Saturday 23 December 2017

The Capture of Yafa Hill

Sunday 23rd December 1917

We have heard from the 1st/5th Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment about their action yesterday in Palestine. With the fall of Jerusalem earlier in the month, the last task for this year is to finally remove the Turks from the environs of Jaffa. This has not been made easy by rain which has reduced the battlefield to a marsh - a familiar turn of events in this wettest of years.

The attack began on the night of 20th/21st by 52nd (Lowland) Division who surprised the Turkish defences without a shot being fired. Just after midnight yesterday morning B Company of the Bedfords assaulted Yafa Hill without artillery support, the bayonet being the only weapon used. The enemy put up a stiff fight but was soon overcome and the whole garrison bolted. As at Gallipoli, the Yellow Devils earned their nickname by use of the bayonet. Our men having received orders not to advance beyond a certain point did not pursue the fleeing Turks.

By dawn the consolidation of Yafa Hill was sufficiently advanced to render it tenable during day. No shelling took place but heavy enemy machine-gun fire was experienced. This morning the enemy made a general retreat.

Source: X550/6/8

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