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Remembered Today:

52nd (Lowland) Division – Crossing the Auja


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There has been no work this month. No ladders or scaffolding to climb, and no meager sandwich for lunch, so I have been trying to keep the sexagenarian bod fit by a return to my jogging routine. This is my course; yesterday, today and tomorrow.

BirdHeadPark1917.jpg

I park the car near the narrowest part of the bird's neck and cross the river to the north bank, turning east to walk briskly as far as the beginning of the last bend seen on the right. I then double back at the trot and continue at the jog until I reach the weir again. I do not re-cross the river here, but continue at a brisk walk around the bird's head, stopping at the beginning of its beak to use the park's exercise machines; trying to keep the arms as fit as the legs. Then it's off to the tip of the beak where I cross the river by a footbridge and then trot back to the car.

As you will have guessed the photomontage was not made for my benefit, but for that of General Hill and the 52nd (Lowland) Division whose remarkable exploit took place exactly 93 years ago.

Auja20-21Dec17.jpg

From 'How Jerusalem Was Won' by W. T. Massey; Chapter XVII A Great Feat of War

"The officer who was mainly responsible for the success of the Auja crossing was Major-General J. Hill, D.S.O., A.D.C., commanding the 52nd Division. His plan was agreed to by General Bulfin, although the Corps Commander had doubts about the possibility of its success, and had his own scheme ready to be put into instant operation if General Hill's failed. In the state of the weather General Hill's own brigadiers were not sanguine, and they were the most loyal and devoted officers a divisional commander ever had. But despite the most unfavourable conditions, calling for heroic measures on the part of officers and men alike to gain their objectives through mud and water and over ground that was as bad as it could be, the movements of the troops worked to the clock. One brigade's movements synchronised with those of another, and the river was crossed, commanding positions were seized, and bridges were built with an astoundingly small loss to ourselves. The Lowland Scots worked as if at sport, and they could not have worked longer or stronger if the whole honour of Scotland had depended upon their efforts. At a later date, when digging at Arsuf, these Scots came across some marble columns which had graced a hall when Apollonia was in its heyday. The glory of Apollonia has long vanished, but if in that age of warriors there had been a belief that those marble columns would some day be raised as monuments to commemorate a great operation of war the ancients would have had a special veneration for them. Three of the columns marked the spots where the Scots spanned the river, and it is a pity they cannot tell the full story to succeeding generations.

The river Auja is a perennial stream emptying itself into the blue Mediterranean waters four miles north of Jaffa. Its average width is forty yards and its depth ten feet, with a current running at about three miles an hour. Till we crossed it the river was the boundary between the British and Turkish armies in this sector, and all the advantage of observation was on the northern bank. From it the town of Jaffa and its port were in danger, and the main road between Jaffa and Ramleh was observed and under fire. The village of Sheikh Muannis, about two miles inland, stood on a high mound commanding the ground south of the river, and from Hadrah you could keep the river in sight in its whole winding course to the sea. All this high ground concealed an entrenched enemy; on the southern side of the river the Turks were on Bald Hill, and held a line of trenches covering the Jewish colony of Mulebbis and Fejja. A bridge and a mill dam having been destroyed during winter the only means of crossing was by a ford three feet deep at the mouth, an uncertain passage because the sand bar over which one could walk shifted after heavy rain when the stream was swollen with flood water. Reconnaissances at the river mouth were carried out with great daring. As I said, all the southern approaches to the river were commanded by the Turks on the northern bank, who were always alert, and the movement of one man in the Auja valley was generally the signal for artillery activity. So often did the Turkish gunners salute the appearance of a single British soldier that the Scots talked of the enemy 'sniping' with guns. To reconnoitre the enemy's positions by daylight was hazardous work, and the Scots had to obtain their first-hand knowledge of the river and the approaches to it in the dark hours.

An officers' patrol swam the river one night, saw what the enemy was doing, and returned unobserved. A few nights afterwards two officers swam out to sea across the river mouth and crept up the right bank of the stream within the enemy's lines to ascertain the locality of the ford and its exact width and depth. They also learnt that there were no obstacles placed across the ford, which was three feet deep in normal times and five feet under water after rains. It was obvious that bridges would be required, and it was decided to force the passage of the river in the dark hours by putting covering troops across to the northern bank, and by capturing the enemy's positions to form a bridgehead while pontoon bridges were being constructed for the use of guns and the remainder of the Division.

Time was all-important. December and January are the wettest months of the season at Jaffa, and after heavy rains the Auja valley becomes little better than a marsh, so that a small amount of traffic will cut up the boggy land into an almost impassable condition.

The XXIst Corps' plan was as follows: At dawn on December 21 a heavy bombardment was to open on all the enemy's trenches covering the crossings, the fire of heavy guns to be concentrated on enemy batteries and strong positions in the rear, while ships of the Royal Navy bombarded two strong artillery positions at Tel el Rekket and El Jelil, near the coast. When darkness fell covering troops were to be ferried across the river, and then light bridges would be constructed for the passage of larger units charged with the task of getting the Turks out of their line from Hadrah, through El Mukras to Tel el Rekket. After these positions had been gained the engineers were to build pontoon bridges to carry the remainder of the Division and guns on the night of the 22nd-23rd December, in time to advance at daylight on the 23rd to secure a defensive line from Tel el Mukhmar through Sheikh el Ballatar to Jelil. On the right of the 52nd Division the 54th Division was to attack Bald Hill on the night of 21st-22nd December, and on the following morning assault the trench system covering Mulebbis and Fejja; then later in the day to advance to Rantieh, while the 75th Division farther east was to attack Bireh and Beida. This plan was given to divisional commanders at a conference in Jaffa on December 12. Two days later General Hill submitted another scheme which provided for a surprise attack by night with no naval or land artillery bombardment, such a demonstration being likely to attract attention. General Hill submitted his proposals in detail. General Bulfin gave the plan most careful consideration, but decided that to base so important an operation on the success of a surprise attack was too hazardous, and he adhered to his scheme of a deliberate operation to be carried through systematically. He, however, gave General Hill permission to carry out his surprise attack on the night of December 20, but insisted that the bombardment should begin according to programme at daylight on the 21st unless the surprise scheme was successful.

A brigade of the 54th Division and the 1st Australian Light Horse Brigade relieved the Scots in the trenches for three nights before the attempt. Every man in the Lowland Division entered upon the work of preparation with whole-hearted enthusiasm. There was much to be done and materials were none too plentiful. Pontoons were wired for and reached Jaffa on the 16th. There was little wood available, and some old houses in Jaffa were pulled down to supply the Army's needs. The material was collected in the orange groves around the German colony at Sarona, a northern suburb of Jaffa, and every man who could use a tool was set to work to build a framework of rectangular boats to a standard design, and on this framework of wood tarpaulins and canvas were stretched. These boats were light in structure, and were so designed that working parties would be capable of transferring them from their place of manufacture to the river bank. Each boat was to carry twenty men fully armed and equipped over the river. They became so heavy with rain that they in fact only carried sixteen men. The boat builders worked where enemy airmen could not see them, and when the craft were completed the troops were practised at night in embarking and ferrying across a waterwayfor this purpose the craft were put on a big pondand in cutting a path through thick cactus hedges in the dark. During these preparations the artillery was also active. They took their guns up to forward positions during the night, and before the date of the attack there was a bombardment group of eight 6-inch howitzers and a counter battery group of ten 60-pounders and one 6-inch Mark VII. gun in concealed positions, and the artillery dumps had been filled with 400 rounds for each heavy gun and 700 rounds for each field piece. The weather on the 18th, 19th, and 20th December was most unfavourable. Rain was continuous and the valley of the Auja became a morass. The luck of the weather was almost always against General Allenby's Army, and the troops had become accustomed to fighting the elements as well as the Turks, but here was a situation where rain might have made all the difference between success and failure. General Bulfin saw General Hill and his brigadiers on the afternoon of the 20th. The brigadiers were depressed owing to the floods and the state of the ground, because it was then clear that causeways would have to be made through the mud to the river banks. General Hill remained enthusiastic and hopeful and, the Corps Commander supporting him, it was decided to proceed with the operation. For several nights, with the object of giving the enemy the impression of a nightly strafe, there had been artillery and machine-gun demonstrations occurring about the same time and lasting as long as those planned for the night of the crossing. After dusk on December 20 there was a big movement behind our lines. The ferrying and bridging parties got on the move, each by their particular road, and though the wind was searchingly cold and every officer and man became thoroughly drenched, there was not a sick heart in the force. The 157th Brigade proceeded to the ford at the mouth of the Auja, the 156th Brigade advanced towards the river just below Muannis, and the 155th Brigade moved up to the mill and dam at Jerisheh, where it was to secure the crossing and then swing to the right to capture Hadrah. The advance was slow, but that the Scots were able to move at all is the highest tribute to their determination. The rain-soaked canvas of the boats had so greatly added to their weight that the parties detailed to carry them from the Sarona orange orchards found the task almost beyond their powers. The bridge rafts for one of the crossings could not be got up to the river bank because the men were continually slipping in the mud under the heavy load, and the attacking battalion at this spot was ferried over in coracles. On another route a section carrying a raft lost one of its number, who was afterwards found sunk in mud up to his outstretched arms. The tracks were almost impassable, and a Lancashire pioneer battalion was called up to assist in improving them. The men became caked with mud from steel helmet to boots, and the field guns which had to be hauled by double teams were so bespattered that there was no need for camouflage. In those strenuous hours of darkness the weather continued vile, and the storm wind flung the frequent heavy showers with cutting force against the struggling men. The covering party which was to cross at the ford found the bar had shifted under the pressure of flood water and that the marks put down to direct the column had been washed away. The commanding officer reconnoitred, getting up to his neck in water, and found the ford considerably out of position and deeper than he had hoped, but he brought his men together in fours and, ordering each section to link arms to prevent the swirling waters carrying them out to sea, led them across without a casualty. In the other places the covering parties of brigades began to be ferried over at eight o'clock. The first raft-loads were paddled across with muffled oars. A line was towed behind the boats, and this being made fast on either side of the river the rafts crossed and recrossed by haulage on the rope, in order that no disturbance on the surface by oars on even such a wild night should cause an alarm. As soon as the covering parties were over, light bridges to carry infantry in file were constructed by lashing the rafts together and placing planks on them. One of these bridges was burst by the strength of the current, but the delay thus caused mattered little as the surprise was complete. When the bridges of rafts had been swung and anchored, blankets and carpets were laid upon them to deaden the fall of marching feet, and during that silent tramp across the rolling bridges many a keen-witted Scot found it difficult to restrain a laugh as he trod on carpets richer by far than any that had lain in his best parlour at home. He could not see the patterns, but rightly guessed that they were picked out in the bright colours of the East, and the muddy marks of war-travelled men were left on them without regret, for the carpets had come from German houses in Sarona. How perfectly the operation was conductednoiselessly, swiftly, absolutely according to time-tablemay be gathered from the fact that two officers and sixteen Turks were awakened in their trench dug-outs at the ford by the river mouth two hours after we had taken the trenches. The officers resisted and had to be killed. Two miles behind the river the Lowlanders captured the whole garrison of a post near the sea, none of whom had the slightest idea that the river had been crossed. An officer commanding a battalion at Muannis was taken in his bed, whilst another commanding officer had the surprise of his life on being invited to put his hands up in his own house. He looked as if he had just awakened from a nightmare. In one place some Turks on being attacked with the bayonet shouted an alarm and one of the crossings was shelled, but its position was immediately changed and the passage of the river continued without interruption. The whole of the Turkish system covering the river, trenches well concealed in the river banks and in patches of cultivated land, were rushed in silence and captured. Muannis was taken at the point of the bayonet, the strong position at Hadrah was also carried in absolute silence, and at daylight the whole line the Scots had set out to gain was won and the assailants were digging themselves in. And the price of their victory? The Scots had 8 officers and 93 other ranks casualties. They buried over 100 Turkish dead and took 11 officers and 296 other ranks prisoners, besides capturing ten machine guns.

The forcing of the passage of the Auja was a magnificent achievement, planned with great ability by General Hill and carried out with that skill and energy which the brigadiers, staff, and all ranks of the Division showed throughout the campaign. One significant fact serves to illustrate the Scots' discipline. Orders were that not a shot was to be fired except by the guns and machine guns making their nightly strafe. Death was to be dealt out with the bayonet, and though the Lowlanders were engaged in a life and death struggle with the Turks, not a single round of rifle ammunition was used by them till daylight came, when, as a keen marksman said, they had some grand running-man practice. During the day some batteries got to the north bank by way of the ford, and two heavy pontoon bridges were constructed and a barrel bridge, which had been put together in a wadi flowing into the Auja, was floated down and placed in position. There was a good deal of shelling by the Turks, but they fired at our new positions and interfered but little with the bridge construction."

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The start and finish point of my jog

Water-MillsontheAuja.jpg

... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ...

Although on the southern bank, the 155th Brigade's column just about marks my eastern turning point.

GenHillsColumnCrossingAuja.jpg

As you can see the column is still well looked after today

155thBrigadeMemorialCrossingAuja.jpg

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I believe that this is the barrel bridge which was assembled in the tributary and then floated up into the Auja, entering the main river at the tip of the bird's beak

BridgeatMuannis.jpg

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As is so often the case, I knew nothing of this, so have thoroughly enjoyed reading it all, and also looking at the pictures.

Just one question.....who is your friend in the trilby admiring the column?

:devilgrin:

Bruce

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Bruce,

Thanks for your comments and interest here. Truth to tell, I have posted these pics here previously on the GWF, but that was some years ago now (and I did say I was jogging the memory)

The chap in the long coat, bears something of a resemblance to other photographs that I have seen of Dr Haim Weizmann. However I can put it no stronger than that and as far as I recall I have not seen him or the second fellow positively identified anywhere.

By the way, I jog in a baseball cap

best regards

Michael

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This is my first contribution here, so I'll try my best to keep it short and simple. Bare in mind that English is not my mother tongue.

About two years ago, I stumbled upon an old, corroded unspent cartridge on a sandy hill not far from where I live - right at the northern edge of Tel Aviv, Israel. It started a long exploration voyage into the past of the surrounding area. I now know that that hill was Tel Rekkeit, and that cartridge was a 7.92mm Turkish Mauser round.

Tel Rekkeit was taken swiftly during the Auja crossing - 93 years ago, this week. While the three crossing points are well known and marked by monuments as Michael had shown, amazingly this virtually untouched battlefield, which is now enclaved within beach resorts and luxury apartment blocks, is unknown.

During my numerous visits there I found many finds - from utility and service buttons to spent and unspent ammunition to artillery fuzes. The photo I'm linking here is a small example: after recent several days of heavy rains and strong winds, the top layer of one of the sand dunes has been swept away, leaving - at one point - a trail of spent .303 cartridges, presumably portraying a charging soldier's path. There are five cartridges in this photo, out of a total of 11 found on this spot.

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Sandhills,

Welcome to the Great War Forum and thanks for your interesting post above;

I must get out of the park more and explore a little further north

best regards

Michael

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Dear Michael,

Having taken a look, I can see other photos online that show the man in your pic does indeed looks like Dr. Weizmann.

An Interesting and very bright man. It is said that during his time at manchester University he spoke at length with Arthur balfour, particularly during the 1908 election campaign, eventually converting the MP to the idea of a Zionist homeland. Although one plan was for such a homeland in Uganda (a Jewish Idi Amin???)eventually the plan was dropped, and then the Balfour Declaration. It would be nice to be able to tie down the photo.

Bruce

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Sandhills,

Welcome to the Great War Forum and thanks for your interesting post above;

I must get out of the park more and explore a little further north

best regards

Michael

Thanks!

I am documenting my findings and my travels between old battlefields in a small blog. It's written in Hebrew, but I've checked Google Translate and found that the outcome is quite fathomable.

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It is said that during his time at manchester University he spoke at length with Arthur balfour, particularly during the 1908 election campaign, eventually converting the MP to the idea of a Zionist homeland. Although one plan was for such a homeland in Uganda (a Jewish Idi Amin???)eventually the plan was dropped, and then the Balfour Declaration. It would be nice to be able to tie down the photo

Bruce,

I have to admit to a degree of ignorance about Weizmann & Balfour, though I do have Jill Hamilton's book 'God, Guns and Israel – Britain, the First World War and the Jews in the Holy Land' which provides some ideas on the subject

Hamilton has it that the Weizmann/Balfour meeting was in 1906, and that Balfour quizzed the doctor on why the Uganda project had fallen through. (By the way, a certain Welsh lawyer [and budding MP] was apparently involved with the legal side of the Ugandan idea – in the shape of Messrs. Lloyd George, Roberts and Company)

Weizmann's reply to Balfour was to compare the Jerusalem of the first millennia BC, with the city of London in those very same years. Only then did Balfour understand the gravity of the matter.

Hamilton also points out that the African idea was not the first option provided by the British. Apparently in 1902 Chamberlain had proposed a settlement near el Arish in the Sinai, but this idea was vetoed by Lord Cromer. The Ugandan proposal then came up in April 1903.

To return to that photograph: Benjamin Kedar uses the same picture in his book 'The Changing Land Between the Jordan and the Sea' but without identifying the two men shown. I thus find myself in good company in not being certain of their identity.

Happy Christmas

Michael

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Sandhills,

Thanks for the link to your blog. You are having a good time there and covering a lot of ground too; on the coastal plain and in the hills.

My Hebrew is not good enough to read this, so, as recommended, I used the Google translation. If anyone else does the same, then I should mention a couple of things:

The Hebrew word for Bullet also translates as Ball

Likewise, the Hebrew word for Cartridge Case, also translates as Backpack

One other point which I want to make, is with reference to your entry dated 13 December 2010, where beneath the photographs of the 'Kinock' 1915, the clip of five, etc., you mention Australians and New Zealanders. I feel that it is much more likely that it was the Scotsmen of the 52nd (Lowland) Division, as outlined in the earlier part of this thread.

An easy mistake to make, and one made previously by TA City Hall. For example, a few years back when Tel Aviv was renovating the promenade by the Reading power station, we sent e-mails from this forum to help persuade them to correct the old inscription beneath the 157th Brigade's column

This is the old, incorrect, inscription referring to the 52nd Division as Australian TelAvivMunicipalityPlaque157thBriga.jpg

And this is the new plaque with the corrected wordingNewplaqueforthe157thBrigadescolumn.jpg

Thanks again for sharing your battlefield finds with us, and I look forward to hearing more from you in the future.

With best regards

Michael

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Mike

GPS what's that? I'm still complaining about the change to fragile paper from the good old linen-backed stuff. I put in your coordinates and got somewhere else having said that I regret that I cannot find how to give you the correct ones here (I am guessing that you used the name of the river as a ref., but today it is known as the Yarkon)

I can however, show you the sat.map of the area of the 1917 battle field, giving you an idea of how it looks today, so that you can compare it to the map in post #1.

Basically, this is the northern half of Tel Aviv. The beach where Sandhills finds his cartridge cases etc if just off the map a little further to the north

Thanks for your interest

Michael

MapModern52ndDivAujaCrossing0001.jpg

scale - the above is about 3.85kms from side to side

Edited by michaeldr
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  • 2 weeks later...

Nine months later and the Bavarian reconnaissance squadron was photographing the 'bird head'

see http://www.gda.bayern.de/bestaende/viewer/viewer.php?show=/bestaende/palaestina/bayhsta_bs_palaestina_0070

no doubt looking for signs of a build-up behind the allied lines. Less than a couple of weeks after this photograph was taken, Allenby would commence his final push.

Wavell notes in his 'The Palestine Campaigns' that "Three complete divisions (4th Cavalry, Australian Mounted and 60th) and many batteries and other units had to be moved from the Jordan Valley and Judean Hills to the coastal area. All moves were made by night and with all possible secrecy. The issue of written orders was strictly limited. The olive woods and orange groves north of Jaffa were used to hide the increased troops………..

………The success of the measures taken to prevent the enemy becoming aware of the plan was proved by an enemy intelligence summary subsequently captured. This document, dated September 17th, showed that the concentration on the coast was quite unsuspected …"

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  • 1 year later...

I missed 'jogging the memory' on the right date this year as, like 1917, it has been very wet here recently. This morning however I was back on the routine circuit. The recent rain is still draining down the river and the usual crossing point at the weir (see post No.2) was awash, so a detour was added to the usual route.

The winter here brings visits by a number of cormorants who fish the river and then dry themselves in the dead tops of the bank-side gum trees. They make a nice addition to the bird life and will be missed when they move on again in the spring.

The other notable sighting this morning was a large jackal attempting a break from the cover of a thicket and heading for the river bank. It got so far, then spotted the joggers and cyclists, and did a smart about turn for the thicket. No doubt waiting there until we had all passed along the track before making its way down, for a drink perhaps. I know that urban foxes are a problem in some parts of Europe, but 2012 is the first time in over a decade of jogging here, that I have seen these animals appear in this park in broad daylight. Earlier this year I saw two half grown pups out exploring, and on another occasion an adult examining a waste bin to check for any scraps leftover by the weekend picnickers.

Here's hoping to be jogging the memory again in 2013 and looking forward to being surprised again by the park's residents.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi Vince & Michael,

Wow! Fascinating – Same like Michael, never seen this one before (What's the source?). The place looks like "Seven Mills", which fits these land-features.

Now the question is:

Is this the plan for one of the two eastern passing spots (I doubt that, as the Night-Crossing spots were West and East from Seven Mills) or of another Bridge which was erected the following days. Some years ago I dealt in-depth with the crossing and although the material is not in front of me – I do remember something about a bridge that was built there after the night of the crossing.

Eran

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Eran,

You’re right that it is a map or plan of the Seven Mills. My question is, why did they need a bridge there when the aerial reconnaissance of 10th December 1917 shows one already in position? See post #1. One answer may be that the aerial shot shows a foot bridge, and this plan may show something larger, perhaps even capable of taking wheeled traffic.

[note: This plan has nothing to do with the barrel bridge seen in post #3: that is, I believe, the one which was constructed in the tributary and then floated down into a position half way to the sea: opposite what is today still known as General Hill Square.]

Looking at the British Official History’s map, also seen in post #1, it seems to indicate that this pontoon bridge was in fact built, however that may well have taken place after the crossing on the night of 20-21 December 1917. Indeed, you will also note from the OH map that there are no march-routes marked as approaching or leading from this pontoon bridge. This seems to confirm that it was not used on the night of the Crossing of the Auja.

best regards

Michael

edit to add: Eran, how are you managing with the flooding? I have not been jogging the memory this week because of the bad storms, but my stiffness tells me I am going to have to get back to the battle-field next week, whatever the weather.

Edited by michaeldr
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Re-reading the above account by Massey (see post #1), I note that he mentions “A bridge and a mill dam having been destroyed during winter.”

It is not clear if this refers to Jerishe (Seven Mills) but it may well do and this could account for them having to construct a new bridge there.

I also note that at the end of the passage quoted, Massey refers to the building of pontoon bridges in the day(s) after the ‘Crossing’

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In 2007 I posted on this subject for the 90th anniversary - see

which includes details of the orders for the operation on 20-21 December 1917

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On 10/01/2013 at 18:34, michaeldr said:

note: This plan has nothing to do with the barrel bridge seen in post #3: that is, I believe, the one which was constructed in the tributary and then floated down into a position half way to the sea: opposite what is today still known as General Hill Square.

 

This old thread shows the memorial column put up in General Hill Square

 

 

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Hi Michael,

What a great sketch Vince sent (I wonder what's the source)! I think the bridge & mill dam destroyed relate to Ten Mills (Hadra bridge). Look at the details of the 1st crossing of the Auja in November. I don't know of any bridge at Jerishe prior to the British one. I believe the sketch relates to the bridge constructed right after the crossing, after the dominating Sh. Muwannis (Ramat-Aviv ridge) was in British (Scottish) hands. I don't know if that's the one which was constructed in the tributary (Musrara or Ayalon) or not – I tend to agree with you it's probably not.

By the way: Do you know who are the gentlemen in the photo of the 155th brigade's column?

Weather: Lucky for me, I was not in the Modiin Mall when it was flooded… I took the opportunity today to "chase" some of the water-flows of the upper tributaries of the Auja – Lots of water coming down your way…

Best regards and hope to see you again soon,

Eran

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Eran,

I think that you are correct in this case [I think the bridge & mill dam destroyed relate to Ten Mills (Hadra bridge)] A glance at the OH map confirms the Hadra Bridge 'Destroyed'

However here [I don't know of any bridge at Jerishe prior to the British one] I must refer you back to the opening post and the aerial photograph taken on 10th December 1917 for the planning of the 'Crossing 20-21DEC1917' which clearly shows a 'Foot Bridge' at Jerishe

BirdHeadPark1917CROPII.jpg

“I believe the sketch relates to the bridge constructed right after the crossing, after the dominating Sh. Muwannis (Ramat-Aviv ridge) was in British (Scottish) hands.”

I think we may be able to agree here, though I would like to hear from our Pals down-under on this point.

Perhaps over the weekend I may get a chance to take a leisurely look around (instead of striding quickly on my way) However I am sure that the ramp on the north bank is still to be seen today, though for which bridge this was excavated (the original foot bridge or the later pontoon bridge) I cannot say: looking at the aerial does not give too many clues on this point.

Regarding the two gentlemen – Bruce and I are persuaded that Dr Haim Weizmann is a likely candidate for one of them; see posts Nos. 5 & 8 above

Glad to hear that you are dry at home

Best regards

Michael

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