‘Mobilise! Mobilise! The Firefighters of Holloway’ highlights the unique perspective of Islington artist Niki Gibbs.
A local fire station is a building that we often walk past but only perhaps become aware of when a big red fire truck emerges to deal with an urgent situation. Little is known about the training, daily checks, maintenance of kit, inspections of buildings in the community, and other outreach work performed by the firefighters.
Drawing inspiration from photographs, Niki Gibbs worked with Holloway Fire Station on Hornsey Road, Islington, to capture its four crews going about their routine daily work. ‘Mobilise! Mobilise!’ art exhibition is the result of this intimate and insightful collaboration.
Mobilise! Mobilise! is on at Islington Museum from 1 February – 31st March 2020.
For more details, visit the website or call 020 7527 2837.
The exhibition free events programme can be found here.
EEF divisions followed the standard Army pattern of being rotated through periods of front-line duty, rest -which could include the much resented road building -and training. When the 1/11 London Finsbury Rifles moved out of the front line at the end of June they were relieved by the 93 Burma Rifles, an Indian Army unit. This was how the newly trained battalions were able to gain experience of combat conditions and consolidate their skills.
The journey from Kantara back to Surafend took less than a day by train – a far cry from 18 months before when the journey had taken over a week, marching across the desert.
Date: 1 to 2/7/18
Company and specialist training. Bathing parades in Suez Canal.
Bn Route march along West Bank of Canal 0600-0930.
Return by C.O to all officers and 2 Cos at 1000. Bathing parades 1330-1600. The company shooting range 1600-1900.
Company and specialist training during morning. C Coy on range 1630-1000. And 1600-1900.
Date: 5 to 6/7/18
Ditto. Range practice B Coy.
Parade service in garrison church. KANTARA. 0800. Orders received return of Bn to rejoin 162 Brigade at Surafand.
Bn engaged moving baggages to KANTARA EAST station for entrainment. Bn less 2 companies paraded 10.30 and marched to station and entrained on first train (G) Dept: 12.10
Location SURAFEND Date: 9/7/18
Arrd railhead LUDD 0610, remainder of Bn on 2nd train ref 1500 arrived railhead 1100 of first. Bn proceeded into Bivouac 1 mile north of Suprafend on side of JAFFA RAMLEH Road. Lt BA Hooper returned from Duty with 54 Divt. A/Capt HGS and DECOCK proceed to report to RAF HELIOPOLIS for duty.
Date: 10 to 11/7/18
Company and specialist training.
Company and specialist training. Orders received and brigade conference all move to rge house area 0.35A (1/6000 7EJJA MAP) draft of 50 of Ranks rejoining from hospital reported.
Bn moving to new area. Move commenced 0900 completed by 1300.
Location RED HOUSE AREA ) 35A Date: 14/7/18
Sunday. Parade service in conjunction with 1/5 Bedfords under orders of Lt Col A H Windsor CM G 0730. Official day. Turks shelling our back areas with RoryRange gun at intervals.
Bn commenced 14 days intensive training as per programme attached.
Bn training independently by companies in accordance with programme. Small English mail received.
Inspection of Bn by Divisional General. Maj-Gen SW Hare at 0700. The GO also inspected Bivouac area and companies under training.
Company specialist training. Range practices by companies. Draft of 50 of Ranks reported from Base Depot.
Location KANTARA.Red House Area Date: 21/7/18
Church parade service at 0730. Capt Rev’d DIXON Spain rejoined from English leave.
Date: 22 to 26/7/18
Companies training. Signalling and specialist classes being held.
Draft of 13 OR rejoining from Hospital. Capt HG Brown also reported for duty from BDE DEPOT.
Orders received re: move of Bn to MEZEIRAH on night 29/30 July. C.O at By the conference at 1000. Divine Service. Parade service for Bn at 0730. Orders for move on relief by 1/5, Suffolk attached and marked B.
Bn preparing to move. Specialist classes as usual. Advance parties proceeded to H Q 47th Sikhs to take over duties in respective company areas for when Bn moves into the line from MEZERIEH. Bn relieved 1/5 Suffolks at MEZERIAH. Move 2000 completed 2215.
Location MEZGEIRAH Date: 30.7.18
Bn finding working party of 350 men for road construction under direction of RE (0600-1100). Specialists training during morning. Remainder of day spent in squaring up Bivouac area.
Bn specialists training. Company training. Preparation for move into line on relief of 47th Sikhs in right inspection. Right section central sector. Move commenced at 1930 relief completed 0015, 1.8.17 orders in connection attached marked C
The EEF’s strong training system had been a key part of its success under General Allenby. The Imperial School of Instruction at Zeitoun in Cairo ran two types of courses: technical courses for battalion specialists such as Lewis gunners and leadership & battlefield skills for junior officers & NCOs.
After the front moved north into Palestine at the end of 1917, the training system expanded to include divisional schools of instruction such as the one at El Arish. The divisional schools were easier to reach than distant Cairo and could provide training tailored to local requirements.
As the Indian Army units were trained up and absorbed into the EEF, the instruction at Zeitoun was criticized for being too inflexible and not attuned to the needs of some inexperienced soldiers . Perhaps this lay behind the week long inspection of the training schools by experienced battalion commanding officers such as Lt-Col Windsor and Lt-Col Brighten of the 1/5 Bedfordshire Regimen
Specialist and Gas training. Work on defences. Bn furnishing covering parties to 1/6th ESSEX to work on WADI RABAH. Capt and Adjutant AW GARRAWAY left to attend hospital.
Holy Communion Brigade HQ 0900. Voluntary service 1730. Quiet day.
Specialist training . Work on defences. Bn furnishing covering parties to 1/6th ESSEX to work on WADI RABAH.
Specialist training . Work on defences. Bn furnishing covering parties to 1/6th ESSEX to work on WADI RABAH.
Specialist training . Work on defences. Bn furnishing covering parties to 1/6th ESSEX to work on WADI RABAH. Orders received for relief of 1/6 ESSEX REGT
Engaged on defence work during morning . ——- bivouac area Bn relieved by 1/6 ESSEX by 2000. Bn moved to area usually occupied by ESSEX REGT in P14c central and bivouac formed.
Location P14c Central Date 7/6/18
Arranging bivouac area.
Arranging Bivouac area.
Training, specialist gas training, Bayonet training, training of draft. 2/LT E.T. Pickett appointed a/adjt during the absence of Capt adjt A.L Garraway in hospital.
Divine services. Holy Communion 0630. Voluntary Service 1700.
Specialists and draft training. D Coy using in range 0.23 and 0.5. Working parties on 2nd line.
Specialists. Draft training. C Coy firing on range 023 and 0.5. Working parties on 3rd line. Lt Col AH Windsor CMG and 6 other officers attended a lecture by Col Hutchinson. Comdr of XVI at Corp Heavy Artillery.
Specialists draft training. B Coy opening on range 0.23 and 0.5. Working parties on 2nd line posts, Major F.S Hammond DSO takes over command of the Battln during the absence of Lt Col AH Windsor CMG on duty inspecting the schools of instruction at El Arish and Zeitoun.
Specialists draft training. A Coy firing on range 023 and 0.5. Working parties on 2nd line, posts, Capt H.O Perkins takes over command of the battln. Major F.S Hammond DSO to England on leave.
Specialists, gas and draft training. Working parties on 2nd line posts.
.D Coy firing on range 023 and 0.5.
Divine services. Holy Communion 06.30. Parade service 08.00. Lt A Rodgers to hospital.
Specialists and gas training under Coy. arrangements. Working parties on 2nd line posts Capt A. T. Lewthwaite returned from home to Jerusalem taking over command of the Battn from Capt H.O Perkins.
Capt Lewthwaite, a/adjt and OC Coys visited HQ and Coys of 1/5 Suffolks in the line.
Training under Coy. Arrangements. Specialists/gas training. Working parties on 2nd line posts.
A Coy relieved right Coy of 1/5 Suffolks in right section right subsection. Relief complete 0030. Training under Coy arrangements. Specialists. Capt A T Lewthwaite used to command the Battn on the return of Lt Col A H Windsor CMG. Battln relieved 1/5 Suffolks in right subsection. Right section. Relief section. Relief complete by 0010. 1 officer rejoined and 1 officer reinforcement 2nd Lieut GW Reddick.
Quiet on Battn front. Patrol of 1 officer and 4 ORs proceeded from C at 21.00 to KH Ummel.
IKBA returned at 2300 to C1.. No enemy seen.
Quiet on battn front.
Holy Communion.06.30 and 0900. Battn relieved by 93 Burma Rifles, and moved by companies to 0.35c where the Battn bivouacked for the night.
Battn moved with the Bde leaving 035 c 1910 and marched to SURAFEND where the Battn bivouacked for the night.
Battn left bivouac area 1900 and marched to LUDD STATION, where it entrained 2 offers joined Battn from Base 2/Lt FARQUAHARSON & SUTHERLAND.
Arrived Kantara 1330, proceeded to Kilo 3. Band of 1/10 London Regt met Battn at 2/24 London Regt met the Battn and played the Battn to camp at Kilo 3.
Bathing Parades in Suez Canal Kantara Capt A.L Garraway resumed his duties as adjutant on returning from hospital.
The EEF spent much of the summer of 1918 training the troops who had arrived from India to replace those sent to the Western Front. Although the 54th (East Anglian) Division stayed in Palestine,there were skills to be maintained and new techniques to be learned.
The battalion padre, Captain the Rev Wilson had joined the Finsbury Rifles after his predecessor, Captain the Rev Dixon-Spain, returned to England. Retreats for military chaplains were held regularly in Jerusalem during 1918. One of the speakers was Lieutenant -General Chetwode, the commander of XX Corps who addressed the chaplains on their role and what soldiers expected of them.
Although there were skirmishes between the Ottoman troops and the 54th Division during May, there was no major action. The enemy had lost too many troops and materiel.
Training under Coy arrangements. Bayonet fighting, Gas training musketry. Specialist classes. MAJOR HAMMOND and Coy commanders visited posts of 1/4th NORFOLKs.
Location F 24 G 6 8 Date: 2/5/18
Training. Coy arrangements Gas and specialist training. LT W E GOSLING appointed Gen Intelligence Officer.Bn took over posts of 1/4th NORFOLKS at RASELAIN ELMIRA (WEST) MAJOR HAMMOND commanding post at RAS EL AIN and Lt H G SANDERCOCK commanding EL MIRA WEST. Move carried out at four Bn Orders attached of which copies were issued to all concerned. Relief was complete by 2300.
Training and Post improvements under Post Commanders. Gas training. 2 officers 15 ORs returned from short leave in Egypt. CAPT AT LEWTHWAITE took over command of EL MIRA WEST POST. Situation quiet on Bns front.
Training and post improvements under Post Comders. Gas training 6.77 mm shells fired on RAS EL AIN POST. No damage or casualties.
Holy Communion 0930 Bn HQ Evening service 1700 RAS EL AIN
Specialist and Gas training. Post improvements under Post Comders. Platoon of 3 coy in reserve working on securing the EL MIRR road. 7.4.2 Fixed on RAS EL AIN
Specialist and Gas training. Post improvements under Post Comders.Patrol of 1 officer and 20 OR went out from RAS EL AIN 0100 Object to get a prisoner, returned at 0335 unsuccessful.
Specialist and Gas training. Post improvements under Post Commanders. 2 platoons of B Coy in reserve working on securing the EL MIRR road. Party of 40 working on Battn HQ of 162 Bde to 2230. 2100 Enemy over two parties approx. 25 men each party attacked no 1 Post G 29 with bombs until they were driven off. Our casualties. 1 OR wounded. Enemy casualties unknown. Party of 40 working on Bde HQ 1830 to 2230.
Specialist and Gas training. Post improvements under Post Comders. 1705 6 fired on RAS EL AIN POST no damage or casualties. 1/10th LONDON REGT relieved RAS EL AIN POST. Relief complete by 0200 10.5.18. Relief carried out as per Bn Orders attached. 430481 (CPL) GH KAPPS awarded medallion militaire for gallantry on the field at GAZA. 40 ORs on Bde Battle HQ.
Specialist and Gas training. Post improvements under Post Comders.1 coy working on defences at EL MIRR POST 1900 to 2300. Party of 40 ORs on Bde Battle HQ.
Specialist and Gas training. 1 Coy working on defences EL MIRR POST. Party of 40 ORs on Bde Battle HQ.
Voluntary service 0915 Holy Communion 0945 Battle HQ 1000 Holy Mass 2 Officers and 16 ORs proceeded on short leave in Egypt. I Coy working on defence of EL MIRR POST 1900 to 2300 1 platoon B Coy moved to A Coy to be in reserve.
1 Officer and and 68 ORs cleaning.1 Coy working on defences EL MIRR POST 1900 to 2300.
Specialist and Coy training.
1 Officer and and 68 ORs cleaning. 1 Coy working on defences at EL MIRR POST 1900 to 2300
Specialist and gas training. 2 Coys less 2 platoons working on Defences on Battle Front. 1 Platoon demolishing GREY HOUSE 12699.
Specialist and gas training. 2 Coys less 2 platoons working on Defences on Battle Front. 1 platoon demolishing GREY HOUSE xxx of 1 officer and 3 ORs from EL MIRR POST left 2100 proceeded to Tomdge D34 d, thence to JILTOLIEH object to locate enemy picquets. No enemy picquets located and returned 0100.
Specialist and Gas training.
Voluntary service at Battn HQ followed at 0945 by Holy Communion. 1115 GANIM for transport dump. 3 platoons working on defences on Battle Front 1900 to 2200. 1 platoon demolishing GREY HOUSE 1900 t 2200. Armenian attached to Battn for Intelligence work.
Specialist and Gas training. 2 Coys less 2 platoons working on defences on Battle Front . 1 platoon demolishing GREY HOUSE. 16 ORs rejoined from PANOS. 12 ORs proceeded to Rest Camp EL ARISH Capt JM Wilson Chaplain, left to attend conference at JERUSALEM.
Specialist and Gas training. 2 Coys less 2 platoons working on defences on Battle Front. C Coy relieved D Coy at EL MIRR POST Relief complete by 2000. Capt WG COMBER taking over at CC POST. 2 Officers and 40 OR proceeded to short leave in Egypt.
Specialist and Gas training. 2 Coys less 2 platoons working on defences on Battle Front. 2 deserters came in at EL MIRR POST.
Specialist and Gas training. 1 Coys working on defences on Battle Front. B Coy relieved A Coy, Relief complete by 2200. 2nd Lt Walter returned from course at EL ARISH. Capt J M WILSON returned from conference of chaplains at JERUSALEM.
Specialist and Gas training. 1 Coys working on defences on Battle Front. Patrol of 1 officer and 60 ORs left EL MIRR POST 2000, proceeded to Bridge D34 d thence along W side of railway to D24 d 10.10Object to watch JILJULIEH and picquets No enemy seen 0800 MAJOR GENERAL S W HARE CB GOC 54th DIV presented ribands of decorations to 162 Bde. Cpl KAPPS receiving the “medaille militaire” ribbon. 2 officers and 14 ORs returned from leave in Egypt. 59 ORs reinforcements from Base. 14 ORs rejoined from Base.
Specialists and Gas Training. 2 Coys less 1 platoon working on Defences in Battle Front. 3 Officers returned from courses.
Holy Communion 0415 and 0945 at Battn HQ. Voluntary Service 0915 at HQ. . 1 Coy less 1 platoon working on Defences in Battle Front. Battn supplied parties for 1/6th ESSEX working in WADI RABAH.
1 Coy less 1 platoon working on Defences in Battle Front. Patrol1 officer 6 OR left 5y POST 2100 and discovered 2 groups of enemy on railway. Lt E W PEARSE and 2nd LT O>W PAGE to hospital.
Specialist and Gas training. 2 Coys working on defences on Battle Front and digging cable trenches. Patrol of 1 officer and 6 ORs left EL MIRR POST 2100 located sentries D36 C 55. Battn supplied covering parties to 1/6 Essex working on WADI RABAH.
Specialist and Gas training. 2 Coys working on defences on Battle Front and digging cable trenches. Patrol 1 officer and 6 ORs left D POST 2100 located group of enemy on railway approach D34d, also 2 other groups approx. KB1c returned after daybreak. Battn supplied covering parties to 1/6th ESSEX working on WADI RABAH.
Specialist and Gas training. 2 Coys working on defences on Battle Front and digging cable trenches. Patrol of 1 officer and 6 ORs left EL MIRR POST 2100 located enemy groups K31c and D306 returned after daybreak.
Specialist and Gas training. 2 Coys working on defences on Battle Front and digging cable trenches. Patrol of 1 officer and 6 ORs left Dy POST 2100 double sentries seen K21 and 5.5 enemy movement at K21 and 5 5 returned after daybreak. 2 Officers and 14 ORs left Battn for short leave in EGYPT.
In March 1918 the Germans launched a major offensive in France and Flanders. This had an immediate effect on the Southern Palestine campaign . The War Office ordered General Allenby to send 2 infantry divisions to France as soon as possible although they acknowledged this would ‘entail loss of efficiency and a temporary reduction in strength’ . At the same time the Indianisation of the EEF was speeded up. The Indian Army was providing replacements for the troops transferred to the Western Front but these new units had to be trained and brought up to battle readiness. This major reorganisation meant that the advance northward had to be halted.
The experiences of the Finsbury Rifles during April reflect events elsewhere. The night operations and shelling from the 9-11 April were part of the 1st phase of the plan to advance north and cut off the rail junction at Tulkarm on the Hedjaz Railway which was the key supply route for the Ottoman Forces.
The 75th and 54th Divisions met unexpected opposition from the Ottoman forces who were supported by three German field batteries. After 3 days fighting it became clear that any advance would be slow and cost too many lives.Ttroops would withdraw.
The artillery barrage continued for the next week.
Bn engaged on RE work. Morning and afternoon. Quiet day. Weather unsettled as ever.
½ Bn engaged on RE work during morning. Remaining ½ Bn carrying out proactive night operations. Marking on compass Bearings, 1900-2100. Slight reciprocal shelling.
½ Bn engaged on RE work during morning. Remaining half Bn on night operations marching on bearings. Specialists training as usual. Enemy shelled left flanks of Bn with 77 mm guns. No casualties. No damage.
1 Coy. RE work. 1 Coy Route march. Specialists training as usual.
1 Coy RE work. 1 Coy. Route March. Specialist training.
16 ORs joined Unit from Hospital and Base Depot.
1 Coy. RE work. 1 Coy. Route March. Specialists training.
Holy Communion. HQ 0800. A Coy Bivouac area 0900. 13 ORs rejoined unit from Hospital.
1 Coy RE work. 1 Coy. Route March. Specialists training. Await Board for purpose of examining accounts PRI. Btn on night Operations from 1845 to 0100. Demonstration by artillery and infantry at 1900 with a view to causing loss to enemy, and ascertain points on which he was likely to fire if attached. Enemy did not reply.
1 Coy RE work. Specialists training.
1 Coy RE work. Specialists training. 1 Coy Route March. 2 boys. Night operations. Bn. Bivouac area heavily shelled during the day with 77mm. 4.2. HE and shrapnel. No casualties. No damage. Capt GARRAWAY (ADJT) to Hospital. Duties of Adjt assumed by 2ne Lt ET PICKETT.
1 Coy RE work. 1 Coy. Route March. Specialist training. Bivouac area subjected to hurricane bombardment about 0400. Lt CARRUTHERS 7th London attd 1/11th London Right and CORS wounded.
1 Coy RE work. 1 Coy Route March. Specialists training. Bivouac area shelled about 0215. No casualties.
1 Coy RE works. 1 Coy. Route March. Specialist training. CAPT NM Cummins. MC RAMC to Hospital. Capt WH Brown RAMC reported to unit for Duty as MO.
Bn Bivouac area. Heavily shelled about 0445. Three shell storms of about 5 to 10 minutes duration, with intervals of about 5 minutes. No casualties. Holy Communion. 0800 HQ. Voluntary Service followed by Holy Communion.0900 in C.Coy Bivouac. Area.
R.E work 1 Coy. Route march. Specialist training
1 Coy RE work. Bn relieved by 1/5th Essex, relief complete by 2115 and Bn moved to Q4687 (1:40000Jeffe) arriving near bivouac area 2345.
Location Q4687 Date 17/.4/18
Arranging and cleaning bivouac areas.
Erecting billets, tents and football etc.
Battn carried out training> Physical drill,Coy drill, musketry. Specialist training.
Battn training – Physical drill, Coy drill, musketry, specialist classes 1 coy working RE at Div School
Parade service 0830 am. Holy Communion afterwards. Voluntary service 170
Battn route march to SELMEH. Working party 100 CRs to RE Div school. 2 officers, 15 ORs proceeded for 10 days leave in Egypt.
Battn training NCOs of two companies under RSM.Bayonet fighting Coy drill. Musketry, specialist classes 2 0fficers 240 OR rejoined battn from Base and hospital. Working party of 260 to Div School.
B Coy relieved 1 Coy 1/5th BEDFORDS at MEZEIRIAH and C Coy relieved 1 Coy. 1/5th BEDFORDS at ORANGE POST. 320 ORs in working parties.
LT COL WINDSOR CMG assumed command of 162 Infantry Bde during temporary absence of Brig Gen A Mudge. MAJOR HAMMOND in charge of bn, during absence of CO at 162 Bde.
Working parties to RE at RANTIEH POST. 4 officers 4OR attended gas lecture at WILHELMA. 2 officers and 14 OR proceeded to RAFA on Gas Course.
Working parties to RE at RANTIEH POST. 6 Officers and 19 ORs proceeded to Base to attend courses.
Working parties to RE at RANTIEH POST. Training bayonet fighting Coy Drill
1 Coy attended church parade in 1/4th NORTHANTS area. I Coy proceeded to Disinfecting Station WILHEMA to be disinfected. LT COL WINDSOR CMG reassumed command of Bn on his return from 162 Bge on the return of Brig Gen A MUDGE. 1 officer rejoined from course.
Location P14C Date: 29/4/18
Bn concentrated at ORANGE POST. B Coy being relieved at MEZEIRIAH by coy of 1/10th LONDON regiment. Concentration compete by 1230 9 ORs arrived at Bn from Base. 1 Off rejoined from Course.
Company and specialist training. Gas training. LTs GOSTLING and WINDSOR rejoined Bn after English leave. LT CARRUTHERS rejoined from hospital.
Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught reviews the troops
Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught toured bases of the EEF in Egypt and Southern Palestine during March 1918. A career soldier for over 40 years, the Duke’s visit was calculated to raise morale amongst all the troops .
L/Cpl Jock Christie should have been decorated with his recently awarded Victoria Cross on this occasion but he had been wounded in the action a few days earlier and evacuated to hospital. While he did receive his medal from the Duke of Connaught in hospital, this was not officially recorded in the Finsbury Rifles battalion diary.
Location KB DIKERIN Date: 13/3/18
Bn in Bivouac – Bn employed on road making.
Bn moved into new Bivouac area on NORTH side of WADI DEIR BALLUT. Reciprocal shelling during day. Strong working parties found during afternoon to assist RE on road making.
Bn (less details) engaged on road making throughout the day. Heavy wind with squalls of rain all day and previous night.
Presentation by Duke of Connaught at Jasur of Decoration to Officers 10 Officers and men of 54th Div. With following of this Bn were decorated. LT COL AM WINDSOR The CMG A/Capt HG SANDER and Capt NM CUMING (RAMC) Attached this Bn. The MC, 450206 T/RM. RM. CALLENDER and 400 430 CSMG CANTWELL the MC. 451 330 ST H H CARTER DCM 451 73 R for J Boughton 453120 Rfn W DARE and 450 520 Alridge E. The MM.
Bn employed on road making under RE DIRECTION. BAD weather. WET.
Holy Communion at Bn at 0800. No work. Very wet and unsettled all day.
Bn employed on road making under RE direction. Specialist training.
Bn employed on road making under Res. Specialist training. Enemy airwalk active, one bomb dropped near Bivouac area. No damage.
Enemy aircraft active, four bombs dropped near pack mules– 3 mules slightly injured.
Bn engaged all day on road construction under RE – specialist classes. Reims gun and signalling. Leave party of 3 officers and 14 of ranks proceeded for 10 days leave.
Draft 10 men reported from Base depot.
Bn engaged on road making under RE, specialists training. LT Col WINDSOR CMG assumed companies of 162 Bnf Bde during temporary absence of CO of 162 Bde.
Bn on Rfe Road work. Specialist training. MAJOR HAMMOND ADUTA proceeded to KULAT RASELAM on orders of OP.
Captain Revd Dixon Spain Life Empire for ALEXANDRIA to ENGLAND for 3 weeks leave of absence.
Half Bn..W.E work.
Bn engaged on R E Specialist training as usual. Lt Col WINDSOR from 162 Bde on the return of MUDGE from XXI Corps.
Bn engaged on RE work. Bn Bivouac area heavily shelled Turkish artillery with 42s and 59s. Left Bivouac area for an area about 500 yards move forward. Total Bn casualties 24 ORs.
Bn engaged squaring up Bivouacs. Quiet day. Slight reciprocal shelling of front lines contd REV Wilson CF reported for duty via Capt Rev Dixon. Spain to England.
½ Bn engaged morning and afternoon on road making under direction of RE.
Easter Sunday. Holy Communion at the Bn 0800. in company areas 1000. Quiet day. No working parties. Front line and surrounding areas heavily shelled by Turkish artillery 1600 1730. No damage to the Rm. 1 casualty only.
½ Bn engaged during morning on RE work and ½ at night between 2300 and 0300 road making under RE.
At this stage in the campaign it was increasingly hard to replace transport animals and their equipment. During the action at Mejdel Taba, artillery fire killed and wounded some of the brigade mules (the 1/5 Bedfordshire Regiment recorded this in their battalion diary) so finding mules and pack saddles amongst the abandoned Ottoman positions was a real boon.
Company and specialists training.
Holy Communion at Bn Hill 0830. Orders perceived from Bde for the Advancement of night of XXI Corps line to a line N of MEJDEL TABA. Bn orders issued as per copies annexed to all concerned. A attached.
Company and specialist training during morning. Preparation for the advance being made.
Bn paraded at 0500 and moved to the delaying point. Advance commenced at 0745 with artillery co-operation, by 0830 the line ZIMMEL LEBED-MEZEIRAM had been captured without opposition 0930 Advance assured and by 1230 MEJDEL JABA was in our hands after slight opposition 162 Bde Casualties 1 of Rank killed and 18 wounded. 1 enemies issues 1 officer and 37 of ranks taken prisoner also 4 wounded prisoners. 2 MGS and 1 automatic rifle, 8 mules and 5 pack saddles and other valuable material also taken. Bn went into Bivouac 500 yards SW KB DIKERIN. (Sheet XIV Palestine 1st map). Enemy aircraft active during afternoon. Bombed artillery and working parties infiltrating. slight casualties.
The award of the Victoria Cross, the highest award for gallantry in the British Armed Forces to Lance-Corporal Jock Christie was a great morale booster for the battalion, 162 Brigade and the 54th East Anglian Division. In later life Jock Christie preferred not to dwell on this period and his sons grew up unaware that their father had indeed won the VC.
Bn and Company Training. 22 O/Ranks reported for duty from Base Depot. L Cpl CHRISTIE of A Company awarded the Victoria Cross for Gallantry at BALD HILL, FEJJA on Night 22.2.17 when single handed this NCO went over the top and bombed a communication trench up which enemy were advancing, thus enabling us to make a block. A number of enemy dead were afterwards found. Here Christie’s action was of the greatest assistance in the consolidation.
Bn Training (Bn in the attack and artillery formations). 2nd LTS A.E.MASSEY, R.W.WALLER and B.A.HOOPER of 11 London Rfl reported for duty. 5 O/Ranks reported from BASE.
Bn Training (Bn in attack and the building up of a firing line). Night operations Bn: marching on Compass bearings. 7 O/ Ranks rejoined from BASE DEPOT.
Bn Route March. Specialists Training. Commanding Officer proceeded to 54th Divsl Tournament Camp (JO Central. Sheet XIII Pallatine) to act as Chief Umpire.
Company and specialists training. Bn mounted sports meeting. Teams re: judged by GOC. 162 Brigade. MAJOR. F.S. HAMMOND returned from 12 days special leave to Luxor. Hon Capt and QM TAT LUTIN rejoined from GHQ for Bn duty.
Brigade Church Parade (10.00) Heavily shelled by Turkish Artillery. No casualties, damage slight. Firing commenced about 0600 and finished about 0730.
Company and specialist training.
Date: 6 to 7/3/18
-ditto-ditto [ presumably company and specialist training]
-Orders received for Bn to move to Bivouac area R.M.D (Jehudiyah 1/2000 2nd edition). Bn moved 1830 and proceeded to new area arriving 21.15.
Squaring up Bivouac area. Lecture by GOC 162 Bde on HILL warfare to all officers. W.officers and 2 Cos at Bde HQ 10.30.
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’.
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.
Companies engaged in defence works. Specialist training. LT HEAVER 1/4 London Regt attached 1/11 London Regt reported for duty.
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.
Companies engaged in defence works. A coy from reserve relieved and B coy in the line.
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
Defence works. Specialist training. Slight reciprocal shelling during afternoon.
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.
Defence works and specialist training. CAPT SANDERCOCK rejoined from hospital.
Defence works and specialist training. Slight reciprocal shelling.
Holy Communion at Bn HQ at 0800. Draft of 28 other ranks returned wounded cured from hospital rejoined for duty.
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.
No work. Weather very wet and stormy. LT ROBERTSON returned from hospital and returned to company duty.
Very little work performed. Very wet.
2nd LT ICKE EAST LANCS reported for duty with 11 other ranks from hospital.
Communion service Bn HQ 0800 Quiet day. Weather improved.
Work on defences and specialist classes. 2nd LT WELLS attending Bde HQ. Course on signalling.
Work on defences and specialist classes.
Orders received for relief of 1/5 NORFOLK
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).
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
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
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.