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Friday, 2 May 2008
9th LHR AIF War Diary, 2 May
Topic: AIF - 3B - 9 LHR

9th LHR, AIF

9th Light Horse Regiment

War Diary, 2 May

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

Sunday, May 2, 1914

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

 

1915

Sunday, May 2, 1915

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

9th Light Horse Regiment War Diary -  No Entry.

Carew Reynell Diary - No Entry.

 

1916

Tuesday, May 2, 1916

9th Light Horse Regiment Location - Serapeum, Egypt.

9th Light Horse Regiment War Diary - No Entry.

 

1917

Wednesday, May 2, 1917
9th Light Horse Regiment Location - El Khudri
9th Light Horse Regiment War Diary - Reveille 0430. All clear received from outpost Squadron at 0445.
"A" and “C” Squadrons continued work on forward line of redoubt.
At 0800 6 Officers and four senior non commissioned officers from each squadron left on a reconnaissance towards Bir el Esani. Tel Itweil was reached at 1030 and a few shots exchanged with enemy outposts holding the wadi at Bir el Esani.
At 1100 10th Light Horse Regiment arrived and worked on Redoubts Numbers one and 2 returning to Abasan el Kebir at 1600.
At 1730 “B” Squadron took over outpost line from “A” Squadron. "A" and “C” Squadrons, each finding one troop for Redoubts one and 2.
 

1918

Thursday, May 2, 1918
Es Salt Raid.

9th Light Horse Regiment Location - Es Salt.
9th Light Horse Regiment War Diary - 0400 Dismounted patrols reconnoitred Sqs J7b and H11a reporting all clear.
0600 Information was received that the 10th Light Horse Regiment late the previous evening had been sent to intercept a force of enemy who were moving towards Es Salt along Jisr ed Damieh - Es Salt road.
0645 10th Light Horse Regiment reported having gained touch with 200 enemy infantry.
0730 Sharp, Lieutenant RC, with two troops of “A” Squadron were sent forward to fill the gap between 10th Light Horse Regiment and “C” Squadron 9th Light Horse Regiment.
0930 “A” Squadron reported having gained touch with “C” Squadron of the 8th Light Horse Regiment. This squadron had come into position on the right of the 10th Light Horse Regiment. The 9th Light Horse Regiment were now holding the line Sqs 127 J13d.8.7 - J13b and d - H12 central Kefr Huda Tomb to H22 central. Total length of line held by 9th Light Horse Regiment approximately 5,600 yards.
1000 Much enemy movement was observed moving towards 9th Light Horse Regiment Sector. Luxmoore, Captain EM, Officer in Command, “B” Squadron reported about 1000 enemy with guns observed at 0900 moving west on Es Salt - Amman Road about five miles distant. “A” Squadron reported 200 enemy infantry and cavalry advancing into 127 H5 and six from a north westerly direction. Several smaller bodies were located advancing along wadis two to three miles distant north west of 9th Light Horse Regiment sector.
1100 Most of enemy were observed moving back westwards thence northwards and again at 1300 they were reported moving east. From this it appeared as if the enemy force coming from the Jordan were endeavouring to join up with their forces which was moving from Amman towards Es Salt.
1500 Enemy artillery opened fire from the Amman Road on to A, B and “C” Squadron sections but no casualties were caused.
1600 Information received that the enemy were putting in a heavy attack on to sector held by 2nd Light Horse Brigade. About 1900 information received that the 4th Light Horse Brigade who were holding positions in vicinity of Umm es Shert and Jisr ed Damieh on the Jordan had been driven back thereby losing command of the Jisr ed Damieh to Es Salt Road thus giving the enemy a clear run from the Jordan River on to positions held by 3rd Light Horse Brigade north and west of Es Salt.
1930 Orders received to hold the following lines. Night outpost line 9th Light Horse Regiment Amman road exclusive thence westerly to Kefr Huda inclusive. 10th Light Horse Regiment Kefr Huda exclusive to present unction with 3rd Light Horse Regiment. Orders were issued for “A” Squadron to hand their sector over to 10th Light Horse Regiment and return to “C” Squadron command post and remain there during the night in support of the 9th Light Horse Regiment sector.
1945 Orders were received from 3rd Light Horse Brigade for 9th Light Horse Regiment to hold present day line as a night outpost line. This was done. Disposition of the night outpost line as follows: “B” Squadron on the right holding SQ j19b8.5 to j13 central with standing patrol in Sq J14e.8.6 and two troops in support at j19a.9.2, “C” Squadron J13 central to Kefr Huda exclusive four troops. “A” Squadron Kefr Huda inclusive to H22 central four troops. The great length of outpost line 5,500 yards necessitated its being lightly held. Fortunately the night was free from mist and visibility was fair. Standing patrols were placed in advance on all roads and tracks leading into sections held by Squadrons. The night passed quietly though very anxiously as the enemy were known to be in very close proximity and in large numbers. The hilly rocky nature of the country greatly favoured surprise tactics for an active enemy particularly against a line which was so thinly held as our own.
2100 Information received that 1,000 enemy were on the Amman road between Ain Hemar and J17.
The expenditure of ammunition on 30th April 1918, was 8,000 rounds SAA [small arms ammunition] 5,000 rounds drawn today from ammunition convoy which succeeded in getting through the Umm es Shert [Route 13] now the only road open to us from our base at Jericho. The Regiment was now beginning to feel the pinch for rations having marched out from Jericho on the night of the 29th April 1918, carrying two days special rations and iron rations. Owing to the tactical situation no ration convoys were able to get through. Luckily there was plenty of good grazing for the horses and a small quantity of barley had been requisitioned by Brigade.
3rd Light Horse Brigade War Diary - Information was received from the Commanding Officer, 10th Light Horse Regiment, that the Turks were attacking his line and reinforcements consisting of one sub - section of machine guns and one squadron of the 8th Light Horse Regiment were sent to assist him, also one troop of the 10th Light Horse Regiment The Commanding Officer of the 10th Light Horse Regiment had placed a post of about a troop a mile down from the crest line. The Turks, before dawn, attacked this post and outflanked it on both sides. The Officer in Command of the post accordingly withdrew to the main position on the crest line.
Later on in the morning of the 2nd May 1918, instructions were received from Division that I was to send a Regiment and four machine guns to cooperate with the 2nd Light Horse Brigade against the expected attack from the direction of Amman. I accordingly despatched Shannon, Major HJ, DSO, with two squadrons of the 8th Light Horse Regiment, four machine guns and two guns of Hong Kong and Singapore Battery, and instructed him to collect the squadron of the 10th Light Horse Regiment, Hamlin, Major HB; and, his four machine guns on the Amman road on arrival. Shannon, Major HJ, found that Hamlin, Major HB, his squadron and four guns, 3rd Machine Gun Squadron had been in action with the enemy all the morning, holding up the enemy's patrols and advance parties. Hamlin, Major HB, held a position which was in some low foot hills, 1,000 yards in front of the main ridge running north and south, half a mile east of the first part of the Amman road which runs north. Shannon, Major HJ, instructed him to retire to the main position occupied by the 8th Light Horse Regiment. This he did without any casualties.
During the afternoon of the 2nd May 1918, the enemy were seen to be thickening up their part of their line in front of the 10th Light Horse Regiment position across the Jisr ed Damieh track. At 1530 they commenced to shell and kept up a continuous fire while their infantry worked up the hills, by dusk their advanced troops were within 100 yards of our line, and they were still climbing the steep terraced slopes. The 10th Light Horse Regiment on their part had not been idle, sagars of stone, machine gun and Hotchkiss gun positions were constructed, ammunition, bombs and flares brought up. As Light Horse Regiments only carry a few had grenades, [Mills], a plentiful supply of German stick bombs captured at Es Salt were brought up on pack horses and all ranks rapidly made acquainted with their use.
At 2000 the enemy launched an attack against the line held by the 10th Light Horse Regiment across the Jisr ed Damieh track. The enemy got within 20 yards on the right and about 200 yards on the left centre, when he was driven back by rifle and Hotchkiss fire. At 2030 he attacked again, but was again repulsed. Except for desultory rifle fire all was quiet until 0200, when he launched a most determined attack, getting to within 100 yards on the left and centre, and 15 yards on the right. This attack was stopped by fire, but the enemy held his position under the rocky ledges and terraces with which the country abounds. At 0400 he again attacked. The right flank of the 10th Light Horse Regiment was reinforced with a troop and the enemy was driven back with great loss. Our men followed him down with bombs and stones.
About 150 dead were counted in front of the position and there were probably a good number further down the hill. A few prisoners were also taken. The enemy retired to a position about 1,000 yards west of our line, where they remained during the 3rd and 4th May 1918. These last named operations and those hereafter mentioned against the 9th Light Horse Regiment at Kefr Huda to the right are those, no doubt, referred to by Djemal Pasha in his reports to his Commander - in - Chief where, in paragraph 3, he states that "the Turkish 66th Infantry Regiment had come to a complete standstill at noon on the 3rd May, and encountered energetic resistance" also in Von Papen's report; where he says [paragraph 1], that, "These heights are covered with the dead of the 66th infantry regiment."
That afternoon Division reallotted the outpost lines, the 2nd Light Horse Brigade was to take the line from El Awab, north to the Amman road inclusive. The 3rd Light Horse Brigade from that point through Kefr Huda south - west and southerly to the junction with the first Brigade about H34. The 3rd Light Horse Brigade was to detach to the 2nd Light Horse Brigade two squadron and four machine guns. Hamlin, Major, with his squadron of the 10th Regimen was to return to the Brigade reserve. That evening, prisoners were taken in the neighbourhood of the 8th Light Horse Regiment's left flank, near the Amman road. The prisoners stated that that the enemy intended to attack there early next morning.
Accordingly Hamlin, Major HB, was instructed to remain at the Amman Road and connect up with the 9th Light Horse Regiment.
The 8th Light Horse Regiment [Shannon, Major HJ, DSO], less one squadron, and plus one squadron of the 10th Light Horse Regiment, was placed under the orders of the 2nd Light Horse Brigade and held a line Khirbit el Fokan, [J21], through point J.15d.8.2., and along the ridge of high ground running north to J9d88. A force of the enemy advanced to within 800 yards of this position and remained hidden in dead ground and high grass all day. At dawn the following morning, 3rd May 1918, the enemy advanced to the attack. During the night he had crept up close in the long grass. The attack was launched against the whole front of the 8th Light Horse Regiment. “A” Squadron of the 5th Light Horse Regiment rendered valuable assistance with cross fire from the right. The enemy attacking the right squadron were driven lack into the dead ground. The firing died away about 0630 and Walker, Major, who was in charge of the left squadron of the 8th Light Horse Regiment reported that the enemy were then lying in dead ground within 30 yards of his position. Two machine guns were placed in such a position that they enfiladed the ground in front of the squadron, and it was owing to this that the enemy could not retire, they having passed inside the zone of fire during the darkness. A troop was then sent round their flank. When this troop appeared at the enemy's rear; the whole of them surrendered - 319 in all, including several Germans and a battalion Commander. A further enemy force was then observed advancing about the same route as that taken by the first and halted in the dead ground above mentioned. They were still in this position when we withdrew at dusk under orders for the general retirement. During the action two guns of the Hong Kong and Singapore Battery rendered valuable assistance.
On the morning 3rd May 1918, the Turks made a determined attack on two of our posts on the Kefr Huda ridge. The post near Kefr Huda was attacked by fifty or sixty Turkish infantry well supplied with grenades. Our post consisted of Masson, Lieutenant GG, one sergeant one corporal and twelve other ranks. The Turks got to within 15 yards of the post before the post retired. By that time Masson, Lieutenant GG, had been wounded, his corporal and one other killed, and five wounded, including his sergeant, and the Hotchkiss rifle destroyed by bombs. The survivors of the post retired to an adjoining post. The Turks then endeavoured to advance along the ridge, but were held up. Shortly afterwards, from 200 to 300 Turkish infantry were seen in the captured position. The question of counter attacking to recover the lost post was considered, but was postponed until a decision had been arrived at as to whether the general outpost line should not be shortened, and thereby strengthened. A fresh column of 3,000 enemy infantry had now arrived from the west of Kefr Huda and further bodies of Turkish troops could be seen moving west, along the Amman road. The extended outpost as then held had been quite safe for the first two days that it was in position. The tactical situation was, however, now altering owing to the large enemy reinforcements which had arrived and were further likely to arrive. The Brigade had no troops in hand to support the front line if a break occurred. I accordingly recommended to the Divisional Commander that our front line fall back on to the line held by the infantry when they occupied Es Salt in March last. This would shorten the Brigade line by half and bring our line back 2,000 yards south of Kefr Huda. Kefr Huda did not appear to me of any special tactical importance. The enemy could not bring wheeled artillery into that locality. As an observation post it was of no use to observe the Shunet Nimrin road. The Divisional Commander approved of my suggestion and orders were issued by me for the necessary withdrawal. Before same, however, could be effected, orders were re issued for the retirement of the whole of the force at Es Salt.
The infantry that had attacked the Shunet Nimrin position from the valley had not made much headway and the Turks refused to attempt to evacuate their strong position. The force sent down the Shunet Nimrin road from Es Salt by the 5th Mounted Brigade did not put any appreciable pressure on the rear of the enemy infantry position. The enemy infantry at Shunet Nimrin refused to surrender or run. On the other hand, the enemy forces around Es Salt were becoming hourly stronger. There was only one mountain track, [No. 13] still open for the retirement of several mounted Brigades. The track itself was threatened. If the enemy could push the 4th Light Horse Brigade another mile down the valley, or push the 1st Light Horse Brigade off the ridge, covering that track on the north - west, that means of return to the valley would be closed. It would have been remained for the mounted forces in the hills to reopen one of these tracks by force, or to march south east of Shunet Nimrin position and gain the Jordan Valley, just north of the Dead Sea.

 

1919

Friday, May 2, 1919
9th Light Horse Regiment Location - Zagazig
9th Light Horse Regiment War Diary - Tod, Lieutenant PA; and, Lawrence, Lieutenant R, with party returned from escorting Turkish prisoners of war to Alexandria.
They brought back the original banner of the Regiment which from the time the Regiment embarked for Gallipoli until now has been under the care of Mrs Cornish. [Waterworks Alexandria]

 


Previous: 9th LHR AIF War Diary, 1 May

Next: 9th LHR AIF War Diary, 3 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, 2 May

Posted by Project Leader at 12:01 AM EADT
Updated: Friday, 23 July 2010 11:30 AM EADT

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A note on copyright

The Australian Light Horse Studies Centre is a not for profit and non profit group whose sole aim is to write the early history of the Australian Light Horse from 1900 - 1920. It is privately funded and the information is provided by the individuals within the group and while permission for the use of the material has been given for this site for these items by various donors, the residual and actual copyright for these items, should there be any, resides exclusively with the donors. The information on this site is freely available for private research use only and if used as such, should be appropriately acknowledged. To assist in this process, each item has a citation attached at the bottom for referencing purposes.

Please Note: No express or implied permission is given for commercial use of the information contained within this site.

A note to copyright holders

The Australian Light Horse Studies Centre has made every endeavour to contact copyright holders of material digitised for this blog and website and where appropriate, permission is still being sought for these items. Where replies were not received, or where the copyright owner has not been able to be traced, or where the permission is still being sought, the Australian Light Horse Studies Centre has decided, in good faith, to proceed with digitisation and publication. Australian Light Horse Studies Centre would be happy to hear from copyright owners at any time to discuss usage of this item.

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Australian Light Horse Studies Centre

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