Topic: BatzS - Bir el Abd
Romani and Bir el Abd
Sinai, 4 - 9 August 1916
Falls Account, The Evacuation of the Wounded
The Battle of Romani, 4-6 August and Bir el Abd, 9 August 1916
[Click on map for larger version]
[From: Military operations: Egypt and Palestine, Sketch 10 facing p. 178.]
As part of the Official British War History of the Great War, Captain Cyril Falls and Lieutenant General George MacMunn were commissioned to produce a commentary on the Sinai, Palestine and Syrian operations that took place. In 1928, their finished work, Military Operations, Egypt and Palestine - From the outbreak of war with Germany to June 1917, was published in London. Their book included a section specifically related to the battle of Romani and is extracted below.
MacMunn, G. & Falls, C., Military operations: Egypt and Palestine, (London 1930), p. 203:
Part 10. The Evacuation of the Wounded.
The evacuation of the wounded in a terrain such as Sinai was of very great difficulty. Neither motor ambulances nor horsed ambulances could be employed. At the period of the Battle of Romani no ambulance trains had yet been taken across the Canal, so that the evacuation of wounded from Romani, and from Mahamdiyah on the light coast railway, had to be carried out on open trucks. However, the distance which wounded had to be carried by rail was comparatively short, since No. 31 General Hospital was in the Canal Works on the east bank at Port Said, and No. 26 Casualty Clearing Station also east of the Canal, at Qantara East, the starting point of the desert railway.
The majority of the wounded and the only cases that caused difficulty were from the A. & N.Z. Mounted Division. The division had four mounted field ambulances: the New Zealand, and 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Australian Light Horse Field Ambulances. Prior to the battle mobile sections of each of these were organized with eight sand-carts (a two-wheeled cart with an awning) and a number of camel cacolets. Camel cacolets were of two kinds: a small collapsible chair for sitting cases, and a sort of bed for lying cases. Both were carried slung to a camel, one each side. Sand-sledges, which the Australian troops, it is claimed by their official historian, were the first to use, were also employed. [See: Sand Cart Plans and Description .] The tent divisions were immobile and remained in positions further back as main dressing stations. The camel transport was found unsuitable in front of these main dressing stations, and sand-carts and sledges were chiefly employed between them and the advanced stations near the firing line. The wounded suffered very severely during their transport to Qantara in the intense heat.
Citation: Romani and Bir el Abd, Falls Account, The Evacuation of the Wounded