Topic: AIF - NZMRB - CMR
Battle of Romani
Sinai, August 4 to 5, 1916
CMR Unit History Account
Machine Gunners at Romani
[From: Powles, The history of the Canterbury Mounted Rifles 1914-1919, p. 109.]
Colonel Charles Guy Powles along with Officers of the Canterbury Mounted Rifles produced in 1928 a collective work called The history of the Canterbury Mounted Rifles 1914-1919, in which included a section specifically related to the battle of Beersheba and is extracted below.
Powles, CG ed, The history of the Canterbury Mounted Rifles 1914-1919, 1928, pp. 106 - 117:
Of the Battle called Romani, but which might have been named the Second Battle of Pelusium."And the Egyptians lay encamped on the banks of theNile. which runs by Pelusium. awaiting Cambyses. The Persians crossed the desert and. pitching their camp close to the Egyptians- made ready for battle. Stubborn was the fight that followed. and it was not until vast numbers had been slain that the Egyptians turned and fled." Herodotus.
Now the ruins of ancient Pelusium are to this day to be seen a few miles from the wells of Romani, and it was just outside Pelusium in the year 528 B.C. that the invading Persians conquered the Egyptians. Upon this self same ground 2,500 years later, the invaders of Egypt were to be defeated in the battle of Romani.
In the early hours of the morning of August 4th orders were received to be ready to move at 8 a.m. With the Regiment as advanced guard the Brigade moved in the direction of Dueidar, and heavy firing could be heard away in the direction of Romani. It looked as though the General's batman was right, but after travelling about three mile towards the east the direction of the march was changed north towards Canterbury Post. Nobody knew why, but later it was learnt that the Turks were making a flank attack on the railway in conjunction with their main attack on Romani. and that the Brigade was to hold them, and if possible, drive them back.
Skilfully led by guides, who evidently knew every foot of the British position, the enemy had attacked in three column, one, a holding attack well backed by artillery upon the 52nd Division in their entrenched position, and the two other columns upon the open flank between Katib Gannit and the caravan route. These two columns encountered the outpost line held by the 1st Light Horse Brigade, and they attacked it about midnight on August 4th.
Citation: Battle of Romani, Sinai, August 4 to 5, 1916, CMR Unit History Account