Tuesday, October 30, 2007

One Day

Sometimes, a day can make all the difference in the world. October 31, 1917 was such a day and it occurred in Beersheba. The heroic efforts of the Australian Lighthorse broke through the Turkish lines. And this action led to the loosening of the Ottoman Empire strangle-hold.

David at Treppenwitz posts about the importance of this and why it made it possible for Israel to become a state. It was a hard fought battle:

"The key to the battle were the Gaza-Beersheba fortifications. Beersheba, meaning "well of the oath", so named by Abraham in the book of Genesis... Any army approaching its life-giving wells has to march for days through the waterless desert. All the Turks had to do was hold off an attack for one day and the merciless desert sun would do the rest. Despite constant assaults by the combined forces of the British and Australian armies, the place could not be taken. Then came the fateful day of October 31 1917. The generals were desperate, 50,000 British infantry with tank support had been driven back into the desert. With the sun about to set and with no water for many miles, disaster stared them squarely in the face. The Australian Light Horse Commander [General] Chauvel's orders were to storm Beersheba, it had to be won before nightfall at all costs. The situation was becoming grave as they were in urgent need of 400,000 gallons of water for men and horses.

Every anniversary is marked with gratitude. And those who died that day, like Sidney William Watts are remembered.

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