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2/13 Battalion



The 2/13th formed part of the 60th ( London ) Division, which luckily just missed the Somme battles and was pulled out in October, 1916, for service in the Middle East . Landing at Salonika, the 179th Brigade, of which the 2/13th was part, was quickly detached and rushed in destroyers to make a forced landing on the eastern coast of Greece , near Katerina. The Brigade rejoined the main forces in December, after a gruelling march of ninety miles in blizzard conditions, each man carrying kit weighing one hundred and three pounds, and took over a sector of trenches facing Bulgarian troops, north of Karasuii.


In July 1917, the 60th ( London ) Division embarked for Egypt , where an army was assembling to drive the Turks out of Palestine . It was in Palestine that the 2/13th won famous laurels, in company with other Grey Brigade battalions, commencing with a brilliant victory at Beersheba, followed by others in rapid succession at Kauwaukah, Sheria and Huj (where it witnessed one of the last open cavalry charges of the British Army). 8th November found it at Soba, high on the rocky hills facing Jerusalem. Here the Turks made a firm stand in defence of the Holy City , in positions of immense strength. An attack was launched in appalling weather on 7th December, in which the 2/13th playing a prominent part at Karim, swept all before it. Jerusalem fell to British arms at a time when an Allied tonic was badly needed.


A swift descent from the hills lead to the capture of Jericho, the forcing of the River Jordan, raids of divisional strength through the Judean hills to Es Salt and (nearly) Amman, were preludes to the end of the brilliantly conducted Palestine campaign. Final battles on the coast, at Tul Keram and near Nablus, in all of which the 2/13th took part, completed the rout of the Turkish army just prior to the main Armistice. In all the Battalion suffered some four hundred casualties before disembodiment at Alexandria in the early months of 1919.