It is doubtful whether the population of any city within the zones of war profited so much at the hands of the conqueror as Jerusalem. In a little more than half a year a wondrous change was effected in the condition of the people, and if it had been possible to search the Oriental mind and to get a free and frank expression of opinion, one would probably have found a universal thankfulness for General Allenby's deliverance of the Holy City from the hands of the Turks. And with good reason. The scourge of war so far as the British Army was concerned left Jerusalem the Golden untouched. For the 50,000 people in the City the skilfully applied military pressure which put an end to Turkish misgovernment was the beginning of an era of happiness and contentment of which they had hitherto had no conception. Justice was administered in accordance with British ideals, every man enjoyed the profits of his industry, traders no longer ran the gauntlet of extortionate officials, the old time corruption was a thing of the past, public health was organised as far as it could be on Western lines, and though in matters of sanitation and personal cleanliness the inhabitants still had much to learn, the appearance of the Holy City and its population vastly improved under the touch of a civilising hand. Sights that offended more than one of the senses on the day when General Allenby made his official entry had disappeared, and peace and order reigned where previously had been but misery, poverty, disease, and squalor.

One of the biggest blots upon the Turkish government of the City was the total failure to provide an adequate water supply. What they could not, or would not, do in their rule of four hundred years His Majesty's Royal Engineers accomplished in a little more than two months, and now for the first time in history every civilian in Jerusalem can obtain as much pure mountain spring water as he wishes, and for this water, as fresh and bright as any bubbling out of Welsh hills, not a penny is charged. The picturesque, though usually unclean, water carrier is passing into the limbo of forgotten things, and his energies are being diverted into other channels. The germs that swarmed in his leathern water bags will no longer endanger the lives of the citizens, and the deadly perils of stagnant cistern water have been to a large extent removed.

For its water Jerusalem used to rely mainly upon the winter rainfall to fill its cisterns. Practically every house has its underground reservoir, and it is estimated that if all were full they would contain about 360,000,000 gallons. But many had fallen into disrepair and most, if not the whole of them, required thorough cleansing. One which was inspected by our sanitary department had not been emptied for nineteen years. To supplement the cistern supply the Mosque of Omar reservoir halved with Bethlehem the water which flowed from near Solomon's Pools down an aqueduct constructed by Roman engineers under Herod before the Saviour was born. This was not nearly sufficient, nor was it so constant a supply as that provided by our Army engineers. They went farther afield. They found a group of spring-heads in an absolutely clean gathering ground on the hills yielding some 14,000 gallons an hour, and this water which was running to waste is lifted to the top of a hill from which it flows by gravity through a long pipe-line to Jerusalem, where a reservoir has been built on a high point on the outskirts of the city. Supplies of this beautiful water run direct to the hospitals, and at standpipes all over the city the inhabitants take as much as they desire. The water consumption of the people became ten times what it was in the previous year, and this fact alone told how the boon was appreciated.

The scheme did not stop at putting up standpipes for those who fetched the water. A portion of the contents of the cisterns was taken for watering troop horses in the spring - troops were not allowed to drink it. The water level of these cisterns became very low, and as they got emptied the authorities arranged for refilling them on the one condition that they were first thoroughly cleansed and put in order. The British administration would not be parties to the perpetuation of a system which permitted the fouling of good crystal water. A householder had merely to apply to the Military Governor for water, and a sanitary officer inspected the cistern, ordered it to be cleansed, and saw that this was done; then the Department of Public Health gave its certificate, and the engineers ran a pipe to the cistern and filled it, no matter what its capacity. Two cisterns were replenished with between 60,000 and 70,000 gallons of sparkling water from the hills in place of water heavily charged with the accumulation of summer dust on roofs, and the dust of Jerusalem roads, as we had sampled it, is not as clean as desert sand.

The installation of the supply was a triumph for the Royal Engineers. In peace times the work would have taken from one to two years to complete. A preliminary investigation and survey of the ground was made on February 14, and a scheme was submitted four days later. Owing to the shortage of transport and abnormally bad weather work could not be commenced till April 12. Many miles of pipe line had to be laid and a powerful pumping plant erected, but water was being delivered to the people of Jerusalem on the 18th of June. Other military works have done much for the common good in Palestine, but none of them were of greater utility than this. Mahomedans seeing bright water flow into Jerusalem regarded it as one of the wonders of all time. It is interesting to note that the American Red Cross Society, which sent a large and capable staff to the Holy Land after America came into the war, knew of the lack of an adequate water supply for Jerusalem, and with that foresight which Americans show, forwarded to Egypt for transportation to Jerusalem some thousand tons of water mains to provide a water service. When the American Red Cross workers reached the Holy City they found the Army's plans almost completed, and they were the first to pay a tribute to what they described as the 'civilising march of the British Army.'

Those who watched the ceaseless activities of the Public Health Administration were not surprised at the remarkable improvement in the sick and death rates, not only of Jerusalem but of all the towns and districts. The new water supply will unquestionably help to lower the figures still further. A medical authority recently told me that the health of the community was wonderfully good and there was no suspicion of cholera, outbreaks of which were frequent under the Turkish regime. Government hospitals were established in all large centres. In this country where small-pox takes a heavy toll the 'conscientious objector' was unknown, and many thousands of natives in a few months came forward of their own free will to be vaccinated. Typhus and relapsing fever, both lice-borne diseases, used to claim many victims, but the figures fell very rapidly, due largely, no doubt, to the full use to which disinfecting plants were put in all areas of the occupied territory. The virtues of bodily cleanliness were taught, and the people were given that personal attention which was entirely lacking under Turkish rule. It is not easy to overcome the prejudices and cure the habits of thousands of years, but progress is being made surely if slowly, and already there is a gratifying improvement in the condition of the people which is patent to any observer.

In Jerusalem an infants' welfare bureau was instituted, where mothers were seen before and after childbirth, infants' clinics were established, a body of health was formed, and a kitchen was opened to provide food for babies and the poor. The nurses were mainly local subjects who had to undergo an adequate training, and there was no one who did not confidently predict a rapid fall in the infant mortality rate which, to the shame of the Turkish administration, was fully a dozen times that of the highest of English towns. The spadework was all done by the medical staff of the Occupied Enemy Territory Administration. The call was urgent, and though labouring under war-time difficulties they got things going quickly and smoothly. Some voluntary societies were assisting, and the enthusiasm of the American Red Cross units enabled all to carry on a great and beneficent work.