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Remembered Today:

Finsbury Rifles - Palestine Campaign


Gareth Davies
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I am helping Islington Museum deliver a community project next week based on the Finsbury Rifles in 1917 and was in London yesterday to help them prepare.  I popped up the road to St Mark's Church, Clerkenwell, which houses the Finsbury Rifles Roll of Honour. I also went to Spa Green Garden to see the Finsbury War Monument which includes a panel depicting the Finsbury Rifles during the 2nd Battle of Gaza.  

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Lovely - thanks for sharing.

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Knowing the ground that they fought over during 2nd Gaza I was a little surprised to see the panel seeming to show them scaling a mountain but I can live with artistic licence.

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Gareth,

 

Thanks for that. Seems that next time I'll be in London I'll have to spend a day or two to visit all the monuments that are connected to the Palestine Campaign...

As to the panel describing Gaza II - Indeed, it seems like an artistic view. Does the panel actually mention Gaza II?

 

I can't recall Div. 54 (The Div. which the Finsbury Rifles were a part of) fighting in a mountainous area, except the hills east of Lydda for a few days in Nov. 1917, the preliminary actions of The Battle of Jaffa (Mid Dec. 1917), the area around Majdal Yaba (1918) and of course Megiddo - All these areas are hills, not really mountainous areas. 

 

As The Battle of Jaffa was mentioned - worth mentioning that the Finsbury Rifles were involved in the activities to recapture Bald Hill (there were a few forum threads in the past regarding the actions on and around Bald Hill) and Lance-Corporal John Alexander Christie of the Finsbury Rifles was awarded the Victoria Cross for his part in that action. 

 

Eran  

Edited by Eran Tearosh
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Eran

 

The panel inscription reads "Finsbury Rifles attacking Gaza Tuesday 17th April 1917".  Jock Christie is very much part of the youth project that I am helping out with.  

 

When are you in London?

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Thanks for sharing this Gareth - a remarkable set of memorials, and very pleasing to see their remembrance is so active.

 

:poppy:

 

Mark

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I think the stories of a good number of the Great War London Regiment battalions are being kept alive in the communities.  

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GD-  Thank you for posting the Finsbury Rifles memorial at St. Marks, Clerkenwell, which,owing to my stupidity, I had missed for a local casualty. The part played by Londoners in the Palestine campaigns is quite large, as there were also many "Essex" units involved- but,again, these were strongly "East London". 

    As to remembrance,-well, not that much in specific local communities. LB Islington seems to have taken the centennial remembrances quite seriously- seeing the plaques in roads around the LMA in Bowling Ground Lane (between St. Marks and the outdoor memorial) was a surprise. But others seem neglected-  the neighbouring St Pancras Rifles have not created much of a fuss that I have noticed.

 

    PS- Quite interesting to see how the geographical tie-up of names is so much different now than in 1917-  "Gaza" of 1917 is totally different.

Edited by Guest
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There were 14 Bns of the London Regt, 12 were in 60th Div and 2 were in 54th Div.  The 4 Bns of the Essex Regt were also in 54th Div.  Of these, 2 were most definitely from Essex, not from east London.

 

Gaza has certainly grown in size since 1917.  

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Thanks for posting this - really interesting. I'm guessing the artistic licence in the Gaza depiction relates the strenuous overcoming of (mountainous) obstacles to achieve victory (Gaza, lying beyond)? I went through there once in the early 80s and I certainly don't recall any mountains like that. Thanks also for the reminder of the large part played in the campaign by the London Regiment, as my own family connection is via the Lowland Scots of 52nd Div. and I've rather neglected other formations in my reading. 

 

Cheers, Pat. 

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  • 1 month later...

I was lucky enough to have attended a commemoration service for the Finsbury Rifles at St. Marks, in April.

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It was organised by the chap mentioned in the following report: 

Finsbury Rifles: How Islington Regiment lost 115 men in Gaza on the 19th April, 1917.

An email address is given at the end of the article, just in case you wanted to contact anyone else with a Finsbury Rifles interest to possibly help with the project. 

 

Regards,

 

Chris

 

Edit: Apologies, as I am too late with my information to be of help for the project. I hope the information is of interest anyway. 

Edited by Drew-1918
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  • 3 weeks later...

Hello All


Firstly, thank you to Gareth for both helping with and highlighting our Finsbury Rifles (FR) project with Islington. I thought you may like to read a little more about this project and the others which all form part of Away from the Western Front (AFTWF). We are just a few months in to this 2 year project (2017-2019) funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, with additional grants from the British Institute for the Study of Iraq (Gertrude Bell Memorial) and the Centre for Hidden Histories. The project is being run by the ‘Away from the Western Front’, a registered charity. 

 

Our website is being developed https://awayfromthewesternfront.org/ and shows the progress for each of the 9 main projects. During the summer the young people in Islington worked on animating 3 stories linked to the Finsbury Rifles and this work is now being edited and will be shown at an event in the Museum later in the year - and it will be added to our website. In addition Museum volunteers have worked with the archivists to collate stories and transcribe and digitise the war diaries. 

 

(Chris - the service of commemoration took place just before our official project launch and Darren O'Brien has also been in contact and helped the Museum with his Finsbury material)

 

If you would like any more information about AFTWF please either message me via here or email 

 

lyn(at)awayfromthewesternfront.org 

 

Kind regards

Lyn

 

PS - on the subject of FR memorials this is the plaque in Euston station to Jock Christie:

 

Christie VC plaque Euston.jpg

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Fascinating stuff, Lyn. Thanks for all the information. It really is great work you are all doing with this.

 

Chris

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