-day who have lived through the
war, who have had their view bewildered by ever-
recurring anxieties, by hopes shattered and fears
realised, by a succession of victories and defeats on
a colossal scale, and by a sudden collapse of the
enemy, may fail to see the Palestine campaign in



4 HOW JERUSALEM WAS WON

service elsewhere, but to recruit a large force of Indians
for the Empire's work in other climes. Bagdad was
a tremendous blow to German ambitions. The loss
of it spelt ruin to those hopes of Eastern conquest
which had prompted the German intrigues in Turkey,
and it was certain that the Kaiser, so long as he
beheved in ultimate victory, would refuse to accept
the loss of Bagdad as final. Russia's withdrawal
as a belligerent released a large body of Turkish
troops in the Caucasus, and set free many Germans,
particularly ' technical troops ' of which the Turks
stood in need, for other fronts. It was then that the
German High Command conceived a scheme for
retaking Bagdad, and the redoubtable von Ealken-
hayn was sent to Constantinople charged with the
preparations for the undertaking. Certain it is that
it would have been put into execution but for the
situation created by the presence of a large British
Army in the Sinai Peninsula. A large force was
collected about Aleppo for a march down the Eu-
phrates valley, and the winter of 1917-18 would
have witnessed a stern struggle for supremacy in
Mesopotamia if the War Cabinet had not decided to
force the Turks to accept battle where they least
wanted it.

The views of the British War Cabinet on the war
in the East, at any rate, were sound and solid. They
concentrated on one big campaign, and, profiting
from past mistakes which led to a wastage of strength,
allowed all the weight they could spare to be thrown
into the Eg3^tian Expeditionary Force under a
General who had proved his high military capacity
in France, and in whom all ranks had complete con-
fidence, and they permitted the Mesopotamian and
Salonika Armies to contain the enemies on their fronts
while the Army in Palestine set out to crush the Turks



PALESTINE'S INFLUENCE ON THE WAR 5

at what proved to be their most vital point. As to
whether the force available on our Mesopotamia
front was capable of defeating the German scheme
I cannot offer an opinion, but it is beyond all question
that the conduct of operations in Palestine on a plan
at once bold, resolute, and worthy of a high place in
mihtary history saved the Empire much anxiety
over our position in the Tigris and Euphrates valleys,
and probably prevented unrest on the frontiers of
India and in India itself, where mischief makers were
actively working in the German cause. Nor can
there be any doubt that the brilliant campaign in
Palestine prevented British and French influence
declining among the Mahomedan populations of
those countries' respective spheres of control in Africa.
Indeed I regard it as incontrovertible that the
Palestine strategy of General Allenby, even apart
from his stupendous rush through Syria in the
autumn of the last year of war, did as much to end
the war in 1918 as the great battles on the Western
Front, for if there had been failure or check in
Palestine some British and French troops in France
might have had to be detached to other fronts, and
the Germans' effort in the Spring might have pushed
their line farther towards the Channel and Paris. If
Bagdad was not actually saved in Palestine, an ex-
pedition against it was certainly stopped by our
Army operating on the old battlegrounds in Palestine.
We lost many lives, and it cost us a vast amount of
money, but the sacrifices of brave men contributed
to the saving of the world from German domination ;
and high as the British name stood in the East as
the upholder of the freedom of peoples, the fame of
Britain for justice, fair dealing, and honesty is wider
and more firmly estabHshed to-day because the people
have seen it emerge triumphantly from a supreme test.



6 HOW JERUSALEM WAS WON

In the strategy of the w orld war we made, no doubt,
many mistakes, but in Palestine the strategy was of
the best, and in the working out of a far-seeing scheme,
victories so iniiucnced events that on this front began
the fhial phase of the war — once Turkey was beaten,
Bulgaria and Austria-Hungary submitted and Ger-
many acknowledged the inevitable. Falkenhayn
saw that the Bagdad undertaking was impossible so
long as we were dangerous on the Palestine front,
and General Allenby's attack on the Gaza hne wiped
the Bagdad enterprise out of the list of German
ambitions. The plan of battle on the Gaza-Beer-
sheba line resembled in miniature the ending of the
war. If we take Beersheba for Turkey, Sheria and
Hareira for Bulgaria and Austria, and Gaza for
Germany, we get the exact progress of events in
the final stage, except that Bulgaria's submission
was an intelligent anticipation of the laying down of
their arms by the Turks. Gaza- Beersheba was a
rolling up from our right to left ; so was the ending
of the Hun aUiance.




Consiabi* k Co. Ltd,



CHAPTER IT

OLD BATTLEGROUNDS

It was in accordance with the fitness of things that
the British Army should fight and conquer on the
very spots consecrated by the memories of the most
famous battles of old. From Gaza onwards we made
our progress by the most ancient road on earth, for
this way moved commerce between the Euphrates
and the NRe many centuries before the East knew
West. We fought on fields which had been the battle-
grounds of Egyptian and Assyrian armies, where
Hittites, Ethiopians, Persians, Parthians, and Mongols
poured out their blood in times when kingdoms were
strong by the sword alone. The Ptolemies invaded
Syria by this way, and here the Greeks put their
colonising hands on the country. Alexander the
Great made this his route to Egypt. Pompey
marched over the Maritime Plain and inaugurated
that Roman rule which lasted for centuries ; till
Islam made its wide irresistible sweep in the seventh
century. Then the Crusaders fought and won and
lost, and Napoleon's ambitions in the East were
wrecked just beyond the plains.

Up the Maritime Plain we battled at Gaza, every
yard of which had been contested by the armies of
mighty kings in the past thirty-five centuries, at
Akir, Gezer, Lydda, and around Joppa. All down
the ages armies have moved in victory or flight over
this plain, and General AUenby in his advance was
but repeating history. And when the Turks had



8 HOW JERUSALEM WAS WON

been driven beyond the Plain of Philistia, and the
Ck)mmander-in-Chief had to decide how to take
Jerusalem, we saw the British force move along
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.
Greography had its influence on the strategy of to-day
as completely as it did when armies were not cum-
bered 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.



OLD BATTLEGROUNDS 9

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 ro-
mantic days of the Crusades could equal it in chivalry.
It fought the strong fight with clean hands through-
out, 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 venera-
tion of this land of sacred history. If their insti-
tutions 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 im-
provement be under British protection ? The graves
of our soldiers dotted over desert wastes and corn-
fields, on barren hills and in fertile valleys, ay, and
on the Mount of OHves 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.



10 HOW JERUSALEM WAS WON

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 Alhes 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 the war marked him as
the one officer of high rank suited for the Palestine
command, and his proved capacity as a General both
in open and in trench warfare gave the Army that
high degree of confidence in its Commander-in-Chief
which it is so necessary that a big fighting force should
possess. A tremendously hard worker himself.
General Allenby expected all under him to concen-
trate the whole of their energies on their work. He
had the faculty for getting the best out of his officers,
and on his Staff were some of the most enthusiastic
soldiers in the service. There was no room for an
inefficient leader in any branch of the force, and the
knowledge that the Commander-in-Chief valued the
lives and the health of his men so highly that he would
not risk a failure, kept all the staffs tuned up to concert
pitch. We saw many changes, and the best men came
to the top. His own vigour infected the whole com-



OLD BATTLEGROUNDS 11

mand, and within a short while of arriving at the
front the efficiency of the Army was considerably
increased.

The Palestine G.H.Q. was probably nearer the
battle front than any G.H.Q. in other theatres of
operations, and when the Army had broken through
and chased the enemy beyond the Jaffa- Jerusalem
line, G.H.Q. was opened at Bir Salem, near Ramleh,
and for several months was actually within reach of
the long-range guns which the Turks possessed. The
rank and file were not slow to appreciate this. They
knew their Commander-in-Chief was on the spot,
keeping his eye and hand on everything, organising
with his organisers, planning with his operation
staff, familiar with every detail of the complicated
transport system, watching his supply services with
the keenness of a quartermaster- general, and taking
that lively interest in the medical branch whrch be-
trayed an anxious desire for the welfare and health
of the men. The rank and file knew something more
than this. They saw the Commander-in-Chief at
the front every day. General Allenby did not rely
solely on reports from his corps. He went to each
section of the line himself, and before practically
every major operation he saw the ground and ex-
amined the scheme for attack. There was not a
part of the line he did not know, and no one will
contradict me when I say that the military roads in
Palestine were known by no one better than the
driver of the Commander-in-Chief's car. A man of
few words. General Allenby always said what he
meant with soldierly directness, which made the thanks
he gave a rich reward. A good piece of work brought
a written or oral message of thanks, and the men
were satisfied they had done well to deserve con-
gratulations. They were proud to have the con-



12 HOW JERUSALEM WAS WON

fidence of such a Chief and to deserve it, and they
in their turn had such unbounded faith in the miUtary
judgment of the General and in the care he took to
prevent unnecessary risk of life, that there was nothing
which he sanctioned that they would not attempt.
Such mutual confidence breeds strength, and it was
the Commander-in-Chief's example, his tact, energy,
and military genius which made his Army a potent
power for Britain and a strong pillar of the Allies'
cause.

Let it not be imagined that General Allenby in his
victorious campaign shone only as a great soldier.
He was also a great administrator. In England little
was known about this part of the General's work,
and owing to the difficulties of the task and to the
consideration which had, and still has, to be show^n to
the susceptibilities of a number of friendly nations
and peoples, it may be long before the full story of
the administration of the occupied territory in
Palestine is unfolded for general appreciation. It
is a good story, worthy of Britain's record as a pro-
tector of peoples, and though from the nature of his
conquest over the Turks in the Bible country the name
of General Allenby will adorn the pages of history
principally as a victor, it will also stand before the
governments of states as setting a model for a wise,
prudent, considerate, even benevolent, administration
of occupied enemy territory. In days when Powers
driven mad by military ambition tear up treaties as
scraps of paper. General Allenby observed the spirit as
well as the letter of the Hague Convention, and found
it possible to apply to occupied territory the prin-
ciples of administration as laid down in the Manual
of Military Law.

The natives marvelled at the change. In place of
insecurity, extortion, bribery and corruption, levies



OLD BATTLEGROUNDS 13

on labour and property and all the evils of Turkish
government, General Allenby gave the country behind
the front Hne peace, justice, fair treatment of every
race and creed, and a jQrm and equitable adminis-
tration of the law. Every man's house became his
castle. Taxes were readily paid, the tax gatherers
were honest servants, and, none of the revenue going
to keep fat pashas in luxury in Constantinople, there


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Online LibraryW. T. (William Thomas) MasseyHow Jerusalem was won : being the record of Allenby's campaign in Palestine → online text (page 1 of 21)