Who are the Anzacs ?
ANZAC stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. The soldiers in those forces quickly became known as Anzacs, and the pride they took in that name endures to this day.
Why did they come to Palestine during the first World War?
The Anzacs were deployed to Palestine to support the British troops headed by the General Edmund Allenby. The enemy was the Ottoman Empire, Germany’s eastern ally. The Ottomans held the line, Gaza-Beersheba.
The Battle of Beersheba
The battle took place on October 31th 1917, as part of the wider British offensive collectively known as the third Battle of Gaza. The final phase of this all day battle was the famous mounted charge of the 4th Light Horse Brigade. Commencing at dusk, members of the brigade stormed through the Turkish defenses and seized the strategic town of Beersheba.
In the charge, 31 light horsemen were killed and 36 were wounded. At least 70 horses died. The Turkish defenders suffered many casualties and between 700 and 1,000 troops were captured.
The British Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour contacted Baron Rothschild, a wealthy banker and head of the British branch of European Jewish causes, on 2 November (two days after the capture of Beersheba). In the Balfour Declaration, he proposed a national home for the Jewish people in Palestine, published in The Times on 9 November 1917.