Thursday, November 17, 2011

Black watch

When we talk about the Black Watch, we usually mean a Scottish regiment with a long and proud history. However, during the First World War, only two battalions of that regiment were posted to then-Palestine, and that at different times.
In 1917 the 14th battalion (Fife and Forfar) were a part of the 229 Brigade, 74 Division, XX Corps, and in 1918 they transferred to France, but the 2nd Battalion arrived, from Mesopotamia.
Note – a WW1 battalion is 1000 soldiers including all the command, support and other functions as well as the front-line fighters.
Fifty-one identified graves in BeerSheva are of men of the Black Watch who were killed on the 6 November 1917, or succumbed to their wounds in the days after the capture of the Sheria Position.
In addition a further ten have no known grave and are listed on the Jerusalem Memorial to the Missing.

All in all the Black Watch lost one hundred and fourty seven men during the First World War in Palestine, as well as a further 12 during the years of the British Mandate.

That was one battalion at a time over just two years of the war, in fact slightly over one year (October 1917 to November 1918 when in fact the Turks surrendered on 31 October 1918, exactly one year after BeerSheva) in an area that was widely regarded as a "sideshow"

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