Today marks 100 years since the outbreak of World War I.
Many do not realize that thousands, many thousands, of young Commonwealth soldiers who were killed in that war are buried in Israel.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission maintains four cemeteries in our region.
One is in Ramleh, not far from Ben Gurion Airport.
Recently I posted about the British Cemetery in Beer Sheva here and also about the yearly Australian Light Horse commemoration.
Please see ANZAC Day for my posts about the World War I cemetery in Jerusalem.
But the fourth cemetery is one I will never be able to visit.
It is in Deir al-Balah in central Gaza.
So here are two photos from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website, on the Find A Cemetery page.
Gaza War Cemetery contains 3,217 Commonwealth burials of the First World War, 781 of them unidentified.
Second World War burials number 210. There are also 30 post war burials and 234 war graves of other nationalities.
The CWGC gives this:
Historical InformationGaza was bombarded by French warships in April 1915.
At the end of March 1917, it was attacked and surrounded by the Egyptian Expeditionary Force in the First Battle of Gaza, but the attack was broken off when Turkish reinforcements appeared.
The Second Battle of Gaza, 17-19 April, left the Turks in possession and the Third Battle of Gaza, begun on 27 October, ended with the capture of the ruined and deserted city on 7 November 1917.
Casualty Clearing Stations arrived later that month and General and Stationary hospitals in 1918.
Some of the earliest burials were made by the troops that captured the city. About two-thirds of the total were brought into the cemetery from the battlefields after the Armistice. The remainder were made by medical units after the Third Battle of Gaza, or, in some cases, represent reburials from the battlefields by the troops who captured the city. Of the British Soldiers, the great majority belong to the 52nd (Lowland), the 53rd (Welsh), the 54th (East Anglian) and the 74th (Yeomanry) Divisions.
During the Second World War, Gaza was an Australian hospital base, and the AIF Headquarters were posted there. Among the military hospitals in Gaza were 2/1st Australian General Hospital, 2/6th Australian General Hospital, 8th Australian Special Hospital, and from July 1943 until May 1945, 91 British General Hospital. There was a Royal Air Force aerodrome at Gaza, which was considerably developed from 1941 onwards.
(Linking to Our World Tuesday.)