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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

Let us hear your story: You can tell your story, make a comment or ask for help on our Australian Light Horse Studies Centre Forum called:

Desert Column Forum

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

Sunday, 27 September 2009
Victorian (Volunteer) Mounted Rifles, 1887
Topic: Militia - LHV - Vic

VMR

Victorian (Volunteer) Mounted Rifles

1887

 

 

Headquarters

Melbourne

Commanding Officer

Lieutenant Colonel Tom Price, 1 May 1885.


Adjutant

Lieutenant John Charles Hoad, 4 June 1886.


Quartermaster

Captain Thomas Mann, 2 July 1886.


Surgeons

Archibald McDonald, 16 April 1886.

Henry St. John Mitchell, 16 April 1886.

William Francis Sweetman, 16 April 1886.

Henry Ogle Moore, 16 April 1886.

William Cleland Wilkinson, 16 April 1886.

Augustus McManus, 16 April 1886.

Damuel Connor, MD, 29 October 1886.

James Coane, 21 January 1887.


Veterinary Surgeon

Graham Mitchell, 16 April 1886.


 

"A" Company

Headquarters
Preston

Detachments
Dromana

Ferntree Gully

Flinders



"B" Company

Headquarters
Kyneton

Detachments
Daylesford

Geelong

Gisborne



"C" Company

Headquarters
Heyfield

Detachments
Glengarry

Maffra

Rosedale

Sale

Traralgon



"D" Company

Headquarters
Drouin

Detachments
Mirboo North

Moe

Morwell

Thorpdale

Trafalgar

Warragul

Yarragon



"E" Company

Headquarters
Euroa

Detachments
Benalla

Molka

Strathbogie

Violet Town

Yea



"F" Company

Headquarters
Broadford

Detachments
Katandra

Nagambie

Numurkah

Seymour

Wunghnu



"G" Company

Headquarters
Camperdown

Detachments
Darlington

Hexham

Mortlake

Penshurst



"H" Company

Headquarters
Hamilton

Detachments
Branxholme

Casterton

Coleraine

Dunkeld

Heywood

Merino

Myamyn



"I" Company

Headquarters
Kerang

Detachments
Durham Ox

Elmore

Pyramid Hill

 

Lieutenants

Lieutenant Edgar Slee, 16 April 1886.

Lieutenant William Hallett Thomas, 16 April 1886.

Lieutenant William Braithwaite, 16 April 1886.

Lieutenant Walter George Farroll, 16 April 1886.

Lieutenant Martin Joseph Ryan, 16 April 1886.

Lieutenant William Hart Fawcett, 16 April 1886.

Lieutenant Richard Barker, 16 April 1886.

Lieutenant George Francis Nethercote, 16 April 1886.

Lieutenant William Thomas Reay, 16 April 1886.

Lieutenant John Parsons Learmonth, 16 April 1886.

Lieutenant Richard James Howell, 16 April 1886.

Lieutenant Charles Blanchard, 16 April 1886.

Lieutenant Alfred William Crowe, 16 April 1886.

Lieutenant David Alexander Skene, 16 April 1886.

Lieutenant Christopher Richard Smithwick, 16 April 1886.

Lieutenant William Benjamin Pleasants, 16 April 1886.

Lieutenant Reginald Ivon Argyle, 16 April 1886.

Lieutenant Charles Murray, 16 April 1886.

Lieutenant William Borthwick, 16 April 1886.

Lieutenant Edward Walker Boake, 16 April 1886.

Lieutenant William Henry Hooper, 16 April 1886.

Lieutenant John Niel McArthur, 16 April 1886.

Lieutenant Thomas Carre Riddell, 16 April 1886.

Lieutenant David James Rourke, 16 April 1886.

Lieutenant Henry Southern, 16 April 1886.

Lieutenant Emil Theodor Sichlau, 16 April 1886.

 

 

Further Reading:

Victorian Mounted Rifles

The Light Horse

Australian Light Horse Militia

Militia 1899 - 1920

 


Citation: Victorian (Volunteer) Mounted Rifles, 1887

Posted by Project Leader at 12:01 AM EADT
Updated: Tuesday, 29 September 2009 5:47 PM EADT
Australian Service Personnel, Photograph Albums, Lieutenant William Lang Photograph Album
Topic: AAC-Photo Albums

Australian Service Personnel

Photograph Albums

Lieutenant William Lang Photograph Album

 

William Lang

 

William Lang was born 14 May 1893, at Auckland, New Zealand. He went to school at Palmerston North High School, New Zealand. At the age of 15 he came to Australia with his family who settled in the property known as 'Marmora', located on Corner Street, Burwood, New South Wales. At the age of 18 he was amongst the first intake in 1911 for the new Royal Military College Duntroon although due to war demands was specially graduated and commissioned November 1914 when Lang enlisted in the AIF on 3 November 1914 as a Lieutenant with the 6th LHR (Light Horse Regiment), Machine Gun Section. The 6th LHR was part of the 2nd Light Horse Brigade. This unit embarked from Sydney, New South Wales, on board HMAT A29 Suevic on 21 December 1914. After service at Gallipoli and in anticipation of the August offensive, he was given the rank of Temporary Captain on 4 August 1915. Lang was wounded in action on the evening of 6 August 1915 during the attack on Lone Pine. Days later Lang died of wounds on 13 August 1915 while aboard HS Guildford Castle and was buried at sea. His service is recorded on the Lone Pine Memorial (Panel 4), Gallipoli, Turkey. 

The complete photograph album of Lieutenant William Lang is now available on the Australian Light Horse Studies Centre Site at:

Lieutenant William Lang Photograph Album

 

 

Further Reading:

Australian Service Personnel, Photograph Albums

Australian Light Horse

Battles where Australians fought, 1899-1920

 


Citation: Australian Service Personnel, Photograph Albums, Lieutenant William Lang Photograph Album

Posted by Project Leader at 12:01 AM EADT
Updated: Wednesday, 20 April 2011 8:24 AM EADT
Australian Service Personnel, Photograph Albums, Trooper Ellis, The Military Force Souvenir Album, Contents
Topic: AAC-Photo Albums

Australian Service Personnel

Photograph Albums

Trooper Ellis, The Military Force Souvenir Album, Contents

 

The complete photograph album of Trooper Ellis is now available on the Australian Light Horse Studies Centre Site at:

The Military Force Souvenir Album

 

Finding more about a service person.

See: Navigating the National Archives Service File 

 

The following lists the photographs that are available. Part A are the listings of the photographs on each page of the album while Part B following below Part A is an alphabetical listing of the men named in photographs.

 

PART A: Photograph Listing per  Album Page

Page 1: 

Artillery Officers Captured at Gaza

Captured at Gaza

German Aeroplane downed after Air Duel

Turkish Engineers Captured at Gaza

ASC Dump in the desert

ELC with the Army

Grazing in the Holyland

Shepherds watching their flock Holyland

Wadi-Ghuzzeh General View

Railway Bridge Shallal

 

Page 2:  

Railway Bridge Shallal

Turkish Prisoners

Wadi-Ghuzzeh

Wadi-Ghuzzeh

After bombing Turkish HQ Jerusalem

Captured by Anzac M Div

General Kress von Kressenstein Comdr of Gaza Captured by Anzac M Div

After a visit of hostile Aeroplane

Horses under cover from the enemy

Turkish Prisoners

 

Page 3: 

Turkish Viaduct Before

Turkish Viaduct Blowing Up

Turkish Viaduct After

Fumigating Soldiers clothes

Drawing water from Turkish Well Khan Yunes

Surfing

Bedouin Group

Anzac Well Bielah

Anzac Well Bielah

 

 Page 4:

Bielah

Lagoon Bielah

Gas Over

Washing & Bathing place for the troops

Horses watering

French Soldiers camped somewhere

Grazing in Palestine

Desert Train

Turkish Mine Before

Turkish Mine After

 

Page 5:

Natives drawing water from Khan Yunes, Picture 1

Natives drawing water from Khan Yunes, Picture 2

Natives drawing water from Khan Yunes, Picture 3

Natives drawing water from Khan Yunes, Picture 4

Old Church at Khan Yunes

Town of Khan Yunes

Scene in the Holyland

Ploughing in the Holyland

Native of El Arish

Garden Scene El Arish

 

Page 6: 

Turkish Trenches El Arish

RAMC Attending to a Native El Arish

Start of Anzac Steeple Chase

Winner of Anzac Steeple Chase

Border Post Rafa
Rafa Redoubt taken by Anzac M Div
First stunt into Holyland
Halt on the track to Holyland
Camels used for transport
On the sand of the Desert
 
Page 7:  
Remains of a Dead Turk
Construction of Railway El Arish
Cheikh Tomb el Arish
Camp at Mesaid
Turkish Red Crescent camels
German Officer's Grave
Bomb from Taube
Turkish Trench near Katia
Turkish Red Crescent Camel
Unexploded 14 inch shell
 
Page 8:
Shell bursting among horses
Bomb from Taube, Picture 1
Bomb from Taube, Picture 2
Panorama of Cairo Railway Station, Picture 1 
Panorama of Cairo Railway Station, Picture 2
Armenian Refugee in Hospital
Armenian Refugee Children
Anzac Field Ambulance
Turkish Colonel captured at Romani
Turkish Officer captured at Romani
 
Page 9: 
Turkish Prisoners
German Prisoners MGC
Turkish Flag found on dead Turk
Turkish Field Ambulance Captured Romani, Picture 1
Turkish Field Ambulance Captured Romani, Picture 2
Attending Turkish wounded at Romani
After the battle of Romani Anzac dead
After the battle of Romani, Picture 1
After the battle of Romani, Picture 2
Dead Turks equipment after their defeat Romani
 
Page 10:
Dead Turk in disused well Romani
Resting after Stunt  
 
 

 

Sources Used:

National Archives Service File.

Embarkation Roll, AWM8.

Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour

Nominal Roll, AWM133, Nominal Roll of Australian Imperial Force who left Australia for service abroad, 1914-1918 War.

 

 

Further Reading:

Australian Service Personnel, Photograph Albums

Australian Light Horse

Battles where Australians fought, 1899-1920

 


Citation: Australian Service Personnel, Photograph Albums, Trooper Ellis, The Military Force Souvenir Album, Contents

Posted by Project Leader at 12:01 AM EADT
Updated: Thursday, 26 May 2011 5:44 PM EADT
Saturday, 26 September 2009
11th Australian Light Horse Regiment, Roll of Honour
Topic: AIF - 4B - 11 LHR

11th LHR, AIF

11th Australian Light Horse Regiment

Roll of Honour


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

 

The Roll of Honour contains the names of all the men known to have served at one time with the 11th Light Horse Regiment and gave their lives in service of Australia, whether as part of the 11th Light Horse Regiment or another unit.

 

Roll of Honour

 

William Harold BAIN , Killed in Action, 2 May 1918.

Bertie Gerald BARRETT , Killed in Action, 7 August 1916.

John William BAXTER , Died of Wounds, 1 May 1918.

Benjamin BEETHAM , Killed in Action, 19 April 1917.

Thomas Albert BENNETT , Died of Wounds, 7 November 1917.

Lawrence BERWICK , Killed in Action, 2 April 1917.

James BLACK , Killed in Action, 24 April 1918.

Robert BLACK , Died of Wounds, 8 May 1918.

William BLOOMFIELD , Killed in Action, 25 September 1918.

Victor Godfrey BOTTOMLEY , Killed in Action, 19 April 1917.

John BOYDLE , Died of Wounds, 8 September 1915.

Horace BRAHAM , Died of Disease, 21 October 1918.

Frederick Charles BUCKHOLTZ , Died of Disease, 27 October 1918.

William John BURTON , Died of Wounds, 8 May 1918.

 

 

Frank Banister CAMPBELL , Died of Wounds, 20 May 1917.

Frederick Michael CARNEY , Killed in Action, 1 November 1917.

Douglas CARRINGTON , Killed in Action, 19 April 1917.

Ernest James CHANDLER , Killed in Action, 12 August 1918.

Edward James CLEMENTS , Died of Wounds, 19 April 1917.

George COLEMAN , Killed in Action, 7 November 1917.

Francis Aloysius CONNOLLY , Killed in Action, 19 April 1917.

Francis COOPER , Died of Disease, 20 December 1915.

Edward CRAWFORD , Died of Disease, 31 January 1918.

Harold Nesbit CUMMINS , Died of Wounds, 1 December 1917.

 

 

George DARE , Died of Wounds, 18 October 1917.

Ivo Virgel DAVIDSON , Died of Disease, 27 January 1917.

Perry Thomas DAVIS , Died of Wounds, 27 November 1917.

Martin DEVITT , Died of Disease, 7 July 1918.

Daryl James Gilchrist DODDS , Killed in Action, 25 September 1918.

Alexander DONALDSON , Killed in Action, 23 September 1918.

William DONALDSON , Died of Wounds, 26 September 1918.

Maurice Michael DONNELLY , Killed in Action, 19 April 1917.

Harry DOWIE , Killed in Action, 4 July 1917.

Alexander Mark DOWNIE , Killed in Action, 14 July 1918.

John Denis DUNN , Killed in Action, 28 March 1918.

Patrick Bernard DWYER , Killed in Action, 3 May 1917.

 

 

Francis Patrick EGAN , Died of Disease, 12 May 1916.

Frederick Bertram ELLIS , Killed in Action, 28 March 1918 .

William EMMERT , Killed in Action, 14 July 1918.

 

 

George FALLON , Died of Wounds, 10 August 1916.

Frederick Garnet FARLOW , Killed in Action, 25 September 1918.

William FENTON , Died of Disease, 23 December 1918.

Cyril John Alfred FLYNN , Killed in Action, 7 November 1917.

William Bateman FORSTER , Killed in Action, 7 November 1917.

William Albert FRASER , Died of Wounds, 9 November 1915, and subsequently buried at sea.

Edward FROST , Died of Disease, 23 October 1918.

 

 

Herbert John GEE , Killed in Action, 25 September 1918.

Cecil GERMAIN , Died of Wounds, 1 May 1918.

Thomas GERRARD , Died of Disease, 21 June 1916.

Harold GIBBON , Killed in Action, 7 August 1916.

Alphonsus GILLIGAN , Died of Disease, 29 October 1918.

Thomas Lambert GLASBY , Killed in Action, 7 August 1916.

Frederick GOLDEN , Died of Disease, 9 October 1918.

Lucas Joseph Paul GOLIK , Killed in Action, 2 May 1918.

Clement Francis GOOD , Killed in Action, 4 May 1918.

 

 

Reginald George HALLAM , Died of Disease, 9 October 1918.

Frederick Allan Anthony HICKS , Died of Wounds, 23 September 1915.

Havelock HIGGS , Killed in Action, 1 November 1917 .

Herbert John HILDER , Died of Disease, 27 November 1917.

Alexander Forbes HOGARTH , Died of Disease, 6 August 1915.

Edgar Stanley HOWELL , Killed in Action, 5 August 1916.

William Edward Ludlow HUGHES , Killed in Action, 25 September 1918.

James John HULL , Killed in Action, 7 November 1917.

 

 

Pelham Steane JACKSON , Died of Wounds, 19 April 1917.

Eric James JARRETT , Killed in Action, 28 March 1918.

Harold Norman JARRETT , Died of Wounds, 16 September 1915, and subsequently buried at sea.

Thomas Norman JOHNSON , Killed in Action, 20 July 1916.

George Richard Somerville JOHNSTON , Died of Wounds, 10 November 1915.

John JOHNSTON , Died of Wounds, 1 June 1918 .

Stanley McGillivray JOHNSTON , Killed in Action, 2 May 1918.

Keith David JONES , Died of Wounds, 2 March 1918.

 

 

John Joseph KENNY , Killed in Action, 19 April 1917.

William Thomas KEOGH , Died of Disease, 18 October 1915.

William Edward KERRIGAN , Killed in Action, 31 October 1917.

Thomas Harold KIMPTON , Killed in Action, 24 October 1917.

Louis Paul KREIG , Died of Accident, 19 August 1918.

 

 

Alfred James LAKE , Killed in Action, 30 April 1918.

Frank Pierpoint LAXTON , Died of Wounds, 19 April 1917.

Wilfred LEACH , Died of Disease, 18 March 1917.

Lionel Kenneth LEE , Died of Disease, 5 April 1919.

James LEMON , Died of Disease, 30 October 1918.

Jack (John) LESWELL , Killed in Action, 15 October 1916.

Alfred LEVINGSTON , Died of Disease, 17 November 1917.

William Jack LINEDALE , Killed in Action, 7 November 1917.

Henry LITTLE , Killed in Action, 7 November 1917.

Thomas LLOYD , Killed in Action, 22 December 1916.

Edward Cahill LOUGHRAN , Died of Wounds, 25 May 1918.

 

 

John MALLETT , Died of Disease, 18 February 1916.

Clifford Roy MARR , Killed in Action, 6 July 1918.

Christopher Alfred MAUSOLF , Killed in Action, 2 May 1918.

William McBURNIE , Died of Wounds, 22 October 1917.

John McCARTHY , Killed in Action, 25 September 1918.

Michael Henry McCARTHY , Killed in Action, 19 April 1917.

Richard Augustus McDONALD , Died of Disease, 17 October 1918.

Alexander Stuart McGREGOR , Died of Disease, 14 April 1917.

Ernest McKAY , Killed in Action, 25 September 1918 .

Lewis Fordyce McKAY , Killed in Action, 10 August 1916.

Bernard Scrymgour McKENZIE , Died of Accident, 20 January 1918.

Thomas Mclean McLAREN , Killed in Action, 8 September 1915.

Ernest William MILLARD , Died of Wounds, 15 May 1918.

William Casper MILLER , Killed in Action, 10 April 1918 .

Roderick MORRISON , Died of Disease, 10 December 1917 .

Kenneth Andrew MUDGE , Killed in Action, 19 April 1917 .

Marcus Bowerman MUIR , Died of Wounds, 30 September 1918.

Arthur NEWMAN , Died of Disease, 19 October 1918.

 

 

Michael NUSS , Died of Wounds, 10 November 1917.

 

 

William James O'BRIEN , Died of Disease, 2 November 1915.

Peter Matthew O'DOWD , Killed in Action, 19 April 1917.

Timothy James O'NEILL , Killed in Action, 7 November 1917.

Joseph Lionel Alexander OSBORNE , Killed in Action, 10 April 1918 .

 

 

Joseph Henry PASCOE , Killed in Action, 22 September 1915.

Alexander Learmouth PATERSON , Died of Disease, 6 November 1918.

Frederick William PATERSON , Died of Wounds, 1 May 1918.

Robert Portway PLEDGER , Killed in Action, 25 September 1918.

John Joyce POSTLETHWAITE , Killed in Action, 2 November 1915.

Claude POWELL , Killed in Action, 1 May 1918.

John Richard PRENTICE , Died of Disease, 1 October 1915.

 

 

Thomas Alexander RANKIN , Killed in Action, 7 November 1917.

Alfred Charles RANN , Died of Wounds, 26 November 1915.

George Edward RATHJEN , Killed in Action, 19 April 1917.

John Thomas REYNOLDS , Died of Wounds, 16 November 1917.

Frederick James Archibald RICHARDS , Died of Wounds, 16 September 1915.

Percy McDonald ROBERTS , Died of Wounds, 27 November 1915, and subsequently buried at sea.

Allan David ROBINSON , Died of Wounds, 21 October 1915.

Stanley Oswald ROBINSON , Killed in Action, 7 November 1917.

Frederick Robert ROY , Died of Accident, 5 July 1918.

 

 

Ralph Thomas SABINE , Killed in Action, 28 October 1915 .

Alfred John SMITH , Died of Wounds, 14 July 1918.

Joseph SOLOMON , Died of Accident, 4 October 1918.

Harold Rowton STEVENS , Killed in Action, 7 August 1916.

 

 

Phillip Stanley TATNELL , Killed in Action, 3 August 1917.

Howard Hedley TAYLOR , Killed in Action, 25 September 1918.

Richard TAYLOR , Died of Wounds, 12 November 1917.

William TAYLOR , Died of Wounds, 10 April 1918 .

William Fairbairn TEMPLE , Killed in Action, 30 March 1918.

James Robert George TERRY , Died of Wounds, 27 April 1917 .

John Charles THOMPSON , Killed in Action, 10 November 1915.

John Arthur THOMSON , Died of Wounds, 8 November 1917.

Kenneth Stanley Willis THORN , Killed in Action, 25 September 1918.

 

 

Eric Arnold WADE , Killed in Action, 25 July 1916.

Harvey Thomas WAKE , Died of Disease, 2 November 1918.

Arthur Plenderleith WALKER , Died of Wounds, 13 July 1918.

James Robertson WALTERS , Killed in Action, 30 April 1918.

William WATTS , Died of Wounds, 22 July 1917.

Wilfred Allen WHITE , Killed in Action, 3 September 1915 .

William Henry WHITE , Died of Wounds, 16 September 1915.

Wesley Frank WHITFIELD , Killed in Action, 25 September 1918.

Charles Calliope WILEY , Killed in Action, 7 June 1917.

Thomas Stanley WRIGHT , Died of Wounds, 8 May 1918.

 

Lest We Forget

 

Acknowledgement: Many thanks to Steve Becker who provided much of the raw material that appears in this item.
 

Further Reading:

11th Australian Light Horse Regiment, AIF

Battles where Australians fought, 1899-1920

 


Citation: 11th Australian Light Horse Regiment, Roll of Honour

Posted by Project Leader at 12:01 AM EADT
Updated: Monday, 26 October 2009 8:38 PM EADT
Bir el Mazar, Sinai, 17 September 1916, Idriess Account
Topic: BatzS - El Mazar

Bir el Mazar

Sinai, 17 September 1916

Outline

 

View of Mazar with the hills in the background
 
[H Maunder, January 1917.]

 

The following outline was extracted from the book written by Lindsay Baly, Horseman, Pass By, East Roseville, N.S.W.: Simon & Schuster, 2003, Ch. 6.

 

There was a Turkish garrison at Bir el Mazar, only twenty miles short of El Arish on the direct track, believed to be 2200 strong and made up of Romani survivors. It was decided to mount an attack on this on 17 September, but there was no water supply for horses between Mazar and Salmana and it was necessary to improvise one to avoid a dry round trip of 37 miles. The mid-September weather was still hot.

Seven hundred camels no less, each carrying a twenty-gallon fantass of water, were to rendezvous with Chauvel's troops ten miles east of Salmana on their return journey. This was only one oddity in this untypical and, in the end, controversial operation.

On 15 September, Chauvel's three Australian brigades marched to Salmana. They were sighted there on the 16th and machine-gunned by a German aircraft which no doubt informed the garrison at Mazar of its discovery. After dark, the 2nd Brigade, now once more under Brigadier General Ryrie and the 3rd Brigade under Royston, marched on Mazar while the 1st Brigade followed about seven miles in rear.

At dawn, Ryrie's 5th and 7th Regiments dismounted and advanced to within 700 yards north and west of the Turkish trenches. There was stiff resistance from enemy mountain batteries and rifles. The 3rd Brigade swept right round the position and began attacking it from the south and east so that the Turks were virtually defending on all sides, A battalion of the Imperial Camel Corps should have attacked with them, but was late due to a difficult passage through single-file gullies and soft sand.

That was the situation soon after daylight, according to Gullett's Official History. Despite the absence of the camels, all ranks were confident of carrying the position. They had carried harder ones. From this point, however, differences in reported events and perceptions appear in Gullett's account and Colonel Richardson's history of the 7th Regiment.

Richardson said the regiment was checked close to the Mazar ruins where the enemy was strongly entrenched in commanding positions, but it seemed possible to assault the place and preparations were in progress, Then the 7th received a message that the 3rd Brigade had been held up and was withdrawing. 'Some of their troops crossed our frontage and being in close formation, received concentrated fire from the enemy and sustained a number of casualties. Our field guns had opened fire, but although the enemy were firing in plain view from our position, and messages were sent to that effect, no attempt was made to shell them.'

Gullett said that the ANZACs' field guns had not up to this time come into action, but Richardson said he saw them firing. According to Gullett, Royston had advised Chauvel of his 'unfavourable view of the project' and after the 3rd Brigade had been held up for 'nearly three hours', at 7 am Chauvel decided to break off the engagement. But Richardson sounds as it the 3rd Brigades withdrawal was a surprise to him: he was not preparing to leave, but was preparing to assault the enemy. This begs the question of whether the 7th got the message to break off at the same time.

When the order did come, the 7th could not leave the front line until they got a man, badly wounded in the abdomen, away in a sand cart. In the rescue three more men were wounded and 'our casualties for this ineffective little action were 1 killed 5 wounded: and two men subsequently died of wounds'. Richardson was not happy. 'As no bivouac had been indicated, it was presumed that Ge' Ella would be the place, but we arrived there only to find it deserted. Much trouble was experienced watering the horses from buckets and at 8 p.m., it was decided to return to Salmana.' He concludes:

The Mazar stunt was most strenuous and tested the endurance of men whose vitality had been greatly decreased by the fighting, fatigue and heat of the last few months'. One suspects he wanted to add, 'for nothing'.

Gullett acknowledges the engagement was always afterwards referred to in terms of strong disapproval by regimental officers who participated. Not only officers. Idriess says, 'We retired at midday furious about it all, certain that a determined gallop would have ridden down the redoubts ... We swore at the Heads, whomever they might be. With this little lot, we should have eaten Mazar.'

It seems that different beholders, Rashomon-like, interpreted the same things in different ways, and as a whole the abortive battle could be seen in two ways. Either as an unimportant sideshow, not worth the sacrifice of any more lives, or, however it was, the Light Horse should not have been committed if it was not intended to win. The withdrawal diminished their proud service.

Chauvel has absolute right to the last word. He had categorical orders from General Lawrence that if 'the garrison was not taken by surprise and overrun in the first rush, he was to consider the operation a reconnaissance in force and withdraw'. On no account was he to seriously involve his brigades. When 'Galloping Jack' Royston, the last man in the army to vacillate before unfavourable odds, look a poor view of his chances after being held up for three hours, Chauvel s duty was clear to him. He would doubtless also have been influenced by the wretched prospects for his wounded, so far from aid, should the engagement prove expensive. He acted, and a commander in battle does not argue his case.

But there could be no equivocation over the scheme for watering the horses. It was a shambles.

That the 700 camels were in place and on time says something for the project, but the watering of 3000 desperate horses calls for expert handling, experience and skill. The Light Horse had their own methods and equipment, in which long canvas troughs were instrumental, but the supply camels carried only buckets. At one or two horses per bucket, it seems an entangling, burdensome method, even with quiet and biddable animals.



Additional Reading:

Bir el Mazar, Sinai, 17 September 1916

Battles where Australians fought, 1899-1919

 


Citation: Bir el Mazar, Sinai, 17 September 1916, Outline

Posted by Project Leader at 12:01 AM EADT
Updated: Monday, 28 September 2009 9:41 AM EADT

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