Finsbury Rifles

Away from the Western Front : 25th January 1918 – 25th February 1918

Visiting Jerusalem 


Allenby entering J'lem 1918 Mc Bey
The Entry of the Allies into Jerusalem on 11th December 1917. James McBey © IWM (Art.IWM ART 2929)
After fierce fighting  over the previous weeks, Jerusalem had been captured by the Allied Forces on 9th December 1917 . This  tremendous boost for Allied morale and public opinion   was a massive blow for the Ottoman Empire which had now  lost control of three holy sites in spite of German military support.
The painting above shows General Allenby’s formal entry to the city on foot two days later. This ceremony was carefully planned to be the opposite of a triumphant victory parade.  The message to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, Palestine and the world was that the Allies were not coming as Christian conquerors but to take over stewardship of the all holy sites  and to administer justice impartially.

Leave in the EEF was limited but there were a few opportunities to visit Jerusalem after it passed into British control. Soldiers toured the holy sites of the city but were often disillusioned with what they saw. A small city with a highly inadequate sanitation system, surrounded by modern buildings, and highly decorated churches maintained according to Eastern Christianity,  did not match up to their mental vision of Jerusalem, built up by  largely Protestant church and Sunday School education.

Leave to Jerusalem was stopped later on in the campaign. The city could not cope with crowds of rowdy Anzac troops seeking  ‘rest and relaxation’.

Date: 25/1/18

Companies engaged in defence works. Specialist training. 2nd Lt FLAVELL and 86 O/Rs reinforcements from England and details from hospital in Egypt reported. Draft isolated for 14 dys under orders from Divd.

Date: 26/1/18

Companies engaged in defence works. Specialist training. LT HEAVER 1/4 London Regt attached 1/11 London Regt reported for duty.

Date: 27/1/18

Holy Communion at the Bn HQ 0800. Lt Pearse and a party from RE with 30 other ranks this Bn proceeded to front to blow up enemy shells and salvage 3 wagons. Enemy shells … (60 4:2)..1 stuck in mud and 1 broken sword brought in. CAPT GOSLING and 11 other ranks proceeded to Jerusalem on special leave.

Date: 28/1/18

Companies engaged in defence works. A coy from reserve relieved and B coy in the line.

Date: 29/1/18

Companies engaged in defence works. Specialist training. Lieut DISNY HERBERT 9th London Regt attached 1/11 London reported for duty with 38 other ranks from BASE DEPOT

Date: 30/1/18

Defence works. Specialist training. Slight reciprocal shelling during afternoon.

Date: 31/1/18

Defence works. Specialist training. Drafts training during morning. CAPT HEILGER and 10 other ranks reported to Bn for duty. Slight reciprocal shelling during day and our artillery active during night.

Date: 1/2/18

Defence works and specialist training. CAPT SANDERCOCK rejoined from hospital.

Date: 2/2/18

Defence works and specialist training. Slight reciprocal shelling.

Date: 3/2/18

Holy Communion at Bn HQ at 0800. Draft of 28 other ranks returned wounded cured from hospital rejoined for duty.

Date: 4/.2/18

Defence works and specialist training.

Date: 5 to 6/2/18

No work. Weather very wet and stormy. LT READ appointed Transport Officer. LT ROBERTSON in hospital.

Date: 7/2/18

No work. Weather very wet and stormy. LT ROBERTSON returned from hospital and returned to company duty.

Date: 8/2/18

Very little work performed. Very wet.

Date: 9/2/18

2nd LT ICKE EAST LANCS reported for duty with 11 other ranks from hospital.

Date: 10/2/18

Communion service Bn HQ 0800 Quiet day. Weather improved.

Date: 11/2/18

Work on defences and specialist classes. 2nd LT WELLS attending Bde HQ. Course on signalling.

Date: 12-13/2/18

Work on defences and specialist classes.

Date: 14/2/18

Orders received for relief of 1/5  NORFOLK

Date: 15/2/18

Work on defences and  Specialist training. Advanced Parties 1/5 NORFOLK arrived to take over. Bivouac area allotted for this Bn at F28D2.2 (Selinsh 1/20000).

Date: 16/2/18

Bn relieved by 1/5 NORFOLK Regt – relief completed by 12.30. Bn moved into allotted Bivouac area. MAJOR F.S. HAMMOND left Bn on 12 day Egyptian leave, proceeding to Luxor. 162nd INF Brigade in reserve

Date: 17/2/18

Holy Communion at Bn HQ 0800. Brigade Church Parade 1000.

Date: 18 to 20/2/18

Bn carrying out training. Company Training. Route Marches and 3 O/Ranks reported from Hospital 20.2.18

Date: 21/2/18

Bn Training. 33 of Ranks reported for duty for Base Depot. Also Capt PERKINS 12th LONDON, 2nd Lt Jones Lancs Fusiliers reported for duty on attachment.

Date: 22 to 25/2/18

Bn and Company Training.

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