The extraordinary story behind the First World War’s forgotten victory

Turkish Prisoners after the third Battle of Gaza, November 1-2, 1917.

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New light will be shed on the key role of Scottish regiments on Saturday (April 9), in the one of the 20th century’s least known but most successful military campaigns, in a talk at Stirling Castle.

The lecture, entitled Logistics, Manoeuvre, Success: Allenby’s Palestine Campaign, is the last in a series of well-attended historical talks held at the newly refurbished Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders Museum in the Castle’s King’s Old Building.

Delivered by Colonel AK Miller, the Saturday morning talk will examine the part played by Territorial Force soldiers from the Royal Scots, Royal Scots Fusiliers, Kings Own Scottish Borderers, and Cameronians together with the 5th (Renfrewshire) Battalion of The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders in defeating a German-Turkish alliance in a series of decisive battles that led to the control of Palestine in 1917-1918.

Unlike that of any other theatre of operations in the Great War, General Allenby’s Palestine Campaign, fought with the support of the ANZACs and the Indian Army, was one of high-manoeuvre warfare supported by a remarkable logistical effort. Leading to the successful conquest of the Levant, the outcome of the campaign has had a lasting impact on the Middle East to this day.

Opened by HM The Queen in June 2021 following a £4.5million transformation, The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders Regimental Museum has hosted a popular series of lectures drawing on new research to highlight aspects of Scots military history.
In this final talk of the spring series, Colonel Miller will explain the strategic importance of the Palestine campaign and its role in assuring the security of the Suez Canal, access to oil in the Middle East – and gaining advantage in Britain’s long-running rivalry with Russia.

Col Miller said: ‘Studies of the First World War tend to focus on the Western Front. Meanwhile, the Gallipoli, Mesopotamia, and Palestine Campaigns – two disasters and one success – have remained in the shadows. But Palestine was hugely significant in securing the UK’s longer-term interests and influence in the region.

‘The contribution of the 52nd Lowland Division, a territorial formation principally made up of Scots regiments was key, following the breakout after the third Battle of Gaza in Nov 1917 and the subsequent capture of Jerusalem.

‘Logistics was key to the success of the Palestine Campaign as it allowed Allenby to manoeuvre his forces on foot and by horse with remarkable speed – the building of railways and the supply of water to keep animals and men on the march.’

Colonel Miller CBE served for 34 years in The Argylls. He finished his career as the British Defence Attaché in Israel between 2003-2007 and has subsequently led a battlefield tour tracing Allenby’s Campaign.

The lecture will take place in the atmospheric surroundings of the Museum Colours Room at 11am. Tickets are available on the Museum’s website www.argylls.co.uk
Please note the ticket price does not include entry to Stirling Castle. Entry is currently free to Museum Guardians, serving members of the Armed Forces and members of the Regimental Association, Dinner Club and Historic Scotland on presentation of a valid membership card. Where possible, attendees are encouraged to book their Stirling Castle entry in advance.