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Beersheva; the 96th anniversary


michaeldr
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On the 31st October, the city of Beersheva marked the 96th anniversary of its capture by the allies, from the empire of the Ottoman Turks.

There were three ceremonies held that day, commencing with that at the Park of the Australian Soldier, where there is a fine statue of a mounted Light Horseman riding down upon the Ottoman defences.

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Speeches were made by the Mayor and by the Australian Ambassador; the latter was supported by representatives from all branches of Australia's armed forces.

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Wreaths were laid by several dignitaries; civic, diplomatic, military and civilian, as well as by a representative of the Light Horse Association. c8843a1a-30ec-4bab-bfb4-3addbf83fea9_zps

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Following the first formal ceremony, the second was held an hour later, at the CWGC Cemetery

and in contrast, it was very simple, short but dignified, and led by the Australian army.

Binyon's Ode was repeated. Two minutes silence was observed. Wreathes were laid at the Stone of Remembrance,

and then people had a chance to wander around the cemetery and pay their personal respects to the fallen.

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The final ceremony of the morning took place half an hour later, at the Turkish Memorial; an obelisk which stands on a plaza, together with a bust of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, and near to the old Ottoman railway station. (This latter is currently undergoing restoration work and now includes an engine and a couple of period carriages.)

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The Deputy Mayor of Beersheva and the Turkish Chargé d'affaires both spoke, before wreaths were laid and the national anthems played.

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Our GWF Pal, Eran, laid the wreath on behalf of The Society for the Heritage of WWI in Israel

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One local resident joined in the anniversary events by displaying from their balcony, a Turkish flag and a portrait of MK.

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Lovely photos - must have been very moving - thanks very much for sharing.

Ant

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Interesting photos Michael, thanks for sharing. I was particularly pleased to see the old station house has been retained, which I have seen in period photos.

Cheers, S>S

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Thank you all for your interest and for your comments

SS – Agreed; it's good to see the place getting a face-lift after all the years of neglect. Here are some more photographs of the station and the rolling stock. Does anyone have any comments on the engine – is it of 1917 vintage?

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(Please spare a thought for your unlucky photographer, who took these three while precariously perched on the back and the arm of a park bench, trying to shoot over the top of a chain-link fence which protects the work-in-progress.)

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Does anyone have any comments on the engine – is it of 1917 vintage?

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Far from it, sadly.

The loco is an London Midland & Scottish Railway 8F 2-8-0 designed by Sir William A Stanier and built by the North British Locomotive Co. in Glasgow in 1940. It's LMS number would have been 8267 and the WD number 341. This was one of several locomotives sent to Turkey during the Second World War and worked in Turkey until the 1980's. After withdrawal the locomotives sat, disused, in a Turkish Railway engine shed.

A group of British enthusiasts (known as The Churchill 8F Group) have repatriated several of the locomotives, and this one "came home" in December 2010. It was then was sent to a museum in Beersheba, Israel in December 2012 where it has been cosmetically restored and placed on display.

:)

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The Scorer,

Many thanks for that clarification

regards

Michael

edit to add link to Heritage Railway article of 06DEC2012 written by Robin Jones

see http://www.heritagerailway.co.uk/news/stanier-8f-sold-to-museum-in-israel

It may not be 1917 vintage, but it does represent some local history and service

Edited by michaeldr
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