I'm writing you regarding the communication we had in the past on the Great War Forum. As I told you then I was researching for more personal stories for a documentary about the Palestine front during WWI.
Few month ago I got an option from Terry Kinlotch, the writer of "Devils On Horses" to make a fiction movie based on his book. The movie will be based on few characters and there memories from the war.
You told me that your grandfather was at Surafand and you have some unpublished material about it. The story of Surafand will used in the movie to show what horrors the soldiers and locals had to get through at a personal level.
Because it is a fiction movie that showing the simple man and woman and what the "Great War" left in there life I would like to talk to you about getting your grandfather point of view on the story and if he had more personal stories from the rest of the war.
Please don't hesitate to contact me on my personal e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Hope to hear from you in the near future
clinton, on 03 April 2009 - 06:23 AM, said:
My grandfather was at Surafend as a member of the Auckland NZMR, and maybe I can help you if you are still interested in this topic.
I could possibly share with you previously unpublished material, photos etc on Palestine of this time that I have in safe keeping, but I would like to understand what your documentary is all about first.
According to my record there were 60 Bedouin killed, (his written record in 1919) with the village of Surafend wrecked so it was no small affair. (I have a photo) It was an incident that I suspect my grandfather was not proud of however at the time he had a real dislike for ongoing Beduoin theft and murder in the dark of night. The outcome was an incident (or retaliation) that happened by NZMR troops in the heat of the moment, but with several motivating causes I suspect...
1) The regulations set by Allenby that protected the Arab and Bedouin from action by his forces to their not infrequent incursions / thefts etc on Aus and NZ troops over the years of war in Egypt and Palestine
2) The murder of one of the NZMR number after hostilities had ceased at the rest camp at Richon (after being chased for theft)
3) The lack of action taken by their superiors to the murder, (or perceived lack of action)
4) Australian forces then egging on the NZMR to do something about it (an noticeably not getting involved themselves as it turned out...(no offence meant to the Aussie Light Horse)
5) The NZMR troopers pent up frustration after years of abuse that they had considered they had no way of getting redress on other than taking direct action and sending a clear message themselves.
There was however no justification ... simply hot blooded retaliation. An unfortunate lesson that reinforces to us the valuable lesson that 'an eye for an eye' is never the answer.....!