National Geographic : 1918 Oct
THE NATIONAL GEOG comfortable train at the canal base camp, Kantara, and arrive early the next morn ing in Jerusalem. This quick and comfortable trip has been made possible by the last Crusaders, many of whom sleep beneath the lonely crosses that mark the road from the Suez Canal to the gates of the Holy City. On December 5 the British forces had fought forward to a line from Neby Samwil to a position opposite Ain Karim, a distance of just under five miles. Neby Samwil is 2,935 feet above sea level and quite the highest point in the vicinity of Jerusalem. It is about four and a half miles from the north wall of the city. Ain Karim, the traditional birthplace of John the Baptist, is about four miles slightly to the southwest of Jerusalem. HOW THE ATTACK WAS LAUNCHED The actual attack on Jerusalem was begun on the morning of December 8. Unfortunately, on December 7 it had be gun to rain, and there was a deluge for three days, as it was the rainy season. Mist and fog hung over the hills and made aeroplane observation practically impossible. The rain also made the roads almost impassable for mechanical transport and the camels were useless. The troops had been moved up in the same clothing they had worn in the desert campaign-khaki drill and shorts-and the men suffered severely from the intense cold. The general who commanded the 6oth division told me that on the night of De cember 7 he'had brought up from Jaffa all the oranges he could get, and then went among the troops and threw the fruit on the ground and made the men scramble for it as they would in a foot ball game, to get them warmed up. The only food the troops had was bully beef and biscuits. But in spite of cold, rain, and rough food, they were all ex ceedingly keen to go forward. Every soldier, that cold, rainy December night, seemed to be inspired with the spirit of the old Crusaders, as he went forward, singing, to the attack. About midnight the British forces reached the position of deployment and the attack began. By dawn they had cap- GRAPHIC MAGAZINE 331 tured all of their first objectives. It is impossible to speak of this attack as a charge, because, as I went over all the ground, I found it was quite difficult even to crawl up the side of the hill. Their last objective lay quite a little way out of the city. It was an old fac tory on top of the hill, in which there had been installed a large number of ma chine guns, which swept the slopes. At 8 o'clock on the morning of De cember 8, the British left the Turkish trenches they had captured and made for the factory. The only cover was the big rocks on the hillside, and they went for ward in the style of the old Indian fighter. At 4 o'clock that afternoon they made a final rush and seized the crest. At 5 o'clock the assailants were in possession, and this practically meant the capture of Jerusalen, as there were no more com manding heights to which the Turks could retire. THE SURRENDER OF THE CITY On the morning of December 9, Pri vates H. E. Church and R. W. J. An drew, of the 220th London Regiment, sighted a white flag outside of Jerusalem. The news was immediately wired back to Major General Shea, who at once wired General Allenby. General Allenby telegraphed: "Go for ward at once and receive the surrender of the city in my name." General Shea immediately went for ward and from the acting mayor and chief of police he received the surrender of Jerusalem. Of course, it was received outside the city wall. At noon on December II General Al lenby made his official entry into Jerusa lem through the small, narrow Jaffa Gate, on foot, in his ordinary active serv ice uniform, without even the display of military medals. What a contrast to the entry of the Kaiser, when he made his pilgrimage to Jerusalem in 1898! His agents had the Turks tear down a part of the city walls near the Jaffa Gate so that he could ad vance through a passage made solely for himself, and on horseback he entered, with all the pomp and glory and display of wealth that the Teutonic mind could conceive.