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Remembered Today:

Remembering the (2) Auja river crossings – Nov. /Dec. 21st 1917


wroclaw
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A double 8 years after the actual crossing took place; I have extended my after noon to have a short view of the site where the great river crossing took place in the 21st-22nd of Dec. 1917, and also the less remembered action on the same location that took place about a month earlier – mostly falling on the shoulders of the NZMR, my personal point of interest.

I do not have the Official Histories under hand now, and I guess most members are well into Charismas now, so I would just post the few pictures I took – mostly featuring a totally different surface, now in the heart of the city – not much of a historic dig, more of a tribute to those who spent the holiday in trenches far from home.

post-7789-1135200837.jpg

A look from the edge of the Sh. Muwannis height to the east facing one of the two main crossing points. The park between the building in the middle horizon and me, is around the Auja (Yarkon) river at the area between Hadra bridge and Jerisha - this is the place the main crossing too place. A monument made of an ancient column marks that place. The highway on the right edge is hiding the "Barida" river (Ayalon) between its courses, adjoining the Auja at the right edge of the park. The plateaus edges and slopes right (west) of here, are even steeper and totally dominating the river - they are now covered with buildings right on top, so cannot be featured.

In order to locate the appropriate spots where crossing was possible, officers and engineers have dived into the cold water! One force even swam in the sea around the rivers bar, collecting information about the Turkish posts deep in enemy zone.

This plateau was the key point for that operation, and also on the raid done by the NZMR and other forces a month earlier in order to ease pressure on other fronts and made the Turkish command send its reinforcements away from the Jerusalem front.

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  • 1 month later...

Caveat I; this is a corner of the battlefield which I know very well indeed

But about which [in relation to WWI] I know almost nothing

Caveat II; today is a very emotional one for me

Via photobucket I hope to att a pic from B. J. Kedar’s 1999 book

‘The Changing Land between the Jordan and the Sea’

The pic is a photomosaic based on British aerial photography made on 10th December 1917 and is now in the collection of the Israel Antiquities Authority

If you look at the left side of the photo you will clearly see that the peninsula formed by the land between the junction of the two rivers appears to resemble the outline of a bird’s head – today this is officially called Bird Head Park and for the past two plus years my son and I have visited the park three times a week for our running. The local authority [the city of Ramat Gan] has provided a 2 km track for runners/walkers/cyclists starting at the water-mills seen at the base/back of the bird’s neck. We then run anti-clockwise along the rivers’ banks and return to the water-mills via a loop just off the foot of the British photomosaic.

The point of the Bird’s beak is where per Kedar, in 1917 the allies floated a barrel bridge from one river into the other and obtained the crossing. As Pal Wroclaw’s photograph correctly suggests, today this is in the middle of a vast super-conurbation comprising several cities and with inter-urban transport systems [road and rail] passing very, very close by, however it is still a green oasis with much to see in the way of bird life; water fowl on the rivers and chukka hiding in the long grass.

Why is today an emotional one for me?

The next time that I run around the Bird’s Head, I will probably be running alone.

Today my son was conscripted into the army for his three years service

One other point is worth a mention and that relates to the opposite end of this battlefield.

In the bottom right hand corner of the photomosaic you will see a strait section of the river with a stretch of road running parallel with it. At the right [east] end of this stretch is the place where Gen Hill erected his column to commemorate these [3?] river crossings. I am pleased to report that that after so many years Hill’s column is still standing, very well looked after and surrounded by neatly trimmed grass at an important road junction opposite which two huge new tower office blocks have just been erected.

Regards

Michael D.R.

BirdHeadPark1917.jpg

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  • 9 years later...

Mike - if you are still out there, I would love to have a photo of the bridge commemorations column you spoke of. My grandfather built that barrel bridge and others, but the situation on the ground prevented me from going there when I was in the MEast. I did get to where he put the first bridge over the Jordan

http://rodsdispatchesmiddeeast.blogspot.com/search?updated-max=2008-04-10T04:56:00-07:00&max-results=1&start=4&by-date=false

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Rod,

Good to hear from you, especially in view of the family connection

There is at least one other thread going on this subject

see

The above is fairly up to date with my latest photographs on p.2, posts Nos.45>

I've just got back from my run (keeping an eye the battlefield :thumbsup:)

and I'm off to the shower now, so I'll have a look at your dispatches later

best regards

Michael

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I'll have a look at your dispatches later

Rod,

Good to see those details and photographs of your grandfather

I also see that on your visit to Gallipoli you had Kenan Çelik as your guide (if I'm not mistaken)

He's a very nice fellow indeed.

Great photographs and a good read

best regards

Michael

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