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Wednesday, 30 April 2008
9th LHR AIF War Diary, 30 April
Topic: AIF - 3B - 9 LHR

9th LHR, AIF

9th Light Horse Regiment

War Diary, 30 April

Pro Gloria et Honore - For Glory and Honour

Regimental March -  Marching Through Georgia

 

 

The following entries are extracted and transcribed from the 9th Light Horse Regiment War Diary, the originals of which are held by the Australian War Memorial. There are 366 entries on this site. Each day has entries as they occurred from 1914 to 1919. In addition to the 9th Light Horse Regiment War Diary, when appropriate, entries from the 3rd Light Horse Brigade War Diary and other regiments with the Brigade will also appear. Entries from the unit history, Darley, TH, With the Ninth Light Horse in the Great War, Adelaide, Hassell Press, 1924 will also appear from time to time. The aim is to give the broadest context to the story and allow the reader to follow the day to day activities of the regiment. If a relative happened to have served in the regiment during the Great War, then this provides a general framework in which the individual story may be told.

 

The Diary

 

1914

Thursday, April 30, 1914

See 4th Military District, South Australia for militia activities.

 

1915

Friday, April 30, 1915

9th Light Horse Regiment Location - Heliopolis Camp, Egypt.

9th Light Horse Regiment War Diary -  No entry.

Carew Reynell Diary - No entry.

 

1916

Sunday, April 30, 1916

9th Light Horse Regiment Location - Serapeum, Egypt.

9th Light Horse Regiment War Diary - No entry.

 

1917

Monday, April 30, 1917
9th Light Horse Regiment Location - El Khudri
9th Light Horse Regiment War Diary - Digging continues on redoubts 1, 2, and 2d. Also on a forward line about one mile east of wadi.
“C” Squadron took over night outpost from “B” Squadron at 1800. “B” Squadron remaining in wadi south of El Gamli.
Order received from 5th Mounted Brigade reference dispositions to be taken up toward expected enemy attack. The Regiment to be responsible for the line Goz Mabruk to Khirbit el Far and to occupy the forward line of redoubt with two Squadrons at 0400. The third Squadron and Regimental Headquarters to be in the wadi near El Gamli.
Enemy aeroplane flew along position very low.
Two days mobile pack rations dumped at 5th Mounted Brigade Headquarters thus giving the Regiment 26 more men and horses for fighting strength.
The usual patrols and outposts were supplied during month.
 

1918

Tuesday, April 30
Es Salt Raid, April 30 - May 3, 1918
9th Light Horse Regiment Location - El Ghoraniyeh Bridge.
9th Light Horse Regiment War Diary - Regiment arrived at Square O2 and O3 and arriving at 0230. “C” Squadron supplied two troops as right flank guard. Horses were fed at area of concentration Square O2 and O3. and at 0315 the Regiment preceded by the 4th Light Horse Brigade and 3rd Light Horse Brigade headquarters moved in a northerly direction in a column of sections along the valley of the Jordan through difficult scrubby country mostly at the trot.
9th Light Horse Regiment Location - Advancing up Jordan Valley
9th Light Horse Regiment War Diary - At dawn 0445 the column cam under shrapnel fire. The flat country between the foothills and the west of the Jordan River now presented a stirring sight with the 4th Light Horse Brigade in the lead closely followed by the 3rd Light Horse Brigade and numerous guns and weapons, the whole trotting steadily forward to their objective. Several small enemy posts were galloped by the leading Brigade.
At 0800 the 3rd Light horse Brigade Headquarters and 9th Light Horse Regiment reached the Es Salt - Jisr ed Damieh Road in Square 127 A5b. Orders were now received for the 9th Light Horse Regiment to rush forward along this road to Es Salt. “A” Squadron was sent forward to piquet the first sector of heights and the Regiment followed in the following order - 9th Light Horse Regimental Headquarters, “B” Squadron and “C” Squadron. From Square 127 H18d, “B” Squadron continued to piquet the heights. The road of advance was merely a rough mountainous rocky goat track necessitating the Regiment to advance in single files and even then oft times with great difficulty. 1030, No opposition was met until “B” Squadron captured and enemy post of three [shooting one] in Square 127 H27 central whilst another enemy post was observed in position astride the Es Salt Road 800 yards in advance. On “C” Squadron coming around towards enemy right flank the post retired and the Regiment continued its advance along the road.
9th Light Horse Regiment Location - Jisr ed Damieh - Es Salt Road
9th Light Horse Regiment War Diary - At 1200 the Regiment came into contact with a strong Turkish position in Square 127 H30a. The Regiment dismounted and took up a semicircular position astride the road Square 127 H29c. An enemy cavalry patrol was observed 1,200 yards south east. A patrol from “B” Squadron was dispatched to deal with this. The enemy patrol, when fired on, abandoned their horses and occupied a commanding position which gave them enfilade fire onto the position held by “B” Squadron.
At 1430, Dunkley, Major CG; and, his Squadron from the 10th Light Horse Regiment and two troops of “C” Squadron, 9th Light Horse Regiment moved to our right flank and drove the enemy off the position and occupied it. “B” Squadron continued to hold the ridge in Square 127 H29c. One subsection of 3rd Machine Gun Squadron was attached to “B” Squadron and two more guns were brought into action on the left flank of “B” Squadron. “B” Squadron and 3rd Machine Gun Squadron section at about 600 yards range brought a heavy fire to bear onto the enemy position. At about 1500, two guns of the Hong Kong and Singapore Battery came up and opened fire.
At 1600 orders received that all available men of the 9th Light Horse Regiment would assist two Squadrons of the 10th Light horse Regiment in a dismounted attack at 1730 on enemy main position 600 yards in advance of “B” Squadron.
At 1715 the attacking troops formed up in the rear of “B” Squadron line in three lines, 10th Light Horse Regiment on the right and 9th Light Horse Regiment [numbering four Officers and 72 Other Ranks] formed up on the left flank of each line. 1730 heavy covering fire from all machine guns, Hong Kong and Singapore Battery, “B” Squadron and position of A and “C” Squadron under Bleechmore, Major C, was brought to bear onto enemy position and attack was down a steep rocky slope and up a similar slope. Conformation of the ground thus presenting an unusually favourable opportunity for covering fire allowing our men to get within 15 to 20 yards of the enemy line before it ceased. Our men advanced with great deliberation and confidence carrying out the final charge with great dash and enthusiasm. The left flank of the enemy position was occupied by the 10th Light Horse Regiment and shortly afterwards the enemy right flank was occupied by the 9th Light Horse Regiment. As soon as the attack was observed to succeed, the 8th Light Horse Regiment who were waiting in readiness on the road in the rear of “B” Squadron position moved forward and captured Es Salt taking about 200 prisoners and much war material.
At 1945 the 9th Light Horse Regiment collected on the road near “B” Squadron and moved to a position 800 yards west of Es Salt and bivouacked for the remainder of the night putting out 2 troops as local protection for the 3rd Light Horse Brigade.
The Regiment's casualties for the day were as follows:
Killed -
Farmer, Lieutenant MO; and,
Fleming, 1216 Signaller NM.
Wounded -
Kildea, Lieutenant FJ;
Gandy, 856 Sergeant H;
Hankin, 1483 Trooper WW;
Dickson, 1356 Trooper S; and,
Concussion - Brooksby, 3167 Trooper HL.
Enemy prisoners taken -
two Officers and eleven Other Ranks.
3rd Light Horse Brigade War Diary - In accordance with this plan, on the night of 29th April and infantry force of about 4,000 to 5,000 moved over the Jordan River by the El Ghoraniyeh Bridge and attacked the Shunet Nimrin position.
The role of the Desert Mounted Corps was to envelope the right of the enemy's main force about Shunet Nimrin, capture Es Salt and advance line to Kusr [142 T 9u] point 2900 [142 O35.
The role of the Australian Mounted Division was to advance rapidly northwards east of the Jordan, place one Brigade facing north - west at the junction of the Umm es Shert - Jisr ed Damieh and the Es Salt - Jisr ed Damieh tracks, and block any enemy reinforcements from moving from west to east of Jordan River by the Jisr ed Damieh ford and the remainder of the Division move on Es Salt from the west and north west. When Es Salt was captured dispositions to be made to protect it from the north. One Brigade to move on point 2000 on the Es Salt - Amman road, 142 O35 and a detachment to move towards Shunet Nimrin. To the 4th Light Horse Brigade was given the duty of getting astride the Jisr ed Damieh tracks. To the 3rd Light Horse Brigade was given the duty of moving in close support of the 4th Light Horse Brigade until that Brigade had gained its above mentioned objective, and then to seize the entrance to the hills on the Es Salt - Jisr ed Damieh track, and then to move on Es Salt as rapidly as possible. The 5th Mounted Brigade was to move to Es Salt via the track No. 13 which left the valley near Umm es Shert. The 4th Light Horse Brigade left it's bivouac near Tel es Sultan at 2130 on the night of 29th April near the point of concentration on the east side of the Jordan about three miles north of El Ghoraniyeh bridge.
As part of the route to be taken by the Brigade, was reported as being unfit for wheels, no wheels of any sort accompanied this formation. .Extra pack horses were made available for ammunition and signalling equipment. Each man carried 230 rounds of ammunition, for each Hotchkiss rifle there was 3,100 and for each Vickers maxim there was 5,000 rounds. In lieu of the Notts Battery which was detached to the 4th Light Horse Brigade, the Hong Kong and Singapore Battery, six 12 pounders carried on camels was attached to this Brigade. Their camel ammunition column accompanied them - about 360 camels with battery in column. In lieu of the ordinary ambulance wheeled transport, 29 camel cacholets accompanied the Brigade. The Brigade duly arrived at the point of concentration at about 0145 on 30th April, where it halted for 1½ hours. Whilst there, word was received from the General Officer in Command, 4th Light Horse Brigade that he would move on 0315. This he did. His Brigade moved in line of troop column at extended intervals and distances, northwards up the valley at the trot. As the 3rd Light Horse Brigade had no opposition to expect unless the 4th Light Horse Brigade was held up it moved in column of sections with distances between columns. I considered this the safest formation, as all fire to be expected would come from the flank, and it would be particularly hard for the enemy to estimate the range in the bad light. This Brigade followed the 4th Light Horse Brigade at the trot. Certain parts of the track had to be followed at the walk, owing to the broken state of the ground but where practicable the pace was at the trot. About 1½ miles south of Red Hill the enemy opened on the Brigade with artillery, and shortly afterwards they also opened with machine guns, whose range, however, was extreme, and their fire did no harm. The fire of the artillery and machine guns continued until the Brigade arrived at the point where the Jisr ed Damieh - Es Salt track cuts the northern track from El Ghoraniyeh. It was estimated that the enemy employed eight guns firing both high explosive and shrapnel. This Brigade had no casualties on its march up the valley.
The Brigade arrived at the Jisr ed Damieh - Es Salt track at 0630, where it was formed up. The 9th Light Horse Regiment was derailed as advanced guard, with instructions to piquet the heights as the Brigade moved up the track towards Es Salt. This track proved to be an indifferent mountain track, impassable to wheeled traffic of any sort, but passable, with difficulty in most places, to horses, packs and camels in single file. For the whole way the track was dominated by hills on either side and a few determined riflemen or machine guns could hold up a column until action was taken to outflank the holding up force. The Brigade took the right hand track which branches off to the right at 127 B12 central. No enemy was observed until the advance guard arrived at the steep ascent about B.19. Here, a scout noticed a saddlery horse near the track, creeping up towards the horse he came on a post of three men and observed a troop of 15 cavalry some 300 yards further on. The three man post was evidently the advanced post of the cavalry troop. Two of our scouts got to within 25 yards before they were observed. Finally one of the Turks was killed and the other was captured. Our scouts then fired on the Cavalry troop, six of these Turks then abandoned their horses and escaped on foot, the remainder escaped on their horses. Two miles from Es Salt the enemy were found in occupation of a sangared position astride the road. We were now on the edge of the Jebel Jelaad [Gilead]. We had climbed over 2,000 feet in the ten miles from Jisr ed Damieh. The valley is over 1,000 feet below sea level, this range and plateau is over 3,000 feet above it. His position consisted of a high ridge about 1,000 yards long. On his right and slightly to his front there was a detached ridge about 1,200 yards away, this ridge was held by him. On his left flank there was another detached hill 1,400 yards distant; this was also occupied by him. The enemy held these positions with rifles and machine guns. Troops opened fire with rifles against these three positions, supported by machine guns, without apparent effect. I decided to make a frontal attack on his position, first clearing up his two flank positions. Time was getting on, the camel guns were particularly slow in movement, any flanking movement would have had to be dismounted - horses could not be taken off the track - such dismounted flanking movements are necessarily slow - darkness would have been on us before anything definite had been accomplished. The country was unknown; time was of the greatest importance.
I intercepted a wireless from Desert Mounted Corps to Australian Mounted Division that Es Salt must be taken that evening.
I sent “A” Squadron of the 9th Light Horse Regiment dismounted, against his right flank position. The enemy were cleared out and the position occupied by us. Enfilade fire was now brought on to his main position from this point. One Gun of the Hong Kong and Singapore Battery then opened on his left flank position, Under cover of its fire and our machine guns, “A” Squadron of the 10th Light Horse Regiment with two troops of the 9th Light Horse Regiment took possession of his left flank position. Under cover of three guns of Hong Kong and Singapore Battery and twelve machine guns, a dismounted attack on his main position was organised. It was impossible to move against it mounted - as his position was on a steep rocky hill with terraced sides. Before the attack was made I had the 8th Light Horse Regiment standing to their horses with instructions that the moment the 9th and 10th Light Horse Regiments got into the enemy's position, the 8th Light Horse Regiment would, mounted, push along the track, collect any fugitives they could find, press on to Es Salt and hold the roads from Es Salt to Shunet Nimrin and from Es Salt to Amman, where these two roads meet about half a mile south - east of Es Salt. The attacking troops, two squadrons of the 10th Light Horse Regiment on the right and five troops of the 9th Light Horse Regiment on the left, formed up in three lines on the ridge about six hundred yards in front of the enemy's position. Five minutes heavy fire from the three available guns and twelve machine guns were opened at the enemy. At the end of that time I gave the signal to advance. The guns and machine gun opened up rapid fire, the stormers [under Timperley, Major LC, 10th Light Horse Regiment] sprang forward down the steep rocky slopes and up a similar slope towards the enemy, the conformation of the ground thus presenting an unusually favourable opportunity for covering fire, allowing the men to get within fifteen to twenty yards before it ceased. Many of the enemy bolted to the rear as the assaulting troops neared them, but a good number, amongst whom were German Officers and men, fought till the last and were bayoneted on the spot. The attack with the bayonet was successful - 28 prisoners being taken, a number of whom were Germans. As the assault troops arrived on the crest of the enemy position, I ordered the 8th Light Horse Regiment to advance. This they did at the gallop. I may state from this point on to Es Salt the track was much better as we were now on the plateau. The ridge behind the Turkish position was occupied and from this the enemy opened a brisk rifle fire. This the 8th Light Horse Regiment ignored. A little further on, a party of 50 or 60 Turks in sangars were met. A troop was at once despatched to get behind them and the enemy fled.
The Regiment then galloped on to Es Salt. Es Salt was entered at 1830.
A German Staff Officer, [afterwards captured], who spoke English was endeavouring to organise resistance in the streets. This Staff Officer afterwards explained that 50 men were sent out from Es Salt early in the afternoon to reinforce the Turkish position, but they failed to arrive. He, the Staff Officer, then took out “A” Squadron which arrived just as our attack was being made. This squadron refused to stop. Subsequently he tried to rally them in the streets of Es Salt, but our advanced regiment rode them down, passed through the town and occupied the junction of the Es Salt, Shunet Nimrin and Amman roads. I would here place on record the very excellent work done by Foulkes-Taylor, Second Lieutenant C, 10th Light Horse Regiment, attached 8th Light Horse Regiment. This Officer was in charge of the advanced troop of the 8th Light Horse Regiment on entering Es Salt. This Officer raced up to the German Staff Officer, above mentioned, who was then trying to rally his men, demanded his surrender, and told him to stop his men. The German Officer surrendered.
Foulkes-Taylor, Second Lieutenant C, look his Mauser pistol, he had previously used 14 rounds from his own automatic, emptied two clips of the German's pistol into the retreating enemy and then smashed the pistol over the head of another. Foulkes-Taylor, Second Lieutenant C, and his troop were using their bayonets as swords. One sergeant got two on the point, [sword in line]. The general opinion was that they wore not good for melee fighting - too blunt. They used them for striking. Swords would have been invaluable here.
The men with revolvers - Hotchkiss gunners were using them freely. The streets and roads were full or mounted and dismounted enemy, 300 cavalry and 200 infantry, the latter escaping on motor lorries and limbers. A large motor lorry full of enemy was escaping along the Amman road, firing as they went. Foulkes-Taylor, Second Lieutenant C; and, his troop raced after this lorry and stopped it. Two limbers were also seen escaping along the road, one of the drivers was shot and the two teams forced off the road, rolling down a 20 or 30 foot bank. Foulkes-Taylor, Second Lieutenant C, then pursued the retreating' enemy a distance of two miles along the Amman road, collecting prisoners as he went. He could go no further than this as the enemy put up an organised resistance with machine guns, and Foulkes-Taylor, Second Lieutenant C, had only five men left. It was not possible for more of the Regiment to have been up in time to assist Foulkes-Taylor, Second Lieutenant C, as it was only practicable to pass through the town in single file. This rapid pursuit was the means of capturing a further 200 prisoners. The 8th Light Horse Regiment for the night took up a position covering the junction of the Shunet Nimrin and Amman roads. The 9th Light Horse Regiment was detailed to provide the outpost line protecting Es Salt from the north east to the north west.
The original divisional instructions were that when two Brigades reached Es Salt the senior Officer would send one Regiment along the Amman road to point 2900, about seven miles, to cover the track which leads from the south and cuts the Es Salt - Amman Road near that point. The 5th Mounted Brigade had not yet arrived, but I considered it important that the above point should be secured as early as possible, as that is a track that fugitives, [if any], from Shunet Nimrin would take.
Accordingly as soon as it was moonlight - about 2200 - two squadrons of the 10th Light Horse Regiment and four machine guns under Olden, Major ACN, were ordered to proceed to point 2000, [O.30], to block the track from Ain Es Sir where it joins the Es Salt - Amman road at that point. These two squadrons were held up 2,000 yards short of their objective by a Turkish force. Enemy infantry and. cavalry were observed in position; local inhabitants stated that Djemal Pasha was in Suweileh with a body guard of 300 Circassian cavalry, and some infantry. Our two squadrons were far too few in number to attack the enemy's positions, so remained in position, exchanging rifle and machine gun fire with the enemy and patrolling to the flanks. This detachment kept touch for some time with Brigade Headquarters at Es Salt by telephone, per wire laid by our signallers and by the Turkish wire but both these means were cut by some unauthorised person.

 

1919

Wednesday, April 30, 1919
9th Light Horse Regiment Location - Zagazig
9th Light Horse Regiment War Diary - 0630 two Officers 50 Other Ranks “B” Squadron ten Other Ranks Headquarters proceeded by train to Tel el Kebir where a large party of Turkish prisoners of was for repatriation were taken over and escorted to Alexandria and handed over to the ship's escort there.
One officer and 72 Other Ranks evacuated to hospital during the month, 18 Venereal Disease Cases and the remainder mostly with recurrent malaria.
Owing to the disturbances amongst the civil population demobilisation of the AIF in Egypt was now at a standstill. The conditions of affairs was fully realised and all ranks carried on cheerfully. Discipline of the Regiment during the month was good.

 


Previous: 9th LHR AIF War Diary, 29 April

Next: 9th LHR AIF War Diary, 1 May

 

Sources:

See: 9th Australian Light Horse Regiment, Contents
Australian Light Horse Studies Centre, AIF War Diaries of the Great War, Site Transcription Policy

 

Further Reading:

9th Light Horse Regiment AIF

Bert Schramm Diary

9th Australian Light Horse Regiment, Roll of Honour 

Battles where Australians fought, 1899-1920

 


Citation: 9th LHR AIF War Diary, 30 April

Posted by Project Leader at 12:01 AM EADT
Updated: Friday, 23 July 2010 11:31 AM EADT

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