Not The Blog on Cholera, still working on that, more a series of one liners that I may or may not use later on. They are all about Palestine.
If you were going to invade Palestine circa 1917, what would be needed? apart from an army that is. A modern army with all the usual trappings, guns, rifles, the odd tank, aircraft, men, hospitals, intelligence, ships. Often forgotten that Royal Navy control of the coast of Sinai and Palestine played an important part in the invasion. So you have all those. Allenby took as well as all the above two books. The King James Bible, not because he was religious, but because the Jews were one of the most successful invaders of Palestine, the route they took is detailed in the Bible, and a book of maps, in Allenby’s case he carried with him The Historical Geography of the Holy Land by George Adam Smith. So for a while I might be doing a spot of biblical studies with the good book in one hand and G.A. Smith’s book in the other.
Recently I have been looking at incidents of cholera in the Sinai and Palestine region, there was no Israel then, during 1916-1918. Cholera was considered a major threat to the well being of Allenby’s Army, and a great deal of effort was made into early diagnosis, and also to the prevention of the disease. Allenby used mobile labs to identify outbreaks as early as possible. These were nearly rendered pointless by Lawrence’s and the Arabs capture of Aqaba where there was a minor outbreak.
On 26th September 1918 one soldier in the Egyptian expeditionary Force did contract cholera. This was in the area of Tiberias. Tiberias in September 11918 was rife with cholera. Lindsay Baly, in his book Horseman Pass By, claims that Cholera
“was checked by the herculean effort of German Medical officers with the Turkish Army who isolated any Turkish unit with a case.”
Not sure how true this was of Turkish troops in Tiberias, but the population was not isolated and cholera was free to spread. There is one out take fro Tiberias. Along the shore of the Sea of Galilee there is a ruined synagogue, which dates back to the founding of the city, 2,000yrs give or take a month or two. Tiberias was founded in 20 A.D. On one of the columns is carving of a face.
The news seems to be full of atrocities committed by Jihadists from or going to Syria. In 1918 the allies employed Syrian Cavalrymen as auxiliaries, mostly scouts. Here is Artilleryman Zeysolff an Alsatian-Lorrainer and deserter from German forces attached to the Turkish Army.
” All of a sudden, I could make out three cavalrymen coming towards me. i told my friend: “Come on, on the double, the Syrians are coming!. and he answered me, ” I’ve done them no harm, they will do me no harm either. I just want to eat my melon.” I took all I could and, with my melon under my arm, I fled in the opposite way from where the cloud of dust came nearer. The melon fell down but I didn’t take time to pick it up. I was lucky, the Syrians cut off my friend’s head.” (P32, Palestine and World War I)
If it was not for the Asia-Minor agreement, Syria might have declared its independence from the Ottoman Empire. The Asia-Minor agreement is better known as the Sykes Picot Agreement, france promised Syria was not going to let the Syrians get in the way of an expansion of the French Empire, just as Britain was not going to let the Arabs and their asperations get in the way of painting more of the globe in Imperial Red.
Allenby’s Army was an Imperial Army, it fought the second last great British Imperial campaign, the last was Field Marshal Slim’s campaign in Burma during WWII. The was a major difference between the two campaigns. Both fought with a considerable number of soldiers from the Indian Army.
In the First World War the opposing Turkish Army was Sunni, the same religion as a large number of the Indian soldiers. The Ottoman Sultan was the head of the Sunni branch of the Muslim faith, so there was a higher proportion of deserters.
The similarity of the two campaigns was that neither campaign was ever going to win the war. Ultimate military victory in the Great War was down to Haig, and in the Second, victory over Japan down to Nimitz.
Allenby’s Military Medicine, Eran Dolev, I.B. Tauris Books.
Horseman Pass By, Lindsay Baly, Spellmount Books
Palestine and World War I, edited by Eran Dolev, Yigal Sheffy, and Haim Goren, I.B Tauris books