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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.

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Saturday, 4 April 2009
1st Australian Signal Troop, Page 3
Topic: AIF - 1B - 1 Sig Trp

1st Australian Signal Troop, AIF

History

 

Below is a transcription from a manuscript submitted by by Major R. Smith called 1st Australian Signal Troop. This is Page 3.

 

Formation of Troop in Australia, training in Egypt and work on Gallipoli at Anzac and Helles.

It was not unusual for bombs (thrown from a catapult) to land and explode on the roof of the Sig. office, also at the sides but they seldom had any effect owing; to the thickness of sandbags of which the office was built.

The general health of the personnel was good, however great demand for Keatings Powder.

By the end of June a complete new system of lines had been laid and wherever exposed, ladder systems and circuitous routes were adopted then the old and defective wire removed, all lines were labelled and little difficulty was experienced in keeping up communication or tracing any lines which were faulty.

The phones used to give a good deal of trouble being the old MK 2 pattern and the buzzers were continually working out of adjustments and it was imperative that buzzers should be used as much as possible both for reason of speed in transmission and secrecy.

The work between Bde and Divn who were on the beach was carried out by sounder and at our end by N.Z. Operators which took all the Divn work for the No.3 Sector off our hands.

May 21st 1915.

N. Z. Sig. Troop took over our Sector and from this onward it was worked week about which allowed everybody a decent rest, plenty of time for washing clothes etc. The office instruments were not changed at all but those of the N.Z. Troop were kept at hand so that an exchange could be made if any instrument want wrong also wire and other signal gear, was kept at hand in case of emergency.

May 23rd 1915.

Saps Burrell, Wills and Ward were relieved on the Indian Battery Station and rejoined 1st Signal Troop. Saps Aspinal, Smith and Power detached to 21st Indian Battery.

May 24th 1915.

Capt. Downing returned from Cape Helles and resumed command of the 1st Signal Troop. Lt. J. Bell rejoined B.H.Q.

 

HISTORY OF THE WIRELESS SECTIONS AFTER BEING DETACHED FROM 1st SIGNAL TROOP.

Entrained at Cairo and proceeded to Alexandria arriving there that afternoon and proceeded to camp at Gabbari.

The following morning instructions were given for all Members to hold themselves in readiness to embark for Lemnos where preparatory training would be carried out for the participation in the lending on Gallipoli, we were ordered to embark the same day on the Paros (6,000) which had been owned by a German Coy before the war.

We left the same evening and sailed at 8 knots per hour which seemed quite restful after the rush and bustle we had previously experienced.

It took 9 days to do the trip, the first 3 days of which was very rough. About noon on the 11th April we arrived at Lemnos Harbor, slowed down, exchanged signals with a minute French Torp Boat and then proceeded through the Torpedo nets which stretched across the harbor, eventually anchoring near Mudros West.

Here we went ashore and made camp about 1/2 mile from the Town. Training in Naval procedure was commenced immediately under the tuition of W/O Button of HMS Queen Elizabeth.

 

Further Reading:

1st Signal Troop

1st Australian Light Horse Brigade  

Anzac Mounted Division

 


Citation: 1st Australian Signal Troop, Page 3


Posted by Project Leader at 12:01 AM EADT
Updated: Sunday, 12 April 2009 6:51 PM EADT
Emptsa, North Russia, The Times, 1 October 1919
Topic: BatzO - Emptsa

Emptsa

North Russia, 29 August 1919

The Times, 1 October 1919

 

The Times, 1 October 1919, p. 11.

 

The account is transcribed below.

The Times, 1 October 1919, p. 11.

 

V.C. WON IN RUSSIA.

AUSTRALIAN CORPORAL'S HEROISM.

War Office, Sept. 29.


The King has been pleased to approve of the award of the Victoria Cross to the following non-commissioned officer:-

No. 133003 Corporal Arthur Percy Sullivan, 45th. Bn., Royal Fusiliers (Crystal Brook, South Australia).

For most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty on August 10, 1919, at the Sheiks, River, North Russia.

The platoon to which he belonged, after fighting a rearguard covering action, had to cross the river by means of a narrow plank, and during the passage an officer and three men fell into a deep swamp.

Without hesitation, under intense fire, Corporal Sullivan jumped into the river and rescued all four, bringing them out singly. But for this gallant action his comrades would undoubtedly have been drowned. It was a splendid example of heroism, as all ranks were on the point of exhaustion and the enemy less than 100 yards distant.

 

The King has been pleased to approve of the award of the Meritorious Service Modal to the following warrant officer and men for devotion to duty during an epidemic in t .prisoners of war camp, Germany:

MIDDLESEX REGIMENT

6/S.R./6987 Pte. WORSFOLD, F. J.. 1st Bn. (East Finchley).

AUSTRALIAN IMPERIAL FORCE.

2126 R.S.M. BANNIGAN, J. F. M., 2nd Bde.. Aust. F.A.
1466 Pte. WOOD, R., 2nd Bn., Aust. M.G.C.


(London Gazette Supplement, Sept. 29.)

 

133003 Corporal Arthur Percy Sullivan, VC.

 

Arthur Percy Sullivan, a brief military biography from The AIF Project:

Regimental number56133
ReligionChurch of England
OccupationBank teller
AddressCrystal Brook, South Australia
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation21
Next of kinFather, A M Sullivan, Crystal Brook, South Australia
Enlistment date27 April 1918
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name1 to 6 (SA) Reinforcements (May-Oct 1918)
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/111/4
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Melbourne, Victoria, on board HMAT A74 Marathon on 23 July 1918
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal RollArtillery Details
FateDischarged 12 June 1919
Medals

Victoria Cross

'For most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty on the 10th August, 1919, at the Sheika River, North Russia. The platoon to which he belonged, after fighting a rearguard covering action, had to cross the river by means of a narrow plank, and during the passage an officer and three men fell into a deep swamp. Without hesitation, under intense fire, Corporal Sullivan jumped into the river and rescued all four, bring them out singly. But for this gallant action his comrades would have, undoubtedly, been drowned. It was a splendid example of heroism, as all ranks were on the point of exhaustion, and the enemy less than 100 yards distant.'
Source: 'Commonwealth Gazette' No. 10
Date:
29 January 1920
Other details

War service: England, North Russia

Medals: Victoria Cross, British War Medal, Victory Medal

 

 

Further Reading:

North Russian Campaign, Contents

Battles where Australians fought, 1899-1920

 


Citation: Emptsa, North Russia, The Times, 1 October 1919

Posted by Project Leader at 12:01 AM EADT
Updated: Saturday, 2 May 2009 11:35 PM EADT
Bert Schramm's Diary, 4 April 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, 4 April 1919

 


Bert Schramm's Handwritten Diary, 4 - 7 April 1919

[Click on page for a larger print version.]

Diaries

Bert Schramm

Friday, April 4, 1919

Bert Schramm's Location - Zagazig, Egypt.

Bert Schramm's Diary - Nothing worth recording. Things are quiet. Lucy's birthday today. Wrote her a letter today. Am afraid my letters haven't been as regular as they might have been the last few months but I have been too disgusted with everything to write or do anything else.

 

 

9th Light Horse Regiment War Diary

9th Light Horse Regiment Location - Zagazig, Egypt.

9th Light Horse Regiment War Diary - Kerley, 2752 Trooper HS, tried by FGCM [Field General Court Martial].

2 mounted troops patrolled Zagazig 0930 - 1130 reporting all quiet.

 

Darley

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

No Entry


Previous: Bert Schramm's Diary, 3 April 1919

Next: Bert Schramm's Diary, 5 April 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, 4 April 1919


Posted by Project Leader at 12:01 AM EADT
Updated: Saturday, 9 May 2009 9:35 PM EADT
The First Battle of Villers-Bretonneux, France, 4 April 1918, Roll of Honour
Topic: BatzWF - Westn Front

The First Battle of Villers-Bretonneux

France, 4 April 1918

AIF

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 AIF known to have given their lives during the The First Battle of Villers-Bretonneux, France, 4 April 1918.

 

Roll of Honour

 

 

Lest We Forget

 

 

Further Reading:

The First Battle of Villers-Bretonneux, France, 4 April 1918, Contents

The First Battle of Villers-Bretonneux, France, 4 April 1918, Roll of Honour

Battles where Australians fought, 1899-1920

 


Citation: The First Battle of Villers-Bretonneux, France, 4 April 1918, Roll of Honour


Posted by Project Leader at 12:01 AM EADT
Updated: Friday, 8 April 2011 2:37 PM EADT
Friday, 3 April 2009
Graspan, South Africa, November 25, 1899
Topic: BatzB - Graspan

Graspan

South Africa, 25 November 1899

 

British soldiers charging up a kopje during the Battle of Graspan

 

Graspan, an action also referred to as the Battle of Enslin, was fought on 25 November 1899 (during the Second South African War) by a British force of 8,500 men under Lieut.-General Lord Methuen while attempting to break the Boer siege of Kimberley. After an earlier engagement at Belmont (q.v.), eighteen kilometres to the south along the single-track railway line which formed the axis of the British advance, Methuen found the Boers occupying a line of kopjes (small hills) about 60 metres high to the east of the railway station at Graspan. Information from British reconnaissance parties indicated that only about 400 enemy were present, supported by two guns.

To prevent the enemy escaping as had happened at Belmont, Methuen decided to engage the Boer position first with artillery fire while working the 900 mounted troops available to him around both flanks. Once these were in position, a frontal assault was to be mounted by the small Naval Brigade operating with his force. Unfortunately for this plan of attack, unknown to Methuen - whose scouts were unable to observe into the enemy position from closer than about two kilometres - the original Boer defenders were reinforced late on the afternoon of 24 November by 2,000 Free State burghers under Commandant Jacobus Prinsloo.

 

Map showing the Battle of Graspan, 25 November 1899 

[From: The Times History of the War in South Africa, II, London, 1902.]

 

When the British field batteries opened up soon after 6 a.m. the next morning, the answering fire from the Boers came from five guns instead of two - not including a Hotchkiss quick-fire weapon and a Maxim machine-gun. Realising that his original scheme was unworkable, Methuen promptly opted for an all-out attack on conventional lines. This effort would pit the Naval Brigade with some infantry detachments against the Boers eastern (left) flank, while the rest of the British force sought to immobilise the enemy elsewhere and prevent reinforcement of the sector under attack. This plan worked, but not before the 245 strong assault force had lost 15 killed and 79 wounded. By the time the crest of the hill was reached, the enemy had all gone except for a small group which resisted until only one man remained alive.

The British could observe the Boris retiring in good order across the plain back into Free State territory, but a shortage of mounted troops meant that a vigorous pursuit was not possible. The British weakness in this regard was graphically demonstrated at one point during the Boer retreat, when a large body of burghers suddenly turned and attempted to ride down the lesser number of British horsemen from the 9th Lancers trying to follow them. The threat was averted by the response of some Mounted infantry who, along with a detachment of 29 members of the New South Wales Lancers under Lieut. S.F. Osborne, occupied a fold in the ground and poured a heavy fire into the advancing Boers. The incident reportedly won for Osborne and his men the nickname of ‘The Fighting Twenty-Nine.'.

The engagement had demonstrated once again that the Boers were more than a match for Methuen despite his numerical superiority. While he responded by complaining about the deficiency in the number of mounted troops available to him, and confirmed his disappointment in the part played by his cavalry by removing the commander of the 9th Lancers, nothing could disguise his own tactical incompetence which saw his force suffer total casualties at Graspan of seventeen dead and 168 wounded. Among the dead of the Naval Brigade was 19-year-old Midshipman C. I. Huddart of Ballarat, Victoria.

 

Midshipman Cymberline Alonso Edric Huddart

[From: Sydney Mail, 13 January 1900, p. 89.]

 

Extracted from the book produced by Chris Coulthard-Clark, Where Australians Fought - The Encyclopaedia of Australia's Battles, Allen and Unwin, Sydney, 1998, pp. 58-59.

 

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.

L.M. Field (1979) The forgotten War, Carlton, Vic. Melbourne University Press.
 

 

Further Reading:

Midshipman Cymberline Alonso Edric Huddart 

Battles where Australians fought, 1899-1920

 


Citation: Graspan, South Africa, November 25, 1899

Posted by Project Leader at 11:01 PM EADT
Updated: Sunday, 5 April 2009 11:17 AM EADT

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Australian Light Horse Studies Centre

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