Surrendered binoculars, Colonel Ali Bey Wahaby, 11 Turkish Corps

Unit Turkish Army
Place Middle East: Ottoman Empire, Transjordan, Amman
Accession Number RELAWM16415
Collection type Technology
Object type Optical equipment
Physical description Cardboard, Glass, Leather, Metal
Maker Unknown
Date made Unknown
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918

Pair of Turkish officer’s binoculars with metal barrels and adjustable Bakelite eyepieces. It has been supplied with a brown leather strap with attached leather lens cap. The body of the binoculars is covered with a textured black plastic imitation leather material which provides grip for the user. On the underside of the binoculars is stamped in white ‘ZIZA 29.9.18’. Binoculars are stored in a brown Harrods cardboard box. Within the box is an original Australian War Records Section textile tag on which is handwritten on one side: ‘Field Glasses belonged to Ali Bey Wahabi 4th Turkish Corps. Surrendered at ZIZA 29/9/18.’

History / Summary

This pair of binoculars were surrendered by Colonel Ali Bey Wahaby, Commander of the 11 Turksih Corps to Major-General Sir Edward Chaytor, Commander, Anzac Mounted Division on 29 September 1918 during the collapse of Turkish forces to the east of Jordon.

The retreat of Wahaby’s 4,000 strong force northwards was dogged by Arab tribes, and when discovered by elements of the 5th Light Horse dug in at Ziza Railway Station on 27 September, the Turks were surrounded by thousands of Arabs ready to descend on them in revenge for years of ill-treatment. Colonel Wahaby was willing to surrender to Chayter's forces, but not in this dangerous predicament. The latter saw that a massacre by the gathered Arabs was inevitable unless he agreed to further reinforcements of Light Horse protecting the Turkish forces overnight.

That night saw both Turks and Australians defending the same positions and earning a newfound respect for each other. The following morning after the arrival of a New Zealand Brigade, the Turkish forces laid down their arms and were escorted safely to Amman.