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Thursday, 6 August 2009
Battle of Romani, Sinai, August 4 to 5, 157th Infantry Brigade War Diary Account
Topic: AIF - DMC - British

 Battle of Romani

Sinai, August 4 to 5, 1916

157th Infantry Brigade War Diary Account

 

War Diary account of the 157th Infantry Brigade.

 

The transcription:

4th August

The only action taken by troops under my command was the movement of the Divisional reserve to a position of readiness west of Hill 88 square M.5(a), this move being completed by 1600 and the opening of fire by my stationary battery between 1200 and 1300 and again at 1900 on the enemy soon to be in Abu Hamra.


5th August.

At 0945 your G.96 was received, ordering Brigade and attached troops to be ready to move at short notice, and to hand over works and inner defences to men unfit to march. Necessary action was taken.

At 1035 your G.103 received, ordering Brigade with attached troops to move to a position of readiness to attack Abu Hamra, the force to rendezvous north of Work 8 square M.5 (b) at 1115.

On receipt of these Instructions orders were immediately issued to the Officer Commanding the Yeomanry under my command to proceed forthwith to Hill 62 square N.8(a), Hill 79 square N.8(b) and Hill 90 square N.3 (c) to cover the rendezvous and forward movement there from, and report any information obtainable concerning the enemy.

The 6th and 7th Highland Light Infantry previously detailed as Divisional Reserve in accordance with instructions received were in position just west of Hill 88 square M.5(a). These two battalions were fully mobilised and reached the rendezvous approximately at the appointed time. The relief of works 10, 10a and 11, and the detailed arrangements for the occupation of the inner defences Chabrias Camp necessarily took some time as also did the movement of the battery, Field Company and Yeomanry from Romani, but by 1230 the whole force as
under was assembled at the rendezvous with the exception of the Field Ambulance which arrived there at 1330.

Troops:

157th Infantry Brigade.

Detachment Glasgow Yeomanry (Strength about 60)

"A" Battery 263rd Brigade, Royal Horse Artillery
 1/2nd Lowlands Field Company, Royal Engineers

Mobile Section Field Ambulance

Divisional Cable Section

To avoid delay, Commanding Officers of various units were interviewed by me as they arrived, and given detailed instructions regarding the movement from the rendezvous to the position of readiness, and probable course of operations. One battalion 155th Infantry Brigade and one battalion 156th Infantry Brigade having been ordered to co-operate from a position just west of Work 5 in the attack on Abu Hamra I selected as my position of readiness the low ground immediately north of the two hills 59 squares N.14 (a) and N.15 (a) and gave this to Unit Commanders in the firing line as their first objective, but with orders not to proceed beyond Hill 62 square No.8 (a) without instructions from me.

Two alternative positions were selected for the battery:

1st Position - Near Work 7.a. from which fire could be brought to bear against Hills 72 and 74 squares N.27 and N.22 and also to cover my left flank,

2nd Position - Square N.7(d).

Immediately on arrival of the Yeomanry from Romani at the rendezvous the Officer Commanding was ordered to send forward 1 Troop to support my original detachment which had already been sent out. His orders were to make good Hill 69 square N.9(b) Hill 72 square N.10(a) and Hill 46 square N.15 (a and b), to use his own initiative as to pushing further forward, and to keep me fully informed. In order to avoid being seen, battalions were ordered to move from the rendezvous round the northern slopes of Hill 100 whence they would turn south east towards their objectives. All four battalions were to move in attack formation 6th raid 7th Highland Light Infantry forming firing line, supports and local reserves, 1/5th Highland Light Infantry and 1/5th Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders forming my general reserve. The 1/5th Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders as my strongest battalion was echeloned on the left flank to protect this flank. The Field Company, Royal Engineers, moved on the less exposed flank, immediately in rear of the 1/5th Highland Light Infantry. Mobile Section Field Ambulance, and baggage train were ordered to remain in the first instance under cover of Hill 100.

Hearing from my Yeomanry that Hill 90 was occupied by them, the leading battalions were ordered to proceed at once to Hill 62 square N.8(a) where they were to remain under cover pending orders to advance to the two Hills 59 referred to above.

At about 1500 the Yeomanry Officer who had been ordered to report to me in person came in and informed so that rifle and Machine Gun fire had been opened by the enemy from the ridges about Hills 72 and 74.

At about 1520 your G.108 was received informing me that a Yeomanry patrol and armoured train hard been unable to find Turks in Abu Hamra and directing me to send patrols immediately to verify this. (I had already done so), it Turks found, to attack at once unless I considered them too strong, in which case 2½ battalions would be sent to co-operate with me from Work 5.

If I ascertained that Abu Hamra was all clear, I was to bivouac for the night, suggested by the General Officer Commanding near Hill 100, or if preferred, within the outpost line.

At 1530, I received a report from my Officer Commanding Yeomanry that his Officers Patrol was held up while crossing Abu Hamra at point Kilo 46, enemy holding Hill 74 and ridges east and west, apparently about 40 or 50 men on ridges and 60 or 70 were seen in small groups behind Hill 74. Patrol forced to retire. A few enemy also seen its trees at Bir abu Hamra. Having fully satisfied myself that the enemy was in some strength on the ridges south east of Abu Hamra, I ordered my battery to open fire on Hills 72 and 74, my Yeomanry to again press forward under cover of this fire, and my leading battalions to search to the two hills 59 preparatory to the attack.

It was now clear to me that to fulfil my original object namely the attack on Abu Hamra, I must, instead of attacking that place attack Hills 42 and 74, and the ridge between them, the capture of which would automatically mean the capture of Abu Hamra, whereas the capture at Abu Hamra would merely have placed me under the command of the enemy on the above Hills and ridges. I at once called up the General Officer Commanding Division on the telephone, informed him of the situation, telling him I was preparing to attack Hills 72 sad 74 but that if I did so, I must bivouac there for the night and not where suggested by him. At approximately the same time I received reports regarding our own cavalry moving in the direct urn of KATIA and being shelled by the enemy.

Shortly after this I received a report that our cavalry were being driven back. At this time I personally observed the enemy shelling Abu Hamra and the country to the south east of Hills 72 and 74 they were lengthening their range, which tended to prove the report just previously received that our cavalry were being driven back. This shelling, without being excessive was fairly severe. It was very difficult to ascertain what really was happening as I could obtain no connection with the 5th Mounted Brigade or Anzacs. I was then informed on the telephone that our own mounted troops complained that they wore being shelled by our own guns. I replied that they were not being shelled by me, and that enemy were undoubtedly on Hills 72 and 74 and I asked the General Officer Commanding if he could give me any information as to what was happening to our own cavalry. He instructed me to wait a few minutes before launching the attack, while he communicated with No.3 Section.

At 1710 I received a message cancelling move of 1½ battalions 156th Infantry Brigade and 7th Royal Scots to position of readiness just west of work 5 (9 111) to co-operate with me. Ten minutes later I received a message that above 2½ battalions would move at 1800 to a position of readiness west of Work 5 (9 114).

At about 1700, I received in confirmation of telephone conversation GB 302 instructing me to advance to the attack and to endeavour to get in touch with the 5th Mounted Brigade. I immediately advanced to the attack and during the advance received a message from my Yeomanry saying that the enemy had apparently evacuated Hills 72 and 74, and that they had been seen retiring from these Hills.

I may mention here that the shooting of my battery on Hills 72 and 74 was very good indeed, and this I think undoubtedly accounted for the retirement of the Turks.

The advance was continued towards the ridges south east of Abu Hamra. By this time it was dark, and night formation was adopted. The ridges about Hills 72 and 74 were occupied without opposition, and an outpost line was taken up with three battalions on these ridges, and one battalion north of the railway protecting my left flank, and the men set to work to dig themselves in.


6 August

Having satisfied myself regarding the outposts, I established my Brigade Headquarters at 0200 between Kilo 46 and Kilo 47 and the moment communication was complete reported the situation to the General Officer Commanding delay is obtaining communication was caused by shortage of cable.

At 0330 I received a message G.127 ordering me to move with troops attached at 0415 and occupy the line from ruins of Katia exclusive to Er Rabah. About the same time a warning message handed in at Division Headquarters 2535 was received by my signal office warning me to be ready to move at 0400. Previous to receipt of this, I had sent a message to my battery to proceed to their second position or to a more favourable position as agreed between me and Officer Commanding Battery. (To be in position by 0430). The Officer Commanding Battery reported to me that this order was perfectly clear and definite, but I believe he received contrary instructions from some other source.

Immediately on receipt of G.127 I ordered the Yeomanry to proceed at once in the direction of the advance, and I rode to battalions with my Brigade Major and ordered them to get ready to move immediately. With the very short notice given, it was quite impossible to get them off to time, and as it was they had to start without any tea or breakfast.

The advance on the new objective was carried out with two battalions in the front line, and two in reserve as before, and the objective was reached without opposition, and a line of local protection taken up in accordance with instructions received from Divisional Headquarters. The Brigade remained on outpost duty until relieved by the 155th Brigade about 2000.

 

Roll of Honour

N MATHESON, 1st/6th Battalion, Highland Light Infantry, Killed in Action 4 August 1916.

Lest We Forget

 

Further Reading:

The British Army 

Battle of Romani, Sinai, August 4 to 5, 1916, Roll of Honour, British Forces

Battle of Romani, Sinai, August 4 to 5, 1916 

Bir el Abd, Sinai, 9 August 1916

Battles where Australians fought, 1899-1920

 


Citation: Battle of Romani, Sinai, August 4 to 5, 157th Infantry Brigade War Diary Account

Posted by Project Leader at 12:01 AM EADT
Updated: Friday, 23 October 2009 8:27 PM EADT
Battle of Romani, Sinai, August 4 to 5, 1916, Falls Account, The Pursuit on The 5th August
Topic: BatzS - Romani

Battle of Romani

Sinai, August 4 to 5, 1916

Falls Account, The Pursuit on The 5th August

 

The Battle of Romani, 4-6 August 1916

[Click on map for larger version]

[From: Military operations: Egypt and Palestine, Sketch 10 facing p. 178.]

 

As part of the Official British War History of the Great War, Captain Cyril Falls and Lieutenant General George MacMunn were commissioned to produce a commentary on the Sinai, Palestine and Syrian operations that took place. In 1928, their finished work, Military Operations, Egypt and Palestine - From the outbreak of war with Germany to June 1917,  was published in London. Their book included a section specifically related to the battle of Romani and is extracted below.

MacMunn, G. & Falls, C., Military operations: Egypt and Palestine, (London 1930), pp. 190 - 194:

 

Part 4. The Pursuit on The 5th August.

As soon as he was acquainted with the situation, General Lawrence issued orders for a general advance to take place at 4 a.m. next morning. The A. & N.Z. Mounted Division was to press forward with its right on the Hod el Enna and its left in close touch with the 156th Brigade of the 52nd Division, advancing on Mount Meredith. The 3rd L.H. Brigade was to advance towards Bir en Nuss and attack the Hod el Enna from the south, keeping touch with the A. & N.Z. Mounted Division or the 5th Mounted Brigade, which, under the orders of Major-General Sir W. Douglas, commanding the 42nd Division, was to assist in linking up the right of the A. & N.Z. Mounted Division with the 3rd L.H. Brigade. The 42nd Division' was to advance on the line Canterbury Hill to Mount Royston to the Hod el Enna and drive back any opposition to the advance of the mounted troops, while part of the 52nd Division was to act in a similar manner towards Mount Meredith. The G.O.C. 52nd Division was also instructed to prepare for an advance eastwards towards Abu Hamra, which, however, was not to be undertaken without further orders from Section Headquarters. [Only two brigades were ready for the move, and the 126th Brigade remained in reserve at Pelusium Station.]

As day broke on the 5th August the 8/Scottish Rifles, which had passed the night just short of the crest of Wellington Ridge, advanced in company with the 7th A.L.H, and Wellington M.R. on their right. The attack was covered by the 7/Scottish Rifles on the left, who had during the night brought a total of 16 machine guns and Lewis guns into a position from which they were able to sweep the crest and reverse slopes of the ridge. Well as the Turks had fought hitherto, they knew now that they had been abandoned, and the lines of bayonets in the dim light were too much for their exhausted nerves. A white flag was hoisted and a forest of arms held high. Eight hundred and sixty-four men surrendered to the 8/Scottish Rifles and a great number more to the Light Horse and Wellingtons, who breasted the rise a few minutes later. In all, 1,500 prisoners were taken in the neighbourhood of Wellington Ridge. Other bodies of Turks, pinned to the ground by fire from the works further north, were likewise unable to join in the general retirement, and at 6 a.m. a further 119 surrendered to the infantry in Work 3. Most of the prisoners were in a pitiable state of fatigue and had long been without water.

While this rear guard was being rounded up it had become apparent that the Turks were in full retreat. At 6.30 a.m. General Lawrence ordered General Chauvel to take command of all the mounted troops [That is to say, of the Section Mounted Troops (N.Z.M.R. and 5th Mounted Brigades) and the 3rd L.H. Brigade, but not the Mobile Column, which was under the orders of the G.O.C. No. 2 Section.] and move in pursuit. But, as already stated, the brigades were somewhat scattered, and the troops of the 1st and 2nd L.H. Brigades had to be collected and mounted. The N.Z.M.R. Brigade reached Bir en Nuss at 8.30 a.m., where it found the 3rd L.H. Brigade still watering. The latter brigade; was ordered by General Chauvel to move on Hamisah, beyond which it had been ascertained that the enemy's left flank extended, though his main body had fallen back on Qatiya. Thence, the brigade was to wheel left towards Qatiya, to co-operate in a general attack by the mounted troops. Its advanced guard moved off to fulfil this mission at 9 a.m.

The general mounted advance began at 10.30. By noon the troops under General Chauvel's command were on a line from west of Bir Nagid to south of Katib Gannit ; the 3rd L.H. Brigade on the right, advancing on Hamisah, then the N.Z.M.R. Brigade and the 1st and 2nd L.H. Brigades, with the 5th Mounted Brigade on the left.

There were greater delays before the infantry divisions were on the move. In the case of the 42nd Division this was not of great importance - save that it involved a very trying advance in the heat of the day - because the division's role was only to advance to the Hod el Enna in support of the mounted troops, and it is doubtful whether it could in any event have gone further; actually the Turkish rear guard was routed and largely captured without its assistance being required. But, as a matter of fact, the first message sent to the 127th Brigade, which was to lead the advance, miscarried, and the second, despatched at 2.45 a.m., did not reach it till 5.40 a.m. [Divisional headquarters had just arrived at Pelusium Station, and there appears to have been extraordinary pressure on the single signal station there. But brigade headquarters was only 4 miles away at Mount Royston.] Nor did the brigade's first-line camels arrive till after this, and the troops had then to fill their water-bottles. The brigade marched at 7.30 a.m. and reached the Hod el Enna between 9.30 and 10 a.m., considerably fatigued. The 125th Brigade at Pelusium, delayed by the troops' ignorance of the handling of camels, moved off at 5.15 a.m. and arrived in rear of the 127th Brigade at 11.15, having suffered still more severely in its longer march.

In the case of the 52nd Division, the delay was more serious. Immediately after ordering General Chauvel to take command of the mounted troops and pursue the enemy, General Lawrence, at 6.37 a.m., sent a message to the 52nd Division instructing it to carry out the advance eastwards on Abu Hamra which had been anticipated in his orders of the previous night. On receiving this message General Smith ordered the R.F.C. squadron at Mahamdiyah, which was at his disposal, to reconnoitre while his brigades were completing their preparations. At 10.15 am. General Lawrence urgently repeated his order, but it was some time longer before the 155th and 157th Brigades were able to march. Here again the distribution of water from the camel fanatis [Fantasse, plural fanatis, an Arabic word adopted by the Army. The fantasse was a small metal tank of which each camel carried two. It had a capacity of 12 gallons. The water supply was carried by the 1st-line camels, and each division had also a camel convoy with one day's water.] was the chief cause of delay. There was delay also in distributing food to the men, and it was highly necessary that the troops should have a meal after the night's work, with the prospect of a march and possibly a battle in the sun before them. It was not till noon that the 157th Brigade, followed by the 155th, moved out from the defences, and Abu Hamra was not reached till nightfall.

Meanwhile the 3rd L.H. Brigade had gained a striking success against the enemy on the high ground west of Hamisah. The 9th A.L.H. under Lieut.-Colonel. W. H. Scott, boldly galloped to within a few hundred yards of the Turkish line and then attacked on foot under cover of the fire of the Inverness Battery and machine guns. The enemy hastily abandoned his position, but 425 prisoners and seven machine guns were captured. Unfortunately the brigade then came under fire of the heavy guns behind Qatiya, and withdrew late in the afternoon to Bir Nagid, 21 miles west of Hamisah, before receiving an order from General Chauvel to protect his right.

Between 12 noon and 1 p.m. the four brigadiers of the N.Z.M.R.B. 1st and 2nd L.H. and 5th Mounted, Brigades reconnoitred the enemy's position from a sandy ridge 2 miles west of Qatiya. Many stragglers had been passed in the course of the advance, and it seemed possible that the enemy holding the position was in a demoralized condition and that brusque tactics might result in large captures of men and guns. It was accordingly decided that the three Australian brigades should advance mounted on Qatiya while the 5th Mounted Brigade, also mounted, attacked the enemy's right flank.

The three brigades advanced on Qatiya at 3.30 p.m., the Yeomanry on the far left. Reaching the edge of the white gypsum bed which lay before them, they formed line and, fining bayonets to give at least moral effect to mounted action, advanced at a gallop, cheering loudly. But as the oasis was neared the ground became so swampy that the horses were at once checked. The regiments then dismounted and continued the advance on foot. The 5th Mounted Brigade (which was, unlike the others, armed with the sword) likewise found a mounted advance impossible owing to the intensity of the enemy's fire and was obliged to send back its horses.

Of the expected demoralization in the Turkish ranks there was no sign. Their fire was hot and well directed, while their artillery out-gunned the supporting Ayr and Somerset Batteries. By sunset the advance had ceased, seeing which, from his position 3 miles in rear, General Chauvel ordered a retirement to Romani.

When the 1st and 2nd L.H. Brigades reached camp some of the horses had not been watered for sixty hours. The men of the 2nd and 3rd A.L.H. had been during practically the whole of that period in action or in the saddle. Both sides were almost at their last gasp. While the British mounted troops were moving back to Romani, men sleeping as they rode, the Turks were struggling back to Oghratina under cover of darkness.

The infantry brigades were disposed for the night as follows:-The 155th and 157th Brigades at Abu Hamra, the 127th Brigade at Hod el Enna, the 125th Brigade on its left, in touch with the 156th Brigade, which had its left on Work 21. The Mobile Column, which had found Mageibra evacuated, spent the night there.

 

Previous: The Turkish Attack on The 4th August 

Next: The end of the pursuit 

 

Further Reading:

Battle of Romani, Sinai, August 4 to 5, 1916

Bir el Abd, Sinai, 9 August 1916

Battles where Australians fought, 1899-1920

 


Citation: Battle of Romani, Sinai, August 4 to 5, 1916, Falls Account, The Pursuit on The 5th August

Posted by Project Leader at 12:01 AM EADT
Updated: Monday, 7 September 2009 6:21 PM EADT
Battle of Romani, Sinai, August 4 to 5, 52nd (Lowland) Division, War Diary Account
Topic: AIF - DMC - British

Battle of Romani

Sinai, August 4 to 5, 1916

52nd (Lowland) Division, War Diary Account

 

War Diary account of the 157th Infantry Brigade.

 

The transcription:

3 August

0600

Anzacs report 2,000 Turks advancing from Waset, they are entrenching old battlefield of Qatia. Turkish line near Katia was defined now as on the high ground north west of Er Rabah and east and south east of Katia. The enemy are entering the Hods of Katia. It would appear that attack is now imminent.


4 August

0430 - Anzacs report that they are being attacked from the direction of Hod el Enna - Mount Meredith to just south of No.1 Post.

0505 - Enemy pressing Anzacs hard, latter have fallen back from Mt Meredith. 2 enemy aeroplanes over camp bombing one bomb killed 7 and wounded 3 of our Yeomanry horses, another killed 1 royal Engineer Officer (Lieutenant Aitken) and wounded Major Spence. Turks shelling Romani hard with High Explosive shells.

0600 Anzacs driven off Wellington Ridge. The attack might now be said to have commenced. Turkish plan as was always expected seemed to be an attack on Romani from the south and holding attacks from the east. Turks made 3 distinct attacks,

(1) Against Work 23.

(2) Against Work 21a and 22.

(3) Against Works 4 and 5.

Works 4, 5 and 6 were subjected to a very heavy bombardment and suffered a number of casualties. No.5 work had 87 High Explosive shells within the wire. In one or two cases the Turks managed to cut the barbed wire between the posts, but their attacks met with no success and their casualties near No. 23 were very heavy.

1200 - Our stationary battery opened fire on the Turks in Abu Hamra. 5th and 7th Highland Light Infantry in Divisional Reserve ordered to mobilise and proceed to a position west of Hill 88 just west of No.8 Post.

1400 - Brigade Major sent to guide Battalions to correct place.

1600 - Battalions in position behind Hill 88.

1700 - Received notification of big counter attack against enemy to the south of Romani. 127th Brigade from Pelusium to move to Mount Royston. Anzac from their left to Mount Meredith. 156th Brigade from Anzac left to 156th Brigade Posts. Attack was very successful and about 2,000 prisoners taken. The Turks seemed to be played out and only too ready to surrender. It appears that a large force of Turks went towards Pelusium but met the 127th Brigade and suffered heavily. A great number of prisoners were kept for the night at our post at Canterbury Hill.

5 August

0300 - Received orders that we were to mobilise and hold ourselves in readiness to move at short notice, the posts in front were to be taken over by weak men not fit enough for the mobile column. All preparations were made and at 1115 Brigade moved off to the rendezvous in accordance with instructions received.

6 August

The full account of the action taken by the 157th Brigade during the advance to Katia is attached. See:
Battle of Romani, Sinai, August 4 to 5, 157th Infantry Brigade War Diary Account.

 

Roll of Honour

Battle of Romani, Sinai, August 4 to 5, 1916, Roll of Honour, British Forces 

Lest We Forget

 

Further Reading:

The British Army 

Battle of Romani, Sinai, August 4 to 5, 1916, Roll of Honour, British Forces

Battle of Romani, Sinai, August 4 to 5, 1916 

Bir el Abd, Sinai, 9 August 1916

Battles where Australians fought, 1899-1920

 


Citation: Battle of Romani, Sinai, August 4 to 5, 52nd (Lowland) Division, War Diary Account

Posted by Project Leader at 12:01 AM EADT
Updated: Saturday, 24 October 2009 5:29 PM EADT
Battle of Romani, Sinai, August 4 to 5, 42nd Infantry Division War Diary Account
Topic: AIF - DMC - British

 Battle of Romani

Sinai, August 4 to 5, 1916

42nd Infantry Division War Diary Account

 

War Diary account of the 42nd Infantry Division.

 

The transcription:

 

1 August

The 42nd Division was disposed as follows:

Gilban

127th Infantry Brigade

"A" Squadron, Duke of Lancaster’s Yeomanry

One Battery, 212th Brigade, Royal Field Artillery

3rd East Lancashire Field Company, Royal Engineers

3rd East Lancashire Field Ambulance



Hill 70

125th Infantry Brigade

1st East Lancashire Field Company, Royal Engineers

1st East Lancashire Field Ambulance



Hill 40

126th Infantry Brigade, less one Battalion

2nd East Lancashire Field Company, Royal Engineers

2nd East Lancashire Field Ambulance



Kantara Defences

One Battalion, 126th Brigade



Kantara East

212th Brigade Royal Field Artillery less one Battery

One Section Divisional Ammunition Column



Ballah

210th Brigade Royal Field Artillery

One Battery, 211th Brigade, Royal Field Artillery

Detachment Divisional Ammunition Column



El Ferdan

211th Brigade, Royal Field Artillery, less one Battery

213th Howitzer Brigade

One Section, Divisional Ammunition Column

 

2 August

Lieutenant Colonel Dudgeon, 42nd Divisional Royal Artillery took over command of Kantara Defences in place of Brigadier General Wiggin 5th Mounted Brigade. 5th Mounted Brigade placed under orders of 42nd Division and Brigade Headquarters moved to Gilban.

3 August

5th Mounted brigade sent one squadron to Pelusium to afford local protection to the Battalion, 127th Brigade, who are to work there. This Squadron will also patrol railway and pipe line from Pelusium towards Gilban. In view of the enemy's advance, all units were ordered at 1300 to be ready to move at short notice. Remainder of 5th Mounted Brigade moving to Gilban.

4 August

At 13150 G.180 was sent out. At 0535 5th Mounted Brigade and 127th Brigade were ordered to move to Pelusium and 5th Mounted Brigade to carry out the duties laid down in 42nd Division Operation Order No. 24 of 3rd inst.

At 0830 New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade moved across our front in the direction of Mount Royston to support Anzac Mounted Division.

At 0900 125th Brigade and attached troops were ordered to follow 127th Brigade by rail and concentrate at Pelusium.

At 1055 5th Mounted Brigade reported being in touch with enemy, strength about 2 Battalions, advancing on the line Negeirat Ali to Bir um Ziyad.

At 1200 situation was as described in No. 3 Section message H.O. 353. 127th Brigade warned to be ready to move once in support of Anzac Mounted Division's right flank in the direction of Mount Royston.

The order to move was sent to the 127th Brigade at 1445 and was received by them at 1527 as the last Battalion was detraining at Pelusium.

At 1530 127th Brigade reported their advance had commenced.

126th Brigade with attached troops were ordered to move to Gilban and to come under orders of No. 3 Section as Section Reserve. Arrangements for the night 4th/5th are contained in G. 831.

At 1700 127th Brigade gained touch with New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade and was supporting their attack on Mount Royston.

At 1800 127th Brigade were in possession of sand ridge running north from Mount Royston and had taken prisoners and pushing on to Wellington Ridge.

At 2000 127th Brigade had two Companies holding Mount Royston and established touch with 7th Light Horse Regiment. Brigade Headquarters established on sand ridge south west of Abu Diyak.

At 2000 Brigadier General Lord Tullibardine, MVO, DSO took over command of Kantara Defences and Outposts and Ballah Sub-Section, and Divisional Headquarters moved to Pelusium.

At 2125 127th Brigade reported all quiet. Prisoners taken 7 officers, 335 men, also 2 horses, 44 mules, and many rifles and ammunition.

At 2200 155th Brigade had finished detraining and were concentrated at Pelusium.

5 August

42nd Divisional Headquarters were established at Pelusium at 0020. The result of the day's operations were as contained in No. 3 Section, GS 192.

At 0200 G.4. was sent out, but was not received by 127th Brigade. At 0245 G.5. was sent out which did not reach 127th Brigade till 0540 when the advance began.

At 0945 127th Brigade had reached Hod el Enna and were in touch with Mounted Troops in front. Men were very exhausted, so halt was ordered. 125th Brigade halted at Hod es Seifaniya. During the advance, guns and cable wagons had become stuck in the sand drifts and had to be temporarily abandoned until fresh teams could be brought up. 5th Mounted Brigade was under orders of Anzac Mounted Division. G.48 was sent out at 1715. Duke of Lancaster’s Yeomanry and Bikanir Camel Corps joined division at Hod es Seifaniya. G.58 was sent out.


6 August

At 0400 advance was continued. Divisional Headquarters moved at the same time to 1 mile west of "Q" in Qatia where touch was obtained with 52nd Division. Qatia was reported all clear and 42nd Division took up the line Qatia to Mamluk.125th Brigade took 5 prisoners and 127th Brigade took 16 prisoners. Divisional Headquarters were established at Qatia. Orders were received for the line to be maintained throughout the night; each Brigade finding their own outposts. Cavalry were withdrawn to the flanks of the infantry.

 

 

Roll of Honour

Battle of Romani, Sinai, August 4 to 5, 1916, Roll of Honour, British Forces

Lest We Forget

 

Further Reading:

The British Army 

Battle of Romani, Sinai, August 4 to 5, 1916, Roll of Honour, British Forces

Battle of Romani, Sinai, August 4 to 5, 1916 

Bir el Abd, Sinai, 9 August 1916

Battles where Australians fought, 1899-1920

 


Citation: Battle of Romani, Sinai, August 4 to 5, 42nd Infantry Division War Diary Account

Posted by Project Leader at 12:01 AM EADT
Updated: Sunday, 25 October 2009 8:50 PM EADT
Battle of Romani, Sinai, August 4 to 5, 157th Infantry Brigade War Diary Account, Appendix
Topic: AIF - DMC - British

 Battle of Romani

Sinai, August 4 to 5, 1916

157th Infantry Brigade War Diary Account, Appendix

 

War Diary, Appendix account of the 157th Infantry Brigade.

 

The transcription:

 

Appendix 1

(See: 157th Infantry Brigade War Diary Account )

In connection with these operations I think it well to bring to notice the following points:

A large number of men fell out from exhaustion. The minimum distance measured as the crow flies marched frost Chabrias Camp on the 5th inst, was 5½ miles, while the troops from Posts 10, 10a and 11 had much further to march, especially the latter. Owing to the absence of two battalions on Divisional Reserve the outpost work on the troops remaining in camp was arduous. A very large proportion of the men stood to arms at 0300 on the 5th, and from that hour until the evening of the 6th they may be said to have had no real rest. The march was carried out, and all preliminary work done in the heat of the day, and though the men were frequently sitting down during the advance, they never for a moment got any shelter from the heat of the sun. The outposts were in position about 2100, but not fully organised until much later; the men then had to dig in for a considerable time, and a large proportion were on sentry duty. At about 0345 to 0400 battalion commanders received orders to be ready to move at 0415, and the two leading battalions moved into preliminary formation shortly after this hour, as also did the 5th Highland Light Infantry in reserve. The 5th Argyle and Sunderland Highlanders, on outpost duty north of the railway line were much further away consequently orders took some time to reach these, and they had much further to go before they could take up their position: finally at about 0535 the whole force moved off from the advanced position where they had already assembled. Owing to the short notice received, it was quite impossible to give the men their tea and breakfast and all things considered I an fully satisfied that they did have an exceedingly trying experience; it must be remembered that they were carrying 32 lbs, dead weight over very heavy sand, and that this weight was on them for a long period. Many of them collapsed from want of water and exhaustion consequent on the heat.

As regards water, the men ought to have received, and naturally expected to receive 2 gallons for the 2 days; they received the 1 gallon for the first day, but none on the second day, and again naturally the larger portion of the first day's gallon was consumed on the first day, leaving for the second day only what was saved. Had it been possible to give the men hot tea and breakfast in even reasonable comfort before starting on the 6th I am quite certain that the casualties due to faintness and exhaustion would have been enormously reduced. I have personally interviewed the Medical Officer of the Field Ambulance through whose hands these casualties passed and he is emphatic that in nearly every case the men were ready done up, and physically unable to carry on; when pressed by me he admitted that there were a very few who might have gone a bit further, but only a very few; no less than 73 men were admitted to hospital.

By 0800 on 7th inst. the rations and water for the 7th were received, full rations less sugar, and only ½ gallon of water; but no rations or water for the 6th were over received (so the men had to eat their iron rations for this day).

The men were given their breakfast comfortably and all Commanding Officers and many Company Officers reported to me on the morning of the 7th that they were quite ready to move on again after the midday meal, and that they expected to do so.

I spoke to many men of each unit myself, and found them all very cheery and quite ready for further efforts; there was a most gratifying absence of any suspicion of complaint, or of the slightest tendency to grouse.

I have many exceptionally strong and athletic officers but it was quite obvious to me that many of then had nearly reached the end of their tether; if officers are really done, then it may be accepted as a fact that men must have had a very trying experience, and in this instance, much more trying than I was at first inclined to think.

I am of opinion that this practically experience though it has probably taken a bit out of the men towards the end of a hot season will in other respects have done them all a great deal of good.

 

Appendix 2

The following table gives details of casualties.

Strength Started2,579 
Fell out in the two days37414.5%
Admitted to Hospital732.75%
Not yet rejoined but mostly accounted for2027.75%

 

 

Further Reading:

The British Army 

Battle of Romani, Sinai, August 4 to 5, 1916, Roll of Honour, British Forces

Battle of Romani, Sinai, August 4 to 5, 1916 

Bir el Abd, Sinai, 9 August 1916

Battles where Australians fought, 1899-1920

 


Citation: Battle of Romani, Sinai, August 4 to 5, 157th Infantry Brigade War Diary Account, Appendix

Posted by Project Leader at 12:01 AM EADT
Updated: Saturday, 24 October 2009 7:05 PM EADT

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