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October, 1917 "Daredevils of the Desert"

[Depicted in Daredevils of the Desert, the 15th episode from the Adventures of Young Indiana Jones, produced by George Lucas - released in 1999 - it’s an extended edit from The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles; Episode: Palestine, October 1917 - which never aired]

  • That October Indiana is back in Africa working for French Intelligence in Cairo, disguised as a beggar and reunited with his old friend T.E. Lawrence. During this time the allied British had suffered defeats against the Turks in Gaza, and the General hoped to be in Jerusalem by Christmas by taking over Beersheba.

  • Lawrence knew they would need to cross the desert without any sources of water, yet Colonel Richard Meinertzhagen believed they could make it if they traveled light and moved at a rapid pace. They also needed an espionage campaign to ensure that the Turks believed that they were continuing their main attack on Gaza, and would need a trusted agent who spoke both Arabic and Turkish while keeping an eye on the drinking wells in Beersheba.

  • Lawrence knew that his old friend was the perfect candidate, so Indiana was transferred to the British despite his reluctance to work with Meinertzhagen again, who previously had Indy enthralled in reckless endangerment while assigned to the 25th Royal Fusiliers.

  • Once Indiana reported to Meinertzhagen they went out bird watching with the commander of the Australian Light Horse Brigade. At that moment they’re attacked by the Turks and Meinertzhagen fakes being shot in the shoulder, where in the process he leaves behind a bag carrying fake plans for an attack on Gaza.

  • Meinertzhagen and Lawrence then explain to Indiana that the plan was for 50,000 British soldiers to march over the desert for a period of two full days, and their only chance of survival would be if the wells in Beersheba were intact and full of water when they arrived. Indiana’s mission was to do everything he could to protect the wells.

  • Meanwhile Indiana shares with Lawrence that he no longer speaks with his father that often, and on a separate note Indiana inquires why the Australians are not fighting in the war, to which he’s told that the British do not trust them thus they mostly stay in the reserves.

  • The next day Indiana is told to head to Beersheba disguised as a merchant, accompanied by another agent named Maya disguised as a belly dancer. Maya then asks Indiana about certain details on their mission, to which Indy replies she’s on a need to know basis.

  • Once Indiana gets to Beersheba he learns that the wells are wired with explosives, as the head of the Turkish militia had foresaw that the British would head in that direction. Once in the same vicinity of the Turkish commander, Maya gives the man a belly dance staying true to her character.

  • Later that night Indiana asks Maya to perform the same act for the commander the following day, to perhaps buy him some time so he could remove the explosives from the wells. The two then spent the night together.

  • Meanwhile, Australian commander Henry George Chauvel had ordered the British troops to advance and for the Australian Light Horse Brigade to be kept in the reserves.

  • The following morning an accomplice of Indiana is arrested trying to remove the explosives, thus Indy finally reveals the details of the plans to Maya, who in turn reveals herself as a double agent.

  • Maya then takes Indiana to the Turkish commander where along with his arrested accomplice they continue to feign an impending attack on Gaza, and in a moment of tension Indiana pretends to murder his own accomplice under the ruse that he had revealed too much. Indiana is then arrested and his accomplices body is brought to a separate room.

  • It is then when Chauvel orders the Australian Light Horse Brigade to charge Beersheba instead of the British cavalry, catching the Turks by surprise. Meanwhile, Indiana slips away with his accomplice and they begin removing the explosives as the Australians advanced.

  • When the Turkish general realizes that Indiana had used a phony knife for a murder weapon, he orders for the wells to be decimated, yet not before Indiana arrives at the switch board just in time. As the Light Horse Brigade took the region it looked like the Allies would be in Jerusalem by Christmas, in which case the Australian commander says there’s no place he’d rather be.

  • Thus in this adventure Indiana is reaquainted with:

  • T.E. Lawrence - British archaeologist, military officer, diplomat, and writer; most renowned for his role in the Arab Revolt against the Ottoman Empire during WWI. Lawrence wrote about his exploits in his autobiographical account of the war in Seven Pillars of Wisdom, and following a tragic motorcycle accident that took his life at the age of 46, Lawrence’s life was the subject of the epic film Lawrence of Arabia earning him international fame.

  • Richard Meinertzhagen - British soldier, intelligence officer, and ornithologist (study of birds) who had a decorated military career spanning Africa, highlighted by the infamous ‘haversack ruse,’ where he devised and executed a strategy that allowed false British military plans to fall into the enemy’s hands. His military career also expanded to Palestine and the creation of Israel, that of which he described as one of the greatest historical events of the last 2000 years. In more recent years however the veracity of his achievements, including the haversack ruse and his ornithological records, have been disputed and left largely in question.

  • While collaborating for the first time with:

  • Henry George Chauvel - more commonly known as Harry Chauvel - senior officer of the Australian Imperial Force who fought in the Sinai and Palestine Campaign (British Empire vs Ottoman Empire) in the Middle East during WWI. He was the first Australian to reach the rank of Lieutenant and later General as he led the Light Horse Brigade in the capture of Beersheba (along with it’s vital water supply) in 1917.

  • Key locations in this adventure are as follows:

  • Cairo - capital and largest city of Egypt, associated with ancient Egypt as the famous Giza pyramid complex and the ancient city of Memphis are located within it’s area.

  • Gaza - aka Gaza Strip - Palestinian territory that borders Israel and Egypt on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea, that along with the West Bank comprises the State of Palestine.

  • Beersheba - largest city in the Negev desert of Southern Israel, captured by Austrailan forces during WWI in what is remembered as the last successful cavalry charge in British military history.

  • Jerusalem - one of the oldest cities in the world, claimed by both Israel and Palestine as its capital, and has been captured and recaptured on 44 different occasions throughout it’s history. Today the status of Jerusalem remains one of the core disputes within the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.


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