Primary Documents - Sir Edmund Allenby on the Fall of Jerusalem, 9 December 1917
Reproduced below is General Sir Edmund Allenby's official proclamation of marshal law in Jerusalem following the city's fall into Allied hands on 9 December 1917.
In his proclamation Allenby noted that while the city was now governed by military law the inhabitants need not be unduly alarmed, since "every sacred building, monument, holy spot, shrine, traditional site, endowment, pious bequest, or customary place of prayer of whatsoever form... will be maintained and protected according to the existing customs and beliefs of those to whose faith they are sacred".
In taking Jerusalem Allenby had exceeded British Prime Minister David Lloyd George's instructions to ensure the city's fall by Christmas. The capture of Jerusalem proved a notable morale booster to the Entente Powers in rounding off what was generally regarded as a difficult year.
Click here to read Allenby's account of the fall of Jerusalem. Click here to read the official Austro-German report into events leading to the city's fall. Click here to read a historical overview of the city's fall, written by the secretary of the British Palestine Society, E W G Masterman.
Sir Edmund Allenby's Official Proclamation Following the Fall of Jerusalem, 9 December 1917
To the Inhabitants of Jerusalem the Blessed and the People Dwelling in Its Vicinity:
The defeat inflicted upon the Turks by the troops under my command has resulted in the occupation of your city by my forces. I, therefore, here now proclaim it to be under martial law, under which form of administration it will remain so long as military considerations make necessary.
However, lest any of you be alarmed by reason of your experience at the hands of the enemy who has retired, I hereby inform you that it is my desire that every person pursue his lawful business without fear of interruption.
Furthermore, since your city is regarded with affection by the adherents of three of the great religions of mankind and its soil has been consecrated by the prayers and pilgrimages of multitudes of devout people of these three religions for many centuries, therefore, do I make it known to you that every sacred building, monument, holy spot, shrine, traditional site, endowment, pious bequest, or customary place of prayer of whatsoever form of the three religions will be maintained and protected according to the existing customs and beliefs of those to whose faith they are sacred.
Guardians have been established at Bethlehem and on Rachel's Tomb. The tomb at Hebron has been placed under exclusive Moslem control.
The hereditary custodians 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.
Source: Source Records of the Great War, Vol. V, ed. Charles F. Horne, National Alumni 1923
Observation balloons were referred to as 'sausages'.
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