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"At a mile distant their thousand hooves were stuttering thunder, coming at a rate that frightened a man - they were an awe inspiring sight, galloping through the red haze - knee to knee and horse to horse - the dying sun glinting on bayonet points..." Trooper Ion Idriess

The Australian Light Horse Studies Centre aims to present an accurate history as chroniclers of early Australian military developments from 1899 to 1920.

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Tuesday, 1 January 2008
9th LHR AIF War Diary, 1 January
Topic: AIF - 3B - 9 LHR

9th LHR, AIF

9th Light Horse Regiment

War Diary, 1 January

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, January 1, 1914

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

 

1915

Friday, January 1, 1915

9th Light Horse Regiment Location - Broadmeadows, Victoria

9th Light Horse Regiment War Diary - Organising, training and equipping of troops.

 

1916

Saturday, January 1, 1916

9th Light Horse Regiment Location - Heliopolis, Egypt

9th Light Horse Regiment War Diary - No Entry

 

1917

Monday, January 1, 1917

9th Light Horse Regiment Location - Hod Masaid, Sinai

9th Light Horse Regiment War Diary - Moved out of Hod to Kilo 139 and bivouacked 1/2 mile south east of railway. Three enemy aeroplanes flew westward overhead.

 

1918

Tuesday, January 1, 1918

9th Light Horse Regiment Location - Kefr Rut, Palestine

9th Light Horse Regiment War Diary - In bivouac at Kefr Rut. There was heavy rain all day.

 

1919

Wednesday, January 1, 1919

9th Light Horse Regiment Location - Tripoli, Lebanon

9th Light Horse Regiment War Diary - Morning short New Year Church services. [Voluntary]

3rd Light Horse Brigade Mounted Sports eventuated today. The weather was perfect. Large numbers of visitors from other units attended, also many civilians. The 9th Light Horse Regiment scored well. The results as follows: -

Tent pegging with lance - 1st - Runn, 956 Sergeant HE; 2nd McIntosh, 1589 Lance Corporal WP.
Tilting the ring - 1st Trooper E Newton
Non Commissioned Officers flutter - 1st - Kincaid, 653 Lance Corporal AE.
Troopers flutter - 2nd Ferguson, Trooper SA.

Bleechmore, Major C, Ragless, Captain BB, Hogan, Lieutenant LR; and, 5 Other Ranks returned from leave in Egypt.

 

 

Previous: 9th LHR AIF War Diary, 31 December

Next: 9th LHR AIF War Diary, 2 January

 

Sources:

See: 9th Australian Light Horse Regiment, Contents

 

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, 1 January

Posted by Project Leader at 1:01 AM EAST
Updated: Tuesday, 13 July 2010 2:12 PM EADT
The Battle of Broken Hill, New South Wales, 1 January 1915, Richard Nicholaus John Resch [aka Fletcher]
Topic: BatzA - Broken Hill

Australian Battles 

The Battle of Broken Hill, New South Wales, 1 January 1915

Richard Nicholaus John Resch [aka Fletcher]

 

[Sydney Mail, 13 January 1915, p. 12.]

 

Lieutenant Resch is none other than Richard Nicholaus John Resch [aka Fletcher] (b. 1881 Wilcannia - d. 1960 Chatswood), the nephew of Emile Resch, the founder of Resch's Brewery interests, well known to New South Welshmen of an earlier era.

 

The 1st Australian Horse prior to embarkation

[Sydney Mail, 4 November 1899, p. 1105.]



Resch served in South Africa with the 1st Australian Horse. He took part in the Relief of Kimberly and the various campaigns in the Orange Free State from February to May 1900, including operations at Paardeberg, Dreifontein, Poplar Grove, and Zand River. Subsequent to that the unit moved into the Transvaal and to the west of Pretoria including actions at Zilikats Nek, 2 August 1900, then east of Pretoria with actions at Belfast and Middleburg. Resch was awarded the Queen's South African Medal with five clasps - Cape Colony, Orange Free State, Transvaal, Driefontein and Belfast. Resch was a genuine Boer War Veteran and no slouch as a soldier.

It turns out that Resch came to Broken Hill in 1908 to manage the Brewery for his uncle until 1914 when he took over the whole business. In 1912 he married Emma Ann I Fletcher (b. 1879 Cowra - d. 1962 Chatswood) at Broken Hill.

Resch was commissioned a Lieutenant with the Senior Cadets in 1911, a position he retained for over a decade. He also was appointed as an Area Officer for Broken Hill. At the same time he was Adjutant for the 82nd Infantry Battalion. In March 1915 he was given full command of the Battalion while the Commanding Officer was absent on AIF duties. So taking command of the situation was something Resch was familiar with, so too was fighting a battle.

Emile Resch, Richard Resch's uncle, was a very popular man around town. He was one of the key committee men and founders of the German Club which was burnt down after the battle on 1 January 1915. When Emile Resch died in 1930, there was a huge funeral for him with tributes coming from all quarters.

So why did the rioting mob in Broken Hill burn down his club?



Image

German Club after being burnt down

[From: Sydney Mail, 13 January 1915, p. 13.]


One upshot of this episode was to prompt Resch to change his German sounding name to something more Anglo-Saxon so he adopted his wife's maiden name Fletcher in June 1916 and remained so for the rest of his life. Ironically Edmund Resch had been the Honorary Consul for the Netherlands in New South Wales for many years.

The final link between the Resch family and the brewery along with hotel chain was severed in 1924 when Tooth and Co. Ltd. of Sydney made an offer too good to refuse for the business.

The family retired to the pursuits of the wealthy, a role which involved a social scene, charity works and internecine squabbles in the courts.

 

 

Further Reading:

The Battle of Broken Hill, New South Wales, 1 January 1915

The Battle of Broken Hill, New South Wales, 1 January 1915, Roll of Honour

Australian Battles

Battles where Australians fought, 1899-1920

 


Citation: The Battle of Broken Hill, New South Wales, 1 January 1915, Richard Nicholaus John Resch [aka Fletcher]

Posted by Project Leader at 12:01 AM EAST
Updated: Thursday, 6 January 2011 6:15 AM EAST
The Battle of Broken Hill, New South Wales, 1 January 1915, Barrier Miner Account
Topic: BatzA - Broken Hill

Australian Battles 

The Battle of Broken Hill, New South Wales, 1 January 1915

Barrier Miner Account

 

Barrier Miner, (Broken Hill), Saturday, 2 January 1915, pp. 4-5

 

The following description is extracted from the Barrier Miner, published in Broken Hill on Saturday, 2 January 1915, from pp. 4-5:

 

THE NEW YEAR'S DAY MASSACRE.

THRILLING EXPERIENCES.

THE MUDERERS: WHO AND WHAT THEY WERE

A NIGHT OF RIOT.

GERMAN CLUB PREMISES FIRED.

ASIATIC CAMP THREATENED.

INQUEST ON THE VICTIMS OPENED.

THE TURK ATTACKERS.

WHO AND WHAT THEY WERE.

(By One Who Knew Them)

Mulla Abdulla, one of the attackers in the raid, had been 16 years in Broken Hill, chiefly camel-driving. For the past few years he had been butcher for the camp at North Broken Hill, vested with priest-rights in order to kill according to the Mahommedan religion. He was of a very reserved disposition, rarely speaking to anyone, and even the men in the camp are not sure where he was born. He was always childish and simple in his ways, and small, children were in the habit of throwing' stones at him, but beyond occasionally complaining to the police he was never known to retaliate. He was convicted last month for killing a sheep off licensed premises, and although given time he was unable to pay his fine, and became very broody as a result. About, this time Mahomed Gool came to the camp, and lived next to Mulla Abdullah and the two appeared to have taken up to one another. They smoked together Indian hemp, known to the natives by the name of gungha - this is said to be even more potent than opium. Mahomed Gool is said to have been a Turk; born near the Persian border. He was in Broken Hill previously many years ago, then left Australia and travelled the world. He returned here about two years ago, and lived in central Broken Hill, working on the mines. He was a Mahommedan, and on that account and having no work he shifted to the camel camp a few weeks ago.

Mulla Abdulla was never known to possess firearms, and it is believed, says the man giving this information, that Mahomed Gool found them, and the ammunition, and with the help of "Gungha" had Mulla Abdulla under his sway.

The men at the camp; although called Afghans, are not. They come from various parts of India, and are all British subjects. Many of the men have served in the British army and at the commencement of the war, thinking, that fighting would take place in Adelaide, went to the police station and offered their services, saying they would fight for Australia to a man. They are said to take great interest in the fighting, and are intensely loyal. There has been quite an exodus lately of these men returning to India (paying their own expenses) to take the place at home of younger relations who have gone to the front with the Indian army. Five men left together for this purpose only three weeks ago.

The men at the camel camp are very bitter against the perpetrators of yesterday's raid, and say they will have nothing to do with the bodies. They say also that, there is but one Afghan in the camp. He is married to white woman and has five children.


THE REASON.

INSPECTOR MILLER'S VIEW

The question has been asked over and over, again, and by many people since yesterday morning's tragic occurrence, as to the motive of the men in attacking the picnic train with its load of women and children, and how they came to do such an act when they must have known that for them there could be no escape.

Inspector Miller, last night, when the question was put to him, expressed the view that Gool Mahomed was the instigator of the affair.

"Gool Mahomed is a Turk," he said, "with a Turk's lust for blood, and he was out for revenge as an enemy of the British. I believe that he talked Abdulla, who is a Hindu, in into it. Abdullah was fined in the court recently, and was unable to raise the money to pay the fine. Mahomed probably used this as a lever and suggested to Abdullah that there was very little to live for, and that he was certain to be arrested to undergo imprisonment. He no doubt preyed upon Abdullah's mind until he was persuaded that it was better to die and that it would be dying gloriously and with the certainty of great happiness in the hereafter if he killed as many of the British as he could before he was himself slain. Mahomed then made his plans and Abdullah, falling in with them, the pair carried them through with all the tragic awfulness of the result."

In his efforts to persuade the crowd to forego their intended attack on the Afghan camp last night, the inspector used the argument that the Turk was the responsible party, and that it was unjust to accuse the Afghans, many of whom had volunteered for service with the British forces, of any actual or even intended participation in yesterday's tragedy.


ON THE TRAIN.

EXCURSIONISTS' EXPERIENCES.

A lady who was one of a party of friends on the M.U. picnic train yesterday, recounted her experiences to a "Miner" reporter last night. The lady had not long been out from England, and the ride in the open trucks - a kind of passenger accommodation unheard of at home for generations - had been looked forward to by her as a new experience.

"It was certainly a novel experience," she stated, "and it was also a terrible one. It was an experience I shall never forget as long as I live. There was only one truck between the one I was in and the one that suffered most from the firing.

"It was all so sudden, so unexpected, so astounding, that one almost forgot to feel afraid, but gazed instead in open mouthed wonder," she continued. "We saw the ice-cream cart drawn up near the pipe track as we came along and we saw the flag on the cart. One of our party jocularly remarked that if they were taking ice-cream to the picnic they would be just about in time to meet the train coming back. Even when we heard firing we did not think anything was wrong. We thought it was perhaps a sham fight, or some target practice. Then we saw the Turks with their guns deliberately pointed in the direction of the people on the train. Very quickly we knew the worst, and the next few minutes was, a very trying period indeed: We were wondering who the next victim would be. The train soon hurried us out of range, however. Nearly everybody was shouting out to the driver to stop, but we went on to the Acacia dam, from where some of the people telephoned the awful news to town. The train pulled up at the scene of the firing for a time and a number of young men jumped out and rushed towards the place where the Turks had been firing from. But the Turks ran off. One woman who was lifted out presented an awful appearance. She, and the baby clasped in her, arms, were covered in blood. The man on the cycle, who was shot, was laid on the embankment just by our truck and he looked awful. We had not gone far on the journey back when the train was met by motor cars, with the doctors and police, and friends of some of the picnic party.

"I am sure," concluded the lady, "that the men intended to shoot the engine driver, but misjudged the distance and the pace of the train as the first shots entered a truck very near the front of the train."

Another picnicker, a young man, stated that he was in one of the trucks with a number of other young fellows. They were having a jolly time amongst themselves. When they saw the ice-cream cart they shouted "Happy New Year," and "Good luck, old-fellow," in hearty style, just for the fun of the thing. Then the shooting started.

"Me and some of the fellows jumped out of the trucks we were in and sought refuge behind the front carriage. Two or three stray shots however, came amongst us, and we ran to better shelter behind the railway embankment, and there stayed until the train was under weigh again. Some of the fellows, more plucky than we made a dash for the nearest telephone in order to ring up for assistance."

The young man had one of the cartridges which had been picked up in his pocket, and he showed it to "The Miner" man. It was a large cartridge, much larger , than the ordinary cartridges now served out to the troops, and the bullet was very large indeed.


A NARROW ESCAPE

Mr. P. Nelsen was one of those on board the train who had a narrow escape. A bullet, he says, whistled past his ear, after entering the brake in which he, Mr J Davis, and others were, and embedded itself in the other side of the carriage, entering woodwork and bulging the steel plates on the outside. He, this morning, went to the Silverton Tramway Company's offices and saw Messrs. Sheehan and Spence, asking for the bullet to keep as a memento. They promised to extract the bullet after the police had finished their inquiries into the whole tragedy. "I am lucky to be alive," said Mr. Nelsen this morning. "Another eighth of an inch and I would not be alive to-day. I shall never forget New Year's Day of 1915."


BOYS' STORY.

QUESTIONED BY MURDERERS AT GOODS STATION.

Two boys (Rex Thorn and Reg Bray), both of Newton- street, Railway Town, were returning from the coach station at about 9.30 a.m., after driving some lady passengers to join the picnic train, when they noticed an ice-cream cart near the Pell street railway crossing. As they came close to the cart the driver (Mullah Abdullah ) signalled by putting his hand up for the lads to stop. They did so, and Mullah Abdullah asked if the picnic train to Silverton had gone, and the lads replied "No." He then asked "What time does it start ?" and they told him. He next inquired "What is the time now?" and the boys replied. He finally asked which way the train went, and they having told him, said "Good day," and drove on.

The boys state that both men were wearing turbans, but that there was nothing suspicious in their appearance, nor was the red flag at that time flying.


A PLUCKY BOY.

Among the army of armed men who were fighting the murderous Turk and his companion yesterday was a boy with a pea rifle as his weapon. He took up a position well in the firing line, and appeared to be as keen as anyone for opportunities to take a shot at the enemy.


ONE OF THE VICTIMS.

Mr. A. E. Millard, one of the victims of the tragedy, was a resident of Rennie-street, Balmain, Sydney. He took Mr. J. Duncalfe's position in connection with the pipe- laying of the Umberumberka water service. Mr. Duncalfe's father was the inventor of the wooden water pipe in America, the pipe being used in connection with the Umberumberka scheme.


THE WOUNDED.

PROGRESSING FAVORABLY.

It was stated over the telephone from the Hospital this morning that the wounded patients who were brought in, from the M.U. picnic train after the shooting affray yesterday were on the mend.


IN THE MORGUE.

In the morgue at one time yesterday were the bodies of the two murderers and their four victims from the M.U. picnic train. It is doubtful if the place has ever before held so many bodies of persons who had met with violent death.


THE FIGHTING.

PRAISE FOR MILITARY, POLICE, AND CIVILIANS.

It was warm work for the soldiers, police, and civilians who were out exchanging shots with the Turks who fired on the M.U. picnic train yesterday.

"We must have been exchanging shots for nearly two hours," said Sergeant Dimond. 'To us every minute seemed an awfully long time. For a time the Turks kept bobbing their heads out and having a shot and then seeking cover again. I believe that one of them was settled early in the fight, however, as for a long time only one man was firing. He kept going pretty briskly for about an hour and then his shots became less frequent and less dangerous. He was evidently badly wounded, and could shoot only with difficulty. I was told that just before the end came the surviving Turk was seen to stagger to his feet and hold his arms out without any gun in them and that in one hand he clutched something. that looked like a white handkerchief. It was suggested that he was flying a flag of truce for surrender, but 1 did not see it myself.

"I escaped the bullets," continued the sergeant, "but I was told afterwards that at one time the bullets were dropping all around me. The military behaved splendidly all day, and were of the very greatest assistance to us. So also were armed civilians."

Inspector Miller joined with the sergeant in praising the military, and they were also one in opinion as regards Lieutenant R. N. J. Resch, who, they stated, acted splendidly and did all that it was possible, for him to do with willingness and promptitude that were very gratifying.

The police also received their mede of praise.

"Sergeant Dimond," said a man in the street last night while a reporter was standing by, "I'm very pleased to see that you are safe. I'd heard that you had been wounded; I'm really sincerely glad that you hare escaped and keenly sorry that some of your men were, injured. I've often said hard things about you in ordinary times when I have seen you doing your duty. But I see now that you are prepared to do your duty even under the risk of death. The police all did their work finely. I'm only a hard worker on the mines, but I'll remember this day's work and the bravery of the police."

The speech was a long one and was several times interrupted by the sergeant with: "That's all right, old follow," "Oh, yes, it's all right," and other remarks, but the man was determined to express his appreciation, and be did so.


THE INQUEST OPENED.

ADJOURNED UNTIL NEXT WEEK.

The inquest on the bodies of the victims of yesterday's tragedy was formally opened this morning at the Courthouse by Mr. Butler, .S.M., coroner.

Mr. Butler said that he had viewed the whole of the bodies, but understood that the police wished an adjournment.

Inspector Miller: Yes, there is much evidence to collect. We would like an adjournment not earlier than the middle of next week.

Mr. Butler: Very well, I adjourn the inquest until Thursday next, January 7, at 10.30 o'clock. Is there any application for a jury.

Inspector Miller: No, but I believe one of the dead men was a member of the A.M.A.

Mr W. D. Barnett at this stage engaged the court and conversed with Inspector Miller, after which Mr. Miller stated that the A.M.A. did not ask for a jury. Three of the dead, he added, were members of the A.M.A.


LAST NIGHT'S SEQUEL.

GERMAN CLUB FIRED.

BY INCENSED CROWD.

PREMISES GUTTED.

MARCH TO THE CAMEL CAMP.

Following upon the terrible tragedy of yesterday morning; a turbulent crowd assembled in Argent-street last night and started upon a career of destruction.

At about 3 o'clock there was a big crowd, mostly of young men and youths in the vicinity of the Police Station. Exciting debates as to whether the perpetrators of yesterday's outrage were Turks, or Afghans, and whether or no they were set on to their awful work by Germans were taking place. Those who contended that the Germans were the authors of the outrage, were in the majority, and a few of the ringleaders raised the cry of "To the German Club, lads." The call needed no repetition. There was a ready response, and a mixed crowd of several hundreds made off towards Delamore- street where the headquarters of the German Club are situated.

"The crowd took up a stand in front of the premises, which, .appeared to be empty. Quickly, the scene became riotous in the extreme, as stones were hurled against the walls and through the windows, while the crowd alternately cheered or sang snatches of patriotic songs or gave loud tongue to terrible execrations on the heads of all foreigners, Germans, Turks, and Afghans in particular.

After a few minutes spent in this way, there was a dash towards the building, and some of the men forcing an entrance, caused considerable damage inside. These were, after a brief interval, called out, and others advanced, and apparently following a prearranged plan, scattered the contents said to be methylated spirits of two bottles in the front portion of the building. Lights were then applied. Flames at once shot upwards, and ignited the woodwork of the premises. In a few seconds, less time than it takes to write, the whole front of the building was one mass of fire, which was rapidly burning the contents and exterior woodwork, including the verandah.

Firemen Hooted.

When the fire was at its fiercest, and the heat from it was almost unbearable eren on the other side of the road, the fire brigade steamer with its crew arrived on the scene. The gable end of the adjoining house, owned by Mr. A. Marks, and occupied by Mr. D. Desmond, was then blazing, while the building on the other side of the club premises, Messrs. G. and R. Wills' warehouse, was threatened.

As the firemen drove up they were loudly hooted by a section of the crowd and there were cries of "Stop them!" "Don't let them put it out." The firemen were not, however, interfered with. They tackled the task of extinguishing the outbreak bravely. The call to the fire was received from street fire alarm box at 8.40, and the effectiveness of the firemen's methods was shown by the fact that the steamer was back at the station again at 9.10, one or two men being left, at the scene of the fire which was then practically extinguished. Two hoses were used, and a splendid pressure of water came from the Umberumberka mains. This helped the firemen considerably.

The club was, however, a ruin. The building was gutted, and a great part of the framework was destroyed. The roof of Messrs. G. and R. Wills' warehouse, was slightly damaged. Mr. Marks' cottage, a four-roomed wood and iron place, suffered worse damage, a portion of the gable end being much burnt. The contents of the place were badly damaged by removal. Mr. Desmond had no insurance on his property.

The crowd, which had listened to the counsel of wiser heads who pointed out that the club premises were in any case doomed, and that there was no need to allow adjoining property to be consumed, had ceased its hooting and spent the time looking on at the fight which the firemen were putting up against the flames. Sometimes a new part of the building caught, or a portion fell away, they cheered lustily, and sometimes they sang choruses, "Rule Britannia,'' "Australia," and others. In one part of the short street, there was trouble with an inebriated man who was heard to remark that the Australian boys (meaning the members of the citizen forces who were present) were no good. His remark was resented, and he was roughly hustled about, despite his declaration that he was an Australian born, but was eventually rescued by the police.

The officers of the law, with Inspector Miller at their head, handled the crowd well, and were greatly assisted by the military, a number of whom with bayonets fixed, helped to keep the crowd far enough away from the burning building to prevent the firemen being hampered in their movements.

As the fire died down under pressure of the stream of water that was being poured on to it and the crowd could see the wreck of the building, they seemed to be content with the damage executed, and moved off towards Argent-street with cries of "Now for the camel camp,"
"Let's settle the Afghans."


AFTER THE AFGHANS.

A LONG TRAMP FOR NOTHING.

They walked along Argent-street towards Iodide-street. No one seemed very enthusiastic, and the pace was slow. At the intersection or Argent and Iodide-streets, the police, half a dozen in number, spread across the road. Five hundred or so people came to a dead halt.

"Go home, like good fellows; you've done enough for to-night," said Sergeant Dimond. The other officers adopted a similarly persuasive course of action. But it was all without avail. The crowd did not seem to want to go home; neither did it seem keen on pushing forward. Numerous of its component units, however, were willing to argue, and they did argue, with the police and with anyone else who would listen. It was pointed out to them that they might get a warm reception at the camel camp. None of them were armed, while it was suggested that the Afghans would certainly be formidably armed and equal to protecting themselves.

In the midst of all the argument a hoarse voice chimed in, "Remember our women who were shot," This was repeated several times with alterations and additions. "More will be shot if the Afghans live," "The Germans will bribe some more of them to do their dirty work," "We're not safe while they're alive," were some of the remarks made. Remonstrance was useless. Efforts were made to convince the people that the Afghans were not Turks, and that it was Turks who were the perpetrators of the train outrage. It did not matter; Turk, Hindu, or Afghan - they were all much of a colour, and, therefore, branded.

And so the crowd flanked round into Iodide-street, 'but were again pulled up by the police. The arguments this time were not prolonged. After about a couple of minutes wait an armed detachment of the citizen forces (82nd Infantry) with engineers and civilian volunteers, came marching briskly along Iodide-street. They passed straight ahead, and were followed by a straggling crowd right up to the North Camel Camp. Here the military, under Lieut. Anderson, and the police headed by Inspector Miller, again joined forces. A cordon of armed men was stretched across the roadway and approximate to the camp fence, and no civilians were allowed to pass. At one time, there was a bit or rough play amongst the crowd, but no damage was done.

Gradually the crowd melted away, some, as they came, on foot and some in taxi-cabs, a number of which were in waiting, and did good business carrying loads of people between the camp and the city. Some of the troops remained on guard for the greater part of the night.


AT THE NORTH CAMEL CAMP.

A DEMONSTRATION AND A CHECK.

POLICE AND MILITARY FIRST ON THE SPOT.

The Asiatics' settlement at North Broken Hill is situated at the extreme northern end of Williams-street. The "camp" as it is called, consists of a few galvanised-iron buildings straggling irregularly around an area of two or three acres. The land here consists of blocks or allotments each one acre in area, like all the other residential land outside the central portion of the city.

Two or three of these areas are held by Asiatics. Here they live during the intervals of their periodical trips with their camels across country to the various stations and settlements to and from which they carry merchandise. It is here that their business depot is situated, and here their camels are to be found on their return from a trip except when they are sent adrift to graze on such feed, as may be obtainable on the surrounding land. The buildings are of a rude and flimsy character, the most substantial being the one that is used as a mosque. This place of worship is attended to by priests of the Mohammedan religion.

At half-past nine, all was perfectly still at and about the camp. There was not only no sign of disorder, but there was no sign even of life. Then a couple of motor cars drove up and stopped in the silent street. As the passengers jumped out of the cars, it was apparent at once that they had an object in view, and an urgent one.

A minute's observation was enough to show that they were on pressing business, and a closer view showed them to be a mixed body of police and armed military. The posse made its way straight across through the wire fences that surround and divide, the blocks of land, and went up by the back way to the enclosure which surrounds the mosque. Here two venerable figures appeared, picturesque in the moonlight, turbaned, robed, like bearded ancients, typical priests of Islam. Calm, silent, unperturbed, at the invasion of the sacred precincts of their place of worship, they stood there impassive
and unmoved. A man who accompanied the police party averred in strong terms that the Asiatics had a constable imprisoned within the building. Inquiry of the priests elected a calm denial. This denial was rejected, by the informant, and to set the question at rest it was decided to make a search. Entry was not opposed. Some went round to the back door. Two or three remained at the front door. These latter soon got tired of waiting, and one turned the handle of the door, which was not locked, and entered the building. The room they stepped into was about 20ft. long by about 15ft. wide. In the dimmest of light it could, be seen that on one side there was an alcove in the wall apparently for the reception of a sacred image or ceremonial vessels, or possibly as a praying stand. The floor was heavily carpeted, but apart from the carpet and one or two lamps, the room held no furniture. Those who entered had undoubtedly profaned the sacred building as they were not only unbelievers, but had marched in with their boots upon their feet.

On seeing that all was harmless within, the party returned, and then it was explained that the visit in force was not in consequence of the alleged seizure of a constable, but for a quite contrary; reason, viz, that the authorities feared a repetition of the proceedings that had taken place a little earlier in the evening, at the German Club, and had hurried a force to the scene to preserve order. The force was there none too soon. By the time the party which had visited the mosque had returned to the road where the cars were, after leaving a guard, near the buildings occupied by the Asiatics, a crowd apparently numbering some hundreds was seen surging down the road. But before they arrived opposite the camp, where the motor cars stood, the lights of which had drawn the crowd to that spot, a detachment of military had arrived. Lieutenant Anderson was in command, and Lieutenant Resch, area officer, had arrived on the scene with the police, and the advance guard in the cars. Lieut. Anderson rapidly formed his company in line, extended them a few paces apart, thus making the line equally as long as the extended front of the crowd and then marched them slowly across the road gently pressing back the massed line of angry civilians whose advent was the cause of anxiety to the authorities. There was every reason for anxiety. If the Afghans and half-Afghans who comprise the population of the camel camp had been attacked, and, their buildings wrecked as had been done in the case of the German Club building, there would most certainly have been a terrible retribution enforced by the Asiatics, upon their unarmed antagonists.

While the main body of the agitated crowd was held in check by the line of military, pickets were posted at all the other approaches to the Asiatics' buildings. These were alert, and instantly challenged and turned back all who approached the area of the camp. A cart containing two police and some civilians which came from the direction of Stephens Creek was inexorably held up by a couple of pickets, and compelled to make a detour clear of the disturbed area. One picket who was posted alone at the entrance to a lane leading off the street where the crowd was and which passes along, at the back of the Asiatics' camp, had his hands-full in stemming a strong disposition to push past him and had he been less determined there certainly would have been a breakaway at this point. But Lieutenant Anderson noticed the pressure and soon had the picket reinforced by several of his men, who were accompanied by constables, and this danger passed.

Gradually the inaction of waiting in idleness, had its effect, and about half an hour after, the crowd arrived it began to drift away. Soon the drift became general, and then the military and police were left in sole possession of the ground.


AUSTRIAN ASSAULT PROPOSED.

As the crowd considerably diminished, reassembled in Argent-street some time was spent in talking over the situation. The ringleaders then proposed a "visit to Crystal-street, with a view to making an attack on some houses there, occupied, or alleged to be occupied, by Austrians. The plan, however, got no further advanced than talking, and at a little after midnight, very few of the crowd remained in the streets.

 

  

Further Reading:

The Battle of Broken Hill, New South Wales, 1 January 1915

The Battle of Broken Hill, New South Wales, 1 January 1915, Roll of Honour

Australian Battles

Battles where Australians fought, 1899-1920

 


Citation: The Battle of Broken Hill, New South Wales, 1 January 1915, Barrier Miner Account

Posted by Project Leader at 12:01 AM EAST
Updated: Thursday, 6 January 2011 4:57 PM EAST
The Battle of Broken Hill, New South Wales, 1 January 1915, Photographs
Topic: BatzA - Broken Hill

Australian Battles 

The Battle of Broken Hill, New South Wales, 1 January 1915

Photographs

 

The following collection of photographs have been extracted from the various newspapers that reported on the event. 

 

The train with flat tops laden with picnic goers prior to taking off.
 
[The Australasian, 16 January 1915, Pictorial Supplement p. 1. ]

 

A closer look at the flat tops laden with picnic goers.
 
[The Australasian, 16 January 1915, Pictorial Supplement p. 1. ]

 

A bullet hole in a carriage.
 
[Sydney Mail, 13 January 1915, p. 13. ]
 
 

Mrs Baker's Hat complete with two bullet holes.
 
[The Australasian, 16 January 1915, Pictorial Supplement p. 1. ]
 
 

Miss Alma Cowie, killed.
 
[The Australasian, 16 January 1915, Pictorial Supplement p. 1. ]
 
 

Police and Militia assault the hill from where the two antagonists are shooting.
 
[The Australasian, 16 January 1915, Pictorial Supplement p. 1. ]
 
 

Cloer look at the Police and Militia assaulting the hill from where the two antagonists are shooting.
 
[The Australasian, 16 January 1915, Pictorial Supplement p. 1. ]
 
 

Rush to the rocks.
 
[The Australasian, 16 January 1915, Pictorial Supplement p. 1. ]
 
  

Closer look at the rush to the rocks.
 
[The Australasian, 16 January 1915, Pictorial Supplement p. 1. ]
 
  

Closer look at the rush to the rocks.
 
[The Australasian, 16 January 1915, Pictorial Supplement p. 1. ]
 
   

Rush to the rocks.
 
[Sydney Mail, 13 January 1915, p. 12. ]  

 

At the hide-out
 
[Adelaide Advertiser, 7 January 1915, p. 7.]

 

 

The ice-cream cart.
 
[Sydney Mail, 13 January 1915, p. 12. ]

 

 

Captured weapons cache.
 
[Sydney Mail, 13 January 1915, p. 12. ]

 

Riflemen returning after the battle.
 
[Sydney Mail, 13 January 1915, p. 13. ]

 

Riflemen parading after the fight. The man marked with the white "X", Mr Smith, claims to have killed the last antagonist.
 
[Sydney Mail, 13 January 1915, p. 13. ]

 

The funeral of Mr Mr. A. E. Millard.
 
[Sydney Mail, 13 January 1915, p. 13. ]

 

 

Further Reading:

The Battle of Broken Hill, New South Wales, 1 January 1915

The Battle of Broken Hill, New South Wales, 1 January 1915, Roll of Honour

Australian Battles

Battles where Australians fought, 1899-1920

 


Citation: The Battle of Broken Hill, New South Wales, 1 January 1915, Photographs

Posted by Project Leader at 12:01 AM EAST
Updated: Thursday, 6 January 2011 4:53 PM EAST
The Battle of Broken Hill, New South Wales, 1 January 1915, Adelaide Advertiser Account
Topic: BatzA - Broken Hill

Australian Battles 

The Battle of Broken Hill, New South Wales, 1 January 1915

Adelaide Advertiser Account

 

The Advertiser, Saturday, 2 January 1915, pp 15-16.

 

The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA) Saturday 2 January 1915, pp 15-16, full transcription:

 

DREADFUL AFFAIR AT BROKEN HILL

TWO FOREIGNERS RUN AMOK

RIFLE SHOTS FIRED AT A TRAIN

FOUR PERSONS KILLED AND SEVEN WOUNDED

MURDERERS SHOT DOWN BY AVENGING PARTY


Broken Hill, January 1.

One of the longest and most crowded picnic trains that has left Broken Hill carried those who set out with light hearts this morning to attend the annual picnic of the Manchester Unity Oddfellows at Silverton. The train left the Sulphide- street station at 10 o'clock and the goods station a few minutes later. The train consisted of two brake vans and 40 ore trucks of the usual sort used for Barrier picnics, with about 1,200 picnickers board. When the train was about two miles on the way to Silverton, near the cattle yards, an ice cream cart, with a flag flying on it, was noticed on the northern side of the line, close to the railway fence. The flag was red, about l8 inches square, with a white crescent and white star -- the flag of Turkey. Two men were also seen crouching behind the bank of earth which marks the line of the water main from Umberumberka to Broken Hill. These men attracted the attention of Mr. M. Kenny, who was a passenger on the train. Mr. Kenny, who is engaged on the water supply works, thought at first that there must be something wrong with the main, and that these men were attending to the damage. He then saw that they had rifles in their hands, pointed at the train. Almost simultaneously he saw and heard the rifles fired. The firing continued during the whole time the train was passing. The two men fired 20 or 30 shots in all.

Killed on the Spot.

The men, being so close to the train, could be plainly seen to be either Turks or Afghans. As they were flying the Turkish flag, it was assumed that' they were Turks, of whom there are several in Broken Hill. Mr. A. E. Millard was riding along the track beside the railway line as the train was fired on, and he became the target for one shot, which killed him on the spot, the bullet going through his head. The train was stopped and, it being ascertained that a number of the passengers had been seriously injured, if not killed, it was taken a little farther on to the Silverton Tram- way Company's reservoir, where there is telephonic communication with Broken Hill. Three of the victims were removed from the train and taken to the pumping-station at the reservoir, and medical men were summoned from Broken Hill. The train, with its saddened freight of men, women, and children, then returned to Broken Hill, meeting on the way Dr. Moulden and others in motor cars, who had responded to the telephone calls.

Shot Another Man.

Some of the injured were taken into these cars, and. the others were brought on in the train. The alarm was telephoned from the railway pumping-station to the police, and Inspector Miller at once sent out a force of police. The constable on duty at the explosive magazine, not far from the scene, was early on the spot, and was in a position to give valuable assistance to his ' comrades. Lieutenant Resch was communicated with by the police, and he dispatched all the available men connected with the military forces whom he could reach. The Turks after their attack on the train, moved off towards the west of Broken Hill, and were followed by their armed pursuers. After shooting another man on their way they at last took cover in some rocks a few hundred yards west of the Cable Hotel. These rocks are a white quartz blow, projecting well above the general level, and they afforded good cover. Soon there was a general rush to- wards the spot from the town, mainly by civilians, mostly present or past members of rifle clubs and members of the Citizen Forces.

No Quarter for the Turks.

The general operations were under the direction of Inspector Miller and Lieutenant Resch. The attacking party spread out on the adjoining hills, and there was a hot fire poured into the enemy's position, the Turks returning the fire with spirit but without effect, which is rather surprising, as the range was short and the attacking parties in some cases exposed themselves rather rashly in their efforts to get a shot. There was a desperate determination to leave no work for the hangman and to run no risk of the murderers of peaceful citizens being allowed to escape. It was not a long battle. The attacking party was being constantly rein- forced by eager men who arrived in any vehicles they could obtain or on foot. At just about 1 o'clock a rush took place to the Turks' stronghold, and they were found lying on the ground behind their shelter. Both had many wounds. One was dead and the other expired at the hospital later. They wore the dress of their people, with turbans on their heads. The police took charge of the bodies.

When the News Came.

It appears that on receipt of the information Inspector Miller dispatched Sergeant Gibson, with two motor cars containing a force of armed police, who fol- lowed on the track taken by the Turks leading along the western outskirts of the town. When the police cars reached a point near the Cable Hotel Sergeant Gibson saw two men amongst the white quartz rocks on a hill. Not suspecting that they were the enemy, Sergeant Gibson was about to make enquiries of them when suddenly they opened fire on the car. Mounted-Constable Mills was struck by two bullets at the outset and then firing began on both sides. Just before the final rush took place Inspector Miller and Lieutenant Resch, in a motor car, the latter driving, swept round the hill between the Cable Hotel and the enemy's position. On reaching the front of the firing line the occupants, including a third person, a civilian, all armed with rifles, joined in the advance, and were just in time to reach the fallen foe amongst the first dozen or so. Inspector Miller checked a disposition that was manifested by some to fall upon the bodies of the killed or wounded men. On the first examination both the Turks seemed to be dead. One had been shot through the head, and the other had several wounds, and was motionless. On their being carried towards the road by which the ambulance would be able to approach, Inspector Miller no- ticed a movement in one of the men, who was found to be alive. He was removed to the hospital, and there attended to, but he was evidently mortally wounded, and his death was only a question of a very few hours.

Fired Point Blank.

The police, under Sergeant Gibson, ran short of ammunition, and the sergeant made a perilous journey to the rear of the Cable Hotel to obtain a fresh supply. On their way across to their rocky strong- hold the Turks knocked at the door of a house near the Allandale Hotel. The occupant opened the door, and some words passed between him and the Turks. Then one of the men raised his rifle and, with- out warning, fired point blank, the bullet going through the victim's body. Two of the iron railway trucks bear marks of the fusillade. One has a circular hole in it about seven-eighths of an inch in diameter. The other has a circular bullet mark, of about the same size, but this one did not penetrate the steel side of the truck. The large size of the hole in the perforated truck suggests that the bullet had expanded considerably on striking the steel and had not passed clean through on impact. The appearance of both the bullets suggested that soft-nosed bullets were used, as it might be reasonably supposed that a hard nickel service bullet would go clean through the thin steel at such a short range.

The Official Report.

The following is the official report of the police:-

Two coloured men, Afghans or Turks, armed with rifles, fired on a picnic train laden with men, women, and children just outside the city en route to Silverton, and killed and wounded several. The police when informed went in pursuit of the offenders, who took refuge on a rocky hill and fired on the police and wounded Mounted-Constable Mills. The two men were finally shot down.

Killed.
Elma M. Cowie, Frieberg Hotel, Railway Town.

A. E. Millard, Cobalt-street, Railway Town.

William Shaw, foreman, sanitary department.

James Greig, aged 69, labourer, next Cable Hotel, shot in the abdomen whilst chopping wood in backyard.

Wounded.
Mary Kavanagh, aged 23, tailorless, Cummins-Street, shot through base of skull. Condition serious.

George F. Stokes, about 14 or 15, corner Cummins and Garnet streets, shot in shoulder and chest. Condition serious.

Thomas Campbell, aged 70, tinsmith, Rocky Hill, Allendale, West Broken Hill, shot in side. Condition not serious at present.

Lucy Shaw, age 15. Wolfram-street, bullet in elbow. Wound opened and bullet extracted. Returned home.

Alma Crocker, age 34, care of Mrs. Bray, Beryl-lane, shot in jaw (this victim only arrived from Petersburg yesterday morning on a holiday).

Rose Crabb, aged 30, Mark-street, Waterworks Hill, shot through shoulder, bone splintered. Returned home.

Constable Robert Mills, shot in groin and thigh, suffering a good deal of pain. Condition not critical.


THE COMBAT WITH THE MURDERERS.

ONE OUT OF ACTION EARLY.


Broken Hill,. January 1.

When the Police Were Fired On.

Of the two police cars which pursued the Turks, the one in the lead broke down. Sergeants Gibson and Dimond, who were in it, then changed into the other. When nearing the Cable Hotel they saw two men, but did not know who they were. Seeing that the strangers had rifles, it was suggested that a shot be fired over their heads as a hint to stop. The officers in charge, however, decided to run up to them, when the latter suddenly dropped on their knees and fired on the party in the car from a distance of about 250 yards. The direction of the track along which the car was travelling was at an angle with the Turks, and before the vehicle could be pulled up (it was going at a high speed) the distance between the parties was increased, and the Turks, who were in the open, made their way as fast as possible to the cover of the rocky eminence near them. By the time the police had got out of the car and begun firing the Turks were under cover, but they sometimes stood up to shoot, and this exposed them momentarily. The police scattered and took such cover as the ground afforded.

The Police Entrenched.

Constable Ward says he was lying on the ground firing in the open when he saw a boulder a few yards to his rear, which he saw would give him better cover. He rose and made for the stone, thus drawing the enemy's fire. Just when he had got down behind it a bullet struck the stone and chipped a lump off the top of it. Two of the police who were in the open had in front of them a small hillock, barely high enough to cover their heads when lying flat. Two or three shots in succession struck the mound right in front of the prone men. It was clear that then shooting 'was not' bad. Constable Ward believes that the little damage done by the Turks in the fight is due to the younger one being put out of action early, and the other being wounded, thus impairing the accuracy of his aim. The combat between the police and the enemy continued for about an hour and a half before the townspeople knew what was the matter. The Turks moved about while firing, and there appeared to have been some appreciable time between the first and the second being disposed of. Constable Ward's suggestion as to one of the Turks being shot early in the action and the other wounded soon after is very likely the explanation of the failure of the Turks to do any damage amongst the numbers who were on the scene during the last half hour.


THE MURDERERS.

A BUTCHER AND AN ICECREAM VENDOR.


Broken Hill, January 1.

The identity of the Turks who were shot has been established by the police. Mulla Abdulla, who was killed outright, was a butcher. Some days ago he was convicted and fined for slaughtering sheep on premises not licensed for slaughtering. He had previously been before the court on a similar charge, and Chief Sanitary Inspector Brosnan, who instituted the proceedings against him, stated to the court that Abdulla had caused a lot of trouble. He was an elderly man, by appearance about 60, and he was short and thick set. Gool Mahomed, who died on the way to the hospital, is believed to have been an ice cream vendor. Abdulla carried a Snider rifle and an apparently home-made bandolier. The latter had pockets for 48 cartridges, and 26 of the pockets were empty. As a number of cartridges were in the man's pocket it was concluded that the bandolier must have been full and that he had fired the 26 cartridges away. He also had in his possession a revolver and cartridges and a new knife and sheath. The other man's rifle was a Martini Henri.

Indian Assists Police.

In the fight between the police and the Turks the former were rendered great assistance, by Walhanna Assou, a Punjaubi, from Peshawar, in the north-west of India. Assou is a British subject and has a brother in the British Army. He himself is a camel owner. His house is near to the scene of the fight, and when one of the police officers was shot he carried water to him. This he did at no little risk to himself, for not only was he a target at times for the Turks, but the late arrivals of Britishers on the scene, seeing a man of his color so near the vicinity of the firing line, took him for one of the Turks, and he would certainly been slain by these had not the police given him their protection and explained the situation. Another friend, who contributed largely to the defeat of the Turks by his welcome assistance, was Khan Bahadur, also a camel owner and driver. His residence is near the Cable Hotel, and it was used by the police as cover to shoot from through the windows. Bahadur stated to the police that this morning he saw the Turks walking at a little distance past his place. He was at the door feeding a goat, when one of the Turks fired at him and said, "Don't follow me, or I will shoot you." He fired at him again from about a 50 yards' range, and the bullet passed over his shoulder close to his ear. Bahadur said to the Turk, ''If you shoot at me again. I'll get my rifle and shoot you."

When Firing Began.

At this stage the police arrived in a car, and firing began on both sides at about a 500-yards range, the Turks taking advantage of the shelter offered by the many rocks around. The police, after for a short time using similar cover, went into Bahadur's house and fired from the windows.

Saw Men in a Trench.

Mr. W. H. Hill said he went past the scene of the shooting shortly before the train passed. He saw the Turks, two men, with a third person, apparently a woman, crouching in the pipe trench, which is still open. Mr. Hill noticed that after these people went into the trench they did not reappear. On his return, an hour later, he learned of the tragedy, and then realised the object of the men in the trench. He had passed within a few feet of them, and had a close look at them. - He also saw their cart, with the flag flying on it. On learning of the shooting, Mr. Hill communicated with the police, as he was certain that he could identify the men he saw in the trench. Owing to subsequent happenings, however, no identification was needed.

The News Announced.

The news of the shooting at the I.O.O.F.. M.U., picnic train, was received at Stephens Creek during the Highland gathering luncheon interval, when a motor car dashed up to the fence of McCulloch Park in order to, take back Dr. M Birks (surgeon superintendent at the district hospital), who was one of the visitors. The story was announced at the luncheon table by Mr. D. Low (president of the Caledonian Pipers' Band, which had organised the outing). Mr. Low said they all had to be thankful that such a happening had not been their experience, and he expressed his sympathy with the relatives of the killed and wounded and the people of the M.U. order as the terrible calamity that had befallen them. On the return journey much anxiety was evinced, especially among the women folk, and a close look-out was kept for signs of danger.

A meeting of the committee of the Manchester Unity sports was held and discussions at this when the following resolutions were carried: - "That, this committee expresses its deep abhorrence of the terrible outrage committed near Picton Siding this morning, and tenders its sincere and heartfelt sympathy to the relatives of the victims," "and pledges itself to aid to the fullest extent any movement having for its object; the assistance of those affected thereby." "That the picnic committee records their appreciation of the brave action of Messrs. R Low and Shaw for making for the nearest telephone through a shower of bullets to obtain assistance." It was resolved as a recommendation to the district officer to obtain permission from the Grand Lodge to circularise the whole of Grand Lodges and distincts in New South Wales for the purpose or raising funds for the relatives of those killed.


WERE THEY TURKS?

Mr. Bert Sayers, managing director of Messrs Sayers & Lennon who has been a resident of Broken Hill for twenty seven years; was greatly shocked when he heard of the news in "The Advertiser", office on Friday evening. He said, "I am not altogether surprised though. During the past three years, on account of the-high rate of wages prevailing, in Broken-Hill, the place has become simply a dumping ground for foreigners who desire to earn money easily and quickly. The matter of aliens has been a very sore point for the past two years with the AMA who are recognised as the white workers of the Barrier. Mr. W. S. Barnett, (the secretary), has repeatedly brought the matter forward, and has even gone so far as to petition Parliament for a stricter administration of the Immigration Act. I am fully convinced, after my long sojourn at the Barrier, that the Turks have nothing whatever to do with the matter, as if you were to search Broken Hill for a week you would not find enough Turks there to make a team for a tug of war."

Mr. S. J. Attiah (president of the Ottoman Association) stated last night:- "I can positively say that there are no pure Turks either in Broken Hill of any part of Australia. There are plenty of Ottoman subjects in this country who hail from Mount Lebanon, a province under the suzerainty of the European Powers. The assailants concerned in the Broken Hill affair must be Mohammedan Afghans actuated by their fanatical spirit. They are not Ottoman subjects. The loyalty of the Ottomans in the Commonwealth is well known to the authorities. They are not responsible for such a mode of procedure. The assailants must have been driven either by insanity or fanaticism, and not by loyalty to Turkey, towards which country they owe no allegiance. The Ottoman Association's branches all over Turkey are rebelling against the military party in the Ottoman Empire, and so are the masses of the people. Calling these men at Broken Hill Turks is a huge mistake, which should be explained to the public."


GERMAN CLUB BURNED DOWN

SET ON FIRE BY THE CROWD


Broken Hill January 1.

Following, to-day's warfare a huge crowd this evening assembled in Argent-street and marched to Delamore-street, where they set fire to and quickly destroyed the premises of the German Club. The buildings were entirely destroyed. The city is in a state of excitement, and more trouble is expected before the night is over.

  

 

Further Reading:

The Battle of Broken Hill, New South Wales, 1 January 1915

The Battle of Broken Hill, New South Wales, 1 January 1915, Roll of Honour

Australian Battles

Battles where Australians fought, 1899-1920

 


Citation: The Battle of Broken Hill, New South Wales, 1 January 1915, Adelaide Advertiser Account

Posted by Project Leader at 12:01 AM EAST
Updated: Friday, 7 January 2011 9:41 PM EAST

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