Friday, April 24, 2015

In the Burning Sands of the Middle East

Life can be very confusing and sooo complicated. We're lucky, then, we have Tone around to guide us through its complexities. I mean where would we be without such helpful shortcuts as these?

Climate science=crap
Australia before the White Man=nothing but bush
The war in Syria=baddies vs baddies

What more do you need to know about those 4 issues after that?

Thankfully, Tone's come up with a newie: The Middle East=sand

"In the sands of the Middle East, Australian soldiers fought with skill and determination alongside British troops to capture Jerusalem and Damascus." (Worst of times brought out the best in Anzac troops, Tony Abbott, The Sydney Morning Herald, 22/4/15)

That being the case, the Australian War Memorial's website cannot be allowed to get away with the following any longer:

"Unlike their counterparts in France and Belgium, the Australians in the Middle East fought a mobile war in conditions completely different from the mud and stagnation of the Western Front. The light horsemen and their mounts had to survive extreme heat, harsh terrain, and water shortages." (

Hello, where's the bloody sand, AWM? You have until April 25 to fix it, OK? Better get moving!

As for Australian soldiers fighting [up-to-their-undies, or at least knee-deep, through the burning sands of Palestine ie, before Israel made the desert bloom!] alongside British troops to capture Jerusalem,  the following from Roger Ford, author of Eden to Armageddon: World War I in the Middle East (2009) my heretofore trusty guide to boots on the ground in the burning sands of Palestine in World War I, is going to have to revisit this:

"In fact, in keeping with Falkenhayn's instructions, the Turkish defences around Jerusalem were withdrawn during the early hours of 9 December [1917]. The first the British knew of this was a report from two mess cooks of the 2/20th Londons, wandering in search of water, who stumbled into the southern suburbs and upon a party led by the Mayor of Jerusalem, looking for someone to whom he could surrender his city. They declined to accept, and returned to their lines. Next the mayoral party happened upon two sergeants of the 2/19th Londons, on outpost duty, but they likewise declined the honour. Next it came upon two officers from the 60th Division's artillery, who promised to telephone the news to their headquarters but respectfully refused to take a more active part in the proceedings... Finally the mayor made contact with the commander of the 303rd Brigade, RFA, himself out on a reconnaissance mission, and managed to convince him of his bona fides. Lt.-Col. Bayley sent back for additional personnel, and was eventually joined by Brig.-Gen. Watson, the 180th Brigade's commander. Some while later Shea arrived and formally took the surrender in Allenby's name. British troops were henceforth confined to the suburbs, outside the city walls, until the commander-in-chief had made his own entrance. He did so - on foot, with no pomp and little ceremony - on 11 December." (p 359)

Not happy, Roger! Where are our Aussie diggers? And how about a bit of bloody action, mate? I want this passage Toned up, NOW, OK?

As for Australian troops fighting [again through the burning sands]... alongside British troops to capture... Damascus, I refer you to my 13/12/11 post Daley of Damascus, upon the reading of which, I'm sure you'll agree, that that uppity dune-coon George Antonius needs a thorough whipping. 

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