This week I received a DVD related to my recent study of WWI.
Gallipoli the Road to Jerusalem is a documentary made by Kelvin Crombie, based on his book of the same name. Last night I watched the first part which was a condensed history starting with God’s covenant with Abraham through to the Gallipoli campaign of 1915.
I suspect some people would wonder what kind of historical account could be relevant to those two seemingly unconnected events.
Most simply it could be described as a history of Israel’s relationship to the Promised Land.
The book of Genesis reveals that the land was promised to Abraham and his descendants as an everlasting possession, but how does the Gallipoli campaign fit into that story?
Crombie sees Gallipoli as part of an ongoing preparation for the re-establishment of Israel as a nation in the land promised to them by God.
Gallipoli was the first major involvement of Anzac forces in battle. One of the worst battles they faced was a failed attack at a site called the Nek. Waves of soldiers were ordered to climb from their trenches to charge the Turkish trenches. They were mown down almost immediately. The event is portrayed in the Peter Weir film Gallipoli.
Those involved were from Light Horse brigades, separated from their horses, they’d been sent to Gallipoli to serve as infantrymen, to make up the numbers, replacing the thousands killed and wounded in the first few months of the campaign. Despite the high casualties suffered at the Nek, some survived, were reunited with their horses and were later involved in battles that ended centuries of Islamic rule, in Palestine.
Some of the survivors from the Nek were with General Allenby as he walked into Jerusalem to take control of the city in December 1917.
Also involved at Gallipoli were the Zion Mule Corps, who have been described as “the first regular Jewish fighting force – with a distinctively Jewish emblem and flag – to take active part in a war since the defeat of the Bar Kochba Revolt 2000 years ago.” 1
Illustration of medal depicting the Battle of the Nek from here: http://www.sandsofgallipoli.com.au/collections/sog05.php