"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
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Diaries of AIF Servicemen, Bert Schramm, 20 July 1918 Topic: Diary - Schramm
Diaries of AIF Servicemen
20 July 1918
2823 Private Herbert Leslie SCHRAMM, a 22 year old Farmer from Whites River, South Australia. He enlisted on 17 February 1916; and at the conclusion of the war Returned to Australia, 10 July 1919.
During part of the course of his military service with the AIF, Bert Schramm 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 Offensive 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.
The complete diary is now available on the Australian Light Horse Studies Centre Site at:
Nominal Roll, AWM133, Nominal Roll of Australian Imperial Force who left Australia for service abroad, 1914-1918 War.
War Diaries and Letters
All War Diaries and letters cited on this site should be read in conjunction with the Australian Light Horse Studies Centre, War Diaries and Letters, Site Transcription Policy which may be accessed at:
The following entries are extracted and transcribed from the 9th Light Horse Regiment War Diary, the originals of which are held by the Australian War Memorial. There are 366 entries on this site. Each day has entries as they occurred from 1914 to 1919. In addition to the 9th Light Horse Regiment War Diary, when appropriate, entries from the 3rd Light Horse Brigade War Diary and other regiments with the Brigade will also appear. Entries from the unit history, Darley, TH, With the Ninth Light Horse in the Great War, Adelaide, Hassell Press, 1924 will also appear from time to time. The aim is to give the broadest context to the story and allow the reader to follow the day to day activities of the regiment. If a relative happened to have served in the regiment during the Great War, then this provides a general framework in which the individual story may be told.
9th Light Horse Regiment War Diary - Training and lectures carried out throughout the week. Patrols and outpost work continued as in previous details.
Major HM Parsons is taken on the strength of the Regiment (from Double Squadrons) and posted to command "A" Squadron.
Major RA McKenzie transferred to "C" Squadron to command.
System of Patrols to Mukshieb - Et Tassi and Et Tassa commenced.
Patrol of 1 Officer, 1 Sergeant and 12 Other Ranks to patrol daily to Mukshieb from Point "580" from 0430 to 1830 and on alternate days to Et Tassa or Et Tassi from No. 3 Patrol Post.
Friday, July 20, 1917
9th Light Horse Regiment Location - El Gamli, Abu Yahia, Bir el Esani
9th Light Horse Regiment War Diary - At 0300 saddled up and stood to arms.
At 0430 the Regiment moved across the wadi as advance guard to the Brigade and advanced towards Beersheba.
“B” Squadron and one troop “A” Squadron formed the screen and pushed forward on a north to south line through Reshid Bek keeping well south of Beersheba - Karm Road.
In the vicinity of Abu Yahia enemy patrols were encountered but fell back on the screen being pushed vigorously forward. A line was taken up about one mile east of Point 840 - El Hathira and two troops from “A” Squadron were sent to make good the cross roads before the A of cultivAtion [Square F10] and to obtain touch with the Anzac Mounted Division on the left. This was done.
The enemy kept up intermittent rifle and shell fire but caused no casualties. One gun fired a number of rounds and the enemy were observed to leave several of their positions and retire.
At 1100 word was received to withdraw and the screen was first pulled in and then the withdrawal successfully carried out by squadrons in turn.
El Gamli was reached at 1500 and horses watered - the first drink since 1800 the previous night - and the column then moved back to the bivouac at Abasan el Kebir which was reached at 1830.
During this time the men had only two meals, 1100 on the 19th July and 1800 on the 20th July 1917, on the limbers with the rations for the 20th July not available.
Casualties - personnel, nil; horses, one slightly wounded.
Saturday, July 20, 1918
9th Light Horse Regiment Location - Madhbeh
9th Light Horse Regiment War Diary - Aikman, Lieutenant GE; and, Stephen, Second Lieutenant HH, joined from Moascar.
Fletcher, 3012 Corporal GEP, died of wounds.
Sunday, July 20, 1919
9th Light Horse Regiment Location - SS Oxfordshire
9th LHR On Manoeuvres, The Alleged Elliott Photograph Examined, Part 1 Topic: BatzP - Beersheba
9th LHR On Manoeuvres
The Alleged Elliott Photograph Examined, Part 1
9th Australian Light Horse Regiment "On Manoeuvres".
Schramm Photograph Album
[Click on photograph for a larger version.]
The above photograph is possibly the most controversial photograph of the Palestine campaign. There are many different beliefs from the reasonable to the outright bizarre. This particular photograph was in our family collection with the heading "On Manoeuvres". The person who wrote that description was a veteran of the Sinai and Palestine campaign and was on Tel el Saba when the charge began.
Later on, after the Great War, when the "Charge at Beersheba" had cache,Trooper E.G. Elliot of the 4th Light Horse Machine Gun Squadron claimed authorship of this particular photograph. This claim was examined by Ian Jones in and article called: Is This The Charge At Beersheba? It was published in the Journal of the Australian War Memorial, October 1983. A copy of this article is located on the web site of the Australian Light Horse Association at this address:
Elliott claimed that the photograph portrays the historic charge of the 4th and 12th LHRs of the Australian 4th Light Horse Brigade at Beersheba, Palestine, 31 October 1917. His Statutory Declaration claims that he was in an advanced position performing range finding duties and was unaware that the charge was planned but fortunately had a small camera with him and so took a quick snap as the horses charged towards him. In his latest work, The legend of the Light Horse written by Ian Jones in 2007, the arguments are reiterated with a few modifications but essentially alleging the same conclusion as made in 1983.
Matthew Woodhead and and Jacqui Lobach, in The Australian Charge at Beersheba, 1917: Is the Photograph Genuine or Staged, Wartime, Issue 1 (November 1997) refutes the Jones' thesis and formulates the hypothesis that the photograph was produced by Frank Hurley, the Australian Official Photographer, on 7 February 1918. They claim it portrays a re-enactment of the charge. The location of this photograph was around the Deir el Belah township south of Gaza where the Australian Mounted Division was resting for three months.
The relationship between Hurley and Brigadier General LC Wilson of the 3rd Light Horse Brigade was very much in evidence when Wilson escorted Hurley around the front lines in late December 1917. The various diary entries are found on this site at this address:
My personal research agrees with this conclusion by Woodhead and Lobach and indicates that it is more than probable that the regiment in the photograph is the 9th Australian Light Horse Regiment. There are two reasons for this.
The first relates to other photograph albums claiming that the photograph is of the 9th LHR. In addition, there is a letter from Major Jack Davies, the Officer Commanding "C" Squadron, 12th LHR to his wife detailing his purchase of this very photograph from Lieutenant Colonel Scott, the Commanding Officer of the 9th LHR on 26 March 1918. No mention in his letter that this was a photograph of the charge at Beersheba yet the officer in question was quite happy to let his wife know in great detail other events in which he participated during the campaign. His photographs were always well described. Elsie Ritchie compiled all his letters in 1998 in a self published volume called Crusaders of the Southern Cross at p. 218.
In addition, it requires an examination of the Massie Map:
Special attention should be paid to the third line in the picture compared to that shown in the Massie Map. The representation of the third line in the Massie map indicates that the troops are in line of column. The alleged Elliott photograph shows the third line as a single line, a totally different concept. It comes down to whose evidence is accepted in this case. Massie's map was fully authenticated by the men who took part in the action at Beersheba. He was a thorough man who knew his task and produced a map accordingly. In the alternative there is Elliott who claims he took the picture but never saw it until years later. There does not appear to be any contest on credibility with the evidence put in sharp relief. The Massie map is accurate. It is the third line of the photograph that undermines the claim of Elliott.
Finally the topography of the picture needs to be qualified by that portrayed quite accurately in the Official Map:
One major item missing from this picture is Tel el Saba which should have been clearly seen in the photograph as it is in any other photograph of the point where the charge was formed. An examination of the alleged Elliott picture requires a comparison of the topography. This is clearly undertaken in an earlier post and presented at:
The thing to keep in mind, if this was a photograph of the charge as alleged by Elliott, is the background.
In addition to topography, on the day of the charge, to the left of the horse lines the alleged Elliott picture, there should by signs of many thousands of men on horses as well as field guns in place. The below photograph illustrates this principle of visually picking up horsemen in the distance.
3rd LHB at Marakeb Beach, July 1917
Had the alleged Elliott photograph been taken at Beersheba, the presence of 12,000 cavalrymen would have left even the slightest trace in the picture. It is impossible to hide such a number of horses and men. These would be picked up as black dots over the picture. The alleged Elliott photograph shows none. In other words, either the two divisions of cavalry disappeared and the war stopped for the sake of the photograph, or the photograph does not describe the charge at Beersheba.
Vast quantities of evidence exists indicating that the Elliott claim to authorship of this photograph is very much in doubt. That is not to say that Elliott did not take a photograph on that day, only that he did not take this photograph. This evidence will progressively be added to the blog.
One of the most bizarre claims is that the photograph was taken by a Turkish soldier in the trenches facing the charge. He was subsequently killed. The film was removed from the camera and this was on that roll. Unless this valiant but unlucky Turk had a telephoto lens attached to his camera and took the charge at its formation, then this photograph is an impossibility. By the time the Turkish trenche shad been reached, the charging horses had broken up into smaller units. While these were coherent fighting units, it would have appeared to be a shambles in front of the trench with horses and men going every which way.
Official map of the Beersheba Charge Topic: BatzP - Beersheba
Below is the Official Map detailing the organisation of the 4th Light Horse Brigade prior to making the famous charge. The map was produced by the cartographic section of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force in Cairo.
Official map of the Beersheba Charge
[Click on map for a larger version.]
The interesting item information in this map is the arrangements of the regiments in the charge formation. The 12th LHR is line abreast in the front line followed by the 4th LHR and then the Brigade support services of the Field Ambulance and Machine Gun Squadron. The good thing about this map is the display of topography which is accurate.
Students of history would know that the formation of the regiments is totally at odds with the post battle reports in the various formation War Diaries and more importantly, it bears little similarity to the Massie Map located at:
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