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Remembered Today:

52nd (Lowland) Division – Crossing the Auja


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Rod,

 

The RE brought most of their bridge building material from Egypt; 12 pontoons and 6 Weldon trestles arrived on the 17th December 1917. The barrel-pier bridges however would have been constructed from locally available material

 

The German colony at Sarona was quite close to the Auja crossing points and provided an ample supply of barrels. Sarona had its own cooper from about 1870 and by the late 1890s there were two wineries there, which at one point stored 1,000,000 litres of wine. [I've heard it said that in those days it was the third largest winery in the world, but I have not been able to verify this]*

 

The bridge built by the 412th Company is described as a 'barrel-pier bridge' and was intended for heavier traffic near the Jerishe Mill. The 52nd Divisional history says it was completed by the morning of the 22nd (while the RE history says it was ready by the 21st).

 

I'm not an expert on barrel bridges or their history, but I am prepared to guess that the idea goes back quite some time; perhaps several hundreds of years even.

 

*Some useful insights into the history of the German colony at Sarona can be gleaned from Google Books here

https://books.google.co.il/books?id=tr-Z3uCI5DEC&pg=PA140&lpg=PA140&dq=sarona+winery&source=bl&ots=RzFi2XQmGt&sig=j7byXIx3yJ_S8nXi-pZZyxVzQi8&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiggZLcpI7PAhXMAMAKHbfhChQ4ChDoAQhFMAc#v=onepage&q=winery&f=false

Edited by michaeldr
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  • 2 weeks later...

This is the 1st Fld. Sqd. - when in receipt of the pontoons from the Brit. RE.  Note that these were one piece pontoons, unlike the ones linked before.

1st Fld. Squad. Eng photo.png

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On 1/18/2013 at 15:34, michaeldr said:

What a pity that this film is not available to us on-line; OK if you're in London though

http://www.iwm.org.u...ject/1060022573

Object description

The bridging of the Auja River north of Jaffa by 52nd (Lowland) Division, Palestine Front, 20 December 1917

Full description

The film follows the construction of the bridge by the divisional sappers from first start in the early morning mists to completion and the first ammunition mules making the crossing.

 

Nearly four years later I have just gone back to check this, and indeed, progress has been made at the IWM in time for the centenary

The above link now reveals, in its first 5 minutes, the construction of one of the 52nd Division's pontoon bridges bridges across the Auja

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  • 2 years later...

stuart,

there are three pillar memorials that i know of.

one pillar next to the ayalon mall in ramat gan, one next to Reading Power Station and one next to "Hill sqaure" כיכר היל (in hebrew you will find it in waze).

 

Assaf

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See post No.48 which said.....

 

On 30/01/2015 at 17:43, michaeldr said:

To continue the battlefield walk, exit General Hill Square and, returning via the same steps, re-cross the road and the park, to reach the river's tow-path [do NOT re-cross the Bailey bridge]. Turn right (east) and walk along the riverside until you reach the fork where the River Yarkon is joined by the Ayalon (the latter is shown on British 1917/18 maps as the Nahr el Baride). The peninsula formed at this point is the tip of the bird's beak seen in the 1917 aerial photo-montage and the map in post No.1 on the first page of this thread

At this point there is a foot bridge which can take you across the river to the northern bank. For the purposes of this battlefield walk however, do not cross all the way over to the other side, but halfway across, take the ramp descending to the Bird's Head, and then follow the path with the Yarkon (Auja) river on your left-hand side.

This will bring you to the site of the Seven Mills (Jerishe) which was the point where the 1st Field Squadron, Australian Engineers, built their bridge on the night of 24th-25th November 1917 (see posts Nos. 17 to 38 above) as part of the earlier, unsuccessful, New Zealand Mounted Rifles and Essex Regiment attempt to gain and keep the river's northern bank.

…........................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................

If you wish to continue on and reach the 155th Brigade's column, then you can cross over via the weir at Seven Mills to the northern bank of the Yarkon (Auja) and then follow the path (right) eastwards for a couple of kilometres, crossing back onto the southern bank at the next foot-bridge. Then turn right, taking you back in a westward direction along the river's southern bank until you reach the junction of the major roads, Abba Hillel and Ben Gurion (note; you are now in the city of Ramat Gan).

035feb7d-614c-4bf1-a297-df87b08aac38_zps

As with the other two memorial columns, the scene here has changed dramatically since 1917/18 and the current site of the 155th Brigade's memorial may now be about 100 yards or so from its original position. However, the city of Ramat Gan has provided it with a good, conspicuous location, which is well designed and well looked after.

b8d18eca-dd54-4b17-b7a3-51035a9c7cf1_zps

10f69100-e9fe-4a5b-9f14-15d6af9ac40b_zps

 

Edited by michaeldr
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Thank you Assaf and Michael. Early rise tomorrow and will head back up for a quick picture before driving to Jerusalem. Thanks again for the assistance.

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6 hours ago, Sjack91 said:

Thank you Assaf and Michael. Early rise tomorrow and will head back up for a quick picture before driving to Jerusalem. Thanks again for the assistance.

btw this place is5 min drive from my house, so if you want to come over before jerusalem you are more than welcome.

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  • 2 years later...

This painting of the bridge hangs in the AWM done by the official artist who's name escapes me.  EJ Howells writes of repairing this in unit history, and other bridges on the way to Damascus.  I also have letters from a women in the German Colony detailing Howells tricking them into revealing the location of the barrels in their wine and beer factory by hiding his ability to "speak German better than us."

Auja Bridge Painting.jpg

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Eran Tearosh

Hi

 

This painting (by George Lambert) is of a bridge over the Jordan River, sometime in 1918.

 

One of the confusing things about the Palestine Campaign is connected to what was nicknamed 'The Two Aujas Line' - the line between the the two opposing armies in Palestine between March and September 1918.

 

From the watershed eastward lies Wadi Auja (Wadi is a dry riverbed most of the year), that joins the Jordan River a bit north of Jericho, near the area of Lambert's painting.

 

From the watershed west starts the tributaries that eventually form Nahr el-Auja (Nahr is a watercourse that flows all year around), that flows to the Mediterranean a bit north of Jaffa.

 

The western Auja River is the one this thread is all about. It was crossed twice - first time in November 1917, but the forces that crossed were pushed back the following day. The second crossing was done in December 1917, by the 52 Lowland Division.

 

The details you mentioned relate to the 3 German Colonies of Sarona and Jaffa (the main Colony & Valhalla).

 

Eran

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14 hours ago, Eran Tearosh said:

From the watershed eastward lies Wadi Auja (Wadi is a dry riverbed most of the year), that joins the Jordan River a bit north of Jericho, near the area of Lambert's painting.

From the watershed west starts the tributaries that eventually form Nahr el-Auja (Nahr is a watercourse that flows all year around), that flows to the Mediterranean a bit north of Jaffa.

 

This is a crop taken from a later (September 1918) map found in 'The Advance of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force'

The Auja in the west can be found running into the Mediterranean above Jaffa and opposite the word SEA

The Auja in the east can be found running into the Jordan River at the point where this September map show 2 Bns Jewish Troops

 

I hope that this helps to clarify

 

Scan2021-02-05_144818.jpg.93a37aa379fb7a60813634d25aa2c5ff.jpg

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I realise that a thread which is over ten years old must be somewhat difficult to follow, but bearing in mind that this was originally envisioned as a walking (or joggng ;)) tour, then I think that the directions as given in January 2015 will get you to the memorial all right.

 

On 30/01/2015 at 15:43, michaeldr said:

If you wish to continue on and reach the 155th Brigade's column, then you can cross over via the weir at Seven Mills to the northern bank of the Yarkon (Auja) and then follow the path (right) eastwards for a couple of kilometres, crossing back onto the southern bank at the next foot-bridge. Then turn right, taking you back in a westward direction along the river's southern bank until you reach the junction of the major roads, Abba Hillel and Ben Gurion (note; you are now in the city of Ramat Gan).

035feb7d-614c-4bf1-a297-df87b08aac38_zps

As with the other two memorial columns, the scene here has changed dramatically since 1917/18 and the current site of the 155th Brigade's memorial may now be about 100 yards or so from its original position. However, the city of Ramat Gan has provided it with a good, conspicuous location, which is well designed and well looked after.

b8d18eca-dd54-4b17-b7a3-51035a9c7cf1_zps

10f69100-e9fe-4a5b-9f14-15d6af9ac40b_zps

 

It is a great pity that the photographs of only six years ago are not available on the GWF today; they would have been a help here

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