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Remembered Today:

Jerusalem Battlefields


Tim Godden

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Dear all,

I would like to visit the grave of my great-great uncle next year(December 2012) in Jerusalem. Whilst I am there I would really like to see the areas in which he fought and was killed. I have never been to Israel before and have no idea of the distances between places or safety of some of these areas.

Could any you offer any advice on local guides, hotels, anything that you may think to be useful.

Thanking you all in advance for your input.

Kind regards,

Tim

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Tim,

You really need advice which is based on 'experience as a tourist' and I hope that by bringing this back to the top it will catch the eye of someone who has already been a battlefield tourist here, so that they can share their experience with you

In the mean time….

This is the hotel nearest to the Mount Scopus CWGC cemetery; see http://www.danhotels.com/JerusalemHotels/DanJerusalemHotel/index.htm?gclid=CPqew5GwgKkCFUdP4QodmF0ZTA

The same chain also runs the King David Hotel which is favoured by the diplomatic corps, while the international press corps prefer the American Colony; see http://www.americancolony.com/livesite/default.aspx.html

There are a couple of hotels opposite Mount Zion which give good views across to the old city; see http://www.mountzion.co.il/default.asp?gclid=CI3sn8-xgKkCFUEa4Qod3EkaSA

and http://www.danhotels.com/JerusalemHotels/DanBoutiqueJerusalemHotel/index.htm

Not far from the last two above is the guest house which is run as part of the Scottish Church in Jerusalem; see http://www.scotsguesthouse.com/

As you move further away from the Old City Walls, then the hotel prices will come down, and there are several budget hotels which are still within walking distance of the Jaffa Gate. Another factor influencing prices are the religious holidays (both Christian and Jewish) during which times you can expect rooms to be at High Season rates.

You will be able to find the Ministry of Tourism web site here

http://www.goisrael.com/Tourism_Eng/Tourist+Information/Discover+Israel/Cities/Jerusalem.htm where I hope that you can get some further help regarding a Driver/Guide. The hire of a guide, plus his car, will allow you to visit the battlefield sites which you are interested in; doing this on your own would be very difficult and regular coach tours do not usually cover the subject. The guide can tailor the day's tour(s) to suite your specific requests covering as much or as little as you chose.

Good luck

Michael

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Hi Michael,

Thanks for your response, it is really helpful.

I too had seen the Dan Hotel, formerly the Regency, and suspect this is where I will stay due to its proximity to the cemetery.

The guide element is the one I am most unsure about so thank you for the link. I will check this out and see what can be arranged.

As you said, it would be really interesting to gather some experiences from people who have already visited the area for battlefield touring. Thanks for bringing it back near the top again.

I really appreciate the time you have put in to your response, it is very helpful.

Many thanks,

Tim

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Hi Tim,

I guided the WW1 aspect of an Israel Battlefields tour last year for the first time. As is the law in Israel, an Israeli guide also had to be on the coach as well, plus he was doing all the non-WW1 aspects of the tour. We were lucky that he was a Major in the Israeli Parachute Regt (Reserve) and had a very good knowledge of both the ancient and modern military history of the land. As a registered tour guide and Arabic/Hebrew speaker he was invaluable. I had spent a few days in Israel on a recce before the tour arrived and met him the day our passengers were arriving. As battlefield tours are fairly uncommon in Israel in comparison to the Pilgramage tourism, when he asked me what kind of passengers we were expecting to have on a battlefield tour he replied to my answer: "You mean I dont need to speak about Jesus this week!" He was a superb co-guide and I will PM you with his details. He lives in Jerusalem.

In the WW1 aspects of our tour we visited the Jerusalem Cemetery and Memorial, Beersheba Military Cemetery and Ramleh Military cemetery amongst others. All were very interesting but I felt a strange draw to the Jerusalem Cemetery and Memorial. I couldnt put my finger on the draw, maybe it was the fact the cemetery overlooks the Holy City. If you only visit once, do make sure that you spend a good amount of time there. Apart from the CWGC headstones commemorating British and Empire forces keep an eye open for the German and Turkish burials. The Italian headstones still had the facist symbol engraved on the side of the headstone. Centerpiece of the memorial is the small memorial chapel dedicated to the memory of the NZ forces. It is normally locked but a quick chat to the gardeners and they will open it for you. I will PM you the telephone number of the head gardener in case you want to call ahead and arrange a time. As is with a different theatre, there are plenty of units in the cemetery that you dont see on the Western Front. Dont miss the Australian memorial opposite the entrance gates and the stone capbadges of the EEF placed in the wall around the entrance of the cemetery.

Im off back to Jerusalem in July for a few days holiday and cant wait to revisit the Cemetery and Memorial. If you have time, visit the memorial to the Egyptian Labour Corps very close to St Stevens Gate just outside the Old City.

PM with Israeli guide and CWGC gardener details to follow.

Regards

Iain

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Dear Iain,

Thank you very much for the advice and the PM. This chap sounds like a very useful contact indeed and one I will definietly follow-up. I shall certainly try to visit some of the memorials that you mention. I would really like to visit the sites of the 60th Division.

My great-great uncle, who was killed in the defence of Jerusalem serving with the 2/15th Londons (PWO Civil Service Rifles), is buried in Jerusalem Cemetery so I intend to visit it a couple of times during my stay.

Out of interest, how long did the trip down to Beersheeba take?

Many thanks for a very helpful and thought provoking post.

Kind regards,

Tim

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Out of interest, how long did the trip down to Beersheeba take?

Until Iain gets back, let me chip in here

Tel Aviv to Beersheva takes about one and a half hours and you have a choice of either bus or train. From Jerusalem however, I think that bus may be the only option, but the time should be about the same. Once in Beersheva the bus and coach stations are only about a fifteen minute walk from the CGWC cemetery, though you may wish to take a taxi and avoid the sun.

When you are in contact with your driver/guide then ask him for a quote, without obligation, for a day-trip from Jerusalem to Beersheva and back. If you budget can stretch to this then it may be worthwhile. A good guide will point out WWI points of interest en route and he will be able to take you to other spots around Beersheva as well as to the cemetery eg: the ALH monument etc.

regards

Michael

one more thought: if using public transport then this trip to BS will not be possible on either a Friday or Saturday

Edited by michaeldr
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Michael,

Thanks again for your help.

I think I will try and organise a visit with a guide so as to make the most of the time. I do not want to spend half the trip lost!

Kind regards,

Tim

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I would like to visit the grave of my great-great uncle next year(December 2012) in Jerusalem.

Another factor influencing prices are the religious holidays (both Christian and Jewish) during which times you can expect rooms to be at High Season rates.

Tim,

I see that for December 2012 it will be a bit tricky to avoid High Season room rates; as well as Christmas and New Year, there is the Jewish festival of Chanuka from 8th to 16th December 2012.

Good luck

Michael

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Thinking about December also brings in the winter's weather

JLM av. Rainfall for that month; 71mm spread over 11 days

Temps: av. High of 15°c & low of 7°c

It's too early to start packing, but think about popping in a sweater and an umbrella ;)

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Tim,

I see that for December 2012 it will be a bit tricky to avoid High Season room rates; as well as Christmas and New Year, there is the Jewish festival of Chanuka from 8th to 16th December 2012.

Good luck

Michael

Michael,

I already had it on board, in re the festivals and hotel costs.

Yes, I saw the weather for December. I think we may visit earlier in the year, may be in late April/early May to get something of the better weather. :D

It is being there that is the most important thing.

Thanks for your help,

Tim

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Hi Tim,

When I recce'd Beersheva I drove a hire car down from Tel Aviv and as Michael says it was about a 90 min journey. We stayed down there on the tour at Kibbutz Revivim.

If you manage to get to Beersheva make sure you visit the Military Cemetery, Allenby Park and bust, Turkish HQ opposite Allenby Park, Tel Sheva for a great view over the B-field and the ALH Park.

I would love to get up into the mountains around Beersheva and look at some of the infantry locations but dont know if this is feasable, maybe Michael can advise.

Best regards

Iain

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I would love to get up into the mountains around Beersheva and look at some of the infantry locations but dont know if this is feasable, maybe Michael can advise.

I would say that the best advice on the battlefields in this particular area of the EEF ops, is to be found in Wroclaw's threads on The Forgotten Battle

See

http://1914-1918.invisionzone.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=137912

http://1914-1918.invisionzone.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=138235

http://1914-1918.invisionzone.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=139340

edit to re-do the links which should now work OK (I hope)

Edited by michaeldr
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Loved the pictures and glad you guys all enjoyed the tour

But,

did you buy the t-shirt?

AllenbyKingGeorgeTshirt.jpg

Hi Michael,

What is the hebrew under their photos?

Regards

Iain

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Iain,

the Hebrew simply says (under their respective pics) 'Allenby' and 'King George'

The catch is that for Tel Avivians there is no direct WWI connection. The shirts were designed by a company as part of a series which they produced on famous city junctions; in this case the intersection of Allenby Street and King George Street.

I just had to have that one!

All the best

Michael

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