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Not only have we signally defeated the enemy, but have taken 1500 prisoners, and reached all our objectives with exceedingly few losses to the attackers. Absolutely no artillery fire preceded the attack, but two minutes before our troops went over, the British guns began a bombardment of the German front and support lines, when a smoke screen soon covered the battle front from the Ancre to Luce. Suddenly in the centre a large number of tanks, which had been secretly brought up, emerged from the smoke. The enemy were so terrified that they scarcely fought, many holding up their hands and begging to surrender.
A strange story of how a little old man from Palestine rose to affluence in Sydney culminated last week in a fire which had some remarkable and sensational features. Himmelferb, who is apparently a Jew of some sort, came out from Palestine, with his wife and two children, nearly 20 years ago. He was very poor — so much so that his brother-in-law paid his passage and his first expenses in Australia. The little man, who was then about 40 years of age, opened up a second-hand business, and prospered. When war broke out, he had some thousands of pounds in a Sydney bank. The horrible possibilities of war worried the second-hand dealer, and he forthwith drew all his savings from the bank and secreted them about his house and shop. Much of it went into a special receptacles in the floor and ceiling. Last Thursday night the Jew and his family awakened to find the building in flames. The terrified man and his wife collected their four children (two born in Australia), and all six got down to the ground floor into the shop. Then the man seems to have lost his head. He appears to have got out into the street and dashed wildly about giving the alarm; but the wife and the four children returned upstairs in an effort to save the hidden money, it is now believed. A little later Mrs Himmelferb threw herself from a first floor window and was considerably injured.
It was thought that the children were saved and by the time they were missed and the firemen found them in an upstairs room they were all dead — suffocated. Meanwhile, as the fire burned through roofs and ceilings, silver money began to rain upon amazed firefighters. Some of it was picked up and when the fire was out, a systematic search was made.
Wrapped in an old handkerchief, hidden under the fire in a back room, over £500 in gold was found. In the false bottom of a wardrobe in the room where the dead children were found there was discovered a roll of notes worth £500. There were piles of silver everywhere. Police and firemen raked over the debris for hours, and bag after bag, filed with florins, halfcrowns, and shillings was sent off to the police station. Charred mattresses were ripped up. In one there was big bag with £208 in notes; in another £300 in notes. The silver was in ladies bags, calico bags, under the floor, in all manner of places. One bag held £30 worth of jewellery. The police took the wealth in cabs to a bank, where three tellers were busy for some hours with it. Here is the result: Notes £1251; gold £509; silver £719, copper, 2s. ld. Total recovered £2579. — ODT, 7.7.1918.
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