Jerusalem became supremely happy.

It had passed through the trials, if not the perils, of war. It had been the headquarters and base of a Turkish Army. Great bodies of troops were never quartered there, but staffs and depots were established in the City, and being in complete control, the military paid little regard to the needs of the population. Unfortunately a not inconsiderable section of Jerusalem's inhabitants is content to live, not by its own handiwork, but on the gifts of charitable religious people of all creeds. When war virtually shut off Jerusalem from the outer world the lot of the poor became precarious. The food of the country, just about sufficient for self-support, was to a large extent commandeered for the troops, and while prices rose the poor could not buy, and either their appeals did not reach the benevolent or funds were intercepted. Deaths from starvation were numbered by the thousand, Jews, Christians, and Moslems alike suffering, and there were few civilians in the Holy City who were not hungry for months at a time.

When I reached Jerusalem the people were at the height of their excitement over the coming of the British and they put the best face on their condition, but the freely expressed feeling of relief that the days of hunger torture were nearly past did not remove the signs of want and misery, of infinite suffering by father, mother, and child, brought about by a long period of starvation. That a people, pale, thin, bent, whose movements had become listless under the lash of hunger, could have been stirred into enthusiasm by the appearance of a khaki coat, that they could throw off the lethargy which comes of acute want, was only to be accounted for by the existence of a profound belief that we had been sent to deliver them. Some hours before the Official Entry I was walking in David Street when a Jewish woman, seeing that I was English, stopped me and said: 'We have prayed for this day. To-day I shall sing "God Save our Gracious King, Long Live our Noble King." We have been starving, but what does that matter? Now we are liberated and free.' She clasped her hands across her breasts and exclaimed several times, 'Oh how thankful we are.' An elderly man in a black robe, whose pinched pale face told of a long period of want, caught me by the hand and said: 'God has delivered us. Oh how happy we are.' An American worker in a Red Crescent hospital, who had lived in Jerusalem for upwards of ten years and knew the people well, assured me there was not one person in the Holy City who in his heart was not devoutly thankful for our victory. He told me that on the day we captured Nebi Samwil three wounded Arab officers were brought to the hospital. One of them spoke English - it was astonishing how many people could speak our mother tongue - and while he was having his wounds dressed he exclaimed: 'I can shout Hip-hip-hurrah for England now.' The officer was advised to be careful, as there were many Turkish wounded in the hospital, but he replied he did not care, and in unrestrained joy cried out, 'Hurrah for England.'

The deplorable lot of the people had been made harder by profiteering officers. Those who had money had to part with it for Turkish paper. The Turkish note was depreciated to about one-fifth of its face value. German officers traded in the notes for gold, sent the notes to Germany where, by a financial arrangement concluded between Constantinople and Berlin, they were accepted at face value. The German officer and soldier got richer the more they forced Turkish paper down. Turkish officers bought considerable supplies of wheat and flour from military depots, the cost being debited against their pay which was paid in paper. They then sold the goods for gold. That accounted for the high prices of foodstuffs, the price in gold being taken for the market valuation.

In the middle of November when there was a prospect of the Turks evacuating Jerusalem, the officers sold out their stocks of provisions and prices became less prohibitive, but they rose again quickly when it was decided to defend the City, and the cost of food mounted to almost famine prices. The Turks by selling for gold that which was bought for paper, rechanging gold for paper at their own prices, made huge profits and caused a heavy depreciation of the note at the expense of the population. Grain was brought from the district east of the Dead Sea, but none of it found its way to civilian mouths except through the extortionate channel provided by officers. Yet when we got into Jerusalem there were people with small stocks of flour who were willing to make flat loaves of unleavened bread for sale to our troops. The soldiers had been living for weeks on hard biscuit and bully beef, and many were willing to pay a shilling for a small cake of bread. They did not know that the stock of flour in the town was desperately low and that by buying this bread they were almost taking it out of the mouths of the poor. Some traders were so keen on getting good money, not paper, that they tried to do business on this footing, looking to the British Army to come to the aid of the people. The Army soon put a stop to this trade and the troops were prohibited from buying bread in Jerusalem and Bethlehem. As it was, the Quarter-master-General's branch had to send a large quantity of foodstuffs into the towns, and this was done at a time when it was a most anxious task to provision the troops. Those were very trying days for the supply and transport departments, and one wonders whether the civilian population ever realised the extent of the humanitarian efforts of our Army staff.

During the period when no attempt was made to alleviate the lot of the people the Turks gave them a number of lessons in frightfulness. There were public executions to show the severity of military law. Gallows were erected outside the Jaffa Gate and the victims were left hanging for hours as a warning to the population. I have seen a photograph of six natives who suffered the penalty, with their executioners standing at the swinging feet of their victims. Before the first battle of Gaza the Turks brought the rich Mufti of Gaza and his son to Jerusalem, and the Mufti was hanged in the presence of a throng compulsorily assembled to witness the execution. The son was shot. Their only crime was that they were believed to have expressed approval of Britain's policy in dealing with Moslem races. Thus were the people terrorised. They knew the Turkish ideas of justice, and dared not talk of events happening in the town even in the seclusion of their homes. The evils of war, as war is practised by the Turk, left a mark on Jerusalem's population which will be indelible for this generation, despite the wondrous change our Army has wrought in the people.

When General Allenby had broken through the Gaza line the Turks in Jerusalem despaired of saving the City. That all the army papers were brought from Hebron on November 10, shows that even at that date von Kress still imagined we would come up the Hebron road, though he had learnt to his cost that a mighty column was moving through the coastal sector and that our cavalry were cutting across the country to join it. The notorious Enver reached Jerusalem from the north on November 12 and went down to Hebron. On his return it was reported that the Turks would leave Jerusalem, the immediate sale of officers' stocks of foodstuffs giving colour to the rumour. Undoubtedly some preparations were made to evacuate the place, but the temptation to hold on was too great. One can see the influence of the German mind in the Turkish councils of war. At a moment when they were flashing the wireless news throughout the world that their Caporetto victory meant the driving of Italy out of the war they did not want the icy blast of Jerusalem's fall to tell of disaster to their hopes in the East. Accordingly on the 16th November a new decision was taken and Jerusalem was to be defended to the last. German officers came hurrying south, lorries were rushed down with stores until there were six hundred German lorry drivers and mechanics in Jerusalem. Reinforcements arrived and the houses of the German Colony were turned into nests of machine guns. The pains the Germans were at to see their plans carried out were reflected in the fighting when we tried to get across the Jerusalem-Nablus road and to avoid fighting in the neighbourhood of the Holy City. But all this effort availed them nought. Our dispositions compelled the enemy to distribute his forces, and when the attack was launched the Turk lacked sufficient men to man his defences adequately. And German pretensions in the Holy Land, founded upon years of scheming and the formation of settlements for German colonists approved and supported by the Kaiser himself, were shattered beyond hope of recovery, as similar pretensions had been shattered at Bagdad by General Maude. The Turks had made their headquarters at the Hospice of Notre Dame in Jerusalem, and, taking their cue from the Hun, carried away all the furniture belonging to that French religious institution. They had also deported some of the heads of religious bodies. Falkenhayn wished that all Americans should be removed from Jerusalem, issuing an order to that effect a fortnight before we entered. Some members of the American colony had been running the Red Crescent hospital, and Turkish doctors who appreciated their good work insisted that the Americans should remain. Their protest prevailed in most cases, but just as we arrived several Americans were carried off.

I have asked many men who were engaged in the fight for Jerusalem what their feelings were on getting their first glimpse of the central spot of Christendom. Some people imagine that the hard brutalities of war erase the softer elements of men's natures; that killing and the rough life of campaigning, where one is familiarised with the tragedies of life every hour of every day, where ease and comfort are forgotten things, remove from the mind those earlier lessons of peace on earth and goodwill toward men. That is a fallacy. Every man or officer I spoke to declared that he was seized with emotion when, looking from the shell-torn summit of Nebi Samwil, he saw the spires on the Mount of Olives; or when reconnoitring from Kustul he got a peep of the red roofs of the newer houses which surround the old City. Possibly only a small percentage of the Army believed they were taking part in a great mission, not a great proportion would claim to be really devout men, but they all behaved like Christian gentlemen. One Londoner told me he had thought the scenes of war had made him callous and that the ruthless destruction of those things fashioned by men's hands in prosecuting the arts of peace had prompted the feeling that there was little in civilisation after all, if civilisation could result in so bitter a thing as this awful fighting. Man seemed as barbaric as in the days before the Saviour came to redeem the world, and whether we won or lost the war all hopes of a happier state of things were futile. So this Cockney imagined that his condition showed no improvement on that of the savage warrior of two thousand years ago, except in that civilisation had developed finer weapons to kill with and be killed by. The finer instincts had been blunted by the naked and unashamed horrors of war. But the lessons taught him before war scourged the world came back to him on getting his first view of the Holy City. He felt that sense of emotion which makes one wish to be alone and think alone. He was on the ground where Sacred History was made, perhaps stood on the rock the Saviour's foot had trod. In the deep stirring of his emotions the rougher edges of his nature became rounded by feelings of sympathy and a belief that good would come out of the evil of this strife. That view of Jerusalem, and the knowledge of what the Holy Sites stand for, made him a better man and a better fighting man, and he had no doubt the first distant glimpse of the Holy City had similarly affected the bulk of the Army. That bad language is used by almost all troops in the field is notorious, but in Jerusalem one seldom heard an oath or an indecent word. When Jerusalem was won and small parties of our soldiers were allowed to see the Holy City, their politeness to the inhabitants, patriarch or priest, trader or beggar, man or woman, rebuked the thought that the age of chivalry was past, while the reverent attitude involuntarily adopted by every man when seeing the Sacred Places suggested that no Crusader Army or band of pilgrims ever came to the Holy Land under a more pious influence. Many times have I watched the troops of General Allenby in the streets of Jerusalem. They bore themselves as soldiers and gentlemen, and if they had been selected to go there simply to impress the people they could not have more worthily upheld the good fame of their nation. These soldier missionaries of the Empire left behind them a record which will be remembered for generations.

If it had been possible to consult the British people as to the details to be observed at the ceremony of the Official Entry into Jerusalem, the vast majority would surely have approved General Allenby's programme. Americans tell us the British as a nation do not know how to advertise. Our part in the war generally proves the accuracy of that statement, but the Official Entry into Jerusalem will stand out as one great exception. By omitting to make a great parade of his victory - one may count elaborate ceremonial as advertisement - General Allenby gave Britain her best advertisement. The simple, dignified, and, one may also justly say, humble order of ceremony was the creation of a truly British mind. To impress the inhabitant of the East things must be done on a lavish ostentatious scale, for gold and glitter and tinsel go a long way to form a native's estimate of power. But there are times when the native is shrewd enough to realise that pomp and circumstance do not always indicate strength, and that dignity is more powerful than display. Contrast the German Emperor's visit to Jerusalem with General Allenby's Official Entry. The Kaiser brought a retinue clothed in white and red, and blue and gold, with richly caparisoned horses, and, like a true showman, he himself affected some articles of Arab dress. He rode into the Holy City - where One before had walked - and a wide breach was even made in those ancient walls for a German progress. All this to advertise the might and power of Germany.

In parenthesis I may state we are going to restore those walls to the condition they were in before German hands defiled them. The General who by capturing Jerusalem helped us so powerfully to bring Germany to her knees and humble her before the world, entered on foot by an ancient way, the Jaffa Gate, called by the native 'Bab-el-Khalil,' or the Friend. In this hallowed spot there was no great pageantry of arms, no pomp and panoply, no display of the mighty strength of a victorious army, no thunderous salutes to acclaim a world-resounding victory destined to take its place in the chronicles of all time. There was no enemy flag to haul down and no flags were hoisted. There were no soldier shouts of triumph over a defeated foe, no bells in ancient belfrys rang, no Te Deums were sung, and no preacher mounted the rostrum to eulogise the victors or to point the moral to the multitude. A small, almost meagre procession, consisting of the Commander-in-Chief and his Staff, with a guard of honour, less than 150 all told, passed through the gate unheralded by a single trumpet note; a purely military act with a minimum of military display told the people that the old order had changed, yielding place to new. The native mind, keen, discerning, receptive, understood the meaning and depth of this simplicity, and from the moment of high noon on December 11, 1917, when General Allenby went into the Mount Zion quarter of the Holy City, the British name rested on a foundation as certain and sure as the rock on which the Holy City stands. Right down in the hearts of a people who cling to Jerusalem with the deepest reverence and piety there was unfeigned delight. They realised that four centuries of Ottoman dominion over the Holy City of Christians and Jews, and 'the sanctuary' of Mahomedans, had ended, and that Jerusalem the Golden, the central Site of Sacred History, was liberated for all creeds from the blighting influence of the Turk. And while war had wrought this beneficent change the population saw in this epoch-marking victory a merciful guiding Hand, for it had been achieved without so much as a stone of the City being scratched or a particle of its ancient dust disturbed. The Sacred Monuments and everything connected with the Great Life and its teaching were passed on untouched by our Army. Rightly did the people rejoice.

When General Allenby went into Jerusalem all fears had passed away. The Official Entry was made while there was considerable fighting on the north and east of the City, where our lines were nowhere more than 7000 yards off. The guns were firing, the sounds of bursts of musketry were carried down on the wind, whilst droning aeroplane engines in the deep-blue vault overhead told of our flying men denying a passage to enemy machines. The stern voices of war were there in all their harsh discordancy, but the people knew they were safe in the keeping of British soldiers and came out to make holiday. General Allenby motored into the suburbs of Jerusalem by the road from Latron which the pioneers had got into some sort of order. The business of war was going on, and the General's car took its place on the highway on even terms with the lorry, which at that time when supplying the front was the most urgent task and had priority on the roads. The people had put on gala raiment. From the outer fringe of Jerusalem the Jaffa road was blocked not merely with the inhabitants of the City but with people who had followed in the Army's wake from Bethlehem. It was a picturesque throng. There were sombre-clad Jews of all nationalities, Armenians, Greeks, Russians, and all the peoples who make Jerusalem the most cosmopolitan of cities. To the many styles of European dress the brighter robes of the East gave vivid colour, and it was obvious from the remarkably free and spontaneous expression of joy of these people, who at the end of three years of war had such strong faith in our fight for freedom, that they recognised freedom was permanently won to all races and creeds by the victory at Jerusalem. The most significant of all the signs was the attitude of Moslems. The Turks had preached the Holy War, but they knew the hollowness of the cry, and the natives, abandoning their natural reserve, joined in loud expression of welcome. From flat-topped roofs, balconies, and streets there were cries of 'Bravo!' and 'Hurrah!' uttered by men and women who probably never spoke the words before, and quite close to the Jaffa Gate I saw three old Mahomedans clap their hands while tears of joy coursed down their cheeks. Their hearts were too full to utter a word. There could be no doubt of the sincerity of this enthusiasm. The crowd was more demonstrative than is usual with popular assemblies in the East, but the note struck was not one of jubilation so much as of thankfulness at the relief from an insufferable bondage of bad government. Outside the Jaffa Gate was an Imperial guard of honour drawn from men who had fought stoutly for the victory. In the British Guard of fifty of all ranks were English, Scottish, Irish, and Welsh troops, steel-helmeted and carrying the kit they had an hour or two earlier brought with them from the front line. Opposite them were fifty dismounted men of the Australian Light Horse and New Zealand Mounted Rifles, the Australians, under the command of Captain Throssel, V.C., being drawn from the 10th Light Horse regiment, which had been employed in the capture of Jerusalem on the right of the London Division. These Colonial troops had earned their place, for they had done the work of the vanguard in the Sinai Desert, and their victories over the Turks on many a hard-won field in the torrid heat of summer had paved the way for this greater triumph. A French and an Italian guard of honour was posted inside the Jaffa Gate. As I have previously said, the Italians had held a portion of the line in front of Gaza with a composite brigade, but the French troops had not yet been in action in Palestine, though their Navy had assisted with a battleship in the Gaza bombardment. We welcomed the participation of the representatives of our Allies in the Official Entry, as it showed to those of their nationality in Jerusalem that we were fighting the battle of freedom for them all. Outside the Jaffa Gate the Commander-in-Chief was received by Major-General Borton, who had been appointed Military Governor of the City, and a procession being formed, General Allenby passed between the iron gates to within the City walls. Preceded by two aides-de-camp the Commander-in-Chief advanced with the commander of the French Palestine detachment on his right and the commander of the Italian Palestine detachment on his left. Four Staff officers followed. Then came Brigadier-General Clayton, Political Officer; M. Picot, head of the French Mission; and the French, Italian, and United States Military Attaches. The Chief of the General Staff (Major-General Sir L.J. Bols) and the Brigadier-General General Staff (Brigadier-General G. Dawnay) marched slightly ahead of Lieutenant-General Sir Philip W. Chetwode, the XXth Corps Commander, and Brigadier-General Bartholomew, who was General Chetwode's B.G.G.S. The guard closed in behind. That was all.

The procession came to a halt at the steps of El Kala, the Citadel, which visitors to Jerusalem will better remember as the entrance to David's Tower. Here the Commander-in-Chief and his Staff formed up on the steps with the notables of the City behind them, to listen to the reading of the Proclamation in several languages. That Proclamation, telling the people they could pursue their lawful business without interruption and promising that every sacred building, monument, holy spot, shrine, traditional site, endowment, pious bequest, or customary place of prayer of whatsoever form of three of the great religions of mankind would be maintained and protected according to existing customs and beliefs to those to whose faiths they are sacred, made a deep impression on the populace. So you could judge from the expressions on faces and the frequent murmurs of approval, and it was interesting to note how, when the procession was being re-formed, many Christians, Jews, and Moslems broke away from the crowd to run and spread the good news in their respective quarters. How faithfully and with what scrupulous care our promises have been kept the religious communities of Jerusalem can tell.

The procession next moved into the old Turkish barrack square less than a hundred yards away, where General Allenby received the notables of the City and the heads of religious communities. The Mayor of Jerusalem, who unfortunately died of pneumonia a fortnight later, and the Mufti, who, like the Mayor, was a member of a Mahomedan family which traces its descent back through many centuries, were presented, as were also the sheikhs in charge of the Mosque of Omar, 'the Tomb of the Rock,' and the Mosque of El Aksa, and Moslems belonging to the Khaldieh and Alamieh families. The Patriarchs of the Latin, Greek Orthodox, and Armenian Churches and the Coptic bishop had been removed from the Holy City by the Turks, but their representatives were introduced to the Commander-in-Chief, and so too were the heads of Jewish communities, the Syriac Church, the Greek Catholic Church, the Abyssinian bishop, and the representative of the Anglican Church. A notable presentation was the Spanish Consul, who had been in charge of the interests of almost all countries at war, and whom General Allenby congratulated upon being so busy a man. The presentations over, the Commander-in-Chief returned to the Jaffa Gate and left for advanced General Headquarters, having been in the Holy City not more than a quarter of an hour.

For succinctness it would be difficult to improve upon the Commander-in-Chief's own description of his Official Entry into Jerusalem. Cabling to London within two hours of that event, General Allenby thus narrated the events of the day:

(1) At noon to-day I officially entered this City with a few of my Staff, the commanders of the French and Italian detachments, the heads of the Picot Mission, and the Military Attaches of France, Italy, and the United States of America.

The procession was all on foot.

I was received by Guards representing England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Australia, India, New Zealand, France, and Italy at the Jaffa Gate.

(2) I was well received by the population.

(3) The Holy Places have had Guards placed over them.

(4) My Military Governor is in touch with the Acting Custos of Latins, and the Greek representative has been detailed to supervise Christian Holy Places.

(5) The Mosque of Omar and the area round it has been placed under Moslem control and a military cordon composed of Indian Mahomedan officers and soldiers has been established round the Mosque. Orders have been issued that without permission of the Military Governor and the Moslem in charge of the Mosque no non-Moslem is to pass this cordon.

(6) The Proclamation has been posted on the walls, and from the steps of the Citadel was read in my presence to the population in Arabic, Hebrew, English, French, Italian, Greek, and Russian.

(7) Guardians have been established at Bethlehem and on Rachel's Tomb. The Tomb of Hebron has been placed under exclusive Moslem control.

(8) The hereditary custodians of the Wakfs 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.

As a matter of historical interest I give in the Appendix the orders issued on the occasion of the Official Entry into Jerusalem, the order of General Allenby's procession into the Holy City for the reading of the Proclamation, together with the text of that historic document, and the special orders of the day issued by the Commander-in-Chief to his troops after the capture of Jerusalem.[1]

[Footnote 1: See Appendix VII.]