Hill's Columns

Near the delta of the Yarkon there are three marble columns, called upon their erector: the British Officer Major-General John Hill. These memorials were erected to the crossing of the Yarkon in "Yafo Battle", as it is known in the British Military History.

After winning battles in Gazza - Beer-Sheva lines, in November 1917, the british proceeded and freed Tel-Aviv from the Turqish Army. They stopped near the Yarkon, and stayed there about a month. The Turqs were in controlling hills: Sheik Munis, Hirbat Hadra (today TLV University and Hadar Yosef), and threatened the British forces.

The British initialized an operation, to cross the Yarkon and capture the northern hills. On the night of November 24 1917, the New-Zeland Desert Brigade with Infantry, crossed the Yarkon near it's delta, because of convenient shores, and near the Jarisha Dam (The 7 Mills). They conquered the two mentioned hills. But before sunrise, the Turqs conquered the hills back. The British Forces had to retreat, with heavy losses, and the Turqs fortified their strength in thses places, ruining the two bridges.

In December the British Forces decided to give a chance to the Scotish Low-Land Division, headed by John Hill. He was born in India, and fought over 30 years there, in France and in Gallipoli, receiving excellency degrees.

The division was posted in Sarona, which was evaquated from it's German inhabitants, and it's headquarters was in Tel-Aviv. The town received the British with a concert, in the Hertzlia Gimnasia, with a lot of joy and amusement. Hill liked the idea of a Jewish state, and the audience liked to hear that.

During a night tour, thought Hill about a couragious idea: to cross the Yarkon and to surprise the Turqs in the night, with no bombarding before that to soften the conquest.

In the short time left till the battle, he prepared the operation in a little lake near Sarona. He confiscated carpets from the town houses, and built bridges from wine barrils, bresent, and wood. The bridges were transported during the night on camels, to the hiding points near the Yarkon.

In the days before the attack there was heavy rain, which transformed the shores into a muddy area. In the night of December 20th, at 20:00, the forces began to cross. The soldiers marched in four lines, holding each other, the water reaching their chests, and their scotish skirts floating around them...

In the darkest night of the season, the forces advanced with compasses alone. At 23:00 all the soldiers have already crossed the river, and they proceeded attacking the enemy. The battle was a comlete surprise to the Turqs, who never though it possible to fight in such a hard weather day... The Scotish fought with their knifes-on-the-guns, with no shooting, which could waken the enemy.

To commemorate the victory, Hill brough three marble columns from Apolonia, and asked to write on them in Hebrew !!:

On the night of Dec 20th, 1917, crossed the 155 Brigade of the 52 Division (Lowlands) the Yarkon in this spot, by a light bridges and rafts, and conquered the Turqs posts.

Hill erected them in the three places of the crossing:

You are welcome to look for them. Bring me pictures...