Topic: Diary - Schramm
Diaries of AIF Servicemen
3 October 1918
2823 Private Herbert Leslie SCHRAMM, a 22 year old Farmer from Whites River, South Australia. He enlisted on 17 February 1916; and at the conclusion of the war Returned to Australia, 10 July 1919.
During part of the course of his military service with the AIF, Bert Schramm kept a diary of his life. Bert was not a man of letters so this diary was produced with great effort on his behalf. Bert made a promise to his sweetheart, Lucy Solley, that he would do so after he received the blank pocket notebook wherein these entries are found. As a Brigade Scout since September 1918, he took a lead part in the September Offensive by the Allied forces in Palestine. Bert's diary entries are placed alongside those of the 9th Light Horse Regiment to which he belonged and to the 3rd Light Horse Brigade to which the 9th LHR was attached. On this basis we can follow Bert in the context of his formation.
The complete diary is now available on the Australian Light Horse Studies Centre Site at:
Finding more about a service person. See:
Bert Schramm's Handwritten Diary, 2 - 4 October 1918
[Click on page for a larger print version.]
Thursday, October 3, 1918
Bert Schramm's Location - Khan Kusseir
Bert Schramm's Diary - Things have been fairly quiet today. We have been collecting prisoners' guns etc. There are hundreds of acres of beautiful vineyards around here and we have been doing justice by the grapes. Damascus is a fairly large town, electric cars etc has a population of 250,000. The outskirts of the town are really beautiful; hundreds of acres are more like a botanical park. I think this is probably as far as we will go for now. We all need a rest.
9th Light Horse Regiment War Diary
9th Light Horse Regiment Location - Khan Kusseir
9th Light Horse Regiment War Diary - 1400 Freebairn, Lieutenant DT, with troop from B Squadron moved out and mounted an outpost at B in Wadi Maraba to guard this approach to Damascus from the north. Local inhabitants were very friendly disposed towards our troops bringing many presents of oranges, eggs etc into the lines. Khan Kusseir was surrounded with flourishing vineyards and orchards being abundantly watered. The grapes were ripe and of exceptionally good quality and flavour and were used chiefly for drying into raisins. Twenty one Other Ranks marched in from Ludd. Harvey, 3542 Trooper AH, died of wounds.
3rd Light Horse Brigade War Diary
On 3rd October 1918, the Brigade bivouacked in the vicinity of Duma and moved to south - west of El Mezze on 5th October 1918. One squadron 9th Light Horse Regiment was left at Duma to watch Homs road and other approaches to Damascus. While on this duty they collected three more mountain guns abandoned by the enemy. 10th Light Horse Regiment less two squadrons, with two squadrons of 8th Light Horse Regiment moved to Kaukab and took over guard of over 16,000 prisoners.
The condition of these prisoners when taken over by us was lamentable. Prior to capture they had been marching for some ten days - a beaten army. Their supply system had of course, at once, broken down - they were practically starved. They had been closely pursued by the British cavalry, continually bombed by our aeroplanes, and hard pressed by the local Arabs. As soon as these last saw how things were going they swarmed in for loot and revenge. Stragglers or small detached parties of the fugitives were attacked and usually killed. The result of this stress was that the fugitives were physically and mentally exhausted - 3,000 of them were sick. When we took them over they were in a mob under some scattered palm trees near Kaukab on the bank of a creek. They had no cover even for the sick. There were a large number of Officers with them but they were also in a dazed condition and would not make the slightest effort to organise, or ameliorate the condition of the men. Few of the men had blankets, they had no medical organisation. There were no drugs, bandages, or food fit for sick men, no sanitation. Food for the prisoners was scarce. Men were dying at the rate of 170 a day. Todd, Lieutenant Colonel TJ, took the control of the compound in hand and soon put a different complexion on the matter. Very little assistance could be obtained from the local Arab authorities of Damascus, now had taken possession of the Turkish Army Stores. They demurred from doing anything, unless paid exorbitant rates in gold. They did not like English paper money. However, by bluff and threats, blankets for the men were got out of them; sheep were requisitioned from the surrounding country. Prisoners were organised into companies of 100, each under their own Non Commissioned Officers, arrangements were made fur the daily cleaning of the area; three Syrian Doctors were obtained from amongst the prisoners; the worst of the sick were removed under cover in a neighbouring village, and the daily death rate was reduced from 170 to 15. About 1,500 died during the period that we controlled the camp. About a week after we took over, Todd, Lieutenant Colonel TJ, started to reduce the numbers by daily convoys of 1,000 each down the lines of communication, via the north of the Sea of Galilee. These parties could not go regularly but by the end of the month when we handed over, the camp had been reduced to 3,000 or 4,000.
Darley, TH, With the Ninth Light Horse in the Great War, Adelaide, Hassell Press, 1924, pp 158 - 162.
The Fall of DamascusAt 2 p.m. on the 3rd October Freebairn, Lieutenant DT, with a troop of B Squadron, moved out and mounted an outpost in the Wadi Maraba to guard the approaches to Damascus from the north. The inhabitants of these parts were very friendly disposed towards our men, bringing baskets of grapes, eggs, etc., into our lines. The country surrounding the bivouac was covered with flourishing vineyards and orchards which were abundantly watered. The grapes were ripe and of exceptionally good quality and flavour, being grown chiefly for drying into raisins.
Previous: Bert Schramm's Diary, 2 October 1918
Bert Schramm's Diary
National Archives Service File.
Embarkation Roll, AWM8.
Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour
Nominal Roll, AWM133, Nominal Roll of Australian Imperial Force who left Australia for service abroad, 1914-1918 War.
War Diaries and Letters
All War Diaries and letters cited on this site should be read in conjunction with the Australian Light Horse Studies Centre, War Diaries and Letters, Site Transcription Policy which may be accessed at: