Topic: AIF - 2B - 6 LHR
Bir el Mazar
Sinai, 17 September 1916
Lieutenant George Lachlan Berrie produced a unit history published in 1919 called Under Furred Hats (6th ALH Regt) which included a section specifically related to the Battle of Bir el Mazar and is extracted below.
Berrie, GL, Under Furred Hats (6th ALH Regt), (Sydney 1919):
The enemy were now in full retreat eastwards of Salmana, and for the time being our acquaintance with him was ended. Withdrawing via Katia we returned to Et Maler on the 13th of August, and for the rest of the month, both horses and men enjoyed a, badly-needed rest.
The casualty list of sickness and death made a number of vacancies amongst the officers, and the following were promoted to commissioned rank : -Sig. Sgt. J. Back, Sgts. Allman, Ronald, Lomax and Corp. H. Dickson.
Popular also were the captaincys of Lieuts. Thompson, Tooth S., and Close.
The worst of the summer heat had now passed, and horses were beginning to be inured to the hard ships of desert life. But a number had succumbed to the strain; sand colic and sore backs were the predominant ailments, and many had to be evacuated to Veterinary Hospitals and replaced by re mounts. We left Et Maler on the 11 th of September and, moving by Katia, reached our new camping area, Hod el Hassaniya, the same after noon.
Lieut.-Col. Fuller returned three days later having recovered from his wound, and again took charge of the Regiment. Preparations were soon on foot for an attack on the Turkish position at El Mazar. Moving out at 2.30 a.m. on the morning of the 16th we marched to Hod el Ge'eila, where we camped for the day. Sundown found us on the move again and joined up with the 3rd Brigade and the Inverness and Ayrshire Batteries on the Mazar Road, four miles east of Salmana.
A tedious all-night ride was followed by an equally wearisome day.
A Squadron of the Regiment remained posted six miles from Mazar, in event of a covering force being required during a possible retirement. C Squadron had a wildly exciting time as artillery escort, and the remainder of the Regiment was in reserve.
After a, half-hearted and ineffectual attempt on the Turkish positions, the column withdrew, and a heart-breaking journey back to Salmana commenced. For no very apparent reason, the Mazar stunt is usually admitted to have been one of the most wearisome desert rides we ever experienced.
Perhaps the knowledge of the utter futility of the whole expedition permeated the parched throats and weighted the aching bodies with the last straw. It was a still weary Regiment that withdrew the following morning to Hassaniya and settled down to holding part of the front line.
Alternately squadrons camped at Homossia, linking up with the Camel Corps and the 3rd Brigade on the right and left respectively. But we were not long to sweeten our outpost and front line work with ripe dates moist with the desert fog of early morning.