The Kia ora coo-ee : the magazine for the ANZACS in the Middle East, 1918
When The British Won Richon
When The British Won Richon.
[The following essay was written by Rachel Gordon, a Jewish girl of fifteen, in the school of Richon le Zion, after only three months' study of English. It was judged to be the best effort in the class ]
For several days the roar of the guns became louder, gradually approaching our village. It seems almost incredible when we think that the British Army is coming soon, after three and a half years of our patient waiting. We were instructed by our late Turkish masters to strictly stay indoors during the awful conflict, so we were practically prisoners. Presently news arrived that the British had occupied Deiran, and we thought they would reach here by the following day. Wednesday morning heralded a fresh outburst of the artillery, much nearer to our settlement, and we thought that a big battle was raging not far from here. All day we were afraid of the frightful noise, but in the evening it ceased. Later on the Turkish troops began to enter the settlement. All ranks td completely tired and crest-fallen, and the wounded were crying out for food and water. That night was dark and cold. The Turks wandered about the roads for a place to rest. We received orders to supply food for man and beast, and we all wondered where they were going to. Was it that the British Army was too powerful for them to resist it any longer?
Everybody in our house sat up all night, thinking and suggesting what would occur on the morrow. I thought that we would be told to leave the place in the morning. We all dreaded the idea of leaving our homes, not knowing when we would be able to return. My sister and I, looking from our window, heard the confusion in the street below; but owing to the darkness, we could see nothing. The cries of the wounded were pitiful.
* * * *
In the early hours of the morning the Turks began to depart, and by eight o'clock we had bade adieu to the last Turkish officer, and everybody rejoiced and waited patiently for the conquerors to arrive.
Everything was quiet, so we looked in all directions for the first sign of any British troops Presently I heard my brother calling me, saying "Come here, Rachel, and see the cavalry." Taking the glasses with me, I distinctly saw a large body of horses approaching in our direction. After ten minutes, two New Zealand troopers rode up to us and spoke; but I was very sorry that I could not understand English. Presently one of the troopers spoke to his companion, who smiled. I have since learned that he said, "They are not bad looking girls about here."
Afterwards many troops came up, and all the civilians came out of their houses to welcome them. Everybody was overjoyed. The advance guard stayed here all day, and that evening their Commanding Officer rode into the Colony and interviewed the residents. Looking from our balcony now, and watching the street full of soldier s, it seems that our dream has at last come true, and we can already see visions of a new life free from Turkish misrule; and we shall try to forget the past, and for a victorious peace we will drink "Palestine wine" in Palestine.