Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Forgotten Jerusalem Memorial

The day I bought my new camera I decided to take a walk and find some interesting sites to take photos of in order to try out some of the features. I came across this memorial. This impressive edifice stands at the back of a park. It is almost completely forgotten and ignored by those who pass by or use the park. I wonder if any of you know where this memorial is and what it commemorates. (Please click on photos for enlarged view)
I'll go all around the memorial for you and you'll probably work out where it is. Photos 2 and 3 probably gave it away...
The park is actually near the back of the Jerusalem Central Bus Station, where the intercity buses exit. Facing the back of the bus station, walk up the hill and you'll get to the park in about a minute. It is situated on a small roundabout at the intersection of rechov HaTzvi, rechov Moriah and rechov Torah MiTzion. Here is a close up of the caption that goes all around the memorial.

The caption reads: "Near this spot, the Holy City was surrendered to the 60th London Division 9th December 1917. Erected by their comrades to those officers, NCOs and men who fell in fighting for Jerusalem." The story goes something like this: On the 9th December 1917 the Mayor of Jerusalem Hussein Effendi El-Hussein accompanied by his aids and soldiers of the Ottoman Empire, made a make shift white flag and went out in search of the British forces' front line in order to surrender. They even brought a camera crew along to record the event. They came across two British Sergeants from the 60th London Division (artillery, reconnaissance duty) on the outskirts of Jerusalem. The two sergeants had left camp in order to search for something for their officer's breakfast - the officer being Major F.R Barry. The mayor of Jerusalem attempted to surrender to Sergeants F. G. Hurcomb & J. Sedgwick. They were however more interested in knowing where they could obtain some eggs and tea for their officer's breakfast.

The Mayor of Jerusalem and aids pose for the camera with Sergeants F. G. Hurcomb & J. Sedgwick. The photo was taken on the site where this park stands today. The two Sergeants pose with Major F. R. Barry, of the 60th Divisional Artillery, on reconnaissance.

So began 30 years of British rule in Eretz Yisrael It began just after the Balfour Declaration with such promise. Hakodesh Borech Hu had given the British people the privilage of assisting Am Yisrael in returning to their homeland and rebuilding Yerushalayim after nearly 2000 years. The League of Nations voted to give Britain the mandate to build the new Jewish state. Instead, the British abused their mandate and started actively working against the return of Jews to Eretz Yisrael. They rounded up Jewish refugees heading for Eretz Yisrael who had escaped the horrors of the Shoah and interned them in prison camps. On the 15th May 1948 the last of the British soldiers leave - in shame.

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