kiryat ono memorial 88.
(photo credit: )
A replica of a rough-hewn stone memorial to an Australian soldier who was killed in action 88 years ago in what is now Kiryat Ono when his unit clashed with Turkish and German forces will be placed in the central square of a new neighborhood under construction in the town.
The memorial will pay tribute to Cpl. Brian Templer Barton, who served in the Sixth Australian Light Horse and either was fatally wounded in hand-to-hand fighting with Turkish forces or was a victim of friendly fire.
Local historians differ about the circumstances.
Barton was buried in the Ramle War Cemetery 32 km. south of the spot where he fell. His brother, Nathaniel, who was an army doctor in another Australian unit based nearby at the time, put up a temporary monument, cut from Hebron stone, on the battlefield. This was the epitaph: "Brian Templer Barton, Namina Wellington, New South Wales, fell here in action 1917. He lies at Ramleh. Underneath are the everlasting arms." The same text was engraved on his tombstone.
But neglect and lack of interest resulted in the simple memorial's removal in recent years and its storage outdoors at a pumping facility operated Mekorot, the national water supply company.
Yosef Yaacobi, a specialist in the region's history, saw it there countless times. He was shocked, however, when it disappeared several months ago - possibly buried under rubble, he said.
Ra'anan Reshef, another expert, said the last time he saw the monument was in 1999. Fortunately, he retained several photographs taken by a colleague, the late Zvi Ilan, a journalist and archeology buff.
Yaacobi said he was assured by Kiryat Ono's mayor, Yossi Nishri, that a replica has been commissioned. The municipality's Riki Gliner, the local ombudsman, confirmed plans to relocate it. "It will be situated in the center of the new Pisgat Ono," she said.
The son of Annie and Charles Barton, Cpl. Barton's military career was unusual: He did two tours of duty in the Middle East. Inducted into the Australian armed forces on December 7, 1914, he registered as a professional horseman. Accordingly, he took his mare, Spades, with him when he sailed for Egypt. The Sixth Australian Light Horse, to which he was assigned from May to September 1915, fought in Gallipoli. He then joined the Egyptian Expeditionary Force which was under British command and was destined to conquer Eretz Yisrael from the Ottoman Turks.
In December 1915, Barton was sent back to Australia because he had come down with typhus. He returned to the Middle East in 1916, however, and rejoined his unit.
Gen. Edmund Allenby, commander of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force, ordered its personnel to form a defensive line south of the Yarkon River. As part of this mission, Barton and his unit moved out at dusk on December 3, 1917, the last day of his life, to attack the enemy trenches. The Australians got the upper hand in clashes in which bayonets as well as live bullets were used. As a result, 20 Turkish soldiers were killed and four were captured. An Australian lieutenant also lost his life as did one soldier, Cpl. Barton.