In early December 1917 the New York Tribune was eagerly anticipating the British capture of Jerusalem:

NY Tribune 12-2-1917 (LOC:

wrapping it up

As explained by Francis A. March and Richard J. Beamish in their 1919 History of the World War (at Project Gutenberg, pages 506-512) British forces commanded by Edmund Allenby captured Jerusalem on December 8, 1917 (it probably was really the 9th). On December 11th General Allenby entered the city. His proclamation declaring martial law also promised to protect the sacred sites for each of the three “great religions of mankind” that call Jerusalem holy.


camels (History of the World War (

technology: old but still useful

From the beginning of the war the German General Staff and the British War Office planned the occupation of Palestine and Macedonia. Germany wanted domination of that territory because through it lay the open road to Egypt and British prestige in the East. Turkey was the cat’s paw of the Hun in this enterprise. German officers and German guns were supplied to the Turks, but the terrible privations necessary in a long campaign that must be spent largely in the desert, and the inevitable great loss in human life, were both demanded from Turkey.

Great Britain made no such demands upon any of its Allies. Unflinchingly England faced virtually alone the rigors, the disease and the deaths consequent upon an expedition having as its object the redemption of the Holy Land from the unspeakable Turk.

The surrender of Jerusalem to the British, December 9, 1917. The Mayor of Jerusalem, with white flag, offers surrender to two British tommies (sergeants) (LOC:

“The surrender of Jerusalem to the British,
December 9, 1917. The Mayor of Jerusalem,
with white flag, offers surrender
to two British tommies (sergeants)”

Volunteers for the expedition came by the thousands. Canada, the United States, Australia and other countries furnished whole regiments of Jewish youths eager for the campaign. The inspiration and the devotion radiating from Palestine, and particularly from Jerusalem and Bethlehem, drew Jew and Gentile, hardy adventurer and zealous churchman, into Allenby’s great army.

It was a long campaign. On February 26, 1917, Kut-el-Amara was recaptured from the Turks by the British expedition under command of General Sir Stanley Maude, and on March 11th following General Maude captured Bagdad. From that time forward pressure upon the Turks was continuous. On September 29, 1917, the Turkish Mesopotamian army commanded by Ahmad Bey was routed by the British, and historic Beersheba in Palestine was occupied on October 31st. The untimely death of General Maude, the hero of Mesopotamia, on November 18, 1917, temporarily cast gloom over the Allied forces but it had no deterrent effect upon their successful operations. Siege was laid to Jerusalem and its environs late in November, and on December 8, 1917, the Holy City which had been held by the Turks for six hundred and seventy-three years surrendered to General Allenby and his British army. Thus ended a struggle for possession of the holiest of shrines both of the Old and New Testaments, that had cost millions of lives during fruitless crusades and had been the center of religious aspirations for ages.

Allenby's entry (History of the World War;

on foot through the Jaffa gate

General Allenby’s official report follows:

“I entered the city officially at noon December 11th with a few of my staff, the commanders of the French and Italian detachments, the heads of the political missions, and the military attaches of France, England, and America.

“The procession was all afoot, and at Jaffa gate I was received by the guards representing England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Australia, New Zealand, India, France and Italy. The population received me well.

“Guards have been placed over the holy places. My military governor is in contact with the acting custodians and the Latin and Greek representatives. The governor has detailed an officer to supervise the holy places. The Mosque of Omar and the area around it have been placed under Moslem control, and a military cordon of Mohammedan officers and soldiers has been established around the mosque. Orders have been issued that no non-Moslem is to pass within the cordon without permission of the military governor and the Moslem in charge.”

A proclamation in Arabic, Hebrew, English, French, Italian Greek and Russian was posted in the citadel, and on all the walls proclaiming martial law and intimating that all the holy places would be maintained and protected according to the customs and beliefs of those to whose faith they were sacred. The proclamation read:


To the Inhabitants of Jerusalem the Blessed and the People Dwelling in Its Vicinity.
The defeat inflicted upon the Turks by the troops under my command has resulted in the occupation of your city by my forces. I, therefore, proclaim it to be under martial law, under which form of administration it will remain so long as military consideration makes necessary.
However, lest any of you be alarmed by reason of your experience at the hands of the enemy who has retired, I hereby inform you that it is my desire that every person should pursue his lawful business without fear of interruption.
Furthermore, since your city is regarded with affection by the adherents of three of the great religions of mankind and its soil has been consecrated by the prayers and pilgrimages of multitudes of devout people of these three religions for many centuries, therefore, do I make it known to you that every sacred building, monument, holy spot, shrine, traditional site, endowment, pious bequest, or customary place of prayer of whatsoever form of the three religions will be maintained and protected according to the existing customs and beliefs of those to whose faith they are sacred.
Guardians have been established at Bethlehem and on Rachel’s Tomb. The tomb at Hebron has been placed under exclusive Moslem control.
The hereditary custodians at the gates of the Holy Sepulchre have been requested to take up their accustomed duties in remembrance of the magnanimous act of the Caliph Omar, who protected that church.

Jerusalem was now made the center of the British operations against the Turks in Palestine. …

The surrender of Jerusalem to the British December 9th, 1917. Turkish prisoners. (LOC:

Turkish prisoners

Entry of Field Marshall Allenby, Jerusalem, December 11, 1917. Franciscan monk reading the proclamation in French (LOC:

Franciscan monk reads
Allenby’s proclamation
in French

Jerusalem from Mount of Olives

Tomb of Abraham, Hebron


I don’t know much about the Cave of the Patriarchs, but I picked what is said to be the tomb of Abraham, who with did beget Ishmael with Hagar (and then Isaac with Sarah).

During the American Civil War a Confederate army captured camels in the U.S. Army’s experimental United States Camel Corps:

In spring 1861, Camp Verde fell into Confederate hands until recaptured in 1865. The Confederate commander issued a receipt to the United States for 12 mules, 80 camels and two Egyptian camel drivers. There were reports of the animals’ being used to transport baggage, but there was no evidence of their being assigned to Confederate units. When Union troops reoccupied Camp Verde, there were estimated to be more than 100 camels at the camp, but there may have been others roaming the countryside. In 1866, the Government was able to round up 66 camels, which it sold to Bethel Coopwood. The U.S. Army’s camel experiment was complete. The last year a camel was seen in the vicinity of Camp Verde was 1875; the animal’s fate is unknown.

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