Topic: BatzP - Beersheba
After the first draft of the Oficial British War History regarding the Palestine and Sinai campaigns was written by Cyril Falls, he circulated the various drafts amongst those officers who particpated in the events described in the particular chapters to ascertain veracity. This particular note was returned to Dr CEW Bean by Lieutenant Colonel Cameron, the former Commanding Officer of the 12th Light Horse Regiment regarding the planning of the soon to be famous charge.
Extracts from Colonel Cameron's letter to Dr Bean
[Click on page for a larger print version.]
The extracts transcribed:
General Grant informed Colonel Bourchier and myself at 4 p.m. that he had been ordered to attack Beersheba. It is evident that the method of attack was left to him, and of that I feel sure, since he asked for our opinion. It was clear to me that the job had to be done before dark, so I advised galloping the place as our only chance. (I had some experience of successful mounted surprise attacks on the Boer camps in the South African war.)
Page 21, lines 17 - 18
"Some squadrons swept straight on to Beersheba" should read "What was left of two squadrons of the 12th LH swept on ..." The 4th Regiment stopped at the trenches with the exception of some six men who were carried along with the 12's squadrons.
The impression given is that Grant was given a free hand in developing the charge, either mounted or unmounted. Grant had opted for the unmounted charge. Cameron recalls his Boer War experience and influences the discussion calling for a charge by horse - a successful tactic used against the Boer lagers.
One caveat must be made. This document needs to be treated with a bit of caution as there was a major personal conflict between Cameron and Grant - Cameron hated Grant with a passion.