Topic: AIF - DMC - Anzac MD
Battle of Romani
Sinai, August 4 to 5, 1916
Anzac Mounted Division Artillery, AIF, War Diary Account
Turks in Qatia. While Ayrshire Battery went out with 2nd Light Horse Brigade, wireless section out and battery was held ready to fire in co-operation with plane, but various accidents to plane prevented practice being carried out. Battery home by 2000.
1st Light Horse Brigade held as outposts south and east edges of the dune country south of Romani during the night.
The Turks, in force, attacked 1st Light Horse Brigade about 2348.
1st Light Horse Brigade held Turks back till 0100, when joined by the 2nd Light Horse Brigade.
0400 - Ayrshire and Leicestershire Batteries were taken out of camp by Commander of Royal Artillery about 0400, when enemy was attacking Wellington Ridge and advancing round our right flank under Mount Royston.
Both Batteries, having been bombed by aeroplanes on the way out, were brought into action near Infantry Post 23a about 1,200 yards north of centre of Wellington Ridge. The Ayrshires were ordered to fire on the zone to the west under Mount Royston, the Leicesters being given a specific target of Turkish Infantry on Mount Meredith who were firing on east end of Wellington Ridge.
0530 - The Leicesters opened effective fire first at 0530, they found the range luckily in two shots, and pouring in shrapnel along reverse side of the steep ridge, completely stopped the rifle fire from Mount Meredith. One section was moved back later and turned on to other targets in the same direction, while the other section continued to neutralise Mount Meredith and the ground behind it.
A Forward Observation Officer was sent out to Wellington Ridge but had to return without being of use when our men were driven back about 0800.
Had some difficulty with communications at 0700, owing to wires being continually out. This was put right by duplication.
0830 - About 0830 the Turks were beginning to line the crest of Wellington Ridge. The Ayrshire Battery and one section of the Leicesters were in a good position to stem any attack from there, and, on the Turks showing signs of advancing, at once opened heavy bursts of shrapnel fire which effectually stopped them.
Bursts of searching fire were continued behind the crest when necessary, and no further attempt was made by the enemy to cross the ridge.
1100 - One section of Ayrshires was detached at 1100 to a position north of Et Maler to fire on hods and ridges towards Mount Royston, where enemy was reported collecting again in front of our right.
Ammunition was replenished about this time from the Ammunition Column in both batteries.
Offers of co-operation came to me from 52nd Division Royal Artillery and from No. 3 Section and 2 Batteries Hants, Royal Horse Artillery from near Station and "B" 260th Brigade, Royal Field Artillery from near Anzac Mounted Division Headquarters, helped by fire on Wellington Ridge and below Mount Royston respectively.
The enemy's left flank had now almost reached Abu Diyuk, and he was holding the high ground about Mount Royston.
Shortly after 1100 a mountain battery from near Mount Royston began shelling Divisional Headquarters and the camps near there.
It was located by the dust of the discharges and the detached section of Ayrshires was directed to fire on it.
The hostile battery at once ceased firing.
Another section of the same German battery at the same time opened fire on a section of the Somerset Battery, then coming into action with the New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade about 3,000 yards due west of Mount Royston. The Somersets could not locate it.
After firing 30 rounds, it ceased.
The Somerset Battery had left Hill 70 at 0730 with the New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade and moved north east in the direction of Abu Diyuk.
They came into action by detached sections as stated above, in the gap between the 2nd Light Horse Brigade, on our right from Romani, and the 5th Mounted Brigade, who were attacking Mount Royston from the south west.
The Somersets continued to fire from the west on such targets as showed themselves, until 1630, when fire was concentrated to co-operate in an attack by the New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade and the 5th Mounted Brigade on Mount Royston.
This attack took place successfully at 1645, the enemy being driven off to the east, and the battery ceased firing.
The enemy surrendered in large numbers, finding themselves almost surrounded between the Romani troops and the New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade.
One Brigade of the 42nd Infantry Division arrived on the scene about 1800 and helped to gather in the prisoners.
To return to Et Maler.
Fire was continued through the day on the allotted zones by the Ayrshire and Leicester Batteries.
1830 - The Leicesters' detached Section was ordered to rejoin the Battery at 1830, to support the advance of the 1st and 2nd Light Horse Brigades with a Forward Observation Officer in the front line.
1700 - At 1700 all batteries were warned that the New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade were in possession of Mount Royston.
1830 - They continued to fire at Turkish trenches and supported an attack by the 52nd Division on the east end of Wellington Ridge at 1830.
1915 - The Ayrshires and Leicestershires returned to camp at 1915 and the Somersets bivouacked at Pelusium.
Big gun shell fire (probably 8.2 inches) continued on the camp at Romani throughout the night.
Ayrshires lost 2 Other Ranks killed; 1 Officer, 6 Other Ranks wounded.
Leicesters lost 1 Other Rank killed.
Ammunition supply was well maintained and batteries expended:-
Ayrshires - 429;
Leicesters - about 500; and,
Somersets - 180 rounds.
The Inverness Battery, during this day marched from Ballybunion to Dueidar with 3rd Light Horse Brigade.
0330 - At 0330 I moved Ayrshire and Leicester Batteries to Et Maler camp. Fairly heavy rifle fire was coming from Wellington Ridge which was still occupied by crowds of enemy. Just at daylight however, and before the guns opened fire, the enemy stood up and surrendered to the Light Horse and 52nd Infantry Division who walked up from west and north east respectively.
0800 - About 0800, after watering at New Wells, having seen the Light Horse Brigades out in the low ground towards Qatia, and having been ordered to use my own discretion as to moving out, I ordered the two Batteries to follow with what escort we could pick up, (an Officer and about 20 men).
0900 - At 0900, about 2 miles east of the New Wells, long range rifle fire was opened on the left flank of the leading Battery (the Ayrshires) which was wheeled to the right and opened fire on some hostile Infantry then leaving Abu Hamra.
The Leicesters had by this time lagged somewhat behind and hearing the firing, and being practically without escort, they returned to the hills near New Wells and opened fire from there on Abu Hamra.
This was unfortunate, as they were badly wanted at Qatia later. However, I could not get into touch with them, and had to go on with the Ayrshires alone.
The Leicesters eventually reached Qatia about 1600.
1000 - About 1000 the Ayrshire Battery came into action near the Dueidar - Qatia Road, two miles west of Qatia.
An enemy's Mountain Battery fired at the Ayrshires coming into action, and at the Wellington Mounted Rifle Regiment horses, but the first two shots of ours bracketed them and they at once dismantled their guns. The ground being favourable, they managed to withdraw them during the day, in spite of the occasional bursts of shrapnel from the Ayrshires when any movement was seen in the place.
1600 - At 1600 the Ayrshires moved forward 1,000 yards nearer Qatia and the Leicesters came up into the Ayrshires' former position.
They both tried to support the attack of the 2nd Light Horse Brigade in the centre but it was difficult to locate the enemy, and though one or two columns leaving Qatia eastwards were fired on, the machine guns stopping our advance could not be located.
1900 - Both batteries broke off the fight and returned to Romani about dusk getting in at 2200.
The Ayrshires had two men wounded.
The Somerset Battery arrived two miles west of Qatia about 1700, to late to take part in the attack, having marched from Pelusium via Dueidar and Bir en Nuss. It returned to New Wells for the night.
The Inverness Battery with the 3rd Light Horse Brigade was in action against Hamisah and spent the night near Bir Nagid having marched from Dueidar.
Qatia occupied by our troops.
Ayrshires came on in Divisional Reserve to Umm Ugba and fired 18 rounds on a Turkish redoubt. They bivouacked at Qatia.
Leicestershires remained with 1st and 2nd Light Horse Brigades in camp at Romani.
Somersets proceeded with the New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade through Qatia and remained in readiness south of Umm Ugba, but did not come into action, though they were under enemy long range shell fire from 4 inch guns. They bivouacked at Rabah.
The Inverness Battery proceeded with the 3rd Light Horse Brigade to Abu Darem.
Roll of Honour
W COX, 91st Heavy Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery, Killed in Action 4 August 1916.
J DUNLOP, Ayrshire Battery, Royal Horse Artillery, Killed in Action 4 August 1916.
P GIBBONS, 1st/4th Lowland Brigade, Royal Field Artillery, Killed in Action 5 August 1916.
M HOWKINS, 1st/5th Lowland Brigade, Royal Horse Artillery, Killed in Action 4 August 1916.
WN HUTTON, 1st/5th Battery, Royal Field Artillery, Killed in Action 4 August 1916.
TH LAPWORTH, 1st/1st Leicester Battery, Royal Horse Artillery, Died of Wounds 6 August 1916.
H LEITCH, 263rd Brigade, Royal Field Artillery, Killed in Action 4 August 1916.
G WHITELAW, Ayrshire Battery, Royal Horse Artillery, Killed in Action 4 August 1916.
RTC WILLIS-FLEMING, 1st/5th Lowland Brigade, Royal Horse Artillery, Killed in Action 4 August 1916.
Lest We Forget
Citation: Battle of Romani, Sinai, August 4 to 5, 1916, Anzac Mounted Division Artillery, AIF, War Diary Account