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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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WARNING: This site contains: names, information and images of deceased people; and, language which may be considered inappropriate today.

Friday, 27 March 2009
Modder River, South Africa, November 28, 1899
Topic: BatzB - Modder River

Modder River

South Africa, 28 November 1899

 

Modder River, an action fought on 28 November 1899 (during the Second South African War) between Boer and British forces, took place in the vicinity of the railway station situated near the junction of the Riet and Modder rivers. A week earlier the British force had set out from the Orange River under Lieut.-General Lord Methuen, driving north along the axis of' the railway line to Kimberley which was then under siege from the Boers. In two sharp actions, at Belmont (q.v.) and Graspan (q.v.), Methuen's men had been forced to turn enemy detachments out of prepared delaying positions at disproportionate cost to themselves. Although increased in strength to over 10,000 men, Methuen's force still suffered a shortage of mounted troops which meant that the Boers could not be prevented from making orderly retreats free from interference. This enabled between 4,000 and 6,000 burghers under generals Piet Cronje and J .H. (Koos') De la Rev to occupy a fresh defensive position dug in sandy soil along the east-west line of the Riet, about a kilometre south of' Modder River station.

Although warned of the Boer presence in strength, Methuen continued to place his trust in scouts' retorts that the crossing was only weakly held by probably no more than 400 men. In the early morning hours of 28 November he advanced directly over open flats towards the river, his object being to secure the ground can either side of the bridge over which the railway passed (which in any event had been destroyed). The fallacy of the information upon which he was acting was demonstrated at 5.15 a.m., when patrols of the 9th Lancers approaching to within 1,600 metres of the river drew heavy fire from positions extending for 2.5 kilometres east of the bridge-establishing that the area was anything but lightly held.

Despite these serious warning signs, Methuen remained convinced that he faced only a rearguard attempting to make a gesture of defiance and pressed blindly on. The whole British movement was stopped cold 45 minutes later when the Boers opened fire at a range of 1, 100 metres and forced the troops to go to ground. By crawling and then making short rushes, the British succeeded in reaching to within about 730 metres of the enemy lines on the right, but could then get no further. Methuen brought up artillery and commenced shelling the Boer trenches. Although this fire helped cut down ground covered by the troops, only a few casualties were caused among the defending burghers.

Unable to either advance or retire, the bulk of Methuen's force were kept pinned down all day in torturous heat of more than 42`C. Only on the left flank was any progress made, when troops succeeded in reaching the Riet and forcing the Boers defending posts on the south bank back across the river. By 2 p.m. British troops were occupying the hamlet of Rosmead on the far bank, on the Boer's right flank, but this threat posed to the enemy centre could not he exploited after reinforcements failed to reach here and the troops' own artillery accidentally fired on them. When the fighting halted for the night at about 7 p.m., the enemy remained in full possession of all their other positions. Darkness at least enabled medical attention to reach the wounded, and food and water to he delivered to men who had been without either for more than ten hours.

The cessation of firing also allowed the Boers to again abandon their positions during the night without hindrance. Although Methuen was thus left in possession of the battlefield and able to take his entire force across to the northern bank the next morning, this hollow victory had been won at a cost of 70 British dead and 313 wounded. Australian participation in the action once more took the form of the 29 men of the New South Wales Lancers under Lieut. S.T. Osborne, who acted as escort to the artillery on the field throughout the day. At least one of the Australians had his horse shot from under him, but otherwise the little band passed through the engagement without loss while sharing the deprivations of the whole force.

Extracted from the book produced by Chris Coulthard-Clark, Where Australians Fought - The Encyclopaedia of Australia's Battles, Allen and Unwin, Sydney, 1998, pp. 59-60.

 

Additional References cited by Chris Coulthard-Clark:

W. Baring Pemberton (1964) Battles of the Boer War, London.

R.L. Wallace (1976) The Australians at the Boer War, Canberra: Australian War Memorial & Australian Government Publishing Service.

 

Further Reading:

Battles where Australians fought, 1899-1920

 


Citation: Modder River, South Africa, November 28, 1899

Posted by Project Leader at 11:01 PM EADT
Updated: Sunday, 5 April 2009 5:20 PM EADT
2nd Anglo-Boer War, Boer War Battles fought by Australians, 1899 - 1902, Chronology
Topic: BatzB - Boer War

 2nd Anglo-Boer War

Boer War Battles fought by Australians, 1899 - 1902 

Chronology

 

Over the course of the Boer War, Australian forces participated in 33 recorded and designated battles. These battles illustrate all aspects of the Australian character. 

The role of the Light Horse in these battles during this period needs to be placed in that context, ensuring that it is not overstated but also not understated too.

The compiled list is in two parts, the first being a chronological list in strict date order while the second is in alphabetical order. The aim is to allow a ready reference to a specific battle by date or name.

 

Overview of the Boer War

South African (Second Boer) War: 1899-1902 

 

Chronology of Australian Boer War Battles, 1899 - 1902

1899

Belmont, South Africa, November 23, 1899.

Graspan, South Africa, November 25, 1899.

Modder River, South Africa, November 28, 1899.

Magersfontein, South Africa, December 11, 1899.

1900

Sunnyside, South Africa, January 1, 1900.

Slingersfontein, South Africa, January 16 and February 9, 1900.

Pink Hill, South Africa, February 12, 1900.

Kimberley, South Africa, February 13 to 15, 1900.

Paardeberg, South Africa, February 17 to 27, 1900.

Poplar Grove, South Africa, March 7, 1900.

Driefontein, South Africa, March 10, 1900.

Karee Siding, South Africa, March 29, 1900.

Sannah's Post, South Africa, March 31, 1900.

Houtnek, South Africa, April 30 to May 1, 1900.

Coetzee Drift, South Africa, May 5, 1900.

Zand River, South Africa, May 10, 1900.

Mafeking, South Africa, May 17, 1900.

Diamond Hill, South Africa, June 11 to 12, 1900.

Leeuw Kop, South Africa, July 3, 1900.

Palmietfontein, South Africa, July 19, 1900.

Koster River, South Africa, July 22, 1900.

Stinkhoutboom, South Africa, July 24, 1900.

Elands River, South Africa, August 4 to 16, 1900.

Buffels Hoek, South Africa, August 16 to 17, 1900.

Bothaville, South Africa, November 6, 1900.

Rhenoster Kop, South Africa, November 29, 1900.

1901

Wolvekuil Kopjes, South Africa, February 14, 1901.

Hartebeestfontein, South Africa, February 18 to March 21, 1901

Grobelaar Recht, South Africa, May 15, 1901.

Wilmansrust, South Africa, June 12, 1901.

Grootvallier, South Africa, August 1, 1901.

Bakenlaagte, South Africa, October 30, 1901.

1902

Onverwacht, South Africa, January 4, 1902.



Alphabetical List of Australian Boer War Battles, 1899 - 1902

A


B

Bakenlaagte, South Africa, October 30, 1901.

Belmont, South Africa, November 23, 1899.
Bothaville, South Africa, November 6, 1900.

Buffels Hoek, South Africa, August 16 to 17, 1900.

C

Coetzee Drift, South Africa, May 5, 1900.

D

Diamond Hill, South Africa, June 11 to 12, 1900.

Driefontein, South Africa, March 10, 1900.

E

Elands River, South Africa, August 4 to 16, 1900.

F

G

Graspan, South Africa, November 25, 1899.

Grobelaar Recht, South Africa, May 15, 1901.

Grootvallier, South Africa, August 1, 1901.

H

Hartebeestfontein, South Africa, February 18 to March 21, 1901.

Houtnek, South Africa, April 30 to May 1, 1900.
J

K

Karee Siding, South Africa, March 29, 1900.

Kimberley, South Africa, February 13 to 15, 1900.

Koster River, South Africa, July 22, 1900.

L

Leeuw Kop, South Africa, July 3, 1900.

M

Mafeking, South Africa, May 17, 1900.

Magersfontein, South Africa, December 11, 1899.
Modder River, South Africa, November 28, 1899.

N

O

Onverwacht, South Africa, January 4, 1902.

P

Paardeberg, South Africa, February 17 to 27, 1900.

Palmietfontein, South Africa, July 19, 1900.

Pink Hill, South Africa, February 12, 1900.

Poplar Grove, South Africa, March 7, 1900.

R

Rhenoster Kop, South Africa, November 29, 1900.

Romani, Sinai, August 4 to 5, 1916.

S

Sannah's Post, South Africa, March 31, 1900.

Slingersfontein, South Africa, January 16 and February 9, 1900.

Stinkhoutboom, South Africa, July 24, 1900.

Sunnyside, South Africa, January 1, 1900.

T

U

V

W

Wilmansrust, South Africa, June 12, 1901.

Wolvekuil Kopjes, South Africa, February 14, 1901.

Y

Z

Zand River, South Africa, May 10, 1900.

Further Reading:

Chris Coulthard-Clark, Where Australians Fought - The Encyclopaedia of Australia's Battles, Allen and Unwin, Sydney, 1998.

2nd Anglo-Boer War, Battles

Battles where Australians fought, 1899-1920

Light Horse Battles

 


Citation: 2nd Anglo-Boer War, Boer War Battles fought by Australians, 1899 - 1902, Chronology


Posted by Project Leader at 11:01 PM EADT
Updated: Saturday, 12 September 2009 12:01 PM EADT
Merivale Street, Queensland, March 24, 1919
Topic: BatzA - Merivale

Merivale Street

Queensland, 24 March 1919

 

Headline from the Brisbane Courier, 25 March 1919, p. 7.

 

Merivale Street, a violent clash fought on 24 March 1919 between police and returned AIF soldiers in South Brisbane, Queensland, was the most serious of the so-called 'Red Flag Riots'. The previous afternoon some 400 leftists had staged a peaceful march to protest the continued enforcement of restrictions under the War Precautions Act. Nearly all those involved had carried red flags in defiance of the law, provoking several minor scuffles with returned men. Alarmed by this demonstration, a large crowd of mainly ex-soldiers (some in uniform) broke up the usual Sunday evening gathering of radicals at North Quay before setting off at 7.30 p.m. for the Russian Hall in Merivale Street - the base of the Russian Workers' Association. When the mob approached, three shots were fired from the building before the police arrived and forced the crowd to disperse.

Enraged by the resistance shown by the `Bolsheviks', and incited by unknown agitators, the next night another crowd estimated to number up to 8,000 again marched on Merivale Street. This time, however, the hall was cordoned off by 40 police armed with rifles and bayonets, personally directed by the police commissioner, Frederick Urquhart. In the ensuing clash over 100 men received bayonet wounds, including Urquhart himself who was stabbed in the shoulder when forced backwards onto the bayonet of one of his own men. Fourteen policemen were hurt - two receiving bullet wounds (including a mounted trooper shot twice in the back) - and three police horses were shot, one of these being killed. Nineteen of the injured were serious enough to require their removal in ambulances.

 

Advertisement of the meeting for Friday, 28 March 1919.

[Brisbane Courier, 27 March 1919, p. 2.]

 

In anticipation of further trouble, the next day the state government ordered the closure of all city hotels. Another meeting of returned soldiers that night attracted an attendance of over 12,000, after which several hundred men smashed the office windows of the Daily Standard newspaper which had criticised them. A meeting the next night drew 7,000 but was free from further violence, enabling a return to normal by 28 March.

 

The Casualties:

THE COMMISIONER OF POLICE (MR. URQUHART).

Severe bayonet wound in the the shoulder. First aid treatment was rendered at the Mater Misericordiae Public Hospital, and he returned to the scene of the disturbance. Subsequently it was found that the wound required further attention, and he was returned to a private hospital.

SUB-INSPECTOR M'NEIL.

Lacerated wound on the forehead. He was knocked down by a bolting horse, and also struck by some heavy object.

POLICE SERGEANT FERGUSON.

Deep wound in the forehead. He was struck by a heavy iron railway bolt.

ACTING SERGEANT MACKAY, of the Woolloongabba police.

Laceration on the left thumb.

SERGEANT HENRY.

Struck heavily on the chest by a bolting horse, but did not suffer very serious effects.

CONSTABLE JOHN CLAPSHAW.

Lacerated and contused wound on the forehead, caused by a brick.

CONSTABLE ARTHUR ARNDT.

Bayonet wound above the right eye (received during the first change by the police).

PLAIN CLOTHES CONSTABLE O'DRISCOLL.

Severe bruise on the left knee, caused through being struck by a bottle.

PLAIN CLOTHES CONSTABLE TROY.

Cut on the back of the head, caused by a stone.

MOUNTED TROOPER CHARLES BATEMAN.

Injury to the back of  the head, caused through being struck by a paling. He was .taken to the Mater Misericordiae Public Hospital, where on enquiry last night, it was learnt that his case was not considered to be serious.

MOUNTED TROOPER JOHN BYRNE.

Two revolver wounds in the back, one bullet entering 4½ in. from the spine, and the other in the side. Neither shot penetrated deeply, and the hospital staff does not consider that the wounds will prove serious.

CONSTABLE ARTHUR CLARK.

Injury to the back, and abrasions on the right arm.

MOUNTED CONSTABLE WILLIAM GOOCH.

Injury to the foot. He fell from his horse after being struck by a bullet during the first charge. He was in a state of collapse when the Ambulance arrived, and after being treated for the injury to the foot was taken to the Police Barracks, surgical attention being advised.

MR H. L. ARCHDALL (Chief Police Magistrate).

Slight bayonet wound on the left groin, sustained by being forced back on to the bayonets of the police cordon.

SAMUEL CARTER.

A returned soldier, aged 41, residing at Herbert Street, Spring Hill. Bullet wound in the head. On enquiry at the General Hospital early this morning it was ascertained that his condition was not considered to be serious.
[4758 Private Samuel Carter, 15th Infantry Battalion.]

WILLIAM WRIGHT.

A returned soldier, living at Redcliffe. Internal injuries, due to being kicked about the body. The extent of the injuries was not ascertained last night. He was admitted to the Mater Misericordiae Public Hospital.

ROBERT SANDERS.

A returned soldier, aged 41, temporarily residing at Enoggera. Two cuts to the right arm, and one above the bridge of his nose. He was taken to the General Hospital, where it was learnt that his case was not expected to prove serious.   

ALFRED HOWARD.

A returned soldier, residing at Alexandra Street, Paddington. Admitted to the General Hospital suffering from the effects of a heavy blow on the head. He was unconscious when admitted, and his case was considered to be serious. Early next morning his condition showed an improvement. This returned soldier was assaulted at North Quay.

JOHN JACKSON.

Adult, residing at Mayne Junction. Lacerated wound on the right side of the head, caused by being struck by a paling. Taken to Mater Misericordiae Public Hospital.




Extracted from the book produced by Chris Coulthard-Clark, Where Australians Fought - The Encyclopaedia of Australia's Battles, Allen and Unwin, Sydney, 1998, p. 165.

 

Additional References cited by Chris Coulthard-Clark:

Gavin Souter (1976) Lion and Kangaroo, Sydney: William Collins.

Frank Cain (1983) The Origins of Political Surveillance in Australia, Sydney: Angus & Robertson.

 

Further Reading:

Battles where Australians fought, 1899-1920

 


Citation: Merivale Street, Queensland, March 24, 1919

Posted by Project Leader at 11:01 PM EADT
Updated: Sunday, 29 March 2009 9:25 PM EADT
The First Battle of Amman, Palestine, 27 to 30 March 1918, Allied Forces, Roll of Honour
Topic: BatzJ - 1st Amman

The First Battle of Amman

Palestine, 27 to 30 March 1918

Allied Forces

Roll of Honour

 

Poppies on the Roll of Honour, Australian War Memorial, Canberra

 

The Roll of Honour contains the names of all the men from the Allied Forces known to have given their lives during the First Battle of Amman, Palestine, 27 to 30 March 1918.

 

Roll of Honour 

 

AIF Roll of Honour 

New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade, Roll of Honour 

British Forces Roll of Honour

 

Lest We Forget 

 

 

Further Reading:

The First Battle of Amman, Palestine, 27 to 30 March 1918

The First Battle of Amman, Palestine, 27 to 30 March 1918, Allied Forces, Roll of Honour

The Palestine Campaign, 1917 - 1918

Battles where Australians fought, 1899-1920

 


Citation: The First Battle of Amman, Palestine, 27 to 30 March 1918, Allied Forces, Roll of Honour


Posted by Project Leader at 12:01 AM EADT
Updated: Sunday, 27 March 2011 10:41 AM EADT
Bert Schramm's Diary, 27 March 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, 27 March 1919

 


Bert Schramm's Handwritten Diary, 26 - 30 March 1919

[Click on page for a larger print version.]

Diaries

Bert Schramm

Thursday, March 27, 1919

Bert Schramm's Location - Zagazig, Egypt.

Bert Schramm's Diary - Things are pretty quiet. Zagazig railway station was burned down last night. Carelessness on the part of some of our fellows was the cause I believe.

 

 

9th Light Horse Regiment War Diary

9th Light Horse Regiment Location - Zagazig, Egypt.

9th Light Horse Regiment War Diary - Usual routine.

 

Darley

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

No Entry


Previous: Bert Schramm's Diary, 26 March 1919

Next: Bert Schramm's Diary, 28 March 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, 27 March 1919


Posted by Project Leader at 12:01 AM EADT
Updated: Saturday, 9 May 2009 9:53 PM EADT

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