Commonwealth War Graves Commission

In Memory of

R THOMAS

Private
201073
1st/4th Bn., Welsh Regiment
who died on
Saturday, 13th July 1918.


Commemorative Information

Cemetery: JERUSALEM WAR CEMETERY, Israel
Grave Reference/
Panel Number:
M. 75.
Location: Jerusalem War Cemetery is 4.5 kilometres north of the walled city and is situated on the neck of land at the north end of the Mount of Olives, to the west of Mount Scopus. Follow the signs for Mount Scopus. At the crossroads with the Hyatt Hotel, which is on the left, turn left. There is an orange sign which reads "Military Cemetery". Go to the top of the hill, cross almost straight over the junction, then turn right and sharp left. The cemetery will be visible at this point.

Historical Information: At the outbreak of the Great War, Palestine was part of the Turkish Empire, and until December, 1916, it was not entered by Allied forces. Twelve months more were needed for the advance to Jerusalem; and from 1914 to December, 1917, no British soldiers except prisoners were seen in the city. The British graves at Jerusalem were then about 250 in number, made for the most part, under German auspices, in the German and Anglo-German cemeteries. By the 21st November, 1917, the Egyptian Expeditionary Force had gained a line nearly five kilometres (at its nearest point) West of Jerusalem. (The city was deliberately spared anything in the nature of bombardment or direct attack.) Very severe fighting followed, lasting until the evening of the 8th December, when the 53rd (Welsh) Division on the South, and the 60th (London) and 74th (Yeomanry) Divisions on the West, had captured all the prepared defences of the city. All that night the Turkish forces were leaving, and in the morning of the 9th the Mayor came to the British lines with the Turkish Governor's letter of surrender. The city was occupied on that day, and on the 11th General Allenby, on foot, made his formal entrance, followed by representatives of France and Italy. Meanwhile the 60th Division pushed across the road to Nablus, and the 53rd across the Eastern road. From the 26th to the 30th December severe fighting took place to the North and East of the city, but the enemy attempt to recapture it was completely defeated. The Cemetery was begun, as Jerusalem Military Cemetery, after the occupation of the city, and 270 officers and men were buried in it. It was then enlarged to take the graves from the battlefields and smaller cemeteries in the neighbourhood. There are now over 2,500, 1914-18 war casualties commemorated in this site. Of these, over 100 are unidentified. The Cemetery covers an area of 26 hectares and is enclosed by high stone walls except on the South-West side. There is a War Stone in the cemetery. Occupying the highest point of the cemetery is the Jerusalem Memorial, which takes the form of a Chapel in the centre of the long wall which bounds Jerusalem War Cemetery on the North-East side. This memorial commemorates over 3,000, 1914-18 war casualties. The following were among the burial grounds from which British graves were removed to Jerusalem War Cemetery:- BETHLEHEM GERMAN CEMETERY, in which one man of the Australian Light Horse was buried in June, 1918. JERICHO MILITARY CEMETERY NO. 1, a little South of the Jerusalem road, containing the graves of 61 soldiers from the United Kingdom, 27 from Australia and six from New Zealand. Jericho was entered by the 1st Australian Light Horse Brigade on the 21st February, 1918, and in May the 2nd/4th London Field Ambulance was stationed there. JERICHO MILITARY CEMETERY NO. 2, just over 3 kilometres South West of the town. It contained the graves of 17 soldiers from Australia, 17 from India, nine from the United Kingdom, six from the West Indies and three from New Zealand; one man of the Egyptian Labour Corps; and four German and three Turkish prisoners. JERUSALEM PROTESTANT CEMETERY, on the side of Mount Zion. It was owned by the British and German religious communities. It contained the graves of 114 British soldiers, buried from March to December, 1917, by the enemy, and then, until February, 1918, by the British forces. JERUSALEM GERMAN HOSPICE MILITARY CEMETERY, on the Mount of Olives, in which 166 British and a number of German soldiers were buried. LIMBER HILL MILITARY CEMETERY NO. 1, close to a Casualty Clearing Station, near the road from Bireh to Jufna. Here were buried, in April-October, 1918, 70 soldiers from India, 31 from the United Kingdom, three of the Cape Corps and one German prisoner. RAM ALLAH MILITARY CEMETERY, where 19 soldiers from the United Kingdom and one German airman were buried in December, 1917 April, 1918.