Topic: AIF - 3B - 9 LHR
The Battle of Beersheba
Palestine, 31 October 1917
9th LHR, AIF, War Diary Account
War Diary account of the 9th LHR, AIF.
31 October 1917
From Asluj to Iswaiwin the roads were in a fair order. Nature of country hilly and very stony in places. Arrived in vicinity of Iswaiwin at 1000. Half an hour prior to reaching this point Ayliffe, Lieutenant SH; and, his troops were dispatched north west and Mueller, Lieutenant GLH; and, his troop were dispatched due north. Their orders were to locate the enemy and report enemy's dispositions. Within one and half hours Ayliffe, Lieutenant SH, reported enemy holding Ras Ghannam in strength. Mueller, Lieutenant GLH, pushed further north than was anticipated and was unable to return within time thereby failing to rejoin the Regiment until 1830.
At 1400 Brigade Headquarters and 9th Light Horse Regiment moved from Iswaiwin to support New Zealand Mounted Rifle Brigade in their attack on Tel el Saba. On moving towards Bir Salim Abu Irgeig the Brigade came under enemy shell barrage but reached their first halting place Bir Salim Abu Irgeig without casualties. By this time 1500 the battle of Beersheba was developing. Our right flank consisting of mounted troops kept closing in on Beersheba from the east and south. All along the right flank now presented a wonderful sight. Mounted troops and horse artillery everywhere galloping for positions. Our artillery bombardment of enemy positions was intense. At Bir Salim Abu Irgeig the Regiment saw Tel el Saba surrender to the New Zealanders.
At 1515 the Regiment received orders to move to the right of the New Zealand Mounted Rifle Brigade and take up position at 1060 5 of V in Butein. Daly, Major TJ went forward to get in touch with New Zealand Headquarters. Nature of country between Bir Salim Abu Irgeig and 1060 was open slightly undulating and broken by two small wadis. The Regiment moved across this country in line of troop columns [column of Squadrons each Squadron in line of troop columns] at a steady trot jinking here and there to evade the shrapnel which was being fired at fairly short range. A small gully just south of 1060 was reached without a casualty at 1530. The enemy shelled this gully for 11/2 hours but failed to cause a casualty.
At 1700 orders were received to move and occupy the line 1040 and 960 east of Beersheba. When nearing the Tel el Saba redoubt an enemy aeroplane flying at about 800 feet bombed C Troop of C Squadron killing Leahy, 2815 Trooper CM; Morrison, 2939 Trooper DJ; and, wounding severely Linacre, Lieutenant FJ; and, Williams, Captain H; and, wounding nine Other Ranks. 19 horses were killed and 6 wounded. Many casualties were also inflicted on New Zealanders and No 1 Sub - Section of 3rd Machine Gun Squadron who was close by. At this point we learned that Beersheba had fallen. Heavy explosions were heard which afterwards proved to be the blowing up of the Beersheba wells. The Regiment watered in pools in Wadi Saba and took up and held an outpost line from 1040 to Tel el Saba which A and two troops of B Squadron held all night.
The distance from Khalasa to Iswaiwin is 32 miles and from Iswaiwin via Bir Salim Abu Irgeig - 1060 - Tel el Saba - 1040 is about nine miles. The horses and men stood this severe test splendidly. The last 8 miles owing to enemy artillery fire were particularly strenuous.
Roll of Honour
Donald James MORRISON
Lest we forget