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About Yad L'shiryon

Located in the Ayalon Valley the former British colonial police fort has been an item of import for over 60 years. Used to dominate both the Israeli and Arab populace during the Mandate period, it's location took on additional importance during Israel's War of Independence. During the war the road to Jerusalem which passed near latrun was often blocked by local arab forces. For the Israeli populace having only recently declared independence in the Jewish areas of the partition, the loss of Jerusalem would be unthinkable. Abdallah of Jordan saw the situation as a means of gaining territory and possibly Mediterranean access. He sent The Arab Legion to take up positions in both the Byzantine old city of Jerusalem as well as Latrun. This effectively blockaded Israeli West Jerusalem.

The new Israeli government knew  the situation and attacked the police fort and surrounding areas on three occasions, once getting forces into the fort. Each time however the new Israeli army was pushed back with often grievous losses. The solution was to build a bypass road which is called the 'Burma Road' . This was really nothing more than an improvised, hastily constructed road that enabled supplies to reach western Jerusalem thus breaking the siege and securing Jerusalem as Israel's new capital. Although the fort itself was abandoned by the Legion after the siege had been broken it would remain in Jordanian hands until 1967 when it was liberated by forces of Uzi Narkess's central command.

In 1982 the cornerstone for what would be the memorial and museum was laid. With the help of both sitting and retired officers the museum at Latrun has grown into one of the predominant armour museums in the world. It houses not only examples of IDF vehicles and those captured in it's many wars but examples bought or traded for from around the world. Today the Latrun museum houses over 100 vehicles from pre-WW2  Hotchkiss to prototypes of the Merkava 1,2 and 3. There are an array of soft vehicles as well as examples of bridging and mine clearing apparatus. The museum houses not just the inanimate metal tanks but the histories of its units and individual soldiers. This is a place to stop not just for the armour vehicle enthusiast but for anyone interested in the history of the IDF  ground forces. Not unlike Yad V'shem in Jerusalem the museum and monument shows the real cost of defending ones heritage and country....... It's lost future generations.

 


Armoured Corps Memorial to it's Fallen Soldiers

The memorial at Yad l'Shiryon is actually muti-faceted and not a single monotlith or artistic object. Instead it is a series of items through which one is able to feel the true loss of those lost to us. Upon walking up the stairs from the entrance one must walk through a circle of stone dedicated to hte former Armoured Corps commader and founder of Latrun General to enter into the Courtyard of Names. Directly in front of you is the south western corner of the police station with the Wall of Names  immediately to its right. It is in front of this wall on Yom HaZikaron יום הזכרון (Israel's memorial day) that sevices are held both at night and during the day.

nightime tekes
daytime tekes
Yom Hazikaron Eve, the lit memorial flame with wall of names in rear. Yad L'shiryon 2005 Daytime wreath laying ceremony at wall of names.
Yad L'shiryon 2005

 

The wall itself is a series of panels of names beginning with the War of Independance  מלחמת העצמאות to the recent murder-suicide attacks. The wall breaks the names up by listing them according to the wars in which they fell including the most recent war on terror, begging one to wonder whether will there ever be a time with no additional names. No rank or titles are displayed with the soldiers names although a nickname is often included. Sadly there are a number of fathers and sons  as well as brothers whose names appear on the panels. The largest series of panels covers the Yom Kippur war during which the armoured corps suffered its most grievious casualties.

Entering the former fort one passes through  a short hallway lined with the different unit tags. Directly to your front is a scaled Merkava and crew.

 


Armoured Corps Association

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