The Great War Part 187, March 16th 1918

2 The Great War Egyptian official photo gap h .BY ONE OF SOLOMONS POOLS. British soldiers pumping water from a Palestine well known as Solomons Pool. Beersheba otherwise B ir Saba, the Turkish base on his right. His further operations depended on the continuation of the line northwards. To protect its construction towards Gaza b they occupation of theW ady Ghuzzeh or River of Gaza five miles south of that famous town, and also to capture the town itself Murray had attacked the Turks on March 26th and 27th but after achieving considerable success he was able only to attain the former object. Another effort was made on April 17 th and 19th, but though some ground was gained the town remained in the hands of the enemy. Known as the First and Second Battles of Gaza these operations were for several months shrouded in much unnecessary mystery. When the facts were published however it looked rather as if they had been upheld with a ‘view to keeping bad news from the public— at least till more cheering tidings of later movements could be communicated. The enemy knew what had taken place and Murrays despatch through the publication of his official about Gaza telegram son the first battle everyone was aware that he claimed a victory. A t the time it was very generally believed that the victory was to be credited to Murray and his men who had received the congratulations of King George on their success. A fterwards as was observed in Chapter C X C V .(Vol. 10 page 87) a much less optimistic opinion came to beheld and this opinion was strengthened b y what came out from unofficial sources about the second battle. It was not however until November 20th more than seven months after the second battle that the War Office revealed what had actually occurred b y publishing a lengthy despatch from General Murray dated June 28th and covering both battles. Meanwhile Murray had been superseded b y Allen by and the situation in Palestine British official photo graph .WINDING WAYS IN THE HOLY LAND. British Yeomanry marching through the Judean foot-hills during the advance 011 Jerusalem. An officer was himself photographed while photographing the column of mounted officers dismounted Yeomanry, and transport waggons as they wound their throughway the stony country. The British force consisted of three infantry divisions— the 52nd the 53rd and the 54th —and two cavalry divisions the Anzac Mounted Division and the Imperial Mounted Division besides the Imperial Camel Corps. The Turks had between two and three divisions the greater part of their troops being some distance from Gaza but not so far from it as to forbid the speedy sending of reinforcements to its assistance. In addition to the handicaps of the two hours fog in the early morning and the lack of water as the day wore on, which had been reported previously as the reasons why the town had not been captured it was tolerably plain that if the cavalry work was brilliant the infantry were not handled very well though they fought magnificently. It turned out that as night had fallen on March 26th, Gaza had been enveloped b they British— this was fresh news. The AMounted nzacs were round the place on the north and struggling gallantly through its thick cactus hedges were infighting its streets. The 53rd Division was occupying the formidable MAli untar position which it had stormed but on its right flank only a thin line of now unmistakably favoured the British arms. B u tit was seen that M urrays despatch dealing with the period from March 1st to June 28th confirmed not the official but the unofficial inversions circulation and this led to much pointed criticism of the Government and the War Office. Further M urrays appointment to the Aldershot Command on his return to London was also the subject of comment both in the House of Commons and in the newspapers. FromM urrays despatch it was clear in the first place that when on March 26th the First Battle of Gaza began General D obell, who was in local command was in strength superior to the enemy.
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