Topic: AIF - 2B - 6 LHR
Sinai, 23 April 1916
To: General Officer Commanding, 2nd Light Horse Brigade
Reference map Qatia Sheet C18
In accordance with instructions received I reconnoitred the country east as far as Ogratina, north east to marshy ground in centre of D3, and south east to Bir el Hamisah.
My reconnaissance was made as follows:-
"A" and "C" Squadrons moved off simultaneously at 0430 the former travelling north east to marshy ground in centre of D3 returning south west via El Rabah to Qatia.
"C" Squadron marched due east via Bir abu Hamra, Hod er Reshafat, Hod er Negiliat to Ogratina returning via Telegram Line to Qatia.
"B" Squadron, less one troop, left camp at 0545 and marched south east to Qatia.
The going for the first five miles was very heavy, afterwards the going was good across the marshy country, and on the return to Qatia found the going very heavy. No sign of Enemy, only Bedouin Camps, in one of three Bedouin Camps clothing, equipment, and a little ammunition was found which was collected and brought in. 20 Bedouins and 6 camels were also brought in, "A" Squadron arriving at Qatia at 1100, the advance party being in touch with Qatia at 1005.
The going was heavy throughout except through the Hods. Going through Abu Hamra found one dead mule at intersection of Longitude 45 and Latitude 31. Found empty Turkish cartridge shells behind several small sand hummocks, also one shell case. A considerable number of Bedouins were here and from one I gathered there was a wounded Englishman at Er Rabah. I sent the Medical Officer with a patrol guided by a native and found the body apparently only dead 48 hours. This man was hopelessly wounded and had been cared for by Bedouin women . Continuing I found body of a Turk at eastern end of Hod er Reshafat and another dead Turk and 2 dead camels at Hod en Negiliat. my patrols entered Ogratina camp at 1030 for the south west and northern ends. I found every evidence of a severe fight and tracks of a considerable enemy's force that had come by the Bir el Abd and Qatia road. This force evidently surprised the outpost on all sides of the camp and the outpost appeared to have fought stubbornly, gradually being forced back into the centre of the camp, where signs of a final melee had taken place.
I estimate the English dead at about 70 mainly on the eastern and western end of the camp and in the camp itself. I estimate the Turkish dead at about 30, signs of some having been buried. A great proportion of the English dead were stripped and in every case were the boots removed and the whole camp looted. The only things of value left were three pumps and some piping. I found two wounded Englishmen, Sergeant Pratt of the Worcester yeomanry and Sapper MacCoughley of the Royal Engineers and one wounded Turk who came into the camp after I arrived from a southerly direction. The wounded were in a bad state and I was obliged to man handle the Sergeant all the way to Qatia where "A" Squadron took him over and brought him in to Romani Camp. While there, I buried 12 Englishmen but only found two identification discs. All the dead were in an advanced state of decomposition.
I searched the Hods all round the camp and on the way back to Qatia my patrols searched the ground on either side of the Telegraph Line but found nothing.
I found no enemys' shell cases but a number of bombs. I brought in one Bedouin who had refused to give the wounded water. I left Ogratina at 1245 arriving at Qatia 1600.
Regimental Headquarters and "B" Squadron less one Troop
I found the going rather heavy and reached Qatia at 0830 which I mad my Headquarters. I immediately put patrols all round the camp. I instructed the Officer Commanding "B" Squadron to sent one Troop to Bir el Hamisah.
Copy of Troop Leader's report
I left "B" Squadron at Qatia at 0840. I marched on bearing 210 to Well 12 at Bir el Hamisah. At 0930 I reached the well, I found here the remains of a military camp, there were several tents rolled in bundles and lying on the ground. There were three saddles stripped of girths and stirrup lying on the ground. There were half a dozen bales of tibben, some shovels and rakes. There was also three lengths of canvas troughs, there were intact. There were two pumps with rubber hosing connected. There were three dead horses, one of which was haltered and leg roped to a line. There were seven wells, water rather salty and brackish. There was a system of trenches on the rising ground east of the camp. My patrol went about 500 yards beyond the camp and could not find anything, and finding no wounded or dead, I made no further search, I left well 12 at 1000 and reached Qatia at 1045.
At Qatia camp I found everything looted and evidence of a severe fight having taken place some days previous. The Turks evidently had attacked in a south easterly direction. There were a large number of empty shell cases, 12 pounders, and also a large number of empty small arms (Turkish) cases about. I found 70 dead horses and 48 dead camels, also 3 wounded horses which I destroyed. These were mostly killed by shell fire. The dead bodies were nearly all stripped and were in an advanced stage of decomposition. I buried 33 Englishmen, 6 Turks and one camel driver. The Turks had also buried some bodies before leaving. The trenches at or about the camp was very bad. Evidence of a number of English aeroplane bombs dropped outside the camp, but evidently these bombs had not done any damage, and where they had dropped, no sign whatever of any damage could be traced.
I searched all over the camp but could find no papers of any value. I found two cases of Mark VII ammunition 400 yards west of the camp which I brought in.
Signed: CD Fuller, Lieutenant Colonel, Officer Commanding 6th Light Horse Regiment.
Further Reading:Battles where Australians fought, 1899-1920
Citation: el Qatiya, Sinai, 23 April 1916, Fuller Account