"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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Sunday, 1 March 2009
Second Bullecourt, France, May 3 to 17, 1917 Topic: BatzWF - Westn Front
France, 3 - 17 May 1917
The Hindenburg Line at Bullecourt from the air.
Second Bullecourt, the renewed attempt to seize an advanced bastion of the Hindenburg Line (see First Bullecourt), took place on 3-17 May 1917. Again, enveloping attacks were to be made by the 2nd Australian Division and the British 62nd Division - the former striking east of the village (now reduced to rubble), the latter to the west. Following the failure of the first attack, which had been hastily devised by the British Fifth Army, the staff of I Anzac Corps insisted on having a greater say in preparations. This time there would he no tanks working with the Australians (there was with the British) and the mistake of dispensing with a protective barrage for the infantry was not repeated. This operation was to form the extreme right portion of a resumed offensive being launched on 3 May by British forces along a front of 25 kilometres, in conjunction with a French offensive further south to begin the following day.
The attack went in at 3.45 a.m. on the planned date. On the Australian side the advancing 5th and 6th brigades encountered deadly fire while breaching wire entanglements, but part of the latter succeeded in breaking into the enemy trenches and seized a foothold of several bays. On the left the 62nd Division also managed to seize part of the enemy line but could not take the village, which was one of its objectives. Attempts were made to expand the gains made by the Australians by bombing up the trenches, but these were furiously resisted by troops of the 27th Württemberg Division forming the garrison. Despite the strength of the enemy's counter-attacks, the gap seized - about 600 metres - was still held as night fell, and at 1 a.m. on 4 May the weary 6th Brigade was relieved by troops of the 1st Division.
Captured German trench at Bullecourt.
German efforts to dislodge the Australians followed for the next fortnight, producing some of the most intense trench fighting of the war. On 7 May a renewed effort by the British on the left, this time by the 7th Division, succeeded in reaching the eastern side of Bullecourt and linking up with the Australians. The next day the 5th Australian Division was brought up and took over from the 1st Division the defence of the eastern part of the line. Efforts by both British and Australian troops to steadily consolidate their hold were interrupted by a final furious counter-attack on 15 May, and when this was repulsed the enemy decided to withdraw entirely from around what was left of Bullecourt.
The Bullecourt-Hendecourt area from the German view of the battlefield.
Although this battle had resulted in a remarkable victory, the effort had cost the A.I.F. 7,482 casualties. Instead of a subsidiary attack as part of' a wider Allied offensive, Bullecourt had become the focus of practically the whole British front when operations elsewhere failed; the French advance did not proceed at all. This meant that the struggle for a small, tactically useless piece of ground had assumed an importance out of all proportion to the original rationale. Moreover, it had drawn in not one but three Australian divisions and left them all in serious need of rest and recovery. The drain on reinforcements entailed by this effort had wider implications too, ending plans to continue expanding the AIF.
The following article by Philip Redding called George Redding, WW1 Veteran recaptures lost information about an iconic pose of a Light Horseman during the Great War. Philip Redding details his journey in discovering his uncle.
George Redding, WW1 Veteran
by Philip Redding
In 1918 Frank Hurley took a photo of a veteran Light Horseman picking anemone flowers in Belah, Egypt after heavy rain. Kathryn WHITE, one of the readers of this magazine, saw a likeness to my father's brother, George Redding, who was the subject of an article published in 2000. The photo of him with his cousin, George BURKE, had been taken in Egypt in 1918. George Redding was 18 years over the limit for enlisting and his cousin was under the limit but went to the Queensland Premier and got his permission to enlist. The "two Georges" was a good case of under age and over the limit in enlisting policy. Kathryn thought there had to be a connection between the two photos as "the un-named veteran" and George seemed to have so many things in common that there must be a match.
While visiting the Australian War Memorial Research Room to research an article about my father who had been a prisoner of war in Germany, I saw the photo of the veteran Light Horseman in the Memorial's Captured in Colour exhibition. I immediately went to the Archives Section again and asked whether I could make a claim on the "veteran Light Horseman". The head of the photo section then went to town and checked George's war service. "Yes, he was definitely in the right place." He then looked at Frank Hurley'S diary to see if he was there at the time George was at Belah. By the time the photo was taken, George was all of 60, so a veteran indeed!
I was asked to put together all I knew of George's movements and his war history and send it to the archivist. Fortunately, there are many photos of George at that time. He did not die until 1935. He was managing the soldier settlements in the Victorian Mallee. The family had him at the Boer War but I could not find any records of this in Australia and will have to go to South Africa for these.
The upshot of all this was a letter saying that the Australian War Memorial is now happy to have a name for the Veteran soldier picking anemone flowers after the rain and it is George Redding. So, thanks to Kathryn White, our reader with very sharp eyes, and to the Archives section of the Australian War Memorial in Canberra who accepted all my arguments that such an epic photo deserved someone like my Uncle George.
From Philip Redding, George Redding, WW1 Veteran, Australian Family Tree Connections, April 2007, p.15.
Photo of George Redding and George Burke taken in Syria, 1919
8th Light Horsemen prepare Captain George Fay's body for burial.
[This was Picture 2 referred to in Redding's letter to Mrs Fay.]
After the death of Captain George Fay at the battle of El Burj [See: 9th LHR AIF War Diary, 1 December for full details.] Trooper George Redding wrote a poignant letter to Mrs Elizabeth J Fay, the wife of the late Captain George Fay. The six children of George and Elizabeth Fay were: Reginald, Bernard George, Harold, Laura, Edward, and George.
The letter sent by George Redding to Mrs Elizabeth J Fay about the death of Captain George Fay.
[Click on letter for larger version.]
Port Said, 20/3/1918
Dear Mrs Fay
I am able to give you some particulars of Capt Fay's end that I haven't when I last wrote - it goes without saying he done his duty he met his death doing more as he volunteered to take his comrade's place who wasn't feeling well. I am enclosing some snapshots. The first is of his grave; the second is when the stretcher bearers are moving his body, the Dr is standing alongside; the third is where he is taking his squadron into action the afternoon of the night he was killed. You can see the shells bursting in front of them. I hope Mrs Fay you are bearing up under your very great loss. We of the eighth realise what your loss is for however we lost him ourselves, the saddest day we have had in Egypt. We mourned our poor old Colonel and as better soldier ever led men but he haven't. George was of endearing himself to all alike. Personally I miss him very much as he was one of the few I could talk of home to. I always felt I was welcome at his tent and many a happy hour I spent with him talking of the past camps where there was no shell bursting. They say in the army the eighth are unlucky. We are not because we had men like Col. Maygar, Major Shannon and Capt Fay leaving them that we got all the horse tasks to perform.
And now I will say good bye. Trusting that you and the family are well.
I am yours truly G. Redding.
Captain Fay leading his squadron into action at El Burj, 1 December 1917.
[This was Picture 3 referred to in Redding's letter to Mrs Fay.]
George Redding's Death, 6 August 1935
Extract from ***Newspaper*** detailing the circumstances relating to the death of George Redding.
George Redding, respected elder of Beulah.
Mr G Redding dies suddenly. (Thursday 8th August)
Residents of the town were shocked on Tuesday night (6th August 1935), when news was circulated of the sudden death, after a collapse at the Catholic ball of Mr George Redding, at the Beulah Memorial Hall. The late Mr Redding had appeared to be in his usual good health during the day, and as was his practice for many years, attended the annual Catholic ball at night. In his usual jovial manner he joked with several friends when buying his ticket and when the waltz cotillions was announced during the early part of the programme he secured a partner and completed the dance.
On resuming his chair the fatal seizure took place and Mr R Birch, who was sitting with him at the time, noticing his condition, called for medical assistance. Mr Bedding was quickly removed from the main hall to the Soldiers' Lounge, by friends, but although Dr Rabl of Murton, who was present at the ball, attended him, and a few minutes later Dr Hendry, nothing could be done and he died without gaining consciousness. It was fitting that at the moment of his death, this fine old ex-soldier was surrounded by his ex-servicemen friends. Although the nature of his death was a great shock to his relatives and numerous friends, it was probably the type of demise he himself would have chosen.
The late Mr Redding came to Beulah over 14 years ago as an officer of the Closer Settlement Board, and in that capacity became loved and respected by the army soldier settlers of the district to whom he proved a true friend, and it was from the young returned men that he obtained the non-de-plume of "Dad" by which he was so affectionately know.
(section missing) ....
and aided by the great respect by which he was held by the whole district, he soon built up a prosperous connection. Deceased was an enthusiastic and faithful townsman and at some time or other had been connected with every public movement in the township, but he was probably best known as a digger and served in the War with the 8th Regiment of the Light Horse in Egypt and Palestine, having enlisted at the age of 60 years, and his acceptance was only made possible by the fact that this great old man had deducted 15 years from his age for the occasion, combined with his fine physique even at that age. At the time of his death he was considered the oldest survivor of the Great War in Victoria.
The late Mr Redding was also an ardent churchman, and for many years past had been a member of the vestry of St Peter's Church of England and only on Monday night of last week was re-elected to that position. Deceased was undoubtedly one of the most widely known and best loved residents of the township for many years and his demise will be widely mourned. The late Mr Redding was predeceased by his wife four years and the only child of the union died at an early age. Deceased, however is survived by two sisters, Mrs Burke (Tasmania), and Miss K Redding, who for some time past had been residing with him. The late Mr Redding had also residing with him at the time of his death and for some time past, two nieces, vis (Misses N Mules and Lillian Redding), and to them and Miss Redding is extended the heartfelt sympathy of the whole of the residents of the town and district.
And so departed a legend, "Dad" and "Pops".
George Reddings name appears on the Samaria State School Honour Roll
Lest we forget.
Special thanks are given to Kathryn White who has generously provided much of the material including letters, articles and photographs and through her kind permission, these are published on this site. In addition are many thanks to Brother Philip Redding for his the primary research and work undertaken resulting in his presentation to the Benalla Family History Centre of the history about the Redding Family residing in the Samaria region of Benalla. Both have ensured the results of this page reflect as accurately as possible, their understanding of the George Redding history.
The German Ottoman Air Force Topic: Tk - Bks - Air Force
The German Ottoman Air Force in the Sinai and Palestine
The old contrasted with the new - Captain Keiper, CO of 9 TyB1 in 1917.
The following sections about the history of the Ottoman-German Airforce in the Sinai and Palestin has been obtained from the self published work by Ole Nikolajsen called Ottoman Aviation 1911 - 1919. The commentary in this thread is derived specifically from Chapter 8 of that work called: Pasha and Yildirim, the Palestine Front, 1915 to 1918. The text has been edited to remove errors and adjust the language to make it readable for an English speaking audience.
Ole Nikolajsen, Ottoman Aviation 1911 – 1919.
Chapter 8, Pasha and Yildirim, the Palestine Front, 1915 to 1918
Note regarding the text provided by Ole Nikolajsen.
In its original format, Nikolajsen is difficult to read. This is because the author has written in English, a language he understands well but his turn of phrase is at times more in keeping with his native tongue than English.
In addition to a language issue, there is also some historical commentary that needs to be taken with caution. When Nikolajsen strays from his core subject, the quality deteriorates drastically.
One example is found on p. 177 where the original text states:
"After stubborn fighting the oasis was taken on the 17th of August but at this crucial time a British encouraged Arab uprising took place. Most of the Arab regiments constituting the main force of the Turkish column defected to the British side."
My note follows with a qualifier:
[Editor’s note: This paragraph has been left as it was in the original manuscript. The Battle of Romani was fought from 4-6 August while the Battle of Bir el Abd occurred on 9 August after which the Canal invasion force retreated back to El Arish leaving a rear guard at Bir el Mazar.]
I did not pass comment on the note regarding the defection of the Arab Regiments. As a judgement it is most unfair. Members of the Arab Regiments within the Ottoman army fought well as a rule and died in great numbers for a cause in which they had little sympathy under Anatolian officers who despised them. At Romani, this judgement is not supported by the facts. However, the transcription of the book is not the place to debate that point. It is for another place altogether.
Again, Nikolajsen records two Pfalz's being downed on 24 August 1918 but I have credible eye witness accounts that say 30 August.
For the reader, caution is advised in accepting certain historical parts of the commentary without further study.
Ole Nikolajsen's "Ottoman Aviation 1911 - 1919" is self published. I am informed that the text was examined by a native English speaking journalist. The level of error within the text indicates that the editor possibly was a poor choice.
The information contained in it regarding the German and Ottoman issues is priceless as Ole Nikolajsen has undertaken much work with the Turkish scholar Bülent Yilmazer. While the current text is solely the work of Nikolajsen, the influence of Yilmazer is strong throughout the content.
To present Ole Nikolajsen's work in the best possible light, I have edited the text so that it reads reasonably well for a native English audience without altering the primary text too much. The balancing act is difficult as the temptation is to redraft whole swathes of paragraphs. However, I have avoided that for the sake of minimalist editing.
In spite of these qualifications, Nikolajsen's work is original and ground breaking and thus should be seriously studied by students of this arena of the Great War conflict. The presentation of this valuable work is done in an effort to ensure Nikolajsen is rightly acknowledged for his scholarship, labour in presenting such a body of knowledge and generosity of spirit to make it available.
An updated version of the complete and updated book "TURKISH MILITARY AIRCRAFT SINCE 1912" and other similar volumes may be obtained from Ole Nikolajsen through his website at:
Suez Canal Attack, Egypt, Official British History Account, Pt 10 Topic: BatzS - Suez 1915
Suez Canal Attack
Egypt, January 28 - February 3, 1915
Official British History Account, Pt 10
The following is an extract from:
MacMunn, G., and Falls, C., Military Operations Egypt & Palestine - From the Outbreak of War with Germany to June 1917, London, 1928, pp. 53 - 54.
THE SINAI FRONT IN FEBRUARY.
THE immediate menace to the Suez Canal having been removed, the next step was to disperse a small force of irregulars which was threatening the village of Tor, on the shore of the Gulf of Suez and near the toe of the Sinai Peninsula. [The chief importance of Tor was that its occupation by the enemy would have given him opportunities for placing mines in the Gulf of Suez.] For this purpose Lieut.-Colonel C. L. Haldane, 2/7th Gurkhas, embarked with half his battalion in H.M.S. Minerva at Suez on the 12th February. The detachment landed the same night with all precautions against attracting attention, moved out at once with the garrison, consisting of 150 men of the 2nd Egyptian Battalion, and before dawn had surrounded the enemy's camp. The action which followed was short and sharp. The enemy lost 60 killed and 102 prisoners, including a Turkish major, and 20 camels were also captured. Not more than a few stragglers can have escaped, while the British losses were one killed and one wounded. The quality and strength of the opposing forces were doubtless so disparate that one result only was possible, but it was the speed with which the Gurkhas carried out the operation that minimised their loss. By 5.30 p.m, the force was back on board.
A period of quiet now ensued in Egypt, the Yeomanry and the detachments of Australian and New Zealand infantry which had reinforced the Canal defences returning to Cairo to resume their training. Information was received from various sources that the Turkish troops which had crossed the desert were demoralized by their defeat and the hardships of their return march. Already, it appeared, that ill will towards the efficient but overbearing German staff officers, which was to grow as the war continued, had manifested itself among them. From further up the coast the light cruiser Philomel brought reports that the troops in the neighbourhood of Adana and Alexandretta were badly armed and elderly. The Christian levies had been disarmed since the surrender to the Doris at Alexandretta, in which they had been involved, but five hundred had deserted and taken to the hills with their rifles. Other troops had openly declared that they would surrender if a landing were made by adequate British forces.
Yet the threat to the Suez Canal, though more distant, remained. On the 21st February a French seaplane reported that there appeared to be 30,000 troops still in the neighbourhood of Beersheba. Another reconnaissance on the 23rd discovered 250 tents at Nekhl and 16 tents, with some 200 regular troops moving about them, at Bir Hassana, half-way between Nekhl and El Arish. "It would appear from this," Sir J. Maxwell cabled to Lord Kitchener, "that we may look for another attack later on."
There was now a resumption of naval activity against the Turkish coasts. On the 24th February the French cruiser Desaix landed a party at Aqaba and chased the Turkish post there up into the hills. The French again took over the watch on the Syrian and Anatolian coasts, having formed a squadron under Admiral Dartige du Fournet for the purpose. Admiral Peirse with his squadron was also at this period placed under the command of the French Admiral.
Bert Schramm's Diary, 1 March 1919 Topic: Diary - Schramm
Diaries of AIF Servicemen
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, 1 March 1919
Bert Schramm's Handwritten Diary, 26 February - 1 March 1919
[Click on page for a larger print version.]
Saturday, March 1, 1919
Bert Schramm's Location - El Mina, Lebanon.
Bert Schramm's Diary - We cleaned our camp out today. Came into El Mina and tonight we are camping in the big customs houses on the wharf and will probably embark tomorrow.
9th Light Horse Regiment War Diary
9th Light Horse Regiment Location - Rafa, Egypt.
9th Light Horse Regiment War Diary - Usual camp routine. Afternoon personnel from the Regiment attended the 2nd Light Horse Regiment Bed Races.
Darley, TH, With the Ninth Light Horse in the Great War, Adelaide, Hassell Press, 1924.
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