On 31 October 1917, the New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade took part in an attack on Ottoman forces defending the small Middle Eastern town of Beersheba. By the end of the day, Anzac mounted troops were swarming through the streets – Beersheba was captured, and the Allied troops had a foothold in Ottoman Palestine.
The Battle of Beersheba was one of many battles that New Zealanders fought in between 1916 and 1918 in the Middle East as they helped to push Ottoman forces across the Sinai Peninsula and into Palestine. By the end of October 1918, when the Ottoman Empire was forced out of the war, 543 New Zealanders had been killed, among a total of 1,470 New Zealand casualties.
New Zealand marked the centenary of the Battle of Beersheba, and the wider service of New Zealanders in the Middle East during the First World War, with a national commemorative ceremony inside the Hall of Memories at Pukeahu National War Memorial Park, Wellington, on 31 October 2017 at 11am. The commemoration was live streamed on our Facebook page.
Learn more about the commemorations and the New Zealanders in the Middle East during the First World War:
- Information about the national commemoration in Wellington
- Information about the New Zealand national commemorations in Israel
- Activities, events and projects related to Beersheba and New Zealand's service in the Middle East
- New Zealand's First World War Middle East Campaigns on NZHistory
- Follow in the New Zealanders’ footsteps in the Middle East with Ngā Tapuwae
- Historic images, free for you to use