October 31, 1917
As part of the British campaign of World War I, the Australian 4th Light Horse Brigade overtake the Turkish defenders and capture Beersheba (shown advancing on Beersheba in the photo above). By capturing Beersheba, British forces were able to break the Ottoman line near Gaza and advance deep into Palestine.
The British led by General Edmund Allenby used infantry positioned near Gaza to deceive the Ottomans into thinking that the British would attack them there. With many troops lacking sufficient water for several days, the battle began when three British divisions attacked the Turkish positions on the south and west of the city.
The battle was a success not only for the strategic importance, but because they were able to take Beersheba in a single day of fighting by surprising the Turkish defenses, the British troops prevented the Turks from destroying any of the town during their retreat. This provided the British and Australian troops with much needed supplies and most importantly water from the Beersheba’s wells.
Read more about the battle for Beersheba at the Australian War Memorial.