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With the London Regiment in the Middle East, 1917: Accounts of the 60th Division During the Palestine Campaign in the First World War----London Men in Palestine by Rowlands Coldicott & The Taking of Jerusalem by Edmund Dane

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With the London Regiment in the Middle East, 1917: Accounts of the 60th Division During the Palestine Campaign in the First World War----London Men in Palestine by Rowlands Coldicott & The Taking of Jerusalem by Edmund Dane
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Author(s): Rowlands Coldicott & Edmund Dane
Date Published: 2021/12
Page Count: 204
Softcover ISBN-13: 978-1-915234-31-5
Hardcover ISBN-13: 978-1-915234-30-8

A personal account and description of the campaign to take Jerusalem

This first- hand account by an officer of the London Regiment recounts the war the infantry of the 60th Division knew during the campaign in the Middle East against the Ottoman Turkish Empire during the First World War. Coldicott’s narrative begins in November, 1917, after the capture of the wells and materiel at Sheria and the fall of Gaza. The reader accompanies the Londoners as they march northwards across the plains to the Judean Hills and on towards Jerusalem. The final part of Coldicott’s narrative concerns the taking of Jerusalem, and he describes the assault on the Mount of Olives up to the moment when he is wounded in the arm. Coldicott’s account is full of acute observation and dialogue that brings the personalities of his Londoners vividly to life. As the author’s experiences were cut short by his wound this unique Leonaur edition also includes a description of the fall of Jerusalem, when Allenby symbolically entered the city on foot through the Jaffa Gate, by military historian Edmund Dane. Illustrated with maps and photographs.

Leonaur editions are newly typeset and are not facsimiles; each title is available in softcover and hardback with dustjacket.

We had scarcely passed the scattered stone houses that marked the beginning of Kulonieh, when the head of the column suddenly left the road and turned at right angles southward, in the very opposite direction to that we had expected to take. Most of the events of this wonderful day are clear and fresh in my memory, but a slight haze has gathered round these moments, and I cannot exactly call to mind the look of the piece of country where we turned off. It was a track that led downwards, I think between rough stone walls.
On the left, as we drew away from the road, in a partially enclosed field dotted with trees, the officers and some of the men of our field ambulance watched us go by. The colonel, who had been with the brigade ever since we left Salisbury Plain and now knew many of the officers personally, gave me a nod and a smile. This turning off the road, though the picture is smudged a little, has a peculiar interest for me now, and I find a dramatic value in it and the colonel’s friendly recognition.
“You looked frightfully done up,” he said afterwards. “I didn’t think you were going to last.”
These signals of distress, hoisted unawares, found no corresponding emblems in the mind. Tired and worn, like most of us, I felt that morning an exultant gladness, and strode up and down, shepherding my part of the column with a heart that leapt with excitement and sense of adventure. For now, the track had become a stony footpath, and we knew that we were descending into a wonderful gorge. Orchards lay at its wide entrance; already we were passing in amongst them; on either side the ground sloped upwards; we continued on our gradual descent. Trees were all about us, and our eyes, long accustomed to rocky summits, now fed delightedly upon patches of unexpected fertility.
The Bible country, someone remarked, was at last coming up to scratch. Everywhere little low walls, running up and down in the most haphazard fashion, divided the general sweep of trees and arable into what the parlance of our time would call holdings. The soil was still stony and of a reddish colour, but it showed occasionally promise of something richer. There were hints of that dark, fine mould, very fertile, always discoverable in volcanic regions. The morning was fine and clear, the air sharp and thin; Nature, fresh from her bath, seemed to have been born again.
The gorge was so closed in that we could not see the full extent of it, but felt rather than knew that on both sides of us, beyond the olives, were great upright cliffs of rock that held us as in the half-closed palm of a giant. Very little creatures we seemed to ourselves, hurrying in single file along the bottom. Presently the first halt came, and as we rested, the sun shot a few pale yellow shafts in on us, brightening everything and sending a gentle warmth. Enraptured at the strange beauty of the scene, and tuned up by the dry, bracing air, I turned to Temple and made some cheerful remark. But he was in a most unhappy frame of mind, shivering with cold and full of despondency.
“I wish we could go on again,” he said; “the sooner we get out of this beastly place the better!”
Poor Temple! I can still see his white, unhappy face as he sat hunched up, shuddering, on a large stone.
The gorge was about two miles long, but our journey through it, if turns and twists are to be taken into account, must have been nearly double that distance. After a time, we crossed over the bed of a torrent, a mass of large white stones worn smooth by the passage of water, but now, to my amazement, dry. The thirsty soil of Palestine had sucked up all the rain fallen during the last three days: clearly there was still an enormous quantity to come.
For some time, we followed a narrow path, right up against the right-hand wall of the gorge; then it bent to the left, and the torrent, or wadi-bed, had to be crossed again. The pace was increasing. I was anxious not to lose touch with the company in front, for no one had any idea where the battalion was going; it was at these crossings, where the going was of special difficulty, that the men had to be hurried up, “boosted along,” as we called it.
Jackson was doing his old turn, rounding up stragglers, giving an eye to the mules and to that epic steed, the famous “Marie Lloyd,” my dear old ugly mare, who, bored and indifferent to the whole proceeding, her bones sticking through her skin, was being blithely lugged onward in the rear of everything by Henson, my rapscallion groom. Standing by the wadi-bed, I dealt with the men in turn, cheering and exhorting them, sometimes blaming, letting off small jokes, making facetious allusions to their known characteristics, all for the sole purpose of increasing the pace. At last, all but the stragglers were over, and I ran forward to see what was happening in front.

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