"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.
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Friday, 15 August 2008
Diaries of AIF Servicemen, Bert Schramm, 15 August 1918 Topic: Diary - Schramm
Diaries of AIF Servicemen
15 August 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:
9th Light Horse Regiment Location - Ain Ed Duk, Jordan Valley, Palestine.
9th Light Horse Regiment War Diary - Orders issued re cleaning of saddlery and metal work. The weather at Ain Ed Duk appeared to be much cooler than that of front line. Shelley, Captain JE, marched out to attend FGCM [Field General Court Martial] at 75th Division. Andrews, Captain attached from 3rd Light Horse Field Ambulance temporarily during absence of Shelley, Captain.
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.
Carew Reynell Diary - We are still in these dirty damned dusty lousy old trenches and no more prospect of getting out of them than flying to the moon.
Our offensive has come to a stop everywhere and there is little sign of a revival. We were within an ace of victory and the New Zealanders were actually on the Sari Bair ridge at one point, that is on 7 August they were entrenching on the Col of Chunuk Bair but were driven off in the afternoon. Now our whole line has been driven down the hill some 600 feet or more and we seem to be only just holding our own against continuous counter attacks. The 9th Corps on our left doesn't seem to be doing any good and has lost a lot of ground that it at first occupied without much trouble and last night the Lieutenant Commander of the Chilmer told me that the shipping in Suvla Bay is being shelled. It would be quite a pleasant change to get some good news now - all our news is bad. It is now official that Warsaw has fallen - the Turks had it pasted up in front of their trenches on the 6th August.
We heard that a transport full of our troops has been torpedoed. We have heard nothing from Achi Baba end which means they have not been able to accomplish anything down there. We here are in a most perilous position, the Turks line the ridges all round us and shell the plain between the foothills on which we are and Suvla Bay where all our supplies must be landed.
The weather will break in a month and the said plain will become a morass. Gales will be so continuous that we shall probably be on half rations and short of ammunition all the winter and our trenches here on the clay hill sides will just fall away.
Into the bargain we are all ill to breaking point. Callary and Scott are the only two that haven't been away sick yet and Scott is down with influenza today. Very few of the men have been here continuously and we have upwards of 200 away permanently. The men are sticking to it like heroes but the breaking point is not far off. I have only four officers at present doing duty besides the Adjutant [Pender] and myself. These are Scott [ill], Parsons [ill], Callary and Phyllis, just arrived.
I am afraid Scott and Parsons will be sent away in a day or two. Pender and myself are both weak as kittens. We are holding the key of the whole of our position and we all know it and cannot relax our vigilance for a moment and it is a big strain. We have a Regiment of Kitchener's Army in reserve but dare not entrust the trenches to them. They are the Leinsters and all right as these Kitchener's Army fellows go. Mean well and all that sort of thing but officered by a lot of bloody fools who can only make a mess well. The NCOs are a lot of half trained cyphers and the men are harmless lambs and the Turks would probably just walk in and kick them out.
I expect they are brave enough and all that but that's not much good - they would die gamely but we would lose Russell's Top. The English officers find this a very different picnic to France and Flanders and are astonished at what our chaps have stood. In France they have 24 hours in the fire trench, 24 hours in support, 24 hours in reserve and four days resting.
We have been here three months and the bulk of the time have been in the fire trenches - with no supports!
When we were resting we were still under fire and placed handy to rush up to support the troops on top if necessary and our whole regiment were employed while "resting" as sapping parties digging tunnels and roads and Lord knows what. In France they go back 5 or 6 miles into civilisation where they got baths and chairs and proper meals. We get no change and have no canteen to supplement our ration. However, it's got to be done I suppose and we must stick it out in these trenches while the Regiment melts away with pneumonia, dysentery and a hundred and one ailments caused by debility, but it has got to the point when it is going to melt very quickly. I am afraid Captain Weik has gone for good - went away with trenchitis - now I hear has pneumonia. Have just heard that Frank Rowell has died of peritonitis. He was run down and stuck to it and is out. All my friends from South Australia are out now. Frank Rowell and Miell dead and Dave and Neil wounded and Major Merritt away sick. Old Priestly was wounded but is back now and commands the 3rd Regiment. McFarlane won't be back for a long time. Oh well, I suppose things must change some day - perhaps a successful attack on Sari Bair is being arranged. If only we could get a bit of that damned ridge and hold it thing would be very different. We hold a long line now just below the crest everywhere and weak everywhere and our loss among Australians and New Zealanders every day is appalling. Our casualties during the fighting has only been 4 or 5,000 but only one brigade of the 1st Australian Division attacked so the losses are mainly in our New Zealand and Australian Division and at that mainly New Zealanders and 4th Infantry Brigade. Poor old 16th badly cut up again. Some of the new Army Regiments got badly hit too - mainly their own fault - that is to say their leaders. One of the Leinsters, now in support of us, is up before Court Martial today for cowardice - ran away.
I saw another lot of these poor lambs being marched across a plain at dusk in close order under shell fire and the other night - they hadn't finished carrying away the dead and wounded by daylight. Either waiting half an hour or a change of formation would have saved all or most of the loss. In other cases Regiments were sent with insufficient directions and found themselves where they believed they were to dig in within a few yards of Turkish lines - this was in the dark.
Oh well, it's no use grizzling. I am ill, the officers, what there are left are ill, the whole Regiment is ill, the Army Corps is ill and the news is all ill, but it's a strong stomach that has no turning and although with a periscope one can hardly see any blue from which a bolt may come no doubt something will turn up. Weakened by losses and fatigued as we are no doubt the Turks are to some extent also suffering although their heavy reinforcements just arrived will be a great help, at the same time the value of their reinforcements is declining as far as training and efficiency is concerned.
Moreover their losses must have been as heavy, if not heavier, than ours and they can't be feeling too happy about things. One good push now might land us on Sari Bair and that would be very awkward for them.
Wretched and half starved as we shall be during the winter, I expect their lot will be nearly as bad, as our submarines have practically stopped their sea transport which means they will have to bring all their stores overland by very poor roads. One real success might end the Turkish hash altogether now and I hope we shall all be called on to make a supreme effort while the time is propitious. It is possible there is another division on its way to us - in which case best to wait for it. Well I have seen more war the last week than one might see ordinarily in years of war. The trenches up here give us a view of everything and we can see every move of our people. A mail is in but no letters have been brought to me yet so I am afraid it must be mainly papers and parcels - I still have a little chocolate left - very little. Well, as I say, all the news is bad and there is very little of it and in war, no news of one's own people is bad news, but perhaps the next entry there will be a big change. The situation is full of possibilities if we have the men to make a push.
Tuesday, August 15, 1916
9th Light Horse Regiment Location - Hod Nabit
9th Light Horse Regiment War Diary - 0730, Regiment camped at Hod Nabit. Enemy aeroplane flew overhead, circled and disappeared north easwards.
1200, Lieutenant Nelson, "A" Squadron, reported for duty from Bally Bunion having been relieved by Major Siekmannn.
Wednesday, August 15, 1917
9th Light Horse Regiment Location - Tel el Marakeb
9th Light Horse Regiment War Diary - Tactical scheme - One squadron from each Regiment under Scott, Lieutenant Colonel WH, DSO, moved out at 0500 to carry out an advance and attack scheme.
Thursday, August 15, 1918
9th Light Horse Regiment Location - Ain Ed Duk
9th Light Horse Regiment War Diary - Orders issued re cleaning of saddlery and metal work.
The weather at Ain Ed Duk appeared to be much cooler than that of front line.
Shelley, Captain JE, marched out to attend FGCM [Field General Court Martial] at 75th Division.
Andrews, Captain attached from 3rd Light Horse Field Ambulance temporarily during absence of Shelley, Captain.
Friday, August 15, 1919
9th Light Horse Regiment Location - Adelaide
9th Light Horse Regiment War Diary - Regiment disbanded.
The following weeks will see the various pages of the Hotchkiss Machine Gun Pack for Cavalry. The Hotchkiss Gun was introduced in the Light Horse formations during the early months of 1917. The introduction of this robust and portable gun gave the Light Horse Regiments additional mobile fire power which considereably added to their ability to sustain light combat situations and defend against vastly numerically superior forces. Apart from being an excellent weapon, it was in much demand by the Turkish forces who considered the capture of a Hotchkiss Gun well worth any risks involved in the process. This is a manual produced in 1917 and illustrates the method by which the Hotchkiss Gun was packed and moved throughout the Palestine campaign.
One of the most complete set of Light Horse unit signals at Gallipoli belongs to the 3rd Light Horse Brigade. Signals provide a window into the unvarnished form of history. These are the comments made by people who had important needs that required immediate attention. As such, they tell a story about a campaign that existed before the occurence of the newspaper reports leading to the Official Histories and all the other works that followed. Since they do not originate in a vacuum, it is the immediacy of the signal in a dense communication transfer that gives it a unique currency. It is a moment in time. We need all the other items such as the War Diary, Routine Orders and lastly, the published books to get a fully appreciation of the humble signal.
To ensure that this appreciation is available to many, over the coming months, a series of signals will be posted commencing from April till December.
Signal, 7 May 1915 ordering the supply of condensers, Page 1
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