Saturday 18 November 2017

Yellow Devils on the Move

Sunday 18th November 1917

We have heard today of the doings of the 1st/5th Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment, part of the expeditionary force in Palestine. Following the victory at Gaza at the beginning of the month, the army has been following the retreating Turks.

The enemy abandoned Gaza on night of 7th/8th November. The Bedfords then had a period of “cleaning and straightening up generally” to quote the adjutant. They moved from the Sheikh Hasan area to a bivouac on cliffs by the sea on 12th.

On 14th they proceeded by route march to Herbieh some miles north-east, on the mediterannean coast. The following day they marched to El-Mejdel just inland from Ashkelon. The next day, permission having been given to visit the village in the morning the Battalion began a march at dusk to Esdud(1), along the railway line to the north east - arriving at 10 pm.

Yesterday the men marched to Yebna, arriving at 4 pm. Today they are due to march to Ayun Kara. They will thus have advanced forty miles. As a postscript we heard this morning that the vital port of Jaffa fell to the army on Friday, though the harbour is not yet safe for ships to unload vital supplies.

The correspondent's very amateurish attempt at a sketch map of Palestine above may give some idea of the Bedfords' route from Gaza to Jaffa.

Source: X550/6/8

(1) These towns are now in Israel and so have Hebrew names - Esdud is Ashdod, Yebna is Yavne, Ayun Kara is Rishon leZion; Jaffa is now part of Tel Aviv.

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