Topic: AIF - DMC - British
The Battle of Beersheba
Palestine, 31 October 1917
5th Mounted Brigade War Diary
Lieutenant Colonel P J Kelly, CO of the 5th Mounted Brigade
[From: AWM H00588]
The origins of the 5th Mounted Brigade go back to the commencement of the Great War when the formation was called 1/1st South Midland Mounted Brigade as part of the 2nd Mountded Division. In May 1915 the brigade was renamed to 1st (1/1st South Midland) Mounted Brigade. During the extended period from September to December 1915, the remnants of the Brigade were combined with the remainder of the 2nd (1/2nd South Midland) Mounted Brigade. The new formation was called the 1st Composite Mounted Brigade. On the break up of the 2nd Mounted Division in January 1916, the resulting unit became known as the 5th Mounted Brigade. In February 1917 it was attached to the new division known as the Imperial Mounted Division and remained with that division when the 4th ALH Brigade was added and the name changed to the Australian Mounted Division. The Regiments in the Brigade were:
1/1st Gloucestershire Yeomanry
1/1st Warwickshire Yeomanry
1/1st Worcestershire Yeomanry
War Diary of the 5th Mounted Brigade
The War Diary provides an excellent reference to the day to day activities of note that occurred within a particular unit. They were never designed to be histories in themselves but aids to future historians who wish to write about their deeds. The War Diary was often written up at the end of the day when most men were weary and seen as just another useless activity demanded by "the Heads" in far off places. It was only years later when unit histories were produced that the value of the War Diaries became to be realised by the men. The result is that the War Diary is usually light on detail. These details can be supplemented by Routine Orders and signals where these may exist.
War Diary Entries
28th - At 0200 the Bde. relieved the I.C.C. Bde taking aver the line Khalasa - Ghalyun - then to Malaaga to Abushar inclusive. This line was subdivided into Northern and southern Sectors and allotted to Worcesters and Warricks respectively - dividing line - Khalasa - Beersheba read inclusive to Worcester Yeo. In accordance with Divisional instructions a reconnaissance was carried out by Warwick Yeo to ascertain the whereabouts of the enemy, Ss of Ras Ghannam and Ras Hablein. Enemy were seen to be occupying trench system Ras Hablein - um Farrath also bivouac shelters and tents were obsessed NW of Ras Hablein. Turkish mounted patrol approaching Ibn Saiid was fired on and 1 Turk killed.
29th. - The Brigade stood to at 0500. All clear received at 0530.
Gloucester Yeo, found 2 Sgdns, on Outpost with 1 in reserve line 870 just W. of 910 with strong standing post on Khalasa - Saba road.
Worcester Yeo. joined up with post on high ground on E.1, road Sqdn, on Ibn Saiid post reported usual movement of enemy infantry about redoubts E. of Abushar. About 8 explosions were heard at redoubts of Ras Hablein also 2 working parties of 50 each working on the Khalasa - Saba road.
Much less enemy activity than yesterday.
30th - Stood to at 0500, "all clear" received at 0530. Nothing of importance occurred until the Brigade withdrew at 1700.
The afternoon was spent in resting the troops not on outpost. Orders were received for the Brigade to march from Khalasa via Asluj to Iswaiwin. The Brigade left camp at 1900 marching in the following order:
Gloucester Yeo. Bde. Hdqrs, Half of 16th MG Sqdn. 'B' Battery HAC. Remainder of 16th MG Sqdn, Warwick Yeo. Field Amb. Echelon, Remainder of Worcester Yeo.
31st - From 2330/30th- to 0200/31st the Brigade, halted at Asluj, and finally arrived at Iswaiwin about 1000, in reserve.
At 1600 Warwick Yeo. was detailed to support Genl. Grant, 4th ALH Bde, in an attack on Beersheba. This was cancelled and Brigade proceeded to water at Bir Hamam and Bir Imshash.
Enemy aeroplanes bombed and machine gunned us on the way. The Warwick Yeo. having 1 man killed and 2 wounded. 2 horses were also killed and several wounded.At 2000 the Brigade marched to Beersheba and found it occupied by 4th ALH Bde.
Bivouacked on S. side of wadi by the viaduct.
Citation: The Battle of Beersheba, Palestine, 31 October 1917, 5th Mounted Brigade War Diary