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Friday, 11 April 2008
The Jifjafa Raid, Sinai, April 10 to 14, 1916, Scott Account
Topic: AIF - 3B - 9 LHR

The Jifjafa Raid

Sinai, 10 - 14 April 1916

Scott Account

 

Reconnaissance Report by Major WH Scott, Commanding Officer, 9th Light Horse Regiment

 

The Transcription:

 

Hour of Starting:
Left starting point at 1407, 11 April 1916.

Rate of March:

Normal walk with a halt at 10 minutes to each hour and resuming march at each hour.

Route:

1st Day, 11 April 1916.

The Column proceeded in a south westerly direction and halted to heed horses at 1700 on contour 500 and 3/4 mile due north of Point 610, Square 3D [Little Bitter Lake Sheet]. From starting point to this place the surface gradually got more solid for the horses.

OC Field Ambulance asked me to slacken the pace of the Head of Column as his horses had to trot in places to keep up and even then had to travel 3 or 4 minutes at every halt to catch up with column. On moving off at 1930 the course was set for 115 degrees which was practically kept except for skirting sand hills until the Wadi Um Mukhshieb was struck at 2130.

The travelling over this portion was very good and although the Column moved at a fast walk the Ambulance Sand Cart had no difficulty in keeping up with the Column.The Column marched down the wadi to the point of bivouac about half a mile south west of Point 850 Square 3M [Little Bitter Lake Sheet].

This point was reached at 2230. The travelling down the wadi was very good and except for a few short patches which were sandy was fit for Field Artillery to move at the trot. The Camel Train was met there.

2nd Day 12 April 1916

Column left bivouac at 0730. The bivouac occupied by the previous Reconnaissance Column was passed at 0820 and the well reconnoitred by previous Column was reached at 1120. The travelling down the wadi was very good except for the last mile and a quarter which was very rough and stony. The Camel Transport which left the same time as the Column under escort of Bikanir Camel Corps arrived at the well at 1320. This well is situated in the bend of the wadi about 5/8th of a mile east of where the wadi turns south to Moiya-Harab, Square 5k [Little Bitter Lake Sheet]. Here the Column bivouacked.

At about 11/4 [one and a quarter] miles east of this well, reconnoitring parties were sent out both to north and south to find out if any signs could be seen of Bedouin Camps which had been reported near by aeroplane at 0715, but no sign of the camps could be found although fresh camel and human feet tracks were very plain. During the morning three Bedouins and a camel were captured and brought along with the Column. They were afterwards released.

From this point reconnoitring parties were sent out and the information obtained as shown in paragraph about water.

The Column resumed its march to point 1340 leaving the bivouac site by a branch of the wadi running north north east for about a mile and half until the high land was reached. This wadi was extremely rough and impassable to wheeled traffic.

The march continued to point 1340 Square 5B [Little Bitter Lake Sheet] keeping in sight of the hills all the whole way. The surface was very good and arrived at point 1340 at 0230 of the 3rd day where the Column bivouacked.

One Officer and 16 Other Ranks of the Light Horse Squadron and four Light Horse Camel drivers were left at the well to guard Camel Train not required on the next part of the journey.

3rd Day, 13 April 1916.

At 0530 the Column moved from this point leaving the Bikanir Camel Corps, Wireless Section and Transport under the charge of Captain BB Ragless, and marched to hill 1082, Square 2D and halted there at 0730. Awaited for message from aeroplane which was dropped at 0800. The message received stated that "All was clear". From this point it was decided to attack the enemy's position. The travelling along the track was very good but in view of Hill 1082 and to the hills to the south and east throughout its entire distance.

The return journey to point 1340 was made along practically the same route as was 1340 to bivouac at well except the wadi was followed down from about one mile east of point 1648 Square 3L Square 5k [Little Bitter Lake Sheet]. From this point back to the well was extremely rough and very hard going. The return route from this point to Road Head was on practically the same lines as going out.

Water.

1. At second bivouac a well and cistern containing total of 33,000 gallons.

2. At branch of wadi where it turns south to Moiya-Harab is a cistern 50 foot by 15 foot by 18 foot deep containing 9 feet of water. The opening has a wooden cover, 8 foot by 9 foot and a round man hole 1 foot 6 inches in diameter. This contained about 42,300 gallons of water.

North east of this is a large underground excavation with 4 stone pillars cut out of solid rock. The roof is four feet from the floor. The floor is covered with silt which appears to come from the back of the excavation. The stone pillars are about four feet square. There is no water in this excavation.

To the north east and about ten feet from the back of the excavation a cistern runs back into the hill for a distance of at least thirty feet and fifteen feet wide and twenty two feet deep. There is at present two feet of water in this cistern containing approximately 5,700 gallons of water.

(a) North east of this cistern about ten feet is another cistern which is entirely silted up.

(b) North east of (a) is a dry cistern with a man hole cut out of the rock fifteen inches in diameter.

(c) North east of (b) about fourteen feet is a cistern forty feet by thirty feet by ten feet dry with silt in the bottom.

(d) East north east of (c) is a cistern with a small man hole four feet by two feet nearly silted.

(e) Two hundred to two fifty yards north east of (d) on the side of the hill facing east a tunnel enters hill about 30 feet from the bottom of the valley and runs in 19 feet and enters in four chambers each about nine feet square and seven feet high with troughs cut out of three sides eighteen inches wide and twelve inches deep.

3. Moiya-Harab - Following the branch of the wadi down south from Water No 2 the well is about two and a half miles distant and on the east side of the wadi. This well has a diameter of fifteen feet a depth of eight feet and has two feet six inches of water. This was all the water found in the locality Gebel Um Mukhshieb. No water was found at Bir el Jifjafa.

Capture of Turks at Bir El Jifjafa

The force was halted to the south of Hill 1080 out of view of Bir el Jifjafa and the attack was planned for 0900 13 April 1916 as the Royal Flying corps had informed me that they believed the personnel of the Camp retired to the hills until after aeroplanes passed over them and then returned to camp.

Having made a reconnaissance with field glasses on Troop under Lieutenant McDonald was detailed to pass around the west and north of Hill 1080 and occupy a point on ridge about a mile north west of supposed position of enemy's camp.

One Troop under Lieutenant Pender to move north east and pass enemy's works on the south.

One Troop less eight men under Lieutenant Linacre to make the frontal attack. Four men and Machine Gun Section were held in reserve and four men for escort to Engineers Stores and Ammunition.

On arrival at point X it was seen that Lieutenant McDonald would be a little late arriving at his position so Lieutenant Linacre and sixteen others were sent over ridge slightly to north of enemy's post. The remaining men and Reserves marched direct on to the Post.

One man of the enemy's outpost was seen to retire.

The whole of the enemy bolted from the camp, some taking to the hills and others to south east.

Those who took to the hills were headed off by Lieutenant Pender's Troop and the enemy took up position shown on sketch. Here the fighting took place with the result that the whole party were either killed or captured.

Six of the enemy were known to be killed and five wounded, one of these being in a very serious condition and could not be moved.

The following prisoners were captured:

1 Austrian Engineer Officer

34 Other Ranks including four wounded

According to the Austrian Officer the post was occupied by one Officer, 25 Soldiers and 15 Labour Corps. A Total of 41. It would appear the whole of the enemy's force had been accounted for, but two mounted men were seen to gallop away in an easterly direction. These may not have belonged to Post; I regret to have to report that No 976 Corporal Monaghan of the 8th Light horse Regiment was killed. Our other casualties being on horse killed.

Enemy's Personnel.

From information received from the prisoners the enemy's fighting force was part of the 2nd Company 4th Battalion 79th Regiment 27th Division 8th Army Corps 4th Army and the other personnel belonged to a Labour Corps,

Enemy's Works.

No. 1 boring plant. Well casing six inch diameter. Bore 276 feet deep. No water. Work of boring apparently suspended though all plant was laid out in readiness for work.

Plant.

German military artesian. Very substantive, beautifully made, nothing temporary about any part of it. This part consisted of winch separate from gin legs and one and a half inch steel rope used. Large quantities of tools small parts of drill etc., of boring plant. These were dropped down the bore which was subsequently blown in 25 feet from the surface rendering recovery impossible.

No. 2 Bore. Eight inches diameter 51 feet deep. Apparently abandoned. Situated 41 yards east of No. 1 Bore. Found damp sand at bottom. This was a well casing only with no plant.

No. 3 Bore. Similar to No. 1 but winch was bracketed to frame of gin. Well casing eight feet in diameter. Depth 260 feet [approximately]. No water and no tools. Plant demolished.

Two sets of gins wrecked by cutting legs in two with gun cotton. Two winches one fixed to frame of gin and the other quarter hydraulic pipe destroyed with gun cotton and hammers. Twenty rendered useless.

Camp equipment.

6 Bell tents,

1 large tent,

stores of biscuits,

blankets and

general camp equipment

were burned.

4,000 rounds of small arms ammunition were destroyed by dropping down bores and afterwards blown up also by placing in fires.

19 rifles captured.

7 rifles destroyed.

2 enemy camels captured.

A number of papers and letters were seized.

Enemy's defences.

Three trenches in echelon were in course of construction. Two being practically finished. To the east of the trenches was a concrete foundation with a circular groove cut round it evidently for the foundation of an anti aircraft gun. This was not reported to me until after leaving the works.

Attack on camp at No. 1 Well.

Lieutenant Nelson was left in charge of details at this bivouac he reported that during the night of the 12th/13th a large number of shots were fired into the camp to which he replied. No casualties took place. He had the assistance of one Officer and 10 Other Ranks of the Middlesex Yeomanry who had connected up from the 9th Army Corps Reconnaissance on the previous night. It is believed that this firing came from Bedouins.

Wadi in flood.

On the 14th April 1916 on the return journey at about 1700 the wadi came down in flood.

Tactical.

In the region of wells No. 1, 2, and 3, a small party could keep off a large force from getting to the wells owing to the rough nature of the ground. The whole of the road from Moiya-Harab to Bir el Jifjafa is commanded by hills on the east and an observation point on 1082 would see practically the whole of the last 10 miles of this road.

General.

On the morning of the 13th the Khamp Seem was blowing and concealed our movements to a great extent. The atmosphere became much clearer by 0800 and gave every opportunity for observation. At about 1200 when we started to return the dust was very thick and continued so till late at night.

A halt was made at the camp at 1340 and the march to the water started at 1730 and arrived there at 2230; frequent halts had to be made in order to keep in touch with the Camels.

Wireless.

The wireless detachment had a good deal of difficulty in getting messages through owing to the dust interfering with the adjustments in the apparatus and the constant jamming of higher power stations. This detachment was very smart in erecting and dismantling its station.

Efficiency. The men and horses stood the fatigue well, four horses had gone lame owing to having their shoes pulled off by the stones in the wadi.

There were no cases of sickness amongst the personnel. Both men and horses were tired on return to camp.

I desire to bring under notice the names of the following:-

1. Captain MacCaulay, 2nd AA NZ Staff for his able personal assistance to myself in the collection of information and for his cooperation during the operations.

2. Captain Warne, 8th Light horse Regiment. This Officer made a previous reconnaissance of portion of the country and his knowledge and experience were of great value to me from first to last. He is the finest Scout Officer I have seen and was untiring in his energy, giving me particular help in his topographical knowledge.

3. Lieutenant Pender, 9th light Horse Regiment. This officer whom I placed in charge of the right attacking party showed considerable initiative in anticipation of the enemy's retirement by making a rapid movement round the rear of the position, thus cutting off the preventing the escape of any of the garrison.

4. Lieutenant Eggar and personnel of the RE Section, Wireless and the Officers Lieutenants Snooks and Pitman and personnel of the Royal Flying Corps.

5. Captain Ayris, 10th Light Horse Regiment, ADC to GOC, 3rd Light horse Brigade, acted in the capacity of my Staff and did excellent work and personally captured the Austrian Officer.

6. Bikanir Camel Corps. The incorporation of this unit was of very great value in carrying out the protection of the Camel Transport train and did their work in the most efficient and intelligent manner. Also Corporal Smith showed much initiative and ability in anticipating a vantage point for the enemy which he occupied with his section with most excellent results.

7. Second Lieutenant Colghlan, Australian Engineers. For obtaining information of wells, bores, etc and for his demolition work.

 

Further Reading:

9th Light Horse Regiment, AIF

9th Australian Light Horse Regiment, Roll of Honour 

The Jifjafa Raid, Sinai, April 10 to 14

Battles where Australians fought, 1899-1920

 


Citation: The Jifjafa Raid, Sinai, April 10 to 14, 1916, Scott Account

Posted by Project Leader at 12:01 AM EADT
Updated: Sunday, 29 November 2009 10:55 AM EAST
The Jifjafa Raid, Sinai, April 10 to 14, 1916, Antill Account
Topic: AIF - 3B - 3 LHB

The Jifjafa Raid

Sinai, 10 - 14 April 1916

Antill Account

 

Comments by Brigadier General Antill on Scott's Report

 

 

The Transcription:

 
From: Headquarters, 3rd Australian Light Horse Brigade, Railhead.

To: Headquarters, 4th Australian Division.

I herewith attach report of Major WH Scott, 9th Light Horse Regiment, the Officer Commanding Column, organised and sent out from Rail Head, 12th April to attack Jifjafa, vide G/34 Secret Instructions, 5 April 1916, forwarded to the General Officer Commanding "A" Subsection.

Other matters to be reported upon are dealt with in detail in the attached report.

In forwarding the Report I wish to make the following comments -

One the afternoon of the 12th inst. I personally inspected the Column before it moved off and was very satisfied with the personnel and turn out. I was confident if there was anything ahead of it the men selected would carry it through and as things have turned out my opinion was quite justified.

From what major Scott tells me the whole undertaking worked most harmoniously and almost to the time set out in the itinerary; the attack on Jifjafa itself being delayed until later in the morning on account of information received on the point of departure that the enemy evacuated their posts at night and did not return until all was clear in the morning.

I thought it wise to embody in the Column 1 Officer Captain Wearne and 12 men of the 8th Light Horse who had taken part in a previous reconnaissance and I am informed that their knowledge of the country was most useful. One of them was killed, Corporal Monahan, and Major Scott tells me that the services of Captain Wearne were particularly valuable and that the other men of the 8th Light Horse were most useful.

It will be seen that Major Scott has reported very comprehensively on the operations and Enemy's works, and I venture to say has shown himself possessed of powers of a high order. He has been ably seconded in this interesting little raid none the less difficult on account of its long distance from the Base, by the before mentioned.

Captain Macaulay of the 2nd ANZ Staff, Captain Ayris, Orderly Office to myself and the Officers and personnel generally who showed the greatest zest and intelligence throughout these operations.

Major Scott desires me to say how much he has appreciated the excellent services of Lieutenants F Eggar and Beale of the Wireless Section and also of the hearty and valuable co-operation of the Bikanir Camel Corps under their native Officer, Lieutenant Bhir Singh.

I have had occasion before to bring under favourable notice the conspicuously fine work of Major WH Scott, particularly at Hill 60, under Generals HV Cox and Sir Alexander Godley, and can only repeat how I appreciate at all times his services.

Signed: JM Antill, Brigadier General, General Officer Commanding 3rd Australian Light Horse Brigade.

Serapeum, Egypt, 15 April 1916.

Forwarded. I fully endorse the above - particularly as regards the capabilities of Major Scott as a leader. I found him very gallant and resourceful at ANZAC. The whole affair reflects great credit on the 3rd Australian Light Horse Brigade.

Signed: HV Cox, Major General, Commanding 4th Australian Division.

 

Further Reading:

3rd Light Horse Brigade, AIF

The Jifjafa Raid, Sinai, April 10 to 14

Battles where Australians fought, 1899-1920

 


Citation: The Jifjafa Raid, Sinai, April 10 to 14, 1916, Antill Account

Posted by Project Leader at 12:01 AM EADT
Updated: Sunday, 29 November 2009 11:25 AM EAST
The Jifjafa Raid, Sinai, April 10 to 14, 1916, 3rd LH Bde, AIF, War Diary Account
Topic: AIF - 3B - 3 LHB

The Jifjafa Raid

Sinai, 10 - 14 April 1916

3rd LH Bde, AIF, War Diary Account

 

War Diary account of the 3rd LH Bde, AIF.

 

The Transcription:

 
11 April 1916

Column under Major Scott, 9th Light Horse moved out - Jifjafa being the objective - men and horses well turned out, all looking fit and hard.


Major Scott's Jifjafa Column

The object of the reconnaissance was mainly to destroy gyns erected over wells at Jifjafa, capture the post and report generally on the country, etc, in the vicinity. The whole enterprise was a complete success in every way.

April 11th - Column moved out at 1400 making bivouac in Wadi um Muksheib at 2230, travelling good, some 6 miles ahead of front line. April 12th - Having picked up Camel Transport at above the column moved on at 0730 to water arriving 1120 - at dusk moved to point 1340 arriving at 0230. April 13th - under cover of a khamp seen Hill 1052 was reached and from this point the attack was made - the attack was a complete surprise, the enemy bolting to the hills and after a sharp engagement surrendered. Result - 6 Enemy killed, 4 wounded, 29 captured which included an Austrian Engineer Officer, our only casualty being Corporal SF Monaghan, (976), 8th Light Horse killed. During the attack our Engineers destroyed gyns and a very up to date boring plant and all gear etc of any value - the return journey was made without opposition - During the whole operations communication with Railhead was maintained by wireless which worked most satisfactorily with the exception of 13th inst when khamp seen was at its height.

Congratulatory telegram received from:

Commander in Chief, Egyptian Expeditionary Force

General Godley

General Cox

General Chauvel.

Major Scott decorated with DSO (Distinguished Service Order).

 

Further Reading:

3rd Light Horse Brigade, AIF

The Jifjafa Raid, Sinai, April 10 to 14

Battles where Australians fought, 1899-1920

 


Citation: The Jifjafa Raid, Sinai, April 10 to 14, 1916, 3rd LH Bde, AIF, War Diary Account

Posted by Project Leader at 12:01 AM EADT
Updated: Sunday, 29 November 2009 3:34 PM EAST
The Jifjafa Raid, Sinai, April 10 to 14, 1916, 9th LHR, AIF, Unit History Account
Topic: AIF - 3B - 9 LHR

The Jifjafa Raid

Sinai, 10 - 14 April 1916

9th LHR, AIF, Unit History Account

 

Major Thomas Henry Darley produced a unit history of the 9th Light Horse Regiment, AIF, called With the Ninth Light Horse in the Great War, in which included a section specifically related to the Jifjafa Raid and is extracted below.

Darley, TH, With the Ninth Light Horse in the Great War, Adelaide, Hassell Press, 1924, pp. 33 - 38.

 

Chapter IX Serapeum: The Jif-Jaffa Operations

Early in April reports were received that the Turks had thrown out a line of outposts opposite our sector, from the western foot of the Maghara Hills, south-east to Nekhl, with a post at Bir el Jif Jaffa where they were stated to have erected a boring plant and built large cisterns. Jif Jaffa lies about 52 miles due east of Serapeum on an old caravan route.

Reports also showed that the enemy had established posts at Bir Barthel Hegaiib about three miles north of Jif Jaffa, at Rodh Salem (north of Jif Jaffa) and at Bir-el-Hama, each post having a strength of about 50 rifles. As the construction of this tank system was a direct menace to our position at Serapeum, Headquarters decided that efforts should be made to wreck them and the plant. Orders were accordingly passed to Headquarters, 3rd Light Horse Brigade, to detail a force to carry out this duty, and a composite force was made up as follows:

Headquarters:

Officer to command, Major W. H. Scott, 9th L.H.; Staff attached, Capt.' Macaulay, G.S.O., 2nd Aus. Div., Capt. H. E. Wearne, 8th L.H-, Capt. Ayris, 3rd L.H. Brigade.

Light Horse Squadron:

Officer commanding, Major K. A. McKenzie, 9th L.H.; Second in command, Capt. B. B. Ragless, 9th L.H.; Troop leaders, Lieut. A. H. Nelson, 9th L.H., Lieut. W. S. Pender, 9th L.H., Lieut. J. M. McDonald, 9th L.H., Lieut. F. J. Linacre, 9th L.H.

Machine Gun Officer:

Lieut. L. W. Jacques, 9th L.H.

The non-commissioned officers and men were selected from the 8th and 9th Light Horse Regiments, the composition of the whole force being as follows:

Unit OfficersOther RanksHorsesCamelsRemarks
Light Horse Squadron 8 122 138
Engineers 1810 4
Royal Flying Corps2 2 24 Ground signal apparatus
Wireless Section, R.E. 1 8 1 15 Included three Soudanese
3rd L.H. Field Ambulance18136Two sand carts and five camel cacolets
Camel Transport Corps123 Officers & warrant officers
Camel Transport Corps 29  Light Horsemen attached as drivers
Camel Transport Corps 95 195 Native drivers
Australian Army Service Corps 11  Warrant officer

Bikanir Camel Corps (Indian)

124  37 Fighting troops

Guides

  22  
Interpreter 11 (French and Arabic)
Officers attached3 4  
Grand Total18302175261

The camels of the Camel Transport Corps were distributed as follows: For water 88, rations 15, forage 78, ammunition 4, the remainder travelling unloaded to be used in lightening loads where necessary. The Light Horsemen acting as drivers were allowed to ride, but the native drivers walked and led their camels. The Bikanir Camel Corps carried their own supplies on the 12 spare camels shown with that unit. The quantity of drinking water which had to be carried was 2,640, gallons, each camel 30 gallons. This water was carried in flat copper tanks measuring about 24 x 18 x 10 inches, one being hung on each side of the saddle. These tanks (called fantasis) had a hole, fitted with a screw plug, at the top for filling and a tap at the bottom rear end.

The Light Horse Squadron was made up of the lightest men and the fittest horses, as on account of this being the first operations undertaken by the Light Horse in the desert of the Sinai Peninsula it was highly essential that it should be carried to an entirely successful conclusion, therefore only the most suitable men and horses for the operation were taken. The distance to be travelled was long and trying, whilst the time at our disposal was short. Owing to the heavy sand, orders were issued that nothing would be taken that could possibly be done without, so that the horses would travel as light as possible.

A short time before this the 8th Light Horse had sent a party to reconnoitre and verify reports received to the effect that there were large rock-hewn cisterns containing water in the vicinity of Gebel um Muksheib and Moiya Harab, which lie about 40 miles south-east of Serapeum. An abundant water supply was located and it was therefore decided that the force should march via these cisterns.

On the night of the 10th April, 1916, the camel convoy escorted by the Bikanir Camel Corps, moved out and proceeded down the

Wadi Muksheib, halting near El Ashubi. The fighting force left Road Head at 2 p.m. on the 11th April and proceeded along the wadi. The force halted from 5.30 to 7.30 p.m., then resumed the march and came up with the convoy at 10.30 p.m.

At 7.30 a.m. on the following morning the whole force continued the march. On reaching a point two miles west of the junction of the wadis, north of Gebel-um-Muksheib, one troop was detached and sent round to the north and east of the cisterns, as Bedouins had reported that enemy parties had been seen in that locality a few days previously. This troop shortly afterwards reported "all clear," and the column proceeded on its journey, reaching the first cistern, which lies half a mile west of where the wadi turns south to Moiya Harab, at 11.30 a.m., when it halted.

The travelling down this wadi was very good for some distance, the sand being quite firm, but the last mile was rough and stony. The convoy arrived at 1.20 p.m. in good order, and the camels were off-loaded. During the march down the wadi our aeroplane had dropped a message stating that all was clear except for a few Bedouin camps near Moiya-Harab.

After the mid-day meal three troops were sent out to reconnoitre and report on the/ water supplies in the area, and altogether nine cisterns were found, hewn in the solid rock. Some were found to be practically empty, but the others were estimated to contain about 140,000 gallons. Having completed the reconnaissance, the troops rejoined at 5.30 p.m., and preparations were made for the final dash forward. It was decided to leave the ambulance, sand carts, and a portion of the Camel Transport Corps at this point under an escort of one officer and 16 other ranks from the mounted squadron, and four Light Horse camel drivers. They were also ordered to guard the wells.

At 7 p.m. the remainder of the column moved off north-east to point 1340, which was reached at 4.30 a.m. on the 13th, and the column bivouacked for the remainder of the night. During this march the Light Horse travelled for 40 minutes of each hour, then halted and dismounted in order to allow the camel portion of the force to keep touch.

At 5.30 a.m. the column moved forward, leaving the Bikanir Camel Corps, Wireless Section, and the remainder of the transport under the charge of Capt. B. B. Ragless, and marched to hill 1082, halting south-west of the hill and out of view of Jif-Jaffa, at 7.30 a.m. The section of the Royal Flying Corps erected their ground wireless plant at the foot of the hill and awaited the aeroplane report which was eventually dropped at 8 a.m., stating that all was clear.

From information previously received it was known that each time our planes appeared over their position the enemy scattered into the hills, therefore the CO decided to launch the attack whilst the enemy had lost cohesion. A reconnaissance of the position was made

with the aid of field glasses, and orders were issued to Lieut. McDonald to take his troop round the west and north of the hill, and occupy a point about one mile N.W. of the enemy camp.

On the order to move being given the troops moved to their allotted tasks, Lieut. Fender's troop moved to the north-east and passed south of the enemy camp, whilst Lieut. Linacre with his troop, less eight men, was to make a frontal attack. Four men and a machine gun section were kept in reserve, and four men were told off as escort to the engineers, stores, and ammunition.

It was now seen that Lieut. McDonald's troop, owing to the rough nature of the country they had to traverse, would be a little late in arriving at their position. Lieut. Linacre and his troop were therefore sent over the ridge slightly to the north of the enemy's post, the remaining men and reserves moving direct on the post. An enemy observation party were seen to withdraw, whilst a number attempted to occupy position in the hills, but these were headed off by Lieut. Fender's troop. They therefore took up a prepared position near their camp and a brisk fire fight ensued. Although considerably outnumbered and surrounded, they put up a good defence, but after sustaining numerous casualties, surrendered, as their position was hopeless.

Six of the enemy were found to have been killed, and five wounded, too being too seriously wounded to move. One Austrian engineer officer and 34 Turks were captured. The personnel of the enemy post belonged to the second company, 4th Battalion, 79th Regiment, 27th Division, 8th Army Corps, 4th Turkish Army.

According to the statement made by the captured Austrian officer, the post was occupied by a total of 41; it would, therefore, appear that the whole of the enemy force had been accounted for, but two mounted men were seen to gallop away in a north-easterly direction. Evidently these men were just on the point of visiting the post when the attack started.

Our casualties amounted to one man (Cpl. Monaghan, 8th L.H.) and one horse killed. The work of destroying the enemy's tanks and plant was immediately commenced, as it was possible that other enemy forces were in the vicinity, and might hasten to the support of the post on hearing the firing. Two very well-built German artesian boring plants were destroyed, the rods and tools belonging to the drills being thrown down the bores, which were three in number, and about 8 inches in diameter, the deepest being 276 feet These were subsequently blown in with guncotton, 25 feet from the surface. Large quantities of camp equipment and stores were destroyed, and a number of letters and papers seized.

At 11 a.m. a start was made on the return journey, and the force marched to Point 1340, collecting the Royal Flying Corps Section on the way. On reaching this point, the horses were watered from the fanatis brought up on the camels, and after a short rest the party proceeded to the cisterns, which were reached at 11.30 p.m. The weather throughout the day had been most unpleasant, owing to a very strong Kamseen (hot wind), which blew clouds of sand in our faces so that it was almost impossible to see more than 20 yards. This wind also had the effect of rendering the light portable wireless instruments useless, and communication could not be established.

During the absence of the fighting force, a large number of Bedouins made a determined attack on the party which had been left to guard the wells, but after half an hour's fighting they had retired taking their casualties with them.

At sunrise on the 14th, communication by wireless was gained with the 3rd Light Horse Brigade Headquarters, a full report of the operations being despatched. After breakfast the whole party moved homewards, halting at 1 p.m. for the mid-day meal, and to allow the camel convoy to close up. During the halt, congratulatory messages were received from the Brigade and Sector commanders. Whilst these were being read to the men, one of the members of the outpost was seen to be galloping towards the camp at a great pace, and almost as soon as he came in sight it could be seen that the wadi was coming down in flood.

One troop had laid out its lines in the wadi bed, but before the water reached them they succeeded in moving the whole of their belongings to the safety of the bank. The water came down with a rush, the stream being 30 yards wide and from 6 to 10 inches in depth. The water appeared to have the consistency of white paint, and was moving almost as fast as a horse could gallop. Within five minutes the wadi had become a raging torrent, waves breaking from two to three feet high.

This unexpected happening divided the column, one portion being on either side of the wadi, but the march was continued along the wadi banks, the whole force reaching Road Head camp at midnight, having covered the 160 miles in less than three and a half days, thus proving that the Light Horse could be efficiently used in desert warfare.

It will be noticed from the composition of the force that 29 Light Horsemen were employed as camel drivers. This innovation proved of the greatest value, as they also acted as an escort for the convoy, and during the night of the 12th-13th set the pace for the Egyptian camel drivers, who were apt to loiter whenever possible. The prisoners were brought back on the camels whose loads had been consumed.

At 2 p.m. on the 15th March, 1916, the Commander in Chief, General Sir Archibald Murray, wired the following honours and awards:

Major W. H. Scott, 9th Light Horse, Distinguished Service Order.

Cpl. P. Teesdale Smith, 9th Light Horse, Distinguished Conduct Medal.

Sgt. H. McInnes, 8th Light Horse, Distinguished Conduct Medal.

The following congratulatory messages were also received:

The General Officer commanding wishes to place on record the following telegrams received in connection with Major W. H. Scott's Jif Jaffa party:

From the Commander in Chief, Egyptian Expeditionary Force. Addressed to Major W. H. Scott, 9th Light Horse, O.C. Reconnaissance No. 2:

"I am directed by the Commander in Chief to say that he congratulates you on your success yesterday, and that he has great pleasure in conferring on you the Distinguished Service Order for your good services on April 13th."

Assistant Military Secretary, GHQ

From the Corps Commander to Major W. H. Scott:

"Heartiest congratulations to you and all your command on your ably conducted, gallant feat of arms."

From Major-General Sir H. V. Cox, K.C.M.G., CB, C.I.E., commanding 4th Division, to 3rd Light Horse Brigade:

"Congratulate Major W. H. Scott, officers, and all other ranks, 9th Light Horse, on brilliant success in raid. Execution reflects great credit on all concerned."

From Major-General H. C. Chauvel, CB, C.M.G., commanding Anzac Mounted Division, to Brigadier-General J. M. Antill, CB, commanding 3rd Light Horse Brigade:

"Hearty congratulations to self, Scott, all concerned. Brilliant success."

(Signed) Chauvel.

The Corps Commander, Lieut.-General Sir A. J. Godley, K.C.B.,, K.C.M.G., in addressing Major Scott's Jif-Jaffa party on the 18th April, said:

"Officers, NCO's and men of Major Scott's Jif-Jaffa party, I am very pleased to be here to have the opportunity on behalf of all Australians and New Zealanders of the 2nd Anzac Corps of expressing our admiration for the gallant feat of arms which you have performed. We are, one and all, very proud of you. You have carried out an enterprise which can certainly be ranked as being equal to any that has been accomplished during the war and will no doubt be carried out in the future.

"It is unfortunate that more honours on an occasion like this cannot be distributed, but by His Majesty the King graciously consenting to confer the Distinguished Service Order on your commander, he not only honours him, but every one of the command. I again repeat my admiration for the work you have done, and congratulate you."

 

Further Reading:

9th Australian Light Horse Regiment, AIF
 
9th Australian Light Horse Regiment, Roll of Honour 

The Jifjafa Raid, Sinai, April 10 to 14

Battles where Australians fought, 1899-1920

 


Citation: The Jifjafa Raid, Sinai, April 10 to 14, 1916, 9th LHR, AIF, Unit History Account

Posted by Project Leader at 12:01 AM EADT
Updated: Monday, 30 November 2009 8:07 AM EAST
9th LHR AIF War Diary, 11 April
Topic: AIF - 3B - 9 LHR

9th LHR, AIF

9th Light Horse Regiment

War Diary, 11 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

Saturday, April 11, 1914

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

 

1915

Sunday, April 11, 1915

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

9th Light Horse Regiment War Diary -  No entry.

Carew Reynell Diary - No entry.

 

1916

Tuesday, April 11, 1916

9th Light Horse Regiment Location - Serapeum, Egypt.

9th Light Horse Regiment War Diary - No entry.

 

Jifjafa

At 1407 (2.07 pm) a Squadron of the 9th LHR (130 men and 138 horses) under the command of Major W. H. Scott, left Railhead, Serapeum, for raid on a Turkish force reported by British aircraft to be undertaking work on sinking wells at Bir el Jifjaffa, about 52 miles east of the Suez Canal.

Capt A. E. Wearne with 12 other ranks of the 8th LHR accompanied this column to act as scouts, in light of the knowledge and experience of the country gained from the previous reconnaissance mission out to Wadi um Muksheib. Of the 12 men of the 8th LHR, Sergeants George W. Fuzzard No. 50 and Paul J. McGinness No. 324. LCpl John W. J. Miles No. 418, Tpr's Stephen F. Monaghan No. 976, and Alfred W. H. Copley No. 1496, were known members.

The column had attached, Capt MacCaulay, 2nd A&NZ Staff, 3rd Anzac Division, as intelligence officer. Capt Ayrie, 10th LHR, ADC to GOC, 3rd LH Bdge, as Major Scott's Staff officer. Both these officers took 2 horses each.

Two Native guides and one Interpreter, 3 horses.
Army Medical Corps, one officer and 8 other ranks, 13 horses, two sand carts, 6 camels, five of which carrying Cacolets.
One Warrant Officer, Army Service Corps, 1 horse.
2nd Lt Colghlan and 9 other ranks, Australian Engineers, 10 horses and 4 camels. To carry out intelligence and demolition work at the Turkish wells.

Lt Eggar and four other ranks of the Royal Engineers, Wireless Section, 5 Sudanese drivers, 1 horse and 15 camels.
Lt Snooks and Lt Pitman, Royal Flying Corps, Signalling Apparatus, 2 horses and 4 camels. Communications with aircraft of the Royal Flying Corps undertaking forward reconnaissance.

Major Scott's report states that the column proceeded in a South Westerly direction from the Railhead Camp at a formal walk, with a halt at 10 minutes to every hour, resuming march on the hour. At 1700 hours, the column halted to feed the horses. As the column had moved further out the ground gradually got firmer for the horses and the pass had quickened. The commanding officer of the Field Ambulance requested that the pace of the head of the column be slackened, as his horses pulling the sand carts, had to trot in places to keep up and even then had to travel three or four minutes at every halt just to catch up with the column.
The column moved off again at 1930 hours and set a course for the Wadi um Muksheib, travelling on a fairly strait rout except for having to skirt occasional sand hills. The Wadi was reached at 2130 hours and the column proceeded to move down along the Wadi floor until camp was struck at 2230 hours. Here the Camel Train of the Camel Transport Corps was met.

The Camel Transport Corps was under the command of one officer, along with two Warrant officers. 29 Light Horse drivers were attached, riding camels. A detachment of the Bikanir Camel Corps, under the command of Lt Knir Singh, with 25 other ranks and 12 camels for rations and forage, escorted the Camel Transport Train.

The column bivouacked here until the following morning.

 

1917

Wednesday, April 11, 1917
9th Light Horse Regiment Location - Deir el Belah
9th Light Horse Regiment War Diary - The Regiment undertook routine work for the day.
 

1918

Thursday, April 11, 1918
9th Light Horse Regiment Location - Selmieh
9th Light Horse Regiment War Diary - Commanding Officer attended aeroplane contact work at Sarona aerodrome from 1000 to 1130.
Mounted bayonet training at 1430.
At 1430, Williamson, 1050 Driver G, whilst driving a half limber of grain between A and C Squadrons was thrown from the limber and onto the ground with the wheel passing over his head with fatal results.
Driver Williamson died within a few minutes.
Football final between 9th and 10th Light Horse Regiments with 10th Light Horse Regiment winning by 3 Points - Australian Rules Football.
Williamson, 1050 Trooper G, accidentally killed.

 

1919

Friday, April 11, 1919
9th Light Horse Regiment Location - Zagazig
9th Light Horse Regiment War Diary - One mounted troop patrolled to Ghazalet - El Khis - El Ghar reporting all quiet.

 


Previous: 9th LHR AIF War Diary, 10 April

Next: 9th LHR AIF War Diary, 12 April

 

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, 11 April

Posted by Project Leader at 12:01 AM EADT
Updated: Saturday, 31 July 2010 11:46 AM EADT

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