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Wednesday, 9 January 2008
The Battle of Rafa, Sinai, 9 January 1917, Wellington Mounted Rifles Regiment, War Diary Account
Topic: AIF - NZMRB - WMR

The Battle of Rafa

Sinai, 9 January 1917

Wellington Mounted Rifles Regiment, War Diary Account

 

Wellington Mounted Rifles Regiment, War Diary Account

 

The following is a transcription of the Wellington Mounted Rifles Regiment, War Diary Account detailing their role at the Battle of Rafa, Sinai, 9 January 1917.

 

Masaid 8 January 1917

Brigade moved out eastwards along the beach at 1300. Lieutenant Grant NG having marched in. Resumes temporary rank of Captain.

Watered and fed at 52nd Division troughs and then proceeded to place of assembly arriving at 1430 fed up here (1¼ miles east of El Arish)

Column left here at 1600 and proceeded to Sheikh Zowaiid arriving at 2200 remaining here until 0100.


Rafa 9 January 1917

Leaving Zowaiid at 0100 Column proceeded on the way to Rafa. Column halted south west of Rafa and our Brigade moved on near Egyptian Frontier just south of the Border Post on Hill 330 and halted near Hill 350.

The Brigade left Hill 350 at 0930 and moved in a northerly direction over the flat for 3½ miles the Regiment as Brigade reserve halted behind a knoll about 1 mile south east of C Redoubt where Brigade had established their headquarters.

In the meantime Auckland Mounted Rifles Regiment and Canterbury Mounted Rifles Regiment continued their advance towards the north dismounted deployed and attacked the enemy from the east and north east respectively.

After five minutes halt the Regiment less 6th Squadron under Major Batchelor, who was left as Brigade reserve moved to the north to support Canterbury Mounted Rifles Regiment and with further orders to protect the Brigade from any attack from direction of Khan Yunus or the coast.

The Regiment reached in position 500 yards east of Police Barracks at 1030 and positioned with Canterbury Mounted Rifles Regiment.

Disposition were then made as follows:- One Troop under Lieutenant Cruickshank occupied a position three miles north east of Police Barracks covering the country between the coast and four miles south.

One troop under Lieutenant Allison patrolled from Police Barracks to coast and a third Troop under Lieutenant Pierce supported Lieutenant Cruickshank and patrolled to Khan Yunus.

 At 1230 9th Squadron and two Troops of 2nd Squadron with their Lewis Guns and two Machine Guns took up a position between Canterbury Mounted Rifles Regiment and Auckland Mounted Rifles Regiment, 1,000 yards from C4 Redoubt. We pressed forward steadily and by 1430 the line held by the 6 Troops of the Regiment was about 400 yards from the redoubt.

At 1440 a Turkish Machine Gun Officer and three Germans were received at Regimental Headquarters from Lieutenant Pierce. The Turkish Officer gave us valuable information as to the enemy approaching from El Shellal. This was immediately forwarded to Brigade and the prisoners followed almost immediately.

At 1545 Canterbury Mounted Rifles Regiment connected up on our right and Auckland Mounted Rifles Regiment pressed up on our left.

At 1610 Lieutenant Cruickshank sent a message through Brigade that 500 Turks were advancing from the east.

At 1645 orders were received that a general advance was to take place. These orders were acted on and at 1700 the redoubt was carried.

Prisoners were secured, its fight nearer that, arrangements were made for attending to the wounded and the Outlying Posts were called in with orders to cover the Ambulance Parties until they had completed their work. Lieutenant Harris had already been called up.

The Regiment, less covering parties, moved back with the Brigade to Sheikh Zowaiid arriving bivouac 2130.

The covering parties and ambulances arrived 0130.


Sheikh Zowaiid 10 January 1917

The Brigade left Sheikh Zowaiid at 0630 and the Wellington Mounted Rifles Regiment were detailed to remain behind to protect Field Ambulances and escort them back to El Arish.

Regiment paraded at 0700 and moved to a position east of Sheikh Zowaiid village throwing out posts on arrival there.

One Troop under Lieutenant Levier proceeded to Rafa as burial party, leaving at 0900 and returning 1630.

Five parties of eight men each were put out at night.

Two Troops of 6th Squadron under Lieutenant Cruickshank and one Lewis gun went to support party guarding prisoners. Prisoners moved off shortly afterwards and all the two Troops moved with them, but the Lewis Gun Section reported back to Regiment.

Wounded, mostly Turkish, continued to come in throughout the day.

Regiment (less 4 Troops) left Sheikh Zowaiid at 1200 leaving one Troop as Rear Guard and two sections as left Flank Guard. Part of the Ambulance had moved for El Arish earlier in the day escorted by Captain Somerville with remaining two Troops of 6th Squadron.

An enemy plane bombed Sheikh Zowaiid but giving Rear Guard time to get clear.

At 1415 a halt was made for feeding up. Column moved on again at 1515 arriving El Arish at 1945. Regiment reached bivouac at 2030.

Casualties:

Killed: 9 Other Ranks

Wounded: 12 Other Ranks, (4 men died of wounds.)

 

War Diaries

All War Diaries cited on this site should be read in conjunction with the Australian Light Horse Studies Centre, AIF War Diaries of the Great War, Site Transcription Policy which may be accessed at:

Australian Light Horse Studies Centre, AIF War Diaries of the Great War, Site Transcription Policy 

 

 

Further Reading:

Wellington Mounted Rifles Regiment

Wellington Mounted Rifles Regiment, Roll of Honour

The Battle of Rafa, Sinai, 9 January 1917

The Battle of Rafa, Sinai, 9 January 1917, Roll of Honour

The Palestine Campaign, 1917 - 1918

Battles where Australians fought, 1899-1920

 


Citation: The Battle of Rafa, Sinai, 9 January 1917, Wellington Mounted Rifles Regiment, War Diary Account


Posted by Project Leader at 12:01 AM EAST
Updated: Sunday, 30 January 2011 11:40 AM EAST

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