Topic: AIF - 3B - 9 LHR
El Burj, Palestine, 1 December 1917
War Diary of the 9th Australian Light Horse Regiment, AIF
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.
The entry for Saturday, 1 December 1917 is transcribed below.
War Diary Entry
Saturday, 1 December 1917
9th Light Horse Regiment Location -
9th Light Horse Regiment War Diary -
0120, the enemy, 1,000 strong, made a determined attack on sector held by 8th Light Horse Regiment which regiment was immediately on right of 9th Light Horse Regiment.
The right flank post of 8th Light Horse Regiment was forced to withdraw about 300 yards south west whilst the enemy occupied the position from which the 8th Light Horse Regiment had withdrawn. The enemy brought heavy bomb, rifle and machine gun fire to bear on 8th Light Horse Regimental posts.
"A" Squadron, 9th Light Horse Regiment, who were in position 800 yards on left front of 8th Light Horse Regiment, brought a heavy machine gun and rifle fire to bear on flank and rear of attacking force inflicting many casualties and prevented enemy retiring towards Shilta.
At dawn 0500 it was seen that the remaining enemy were in a precarious position, faced in front at a few hundred yards range by 8th Light Horse Regiment and a strong detachment of 4th Royal Scots who had hurried up in support. This detachment did fine bombing work at dawn.
About 0530 the 8th Light Horse Regiment moved forward and the remaining Turks about 100 strong surrendered including a German Lieutenant Colonel Commanding Officer of the attacking battalion. Many rifles and automatic rifles and bombs were captured from enemy.
Estimated enemy dead 200 whilst 300 enemy wounded had passed previously through the Turkish dressing station. Heavy enemy shell fire continued all morning in and around El Burj. 9th Light Horse Regiment casualties four Other Ranks wounded.
429 Cpl John Herbert Jones
1502 Cpl William Mackley
3006 Private Howard William Ball Smith
3171 Private John Robert Clark
The War Diary of the 9th Australian Light Horse Regiment, AIF is held by the Australian War Memorial and available online at no cost.
Citation: El Burj, Palestine, 1 December 1917, 9th Light Horse Regiment War Diary Account