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Military History Tours          Charge at Beersheba Centenary Tour 22 October – 3 November 2017

Charge at Beersheba Centenary Tour 2017


Day 1 Sunday 22 October 2017; Tel Aviv

You need to arrive at Ben Gurion International Airport, Tel Aviv, not later than today. Dinner will be in our hotel, the Leonardo City Tower hotel, followed by a briefing on the course of the war in then Palestine now Israel 1916 – 1918. Overnight Tel Aviv (D) (Transfers to the hotel are not included. A taxi takes 17 minutes and costs about USD40.00)

Day 2 Monday 23 October 2017; Tel Aviv – Haifa

Breakfast in our hotel, before an early departure to Haifa where we will visit the Haifa War Cemetery located on the Tel Aviv road. After capture, Haifa was the site of a Casualty Clearing Station and there are 225 graves including many Australians including those killed in the Battle of Tzemach. We will visit that Battle site later when we reach Tiberias.

Haifa was captured on 23 September 1918 by a force consisting of the Indian Jodhpur Lancers, Mysore Lancers and English Yeomanry supported by the English Honourable Artillery Company and the 1st Australian Light Car Patrol. The Indian Lancers had served in the trenches in France, and were on-route home to India when, with others, they were formed into the Imperial Service Brigade and placed under command of the Desert Mounted Corps to fight in Palestine. After our time at the cemetery, we will return to our hotel for lunch before we visit the slopes of Mount Carmel where the action, capture of an Austrian Artillery Battery, cleared the road into the city. Overnight Haifa. (BLD)

Day 3 Tuesday 24 October 2017; Haifa – Tiberias

Today is a busy day where we will visit many historical sites including skirting Lake Kinneret (the Sea of Galilee) and touring the cities of Nazareth and Tiberias.

In Nazareth, we will visit the Old City, built in the mid-19th century in a charming Middle Eastern architectural style. There we will walk through the narrow streets, between picturesque houses and in passing we will visit the Church of the Annunciation with its impressive collection of paintings. Then, next door is the Church of Saint Joseph, built on the ruins of agricultural buildings where, according to tradition, Joseph, Mary's husband, had his carpentry shop. We will also visit the White Mosque which also houses a museum with exhibits that document Nazareth’s history. Move to selected site for the Meggido Offensive.

In Tiberias we will visit the Dona Gracia Museum, which tells the story of Gracia Nasi who used her considerable wealth to save many Jewish refugees of the Spanish Inquisition and build a Jewish city in Tiberias. The castle is a museum, divided into halls that tell her story and that of the period through rich visuals, scenery and the sounds of the Renaissance, which offer a royal experience.

We will overnight at Tiberias on the shore of the Lake. (B BoxL D)

Day 4 Wednesday 25 October 2017; Tiberias

Today, after breakfast in our hotel, we will travel south to the old Tzemach railway station, 1.5 kilometres east of the River Jordan outflow. Here we will explore an unusual legacy that came from the Charge at Beersheba. At Beersheba, our Light Horse had no shock weapons; spawned by the Boer War where shock weapons (lances and swords) had proven useless against revetments and machine guns, when called upon to charge they had but bayonets. After Beersheba, some of our Light Horse units were issued with swords and cross trained as cavalry. One such unit was the 11th Light Horse, the reserve Regiment at the Beersheba charge.

The Battle of Tzemach saw fourteen members of 11 LH, killed during a gallant moonlit charge that overwhelmed Turkish and German machine gun and artillery positions just before dawn on 25 September 1918. 98 Turkish and German soldiers died in the battle. The attack was the last cavalry-style charge by Australian troops during WWI and the only one during which the Light Horse used drawn swords.

We will visit the site and discuss the action in detail, taking the opportunity to visit the Memorial Plaque at the restored railway station building that is now part of Kinneret College, a tertiary educational establishment with Schools of Engineering and Social sciences.

We will have our cut lunch at a picturesque park by Lake Kinneret, before leaving the shores of the Lake to drive up to the Golan Heights where the route used by the Desert Mounted Corps to pursue the Turkish forces to their surrender in Damascus can be viewed from those heights. The heights will also give us the opportunity to discuss the Trans-Jordan (Amman and Es Salt raids) that occurred in January to May 1918 but proved so disastrous for the Australians.

Dinner will be in our hotel. Overnight Tiberias. (B BoxL D)

Day 5 Thursday 26 October 2017; Tiberias - Jerusalem

After breakfast in our hotel, we head south along Route 90 following the Jordan Valley toward Jerusalem.

On the way we will visit the ancient ruins at Biet Shean and Biet Alfa, dating from a time when Rome ruled the world. Lunch will be a box of goodies to be had on the road.

On arrival in Jerusalem we visit the War Cemetery development which was begun after the occupation of the city on 11 December 1917. At that stage there were 270 burials but then it was later enlarged to take graves from the battlefields and smaller cemeteries in the neighbourhood, it is now the resting place of 2,415. Within the cemetery stands the Jerusalem Memorial, commemorating the 3,000 Commonwealth Servicemen who died during the First World War in operations in Egypt or Palestine and who have no known grave.

Dinner in our hotel, overnight in Jerusalem. (B BoxL D)

Day 6 Friday 27 October 2017; Jerusalem

Today after breakfast at our hotel, we recognise that after 5 full days of touring, history presentations, and with a camera or phone full of photos and film, a quiet day is needed. The day will be free for you to enjoy the sights and take lunch at your leisure. After dinner, will outline the work of an Australian Light Car Patrol, which led to the last Turkish strong point being overwhelmed by elements of the 60th London Division on the afternoon of 10 December 1917, clearing the way for the Australians to lead the march into the City.

Dinner in our hotel. Overnight in Jerusalem. (BD)

Day 7 Saturday 28 October 2017; Jerusalem

Today after breakfast at our hotel, we will head out to the Mount of Olives, and a tour of the New City of Jerusalem. We then head south to Bethlehem where we will be able to see the town steeped in myth and history. This route will give us our first glimpse of the area traversed by the Light Horse as they approached this great city of Jerusalem.

Lunch will be at a restaurant and dinner in our hotel. Overnight in Jerusalem. (BLD)

Day 8 Sunday 29 October 2017; Jerusalem

After breakfast, we drive to Masada, and the Dead Sea. Time to visit both these historical sites and for the adventurous, an opportunity to float on the sea, or take the cable car to the top of Masada. Any fees to access these places will be left to the individual, as we know from experience not everyone will partake. Lunch will be at a local restaurant on the Dead Sea. For those who wish, the nearby hotel can be used to relax. This evening, dinner at our hotel in Tel Aviv. (BLD)

Tomorrow we commence our first full day visit to Beersheba.

Day 9 Monday 30 October 2017; Jerusalem - Beersheba - Tel Aviv

After breakfast in our hotel we drive south to Beersheba where we transfer into 4WD vehicles, (if required.) Then to Navitim where we will pick-up and follow the route used by the Desert Mounted Corps as they out-flanked the Turkish Gaza-Beersheba line and headed for the town. We ascend Tel Be’er Sheva where we will be able to see the ground the 4th Australian Light Horse Brigade charged over.

We will end the day’s odyssey at the Australian Soldier Park. Lunch may be Bully Beef and Biscuits eaten on the road with a little water, (our Light Horse Brigade also had only a little water!)

Dinner in our hotel in Tel Aviv. (B BoxL D)

Day 10 Tuesday 31 October 2017; Tel Aviv (Beersheba)

An early breakfast in our hotel, then we will take the new Yitzhak Rabin highway 6 to Beersheba. Today we will attend, at Beersheba War Cemetery, the official Commemoration of the Centenary of the charge. After lunch in a nearby restaurant, we will tour the town visiting the sites (now mostly built-up) occupied by the various Light Horse Regiments as they closed the noose on the Turkish defenders of the strategic wells. We will watch the re-enactment of the charge and attend a B-B-Q in the Memorial Park.

Overnight Tel Aviv. (BLD)

Day 11 Wednesday 1 November 2017; Tel Aviv

Breakfast in our hotel. After two very long and exciting days, relax and explore Tel Aviv. in Tel Aviv you will be free to relax, do some souvenir shopping, or simply enjoy the city and its sights. Take lunch wherever it suits you or wait for our final tour end dinner this evening. (BD)

Day 12 Thursday 2 November 2017; Tel Aviv

(As at early February, 2017, the progamme below is still to be confirmed.)

After breakfast in our hotel, we will travel to Latrun and visit the National Park and Museum. Then on to the Tomb of Samuel. After lunch at a nearby restaurant, we return to Tel Aviv early afternoon, where we will be able to witness the afternoon/evening ceremony including a sound and light show to Commemorate the Centenary of the issue of the Balfour Declaration.

"His Majesty's government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country."

The event will involve the participation of the President and Prime Minister of Israel along with Foreign Ambassadors.

Dinner will be in our hotel. Overnight Tel Aviv. (BLD)

Day 13 Friday 3 November 2017; Tel Aviv

After breakfast our tour ends. (B)

Itinerary adjusted 20 February 2017

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