Topic: AIF - 1B - 1 LHB
Battle of Romani
Sinai, August 4 to 5, 1916
1st LH Bde, AIF, War Diary Appendix Account
I beg to report that on the night 3rd/4th August I took up an outpost position from Infantry Post No. 1 exclusive to Hod el Enna inclusive.
The 3rd Light Horse Regiment occupied the sector from Infantry Post No. 1 exclusive to Mount Meredith inclusive, the 2nd Light Horse Regiment occupied the sector from Mount Meredith exclusive to Hod el Enna inclusive, the 1st Light Horse Regiment in reserve in camp Romani. Each Regiment had two Machine Guns. About 2330 the right sector reported enemy patrols who appeared to search our whole line. By 2400 there was no doubt of the enemy to attack. From that hour on they continued to press in threatening my right at Mount Meredith. At about 0100 I received requests from reinforcements both from my right flank and from Mount Meredith. At 0130 the 1st Light Horse Regiment, which was in reserve in camp, arrived. At 0200 I reinforced my centre on the southern slope of Mount Meredith with one Squadron, recognizing that it was better to hold that point in strength as my right flank could swing back. At 0230 I put in another Squadron, two Troops on the north and two Troops on the south of Mount Meredith.
As the enemy were forcing me of Mount Meredith pressure became very great and requests for reinforcements arrived from both Lieutenant Colonel Fulton and Major Bourne. I sent my last Squadron to support the troops holding Mount Meredith, thus enabling Major Bourne, by relieving pressure on his left, wot swing his right back.
The Brigade stubbornly contested every foot of ground to Wellington Ridge. About 0420 and 2nd Light Horse Brigade reinforced my right. At this hour the enemy artillery shelled our position, searching all the hods. I continued to hold the position on Wellington Ridge until ordered by you to withdraw.
Brigade Headquarters with 1st Light Horse Regiment, going into reserve at Et Maler at 0700 the 2nd and 3rd Light Horse Regiments operating on the right under Colonel Royston.
At 1700 I proceeded to a point to a point north of Bir abu Diyuk and was ordered to take up an outpost line with my right connecting with 5th Manchester Battalion, and my left with the Brigade commanded by Colonel Royston. nothing occurred during the night.
At 0400 August 5th, I moved out with my right on Mount Royston and drove in a south easterly direction to Hod el Enna, taking numerous prisoners, arms, ammunition and stores. From there to Bir Abu Raml, pushing on to Bir abu Gulud, where I rested and watered as many horses as the small well would supply. About 1200 touch was gained with 3rd Light Horse Brigade and New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade. At 1330, at a conference of Brigadier General Chaytor, Colonel Meldrum and myself, it was decided to launch an attack on Qatia at 1415. The attack was made with New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade on the right, 1st Light Horse Brigade on the centre, and 2nd Light Horse Brigade on the left. The three Brigades advanced mounted to the fringe of the palms, where heavy rifle and machine gun fire was encountered. The 1st and 2nd Light Horse Brigades had advanced by dusk to a line running about 600 yards across the swamp, the enemy in strength holding up the right of the attack. About 1830 I received your order to withdraw to Romani, where we arrived at 2230. I regret to report the loss of 3 Officers killed, 10 wounded, 32 Other Ranks killed, 99 wounded, and 24 missing, which considering the severity of the action was in my opinion very light. I wish to bring under your special notice the exceptionally good work done by Major Bourne, 2nd Light Horse Regiment under the most trying circumstances. No officer, in my opinion, could have carried out his duties more efficiently.
Major CH Granville, 1st Light Horse Regiment, in placing my reserves in the position ordered in the dark, under most trying circumstances. Lieutenant Colonel GP Dixon, 1st Light Horse Field Ambulance who carried out his duties in the two days operations, frequently under shell, machine gun, and rifle fire, Chaplain HK Gordon also rendered good services.
Of my Brigade Staff I cannot speak too highly of the assistance given me by my Brigade Major, Captain Chisholm, Staff Captain, Captain Hudson, and my Orderly Officer, Lieutenant ES Kater. I cannot close this report without bringing to your special notice the excellent work of the Signal Troop of this Brigade and bed to mention names of Second Lieutenant H Letch, who was acting Signal Officer on night August 3rd to 4th, also No. 4 Sergeant LW Sutherland, No. 15 Corporal C Cox, No. 27 Corporal J McG Wills, No. 1376 Sapper TAS Pickford and No. 44 Sapper C Williams all of whom under my personal observation carried out their duties regardless of shell, rifle and machine gun fire. No. 44 Sapper C Williams also rescued a wounded man under heavy machine gun and shell fire and brought him into safety. I append lists of recommendations by CO's of Units.
Lieutenant Colonel JB Meredith
General Officer Commanding 1st Light Horse Brigade.
Citation: Battle of Romani, Sinai, August 4 to 5, 1st LH Bde, AIF, War Diary Appendix Account