Sunday, September 21, 2008

More Things we got up to on a Weekend

Remember, she’s doing this for the kids at ALYN so it’d be a good idea to sponsor her.

This time, Gila brought the bike round by car and we set off together by bike to Ramleh, in particular the * CWGC * war cemetery there. I've been documenting it for what started as the British War Memorial Project and has since turned into the War Graves Photographic Project.
Ramleh cemetery is unique in that it covers the entire period of the British presence here, from 1917 continuously till 1948.
After explaining the features such as the Cross of Sacrifice and Stone of Remembrance, and principles such as equality, uniformity and equal graves for enemy combatants (told her about

"Those heroes that shed their blood and lost their are now lying in the soil of a friendly country. Therefore rest in peace. There is no difference between the Johnnies and the Mehmets to us, where they lie, side by side here in this country of ours. You, the mothers who sent their sons from faraway countries wipe away your tears. Your sons are now lying in our bosom and are in peace. After having lost their lives on this land, they have become our sons as well."

what Ataturk said at Galipoli) we started walking between the graves. One of the first things Gila wanted to know was about Jewish graves so I showed her the graves of soldiers from the "Jewish legions".

Through the Great War section, populated with Australian and New Zealand fallen as well as many yeomanry units, many of the fallen being from the battles of Mughar ridge and Tel Gezer and into the period of the mandate, when those who were killed in action fell at the hands of the Arabs, something we'll come back to later, and then into the second world section, marked with British and colonial graves and also French, Greek, Norwegian, Yugoslav, Czech and hundreds of Polish graves. Many of the Poles are soldiers of the Polish 2nd Corps, also known as Anders' Army, which also comprised many Jews who later formed the basis of the Israeli Defence Forces. Here I managed to point out the grave of a Greek Jew by the name of Hirsch, an Indian Jew by the name of Abraham Solomon and sharp-eyed Gila noticed the grave of a woman Palestinian Jewish volunteer (links to the IDF site in Hebrew). Even managed to find in the Jewish section and the Moslem section casualties who served together in the Palestine Regiment.
Time was drawing on, but we couldn't leave without seeing two regular, absolutely normal, graves, with no particular markings apart the usual, unit symbol, name, rank, service number and date of death. Nothing to suggest that here are buried (block 9 row J graves 20 and 21) the two British serjeants, whose abduction and execution were the lowest point in the relations between the Jewish Yishuv and the British, a long way from the heady days after the Great War.

Still, Gila was here in order to ride her bicycle, (and if you click thia link and know the continuation of the lyric, bear in mind it does not refer to my charming companienne) so I said farewell to Ramleh, until the 9th November which is Remembrance Sunday this year, and off we set. She rode the first section with a vengeance, so at Airport City we decided to add onto the route, at Rinattya we added more, at Nebi Tara we went off-road and even there added on and added on, till I was worried that she would have to carry me home.

Verdict – we'll have to do it again, but next time she can leave the car at home and tire herself out before she gets here, otherwise I'm going to be in deep shit.

Treppenwitz has written a series of posts over the past few years, about the cemetery in BeerSheva, two of the best of them are this one and this one.


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