The Great War Part 187, March 16th 1918

4 The Great War w ady tanks into which rail-borne water was pumped from D eir el Belah. In addition to the 52nd the 53rd and the 54th Divisions Murray now had the 74th Division with the same cavalry divisions as before but he was no longer in preponderant strength ashe had been at the commencement of the first battle. The general plan was that the advance on Gaza with three infantry divisions and two cavalry divisions, should take place in two stages. The first was the occupation of the Mansura and Sheikh Abbas Ridges timed for April 17th. Then was to follow a short period of further preparation, heavy guns and fighting Tanks being brought up supplies advanced and the water supply improved. Next was to come the advance on Gaza itself. The first part of the program m e was carried out without much opposition. But there was a different story to tell concerning the second part which was the more impor­tant The 74th Division did not come into action as it was The captured ground was consolidated during April 20th and along period of trench warfare supervened lasting till near the end of October. Meanwhile General Dobell had been relieved of his command.O f this General Murray wrote :It became apparent tome that General Dobell who had suffered some weeks pre­viously from a severe touch of the sun was no longer in a fit state of health to bear the strain of further operations in the coming heat of the summer. To my great regret therefore I felt it my duty to relieve him of his command. Accord­ingly on the morning of the 21st (April) I interviewed General Dobell and informed him of m y indecision which he concurred. I then interviewed General Chetwode and instructed him to relieve General Dobell in the command of the Eastern Force. Lieut.-General Sir Philip Chetwode thus replaced General Dobell ar d this led to the promotion of Major-General Sir H. Chauvel to the command of the Desert Column— the two mounted divisions— in succession to the former while Major-General W.E .C.C haytor took C hau vels place as head of the BRITISH GOVERNOR OF JERUSALEM. Mr. Ronald Storrs C.M.G. Egyptian Civil Service appointed Governor of Jerusalem after General Allenbys capture of the city. E llio ll &Fry .Elliott A Fry. JiU io lt «Fry. Major-General W.E. C. Chaytor C.B. C.M.G. Surgeon-General J. Maher in charge Major-General Sir Henry Chauvel K.C.M.G. C.B., succeeded General Chauvel in command of the of all branches of the Medical Services succeeded General Chetwode in command of the Anzac Mounted Division. in the Palestine operations. Desert Column. MENTIONED IN PALESTINE DESPATCHES. held in reserve. The 53rd Division on the left took Salmon Ridge after severe fighting and got within three miles of Gaza along the coast. But the 52nd and 54th Divisions to which were assigned the assault on Ali Muntar now made into a much more formidable fortress than in the first battle were unable to make much headway owing to the accurate fire of the Turks. Such successes as were gained could not be wholly maintained. The fight was continued all day. In the afternoon General Murray instructed General Dobell to hold what ground had been gained, with a view to afresh assault on MAli untar next day. But Dobell backed up b y General Chetwode and all the divisional commanders sent word to Murray th a the was strongly of the opinion that the resumption of the attack did not offer sufficient prospect of success to justify the very heavy casualties which must be expected. General Murray gave way so far as the suggested attack was concerned. Anzac Mounted Division the "steps ”got b y these fine cavalry leaders being thoroughly well deserved. It had to be said however that it was passing strange that General Murray had not discovered that the health of General Dobell unfitted him for further operations until after the second battle was lo stand perhaps it was not alto­gether astonishing that Murray himself was replaced though that was not announced till about ten weeks later. One of the most satisfactory things Min urrays despatch was his unstinted admiration of the magnificent work of all the fighting troops before Gaza. No praise he said could be too high for the gallantry and steadfastness of the cavalry infantry artillery Royal Flying Corps and all other units which took part in the two battles. He particularly commended the 52nd, 53rd and 54th Divisions which, since their reorganisation after the operations in the Dardanelles he declared had improved out of allY evo n e.d BRILLIANT YEOMANRY LEADER. Lieut.-Colonel H.A. Gray Cheape leader of a brilliant charge of Yeomanry in Palestine early in November 1917.
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