Jerusalem then and now…
07 December, 2017
Sergeants Hurcomb (right) and Sedgewick with the mayor of Jerusalem and his delegation
• ON Saturday at 11am one of the key turning points of the First World War will be celebrated at St Pancras Church in Euston Road.
On December 9 1917 British and Australian troops entered Jerusalem under the command of General Edmund Allenby, and the ruling Turkish authorities surrendered the city without a shot being fired.
After the horrors of Ypres and Passchendaele, prime minister David Lloyd George hailed it as a “Christmas present to the British people”.
Allenby entered Jerusalem on foot, vowing that every sacred site in the city – Jewish, Muslim and Christian – would be honoured and protected.
The keys of the city were initially surrendered to Sergeants Sedgwick and Hurcomb of the 2/19th (St Pancras) Battalion of the London Regiment. The battalion, drawn mainly from St Pancras and Camden, saw action in France and Greece as well as Palestine.
The war memorial in St Pancras Church lists the names of the 1,069 men of the 19th London who died in the 1914-18 war.
The service, planned with the 19th London Regimental Association, is open to everyone. As well as honouring the local men who fought bravely throughout the First World War, we want to celebrate Allenby’s respect for Jerusalem as a centre for three world faiths, and offer our prayers for the continuing peace of that great city.
REVD ANNE STEVENS
Vicar, St Pancras Church