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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.

The Australian Light Horse Studies Centre site holds over 12,000 entries and is growing daily.

Contact: Australian Light Horse Studies Centre

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Monday, 2 February 2009
Hindenburg Outpost Line, France, September 18, 1918
Topic: BatzWF - Westn Front

Hindenburg Outpost Line

France, 18 September 1918

 

Hindenburg Outpost Line, an action fought on 18 September 1918, which involved the 1st and 4th Australian divisions in breaching the forward edge of the main German defensive line across the Picardy region of northern France. By this stage the Hindenburg defences had been developed into a complex network of great depth, bristling with wire obstacles and well protected by numerous machine-guns. The British forces closing from the west were confronted not just by the main system of the original Hindenburg Line and the outpost line in front, but also the three lines of trenches they themselves had constructed to face it; the latter, overrun by the Germans in March and left empty for the six months since, had been occupied by the enemy and incorporated into the overall system.

Initially the British had no idea upon which of these various lines the Germans would choose to fight. It was only after the Australians had succeeded in capturing the first line of defences (the old British reserve trenches) on 11 September, using the tactics of aggressive patrolling dubbed 'peaceful penetration', that it was established that the Germans intended to mount their main resistance from what was formerly the British main line of defences. Behind this the old British and German outpost lines had been merged into a system to presently house reserves. Still behind this was the main system of the original Hindenburg Line - situated east of the Mont St Quentin Canal which connected the sources of the Somme and Scheldt rivers and built partly over the Bellicourt tunnel (through which the canal ran)-and further systems known as the Nauroy and Beaurevoir lines, though these were held only by emergency garrisons if at all.

Recognising the colossal strength of the whole complex confronting his forces, the British Fourth Army commander (General Sir Henry Rawlinson) obtained approval to make a formal assault against the old British lines-aimed in the first instance with determining whether it was possible to break through the Hindenburg main line. This meant piercing the German defences at least as far as the old Hindenburg outpost line, from where it would be possible to overlook the rest of' the formidable system. For this operation the Australian Corps under Lieut. General Sir John Monash was given the main task of piercing the enemy centre; the British 3rd and 9th corps, on the Australians' northern and southern flanks respectively, had supporting roles.

Following a very heavy artillery barrage, Monash launched his attack at dawn in drizzling rain and dense fog. The mist (and smoke-shells) enabled troops of the 1st Division on the left to bypass and cut of-l' many of the  German defenders, and by this means fight their way through the two remaining old British lines to reach and seize the outpost system of the Hindenburg Line itself'. Part of the 4th Division, advancing on the southern flank, used the gains made by their colleagues of the 1st to gain entry into the German trenches, then bombed their way clown tile line to take their objective. The Australian casualty toll of 1,260 was relatively light for the type of fighting in which the 6,800 troops found themselves involved; moreover, they had taken 4,300 prisoners and captured 76 guns. Progress by neither of the flanking corps was as advanced or complete.



Extracted from the book produced by Chris Coulthard-Clark, Where Australians Fought - The Encyclopaedia of Australia's Battles, Allen and Unwin, Sydney, 1998, pp. 158-159.

 

Additional References cited by Chris Coulthard-Clark:

C.E.W. Bean (1937) The Australian Imperial Force in France during the Main German Offensive, 1918, Sydney: Angus & Robertson.

 

Further Reading:

Battles where Australians fought, 1899-1920

 


Citation: Hindenburg Outpost Line, France, September 18, 1918

Posted by Project Leader at 11:01 PM EAST
Updated: Sunday, 5 April 2009 12:01 PM EADT
Suez Canal Attack, Egypt, Ferguson, REPORT OF FIGHTING ON CANAL
Topic: BatzS - Suez 1915

Suez Canal Attack

Egypt, January 28 - February 3, 1915

 Ferguson, REPORT OF FIGHTING ON CANAL

 

The following is an extract from:

Ferguson, D., The History Of The Canterbury Regiment New Zealand Expeditionary Force 1914 - 1919, Auckland, Whitcombe & Tombs, 1921. pp. 14 - 16.

 

REPORT OF FIGHTING ON CANAL

February 2nd to 4th, 1915.

KANTARA:

Early on the morning of the 3rd an attack was made on our outposts which was repulsed, the enemy retreating leaving 15 killed and wounded and 40 unwounded. Later in the day a partial attack was made from the S.E., but the enemy were stopped 200 yards from the position.

EL F'ERDAN:

At El Ferdan. where the 13th Regiment Company and two platoons of the 1st Regiment Company were stationed, the enemy made an attack. At 7 a.m. a Turkish Battery of four small guns opened fire on the Signal Station, finding the range immediately; they hit the buildings several times. At this juncture H.M.S. Clio came up and silenced the batteries, though she was hit three times in so doing. The action was ended at 1 p.m.

BATTERY POST:

North of Ismailia, at the Battery Post, there were two platoons of the 12th Nelson Regiment Company. These men were not actually fired on. But the battery on their left was shelled. Later in the day this post was relieved by two platoons of the 3rd Auckland Regiment Company. These platoons were shelled on their way out to the post but suffered no casualties.

ISMAILIA FERRY:

By Ismailia Ferry Post, where the 2nd South Canterbury Company were stationed under Major Grant as general reserve, the enemy were found to be entrenching about half a mile to the east at daylight. Two battalions (sic) opened fire, and the enemy's guns engaged the Hardinge, Requin, and our Mountain Artillery. Though no regular attack was made, intermittent shelling continued throughout the day. The New Zealand platoons actually saw no fighting, but they were exposed to shell fire throughout the day. Some of the shells fired at this point fell within half a mile of the ground where the Auckland and Canterbury Battalions were encamped.

The shipping on Lake Timsah was subjected to shell fire during the day. and also the outskirts of Ismailia at various points.

During the night of the 3rd a half-hearted attack was made, after which the enemy withdrew the bulk of their forces to Kataib El Kheil.

TOUSSUM AND SERAPEUM.

At daylight on the 3rd the enemy were found to be close to Toussum and Serapeum, and their guns opened fire on both posts. At the latter post where our ships and artillery engaged the enemy, there were two platoons of the 12th Nelson Regiment Company under Major Brereton, who took up outposts at 5 p.m.on the night of the 2nd on the west bank of the Canal. On his right was a battery of the Lancashire Artillery, and on his left the 62nd Punjabis Infantry. All was quiet until 3.20 a.m., when heavy machine-gun fire from the enemy commenced to our north.

At this time there was no fire to the New Zealanders' front. The Punjabis were reinforced with 30 of our men, who on arrival at once commenced opening fire at a party of Turks attempting cross the Canal in boats, which movement they effectively stopped. At this the enemy retreated and entrenched on the eastern bank under our fire. Many of the enemy tried to retreat but were stopped by our fire. We were helped by enfilading fire from the rest of the two platoons on our right, who had the command of the enemy's trenches for a distance of 1,200 yards.

There were three distinct attempts made to cross the Canal at this point, all of which failed. A counter-attack by the 62nd Punjabis about mid-day produced considerable results. Early in the afternoon orders were received to close on the 22nd Brigade Headquarters. During this move Private Ham was severely wounded and afterwards succumbed to his wounds. The only other New Zealand casualty was that of Sergeant Williams, who was slightly wounded by shrapnel. Outpost duty was resumed at 5 p.m. No more fighting took place except for persistent sniping, the enemy having retired leaving many dead and nearly 300 prisoners.

On the morning of the 4th, troops from Serapeum captured 150 of the enemy, who were still entrenched on the Canal bank some one and a half miles south of Toussum, after having been treacherously fired on, the white flag having been raised and signs of surrender made.

During the day H.M.S. Swiftsure, Clio, and Hardinge, the French ships Requin, D'Entreastreaux, as well as torpedo boats and launches engaged the enemy and rendered valuable assistance. The Hardinge was struck by two 6 in. shells and had ten men wounded. The Swiftsure had one man killed. Military casualties were:- British officers killed, 1; wounded, 4. British, Indian, and Egyptian rank and file killed, 17; wounded, 79. The enemy along the Canal 'at all points attacked, appear to muster in all some 12,000 men, and at least six batteries. One 6 in. gun was also located, which is. thought to have been silenced by the Requin.

Throughout the fighting two companies were always kept ready to leave camp at a moment's notice to reinforce any position where they might be required.

Over 500 of the enemy were buried by our troops, and upwards of 500 are prisoners in our hands. It is calculated that on a basis of three wounded to one killed, the enemy must have suffered a loss of at least 1,500 wounded, making total casualties of between 2,500 and 3,000. The enemy is now in retreat all along the line: whether they will make another attack cannot yet be determined. It has been ascertained that General Dyemal Pasha was present during the action with a number of German officers, one or whom has been killed.

On February 3rd a message of congratulation on the three days' fighting was received from the General Officer Commanding in Chief and Lord Kitchener.

A. C. TEMPERLEY,
Major,
Brigade Major,
New Zealand Infantry Brigade.

Ismailia.
February 12th, 1915.

 

Further Reading:

Suez Canal Attack, Egypt, Contents

Where Australians Fought, Sinai, 1916-1917

Light Horse Battles

Battles where Australians fought, 1899-1920

 


Citation: Suez Canal Attack, Egypt,  Ferguson, REPORT OF FIGHTING ON CANAL


Posted by Project Leader at 12:01 AM EAST
Updated: Monday, 27 April 2009 10:31 AM EADT
Bert Schramm's Diary, 2 February 1919
Topic: Diary - Schramm

Diaries of AIF Servicemen

Bert Schramm

 

During part of the course of his military service with the AIF, 2823 Private Herbert Leslie Schramm, a farmer from White's River, near Tumby Bay on the Eyre Peninsular, kept a diary of his life. Bert was not a man of letters so this diary was produced with great effort on his behalf. Bert made a promise to his sweetheart, Lucy Solley, that he would do so after he received the blank pocket notebook wherein these entries are found. As a Brigade Scout since September 1918, he took a lead part in the September 1918 breakout by the Allied forces in Palestine. Bert's diary entries are placed alongside those of the 9th Light Horse Regiment to which he belonged and to the 3rd Light Horse Brigade to which the 9th LHR was attached. On this basis we can follow Bert in the context of his formation.

 Bert Schramm's Diary, 2 February 1919

 


Bert Schramm's Handwritten Diary, 31 January - 4 February 1919

[Click on page for a larger print version.]

Diaries

Bert Schramm

Sunday, February 2, 1919

Bert Schramm's Location - Tripoli, Lebanon.

Bert Schramm's Diary -  Sun. Has been raining continuously all day and bitterly cold. No fresh news.

 

 

9th Light Horse Regiment War Diary

9th Light Horse Regiment Location - Tripoli, Lebanon.

9th Light Horse Regiment War Diary - Usual camp routine.

 

Darley

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

No Entry


Previous: Bert Schramm's Diary, 1 February 1919

Next: Bert Schramm's Diary, 3 February 1919

 

Further Reading:

9th Light Horse Regiment AIF War Diary - Complete day by day list

Bert Schramm Diary

Bert Schramm Diary - Complete day by day list

 

Additional Reading:

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

 


Citation: Bert Schramm's Diary, 2 February 1919


Posted by Project Leader at 12:01 AM EAST
Updated: Sunday, 3 May 2009 10:11 PM EADT
10th Australian Light Horse Regiment, Embarkation: "B" Squadron
Topic: AIF - 3B - 10 LHR

10th LHR, AIF

10th Australian Light Horse Regiment

Embarkation: "B" Squadron.

 

Embarkation Information.

The 10th LHR "B" Squadron embarked from Fremantle, Western Australia on 8 February 1915. The ship was:

 HMAT A47 Mashobra

[See: His Majesty's Australian Transports [HMAT] Ships, A47.

 

The men.

The following is a list in alphbetical order of the men who comprised the Headquarters Section of the 10th LHR and are recorded on the embarkation rolls as having embarked from Fremantle, Western Australia on 8 February 1915.

In listing the men, they are only identified by full name and AIF Regimental Service Number or as an officer as their rank status fluctuated often, even at embarkation, making it an impossible to give each man their correct rank on embarkation. Officers were not given a service number during the Great War. [See: The Australian Light Horse - Structure, Regimental Service Number.]

 

Frank James Anderson, AIF Regimental Service Number: 221.

Stanley Gordon Andrews, AIF Regimental Service Number: 234.

Percival William Armstrong, AIF Regimental Service Number: 233.

William John Baker, AIF Regimental Service Number: 235.

Ernest George Beard, AIF Regimental Service Number: 236.

Charles William Beswick, AIF Regimental Service Number: 237.

Arthur John Thomas Biggs, AIF Regimental Service Number: 240.

Roy Bishop, AIF Regimental Service Number: 241.

Charles Henry Edward Blackman, AIF Regimental Service Number: 354.

Reginald John Branley, AIF Regimental Service Number: 242.

Thomas James Brown, AIF Regimental Service Number: 239.

Allan Leighton Browne, AIF Regimental Service Number: 238.

Frederick Ernest Bruce, AIF Regimental Service Number: 243.

Thomas Buckingham, AIF Regimental Service Number: 244.

Henri Buland, AIF Regimental Service Number: 353.

Irwin Carleton Burges, AIF Regimental Service Number: 222.

John Campbell, AIF Regimental Service Number: 247.

Robert Campbell, AIF Regimental Service Number: 248.

James Herbert Cannon, AIF Regimental Service Number: 249.

Charles John Carlson, AIF Regimental Service Number: 250.

John Henry Choyce, AIF Regimental Service Number: 355.

George Cockburn, AIF Regimental Service Number: 533.

William Courtney Coe, AIF Regimental Service Number: 257.

James Arthu Compston, AIF Regimental Service Number: 253.

George Joseph Connolly, AIF Regimental Service Number: 245.

Arthur Ambrose Cook, AIF Regimental Service Number: 255.

John Cooper, AIF Regimental Service Number: 246.

Harry Corker, AIF Regimental Service Number: 252.

Leslie Craig, Officer. 

Thomas Crowe, AIF Regimental Service Number: 532.

Edward John Culloton, AIF Regimental Service Number: 256.

Joseph Percy Cutler, AIF Regimental Service Number: 258.

Eric Owen Davies, AIF Regimental Service Number: 260.

Edward Augustus Davis, AIF Regimental Service Number: 259.

George Day, AIF Regimental Service Number: 214.

George Parkman Debnam, AIF Regimental Service Number: 261.

Edward William Doherty, AIF Regimental Service Number: 230.

Timothy Driscoll, AIF Regimental Service Number: 262.

Percival Francis Dunn, AIF Regimental Service Number: 263.

John Eakins, AIF Regimental Service Number: 264.

Sydney Eaves, AIF Regimental Service Number: 265.

Victor Horace Edwards, AIF Regimental Service Number: 266.

James Maxwell Ferguson, AIF Regimental Service Number: 272.

David Henry Ferris, AIF Regimental Service Number: 270.

Jack Flux, AIF Regimental Service Number: 521.

Denroach Hubert Foss, AIF Regimental Service Number: 268.

Charles John Fowles, AIF Regimental Service Number: 271.

Philip George Franklyn, AIF Regimental Service Number: 267.

Roscoe Conkling Free, AIF Regimental Service Number: 356.

Henry Phillip Fry, Officer. 

Robert John Galvin, AIF Regimental Service Number: 273.

Ewan Hugh Thomas Gardiner, AIF Regimental Service Number: 269.

Charles Gilbert, AIF Regimental Service Number: 275.

John Godlee, AIF Regimental Service Number: 274.

Frank Daniel Gorey, AIF Regimental Service Number: 228.

Charles Gorringe, AIF Regimental Service Number: 277.

William Ernest Greedy, AIF Regimental Service Number: 276.

Clarence Stanley Nunn Grenville, AIF Regimental Service Number: 229.

Harold Joseph Hackett, AIF Regimental Service Number: 286.

Leslie John Hellier Hammond, AIF Regimental Service Number: 287.

Walter George Roy Hammond, AIF Regimental Service Number: 288.

William John Hampshire, AIF Regimental Service Number: 293.

Robert Gordon Hann, AIF Regimental Service Number: 285.

Richard Hardy, AIF Regimental Service Number: 284.

Harold White Harper, AIF Regimental Service Number: 216.

Geoffrey Gamet Hasfall, AIF Regimental Service Number: 217.

John Laing Hebiton, AIF Regimental Service Number: 291.

George Henderson, AIF Regimental Service Number: 289.

Alexander McPherson Hill, AIF Regimental Service Number: 290.

Henry Hill, AIF Regimental Service Number: 292.

Henry George Hill, AIF Regimental Service Number: 283.

Arthur John Hornsey, AIF Regimental Service Number: 280.

St John Atkinson Horton, AIF Regimental Service Number: 282.

Edmund Roy Howell, AIF Regimental Service Number: 281.

Clarence Edward Hutton, AIF Regimental Service Number: 279.

William Samuel Johnson, AIF Regimental Service Number: 294.

Sydney St Maur Johnston, AIF Regimental Service Number: 295.

Thomas Anderson Kidd, Officer. 

Noel Doyle Kidson, AIF Regimental Service Number: 223.

Edward Nathan Knight, AIF Regimental Service Number: 296.

Allan Ernest Albert Lamond, AIF Regimental Service Number: 302.

Arthur John Lee, AIF Regimental Service Number: 215.

William Oliver Lewis, AIF Regimental Service Number: 298.

Joseph Allan Locke, AIF Regimental Service Number: 299.

Wilfred George Lovejoy, AIF Regimental Service Number: 300.

Albert Lumbers, AIF Regimental Service Number: 301.

Peter John Lynch, AIF Regimental Service Number: 297.

Colin Hendric Macbean, AIF Regimental Service Number: 220.

Reginald William Maccallum, AIF Regimental Service Number: 225.

Henry Charles Maccormack, AIF Regimental Service Number: 314.

Edmund Macgregor, AIF Regimental Service Number: 317.

Frederick James Macgregor, AIF Regimental Service Number: 315.

Alexander Macintyre, AIF Regimental Service Number: 316.

John Abington Macleod, AIF Regimental Service Number: 318.

Henry Maclachlan Macnee, AIF Regimental Service Number: 313.

Albert Alfred Martin, AIF Regimental Service Number: 308.

William Henry Mason, AIF Regimental Service Number: 307.

Robert John Mcadam, AIF Regimental Service Number: 311.

Ivanhoe Mccarthy, AIF Regimental Service Number: 312.

Richard William Mccorry, AIF Regimental Service Number: 309.

Michael Mcewan, AIF Regimental Service Number: 515.

Douglas Mcgowan, AIF Regimental Service Number: 310.

James Mckenna, AIF Regimental Service Number: 359.

Richard Henry Mellor, AIF Regimental Service Number: 306.

Thomas Bedford Mitchell, AIF Regimental Service Number: 512.

Percy Sutherland Mofflin, AIF Regimental Service Number: 227.

Jacques Mony, AIF Regimental Service Number: 358.

Horton Percy Moore, AIF Regimental Service Number: 303.

Herbert Cecil Moss, AIF Regimental Service Number: 304.

Herbert Edward Mundy, AIF Regimental Service Number: 305.

Julius Orlebar Murray-prior, AIF Regimental Service Number: 323.

Ernest Charles Myers, AIF Regimental Service Number: 232.

George Neilson, AIF Regimental Service Number: 319.

Clive Lanyon Nicholas, Officer. 

George Maynard Parkinson, AIF Regimental Service Number: 324.

Daniel Pearce, AIF Regimental Service Number: 322.

Arthur Albert Pearson, AIF Regimental Service Number: 325.

Adolphus Ernest Alfred Pfundt, AIF Regimental Service Number: 328.

Arthur Thomas Pitts, AIF Regimental Service Number: 327.

Thomas Francis Quailey, AIF Regimental Service Number: 329.

Alexander Rae, AIF Regimental Service Number: 331.

Allan Raeside, AIF Regimental Service Number: 330.

Frank Albert Rawlings, AIF Regimental Service Number: 231.

Thomas Alfred Reddell, AIF Regimental Service Number: 332.

Harold Roach, AIF Regimental Service Number: 335.

Charles Archibald Robinson, AIF Regimental Service Number: 333.

Edward James Rouse, AIF Regimental Service Number: 334.

Albert Ruwoldt, AIF Regimental Service Number: 336.

Heinrick Carl Ludwig Ruwoldt, AIF Regimental Service Number: 337.

Patrick Joseph Ryan, AIF Regimental Service Number: 338.

James Ryder, AIF Regimental Service Number: 218.

William Sanderson, AIF Regimental Service Number: 219.

Frederick Schmidt, AIF Regimental Service Number: 343.

Ernest Charles Gordon Scott, Officer. 

John Andrew Scott, AIF Regimental Service Number: 226.

Claude Augustus Sherwood, Officer. 

Albert Edward Slavin, AIF Regimental Service Number: 341.

Joseph Smith, AIF Regimental Service Number: 213.

Archibald Smythe, AIF Regimental Service Number: 340.

John Spingall, AIF Regimental Service Number: 212.

Alfred Streatfield, AIF Regimental Service Number: 347.

Albert Robert Strutton, AIF Regimental Service Number: 339.

William Thompson, AIF Regimental Service Number: 346.

Harold Thorn, AIF Regimental Service Number: 344.

Maurice Ethelred Tiernan, AIF Regimental Service Number: 345.

John Tipping, AIF Regimental Service Number: 525.

George Hadie Veitch, AIF Regimental Service Number: 348.

Patrick Richard Stewart Walford, AIF Regimental Service Number: 224.

Frederick Harold Weston, AIF Regimental Service Number: 357.

Lawrence Hamill White, AIF Regimental Service Number: 350.

Clive Theodore Williams, AIF Regimental Service Number: 505.

John George Williams, AIF Regimental Service Number: 351.

Philip Harding Williams, AIF Regimental Service Number: 534.



The full Embarkation Roll for the 10th LHR Headquarters Section may by downloaded from the Australian War Memorial at the following address:


AWM8, 10/15/1 - 10 LHR [Light Horse Regiment] (February 1915)

 

Further Reading:

10th Australian Light Horse Regiment, AIF, History 

10th Australian Light Horse Regiment, Contents 

Battles where Australians fought, 1899-1920

 


Citation: 10th Australian Light Horse Regiment, Embarkation:  "B" Squadron

Posted by Project Leader at 12:01 AM EAST
Updated: Wednesday, 6 May 2009 9:24 PM EADT
Sunday, 1 February 2009
Suez Canal Attack, Egypt, 12/774 Private William David Kemp's Diary
Topic: BatzS - Suez 1915

Suez Canal Attack

Egypt, January 28 - February 3, 1915

 12/774 Private William David Kemp's Diary

 

The following is an extract from:

The diary entries regarding the action at the Suez from 12/774 Private William David Kemp, 16th Waikato, Auckland Infantry Battalion.

January 1915

Saturday 30th.

Had a fairly easy day and had a little drill, and then marched down to canal & had a swim. After dinner we had relay races & thirteen platoon top the score. While down there we saw some Australians & N.Z. troops sailing through the canal. Got back to camp had some tea, then went up town for some foodstuffs. Ismailia is a very pretty place situated in the midst of palms, and other trees. To see it from where we are one would think it was just a forest but and lovely drives to the lake on the Canal. Mic & Alex received note from Charley Neber passing through the canal. He threw it off the transport & one of the 3rd Coy boys which were on guard on the edge of the Canal swam out and got it & brought it back to camp & in the evening he came to our tent & gave it to Mic & Alex it was very curious getting them like that


Sunday 31st.

Had church parade in morning had dinner, and about two o clock orders came out that thirteen platoon to prepare for outpost & had to fall in as soon as possible. We marched out of camp about four miles, & relieved the Gurkas of their Post on the banks of the canal. They are very good trenches. The distance from our trenches to the other side of the Canal is 200 yds. Six of us maned the trenches that evening & I was one of them. Two of us went on at a time, for two hours on & four hours off during the night, no Turks came in sights. A party of Indian troops passed our front, on patrol and came back about four hours later.


February 1915

(Monday 1st.)

In the morning we were releived [sic] by a fresh party of our boys & we had a spell for the rest of the day. We took some rice out with us & boiled a dixy for breakfast & it was tip-top. Several ships passed through the Canal while on guard there. About four (PM) the sixteen Platoon came down to releive our platoon, so Tony & I went on to the ferry, about one mile away to get the transport to go back & get our blankets but he had to much of a load on, & had to leave them but just as our platoon was on leaving some camals [sic] came along, & they packed the blankets on two of them & brought into camp. Tony & I came on & got some tea boiled for the boys. I forgot to state that there was a very unfortunate accident on Monday morning. There are about a dozen (R) A.M.C. attached to their battery in case any of them are wounded, & two of these were sleeping in a trench which they had rigged up to put wounded in during the shrapnel firing, & was covered over with board & two feet of sand on top it collapsed & were buried alive. I went over to their camp to get some water, & they took me to see the poor fellow, & they were very much cut about. It was a great pity they should loose their lives in such a manner.


Tuesday 2nd.

Practised entraining in the morning, & light drill in afternoon. Heard firing over canal not far from us both rifle & big guns very warm, a little rain last night. Some of the Cant. Batt. Left hurriedly tonight in armoured train & all our leave stopped so we may see some fun very soon.


Wed 3rd.

Sargeant came round half past five in morning woke us up & said we had to be on fatigue at to six. We loaded kit bags carted them down to the depot. Seen 36 Turkish prisoners in the train on their way to Cairo. Met John on the platform. After tea seen some four hundred Turk prisoners some badly wounded, also a Spy & West Aferican.

1020 Turks captured. Trains stopped running, & boats stopped from going through the canal. Officer in charge of the Turks which was a German hoisted the white flag & when our officer went forward shot him dead then the Indians nearly wiped them out.


Thursday 4th.

Did a little drill in the morning. In camp in afternoon & went on fatigue from eight P.M. till ten carting bread & meat from station.


Friday 5th.

Had a lie in this morning. Orders have come round to prepear for a minutes notice & are all ready. Friday evening, Been in waiting all day got orders tonight to prepear for a early start in the morning, revellie at three a.m., and proceeding over the canal to attack the Turks.

 

Note: The diary entries have not been modified so as to give the full flavour of the language, spelling and grammar, hence the obvious errors. To correct them would be to dilute the authentic voice of the man telling the story.

 

Further Reading:

Suez Canal Attack, Egypt, Contents

Where Australians Fought, Sinai, 1916-1917

Light Horse Battles

Battles where Australians fought, 1899-1920

 


Citation: Suez Canal Attack, Egypt,  12/774 Private William David Kemp's Diary


Posted by Project Leader at 12:01 AM EAST
Updated: Monday, 27 April 2009 10:32 AM EADT

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