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Wednesday, 1 October 2008
Colonel Husnu, Yildirim, Page 86
Topic: Tk - Bks - Yildirim

Another entry from the book written by Lieutenant Colonel Hüseyin Hüsnü Emir, called Yildirim. Every day, one page of the book will be posted. This is Page 86.



Colonel Hüsnü, Yildirim, Page 86.

[Click on page for a larger print version.]


Citation: Colonel Hüsnü, Yildirim, Page 86

Posted by Project Leader at 1:01 AM EADT
Updated: Thursday, 2 October 2008 10:49 PM EADT
9th LHR AIF War Diary, 1 October
Topic: AIF - 3B - 9 LHR


9th LHR, AIF

9th Light Horse Regiment

War Diary, 1 October

Pro Gloria et Honore - For Glory and Honour

Regimental March -  Marching Through Georgia

 

 

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.

 

The Diary

 

1914

Thursday, October 1, 1914

Formation of the 7th Light Horse Regiment "B" Squadron at Morphettville Race Course, South Australia.

 

1915

Friday, October 1, 1915

9th Light Horse Regiment Location - Rhododendron Hill

9th Light Horse Regiment War Diary - Second Lieutenant Dean AE went to hospital.

 

1916

Sunday, October 1, 1916

9th Light Horse Regiment Location - Bir el Abd

9th Light Horse Regiment War Diary - Routine

 

1917

Monday, October 1, 1917

9th Light Horse Regiment Location - Um Urgan

9th Light Horse Regiment War Diary - Brigade Operation Order Number 44 received. Intention - The Australian Mounted Division will cover a reconnaissance on Tuesday 2 October 1917 by taking up the line Goz Sheihili - Ibn Saiid - 960 - 970 - 840 - 320 - 770 - 750 - 630 - 550 - 510 to be made good by 1400. Units of this Brigade to hold the following sections - 10th Light Horse Regiment Point 910, Goz Sheihili to Point 940 Ibn Saiid to 960 inclusive. 8th Light Horse Regiment 960 exclusive to 970 to 840 exclusive. 9th Light Horse Regiment to serve as reserve. Regimental Order Number 60 issued to Squadrons.

 

1918

Tuesday, October 1, 1918

9th Light Horse Regiment Location - Dumar; Damascus; Marista el Basal; Khan Ayash

9th Light Horse Regiment War Diary - 0500 The Regiment joined remainder of 3rd Light Horse Brigade crossed the Barada by bridge at Dumar thence proceeded along main road towards Damascus. The road was strewn with enemy dead and wounded and in places dead animals and abandoned transport and guns, almost completely blocked the roadway. The road for about a mile presented a horrible sight amidst such charming surroundings. The devastating effect of accurate machine gun and rifle fire was everywhere apparent. Many of the vehicles had overturned into the Barada River. About one thousand prisoners were collected in the vicinity of Dumar railway station. A complete train was taken between Dumar and Damascus side of gorge. A few Germans made a slight stand here but were soon overpowered by advanced Regiment [10th Light Horse Regiment.]

The Brigade continued to advance along main road towards Damascus unopposed entering the city near the Victoria Hotel at about 0700 Large crowds of enthusiastic inhabitants lined the streets offering gifts of fruit, cigarettes etc and at several places residents from the upper stories of shops and houses sprinkled scent on to our troops passing along the roadway below. This part of the operation was more like a triumphal march and quite a new experience to most of our troops. The Brigade continued to push on through the narrow bazaar alleyways between Salaniys and Amara until the main Aleppo Road was reached. The Brigade then advanced north east along main Aleppo Road. Horses were watered near Jobar and a halt made for half an hour, then the advance continued. The advanced Regiment gained contact with enemy rearguard in vicinity of Marista el Basal. 9th Light Horse Regiment trotted forward in close support.
1300 B and C Squadrons less heavy packs were placed on either flank of the 10th Light Horse Regiment and half an hour later A Squadron less heavy packs moved to left flank of 10th Light Horse Regiment. Information now received that a large force of enemy with a strong rearguard were retreating north east along main Aleppo Road.

Daly, Major TJ, with Regimental Headquarters moved to the left flank and pushed forward rapidly to within one mile south west of Khan Ayash and with C Squadron at Khan Ayash. 10th Light Horse Regiment were astride the main road 11/2 miles south west Khan Ayash with advanced troops at Khan Ayash. The enemy were now moving up the pass leading into the hills just north of Khurbet i Asafur thus securing their retreat.

1800 The Regiment less A Squadron concentrated on main road two miles south west Khan Ayash and withdrew to bivouac at Khan Kusseir, A Squadron rejoining en route. Hogan, Lieutenant LR; and, ten Other Ranks mounted as night outpost near the Khan at Khan Kusseir. Scott, Lieutenant Colonel WH, rejoined Regiment. Following members of 9th Light Horse Regiment taken prisoner of war 29/9/18 now reported to be in hospital Damascus: - King, 552 Sergeant AE; Betteridge, 226 Corporal AL; Down, 921 Corporal AC; Clark, 1528 Lance Corporal GB; Hanrahan, 2116 Lance Corporal EP; O'Donnell, 2148 Trooper DB; and, Adams, 702 Corporal MG.

3rd Light Horse Brigade War Diary - The situation in Damascus at this time, it was afterwards ascertained, was as follows: Djemal Pasha, Commander of the Turkish 4th Army arranged to hold a meeting of the Notables of Damascus at the Municipal Gardens at 4, p.m., on 30th September, 1918 for the purpose of handing over to Shukri Pasha Ayoubi the Military Governorship of the City. The last mentioned person was an Arab, formerly in the Turkish army and favourable to the Sheriff of Mecca. There was in the city at this time a person of Algerian birth named Emir Said. This man had been for some time past employed by the Turkish Government in raising a volunteer force of Arabs to fight against the Sheriff. Emir Said's sympathies were really in favour of the Sheriff, but he had disguised the fact and drew arms, and ammunition and money from the Turks.

Some time prior to 2 p.m. on the 30th September 1918, news was received in the city that the British Cavalry were approaching. A report was also circulated in the city that the Germans intended to burn the city before they left. Shukri Pasha Ayoubi and Emir Said then went to Djemal Pasha and informed him that they would not allow the city to be burned and advised Djemal Pasha to leave the city forthwith and stated that if he would not, he would be attacked by the local Arabs.

In Djemal Pasha's presence these produced the Sheriff's flag displayed it on the Town Hall, and declared for the Sheriff, Djemal Pasha then, at 2 p.m., left the city by the Beirut Road.

By 0500 this Brigade was on the move the 10th Light Horse Regiment [Todd, Lieutenant Colonel TJ, DSO], forming the advance guard, with Timperley, Major LC, [C Squadron] commanding the Vanguard. The column descended to the main road at Dumar and moved along it north easterly into Damascus. Some delay was caused by the road being blocked by enemy transport and animals; the result of machine gun fire the night before. The head of the enemy column had been utterly overwhelmed, dead and wounded strewed the road and filled the houses on either aide. In one place a flock of sheep which had evidently been accompanying the column had all been killed and a dog attempting to cross the road had perished. At Dumar station a train with troops aboard was captured. 483 prisoners were taken here together with fifteen machine guns, two 77mm field guns and large amount of gold and silver coin and further along the road six more guns and fifteen machine guns were found abandoned. On entering the north west suburbs a good deal of rifle shooting was indulged in by the inhabitants. Some of the shooting was sniping at the column. In a few cases the snipers were observed and the fire was returned. To discourage the sniping the vanguard moved on at the gallop until it arrived in front of the Town Hall where it halted. The time was between 0630 and 0700. Olden, Major CAN, Second in Command of the 10th Light Horse Regiment was up with the vanguard. Accompanied by Timperley, Major LC, he entered the Town Hall. A large assembly of notables and people in uniform were in attendance. The civil Governor was asked for. Emir Said came forward and said: "In the name of the civil population of Damascus I welcome the British Army." Then he made a speech of welcome. A guide to the North East or Aleppo Road was asked for. Emir Said detailed an officer called Zeki Bey to act as such. This Officer stopped with the Brigade until the following morning but was more inclined to parade the column through the streets of Damascus than expedite our pursuit of the enemy along the Homs Road, so that shortly afterwards the offer of an English speaking resident of Jaffa, Tadros, Mr DN, to guide us through the intricate and narrow streets of the city to the north east was gladly accepted. This gentleman had been exiled from Jaffa some time previously by Djemal Pasha owing to the former's English sympathies.

The advanced guard then moved on, followed on by the remainder of the Brigade, passed through the city and moved on to the north east road passing the English Hospital en route.

The 3rd Light Horse Brigade were thus the first Allied troops to enter Damascus. I understand that it appeared in the press that the Sherifian Army was the first to enter. This is not so. His force had been moving up from Deraa with the 4th Cavalry Division, Lawrence, Colonel TE, of the Sherifian Army with an escort pushed on to Damascus on the morning of 1st October 1918, and were seen to enter the city a few minutes before 0800, the absence of any British Troops may have given rise in the minds of the Sherifians to the erroneous belief that they were the first to enter the city. Up to the time [about 0700] that this Brigade completed its passage through the city thereby closing the only available exit for the enemy, no member of the Sherifian army was visible in any part of the city within view of the Brigade.

As the main body of the Brigade marched through large numbers of the enemy were observed on our right about the Government Buildings and the Baramkie Barracks. They showed no signs of opposition or hostility. All lines of retreat were closed to them, moreover it was essential that this Brigade should gain the Homs road and press on in pursuit of the enemy retreating along it with all speed possible. The enemy in the town was therefore passed by and left to be dealt with later. Eventually it was reported that the 4th Light Horse Brigade had collected upwards of 12,000 there. As the Brigade passed through the streets the crowd gave vent to loud acclamations and every sign of joy, and distributed flowers and fruit amongst the troops. When the advance guard readied the north - east outskirts, information was received that the Bridge over the Wadi Maraba was held by Germans with machine guns. The 10th Light Horse Regiment pressed on and cleared up the situation by dismounted action, taking twelve prisoners and two machine guns. As the advance guard approached Duma the enemy again brought machine guns into action. One squadron of the 10th Light Horse Regiment, however, most ably assisted by four machine guns under the command of Lieutenant Patterson worked round and attacked the enemy's right flank with due dash, capturing 500 prisoners, [including 40 Germans and 37 machine guns]. The enemy made another stand at Khan Kusseir but again were vigorously routed after some street fighting, in which our machine guns, [6] under Bryant, Captain GH, took very prominent part. Forty Germans, 120 Turks and more machine guns were taken. The country from Damascus to a mile past Khan Kusseir is densely covered with vineyards and olive groves, admirably adapted for rear guard action with machine guns, The enemy tactics appeared to be to fight the machine guns in a rear guard action to the last moment, and then to abandon them and ride off to the next portion, bringing fresh guns into position there. From Khan Kusseir about 2,000 enemy cavalry and infantry were seen heading for the pass into the hills north of Khan Ayash. The enemy had now reached the plain and were extended across it on a mile frontage across the road. They were here again aiding the retreat by the use of machine guns, which they would bring into action a few at a time and if necessary abandon. They mounted two guns in a house about a mile from the pass but abandoned one complete and the mountings of the other but not before they had done their work. A large portion of their force was mounted but our machine guns kept in action at ranges from 1,000 to 1,500 yards by frequently pushing on. Attempts were made by mounted attack to cut off the enemy from the pass. A Squadron of the 9th Light Horse Regiment was sent up on the left under the foothills to cut him off, but heavy and skilfully directed machine gun fire from guns already in position held them up. The hills on the left were impassable. The whole of the 9th and 10th Light Horse Regiments and the machine guns squadron were now engaged, the rear of the enemy column was being pressed across the open country between Khan Kusseir and Khurbet i Asafur. At this stage the Commanding Officer, 10th Light Horse Regiment received a report from his right flank patrol that a force of some 3,000 cavalry was moving towards us from the north east and then about four miles away.

This occasioned me much concern. Some of the machine guns were down to their last belt. Their limbers could not possibly join up for hours. A force of 3,000 mounted men within half an hour of my flank had to be considered. The 10th Light Horse Regiment accordingly ceased the pursuit and was got in hand. A strong squadron of the 8th Light Horse Regiment together with the Brigade Scouts were sent out to the right to reconnoitre the reported cavalry. In due course they reported that it was an enormous camel convoy consisting of thousands of camels with armed riders, being the big annual caravan from Aleppo to Mecca; they caused us no further anxiety but in the meantime the enemy whom we had been pursing were safe in the hills. During the day's fighting amongst the olive groves and vineyards north of Damascus and across the open land towards the hills the Brigade had taken 744 more prisoners and 80 machine, guns. The Notts Battery had not accompanied us on this day's march, being left in the valley near El Mezze, being unable to accompany us over the hills towards Dumar on the Beirut Road. We were also unfortunate with our Field Ambulance. Without reference to the Brigade it had been popped some miles to the south west of Damascus, and put on to the job of collecting sick and wounded Germans and Turks. The result was that we had not even a stretcher to give our men wounded on the 1st of October 1918. Wounded men were carried in to bivouac on the front of horses and later on in two dilapidated buggies, which were seized locally for the purpose - some ambulance wagons turned up in the afternoon of the 2nd October 1918, after my strong remonstrance that I thought the Brigade's wounded should have first call on its own ambulance.

As the last feed issued had been eaten at dawn, and as the Brigade had as yet had no time to requisition for more, it was necessary to return to Duma to draw feed by requisition. The Brigade bivouacked for the night about two miles north of the village, orders bring issued for a strong patrol of 8th Light Horse Regiment to push out along the road towards the foot hills at dawn and for each of the Regiments to put out an outpost line to protect their bivouac from the east.

War Diary 10th Light Horse Regiment - At 0400 the 10th Light Horse Regiment was detailed to take up the duties of Advanced Guard to the Brigade with orders to push out to the Aleppo Road which leads out of Damascus in a north east direction and to get astride it near Duma. Sheet Syria - Beirut 1/250000 Sq F2. Regiment moved out at 0500. C Squadron, under Timperley, Major LC, as vanguard A Squadron in support and B Squadron in reserve. The track from bivouac area to Dumar Road was very rough and steep and the advanced guard was not forward up with the Regiment had watered and reached Dumar village Sq E2. The advance troops then pushed on at the trot to Dumar Railway Station where a troop train loaded with troops but without engine was standing in the station. On the main road immediately opposite the station about 800 Turks were formed up. These with the troops on the train threw up their hands when called upon to do so by Macgregor, Lieutenant FJ, MC, who with troops was advancing with drawn swords. A small guard was placed over the prisoners and the advance resumed but was soon checked on account of the road being blocked for several hundred years by dead and wounded Turks and Germans, stock, transport animals and abandoned transport and equipment of all kinds with which the road was thickly strewn as the Machine Guns were playing on the road and made havoc with a column that was trying to escape. A Squadron were sent forward, dismounted to assist in clearing the road. The advance way delayed here for about 45 minutes. A further batch of prisoners mostly Germans were captured in a store house by the river. The total captives along this road included two batteries of field guns, one battery of mountain guns, one battery of galloping Maxims and a motor car were marked 10th Light Horse Regiment.

On entering Damascus huge cosmopolitan crowds were pushing about cheering and firing rifles. Olden, Major ACN, who was riding with the advanced troops was met by an Arab representative who conducted the column to the Arab Municipal Chambers where Emir Said who had taken over the city the previous day from Djemal Pasha formally surrendered Damascus. Emir Said detailed the chief of Gendarmes to guide the column to the north east road where our objective lay. Pushing through the crowded streets the populace gave every indication of their great joy at the occupation of the city by British troops. The troops were sprayed from the balconies with champagne, perfumes, rose leaves and confetti. On leaving the city through the suburb Amara information was received that a force of Germans were holding a bridgehead where the Wadi Maraba crosses the main road Sq F2 about four miles south west of Duma. Olden, Major ACN, with advanced troops pushed forward to clear up the situation which gradually developed into and attack by the whole regiment. C Squadron were on the right flank, A Squadron in the centre and B Squadron on left. The enemy after a determined resistance in which machine guns played a large part was forced back and B Squadron who had swung well out to the left and behind the village of Duma Sq F2 captured 81 Officers and 452 Other Ranks with 31 machine Guns. The prisoners were sent to the rear under one troop as escort and the Machine Guns destroyed. C Squadron on the right of the road captured two Machine Guns and twelve prisoners. The enemy were pursued to Khan Kusseir where they made another attempt to hold up our advance. This position was soon captured.

 

1919

Wednesday, October 1, 1919

9th Light Horse Regiment Location - Adelaide

9th Light Horse Regiment War Diary - Regiment disbanded.

 

 

Previous: 9th LHR AIF War Diary, 30 September

Next: 9th LHR AIF War Diary, 2 October

 

Sources:

See: 9th Australian Light Horse Regiment, Contents
Australian Light Horse Studies Centre, AIF War Diaries of the Great War, Site Transcription Policy

 

Further Reading:

9th Light Horse Regiment AIF

Bert Schramm Diary

9th Australian Light Horse Regiment, Roll of Honour 

Battles where Australians fought, 1899-1920

 
Citation: 9th LHR AIF War Diary, 1 October

Posted by Project Leader at 1:01 AM EADT
Updated: Thursday, 16 September 2010 12:43 PM EADT
Tuesday, 30 September 2008
Hotchkiss Portable Machine Gun Handbook - Page 47 Plate 7
Topic: Wp - Hotchkiss PMG

The following weeks will see the various pages from the Hotchkiss Portable Machine Gun Handbook, the official manual issued by the company for the use of troops in the field. 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.


Hotchkiss Portable Machine Gun Handbook - Page 47 Plate 7

[Click on page for a larger print version.]


Citation: Hotchkiss Portable Machine Gun Handbook - Page 47 Plate 7

Posted by Project Leader at 1:01 AM EADT
Updated: Sunday, 28 September 2008 11:01 PM EADT
Diaries of AIF Servicemen, Bert Schramm, 30 September 1918
Topic: Diary - Schramm

Diaries of AIF Servicemen

Bert Schramm

30 September 1918

 

Bert Schramm

 

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 Diaries

The complete diary is now available on the Australian Light Horse Studies Centre Site at:

Bert Schramm Diary


Finding more about a service person. See:

Navigating the National Archives Service File 

 

 

Bert Schramm's Handwritten Diary, 27 September to 1 October 1918

[Click on page for a larger print version.]

 

Bert Schramm

Monday, September 30, 1918

Bert Schramm's Location - Khan esh Shiha; Dumar

Bert Schramm's Diary - We pushed on all day towards Damascus and we had sharp fighting all day. Tonight we are on the outskirts of Damascus. Enemy has been burning all dumps, wireless station etc. It is a great sight to see tonight. We have been firing into a village north west of the town which is pretty full of the enemy.

 

9th Light Horse Regiment War Diary

9th Light Horse Regiment Location - Khan esh Shiha; Dumar

9th Light Horse Regiment War Diary - 0300, a fresh Brigade now passed through the 3rd Light Horse Brigade which, after concentrating, moved off about 0330 to Sasa where a halt was made for one hour and horses watered.

0730 The brigade moved towards Damascus preceded by 5th and 4th Light Horse Brigades.

0900 Arrived Khan esh Shiha. From this place the first sight of Damascus was obtained. 4,000 enemy were reported in vicinity of Kaukab. At Khan esh Shiha the Division deployed for the final advance on Damascus. 4th Light Horse Brigade on the right, 5th Light Horse Brigade on the left with 3rd Light Horse Brigade immediately in rear. Each Brigade in columns of squadrons in line, a very imposing sight. 11/2 miles south west of Kaukab 5th and 3rd Light Horse Brigades turned slightly to the left and advanced rapidly north eastwards along the foot of the ridge on the western side of the orchards south of Damascus. 4th Light Horse Brigade were meeting opposition in country south east of Kaukab. Enemy artillery and machine guns were firing but our batteries soon opened up. Part of the 4th Light Horse Brigade were observed to charge and their advance of that Brigade continued. Meanwhile the 5th and 3rd Light Horse Brigades continued to advance rapidly until about one mile south west of El Mezze was reached. At this place further advance was strongly opposed by the enemy who had mounted machine guns on the outskirts of the village orchards.

1400 The French Regiment of the 5th Light Horse Brigade were observed to move west into hills followed later by another portion of that Brigade.

1540 Orders received were for 9th Light Horse Regiment to supply advance guard for 3rd Light Horse Brigade to cross over Damascus - Beirut railway and endeavour to get astride the main road in vicinity of Jobar.
1600 The Regiment moved with A Squadron in advance. Country was extremely difficult being high stony hills without roads.

1645 A Squadron had seized the high ground overlooking Dumar and the Damascus - Beirut road and railway. The only means of entering the village was down a narrow rocky track. A Squadron made two attempts to force this route but found it strongly commanded by many enemy machine guns placed in and around the village of Dumar. This squadron with two machine guns attached then took up a position overlooking village, road and railway. The road was packed with enemy troops and transport. A heavy fire was brought to bear on those and heavy casualties inflicted. Portion of 5th Light Horse Brigade were in position on left of A Squadron.

1700 Remainder of Regiment and machine gun squadron arrived. B Squadron and all machine guns were put into the line and concentrated their fire on road and railway. Before nightfall a fresh attempt was made to force the track into village but it was found to be still impassable without heavy casualties.

1830 Orders received to hold present position containing main road for remainder of night and the Brigade would advance at 0500 following morning. 9th Light Horse Regiment to detail two Troops dismounted reconnoitre village and railway early as possible.

1910 Hargrave, Lieutenant LMS, MC and Masson, Lieutenant GG, with their troops from C Squadron and Regimental interpreter moved out on this duty. It was a difficult mission and great credit is due to these two troops for their boldness and daring in successfully reconnoitring the village and railway. Two troops reported back to Regiment at 2100. Hargrave, Lieutenant LMS, reporting that the village was free from enemy except bodies of stragglers. Six Hospitals were in village and believed full of wounded and sick. The main road to Amara was blocked with transport but believed passable for mounted troops. A Turkish guard was on duty at the railway station. A large running creek surrounded the village on three sides but all bridges observed were intact. The Regiment remained in position during remainder of night. Intermittent fire was maintained on road and railway. During the night an enemy train from direction of Beirut entered the station and was captured when the Brigade advanced the following morning.

1930 The Commanding Officer on account of a recurrence of malaria was obliged to halt and rest. Daly, Major TJ, DSO assumed command of the Regiment.

 

3rd Light Horse Brigade War Diary

At 0200 as the 9th and 10th Light Horse Regiments were making only slow progress, 6th Light Horse Regiment, less two Squadrons was sent in dismounted to storm the enemy position frontally from the road. Cooperation by the 9th and 10th Light Horse Regiments was arranged for as far as darkness time, and the exceedingly rough nature of the ground permitted. By 0200 the 8th Light Horse Regiment had captured the enemy position with five machine guns and a few German prisoners. During the advance, the Regiment was subjected to a heavy rifle and machine gun fire. The enemy beat a hasty retreat towards Damascus, vigorously pursued along the road by the 10th Light Horse Regiment. The advance was again held up temporarily about one mile south of Sasa. The vanguard with two machine guns attached dismounted and rushed the enemy, who then broke and made off towards Sasa in motor lorries, which had been brought up behind their lines. In the course of this pursuit the 10th Light Horse Regiment captured two 77mm field guns, two machine guns, one motor lorry and about 20 prisoners. The Brigade had orders that from dawn onwards the 4th Light Horse Brigade would form the Divisional advance guard, while the 3rd Light Horse Brigade assembled after the action just concluded. Shortly after the 4th Light Horse Brigade took up the pursuit they overtook and captured several hundred fugitives. At 0645 all troops of rhe Brigade had reached Sasa, and at 0730 the Brigade marched following the remainder of the Division. On arrival at Khan esh Shiha, Divisional orders for the approach on Damascus were received. The 5th Light Horse Brigade closely followed by the 3rd Light Horse Brigade were to outflank the town by moving via Katana, north easterly along the foothills of Kalabat el Mezze. Bourchier's force, [two Regiments of the 4th Light Horse Brigade], were to move directly on the town via Daraya. Soon after this movement commenced enemy machine gun fire was heard directed against Bourchier's force from the vicinity El Kaukab. The 19th Brigade, Royal Horse Artillery engaged these machine guns, the 5th and 3rd Light Horse Brigade meantime pressing on to their objective at the trot. When a point half a mile north of Mudhamiye had been reached, troops of Bourchier's force were observed galloping the enemy's position supported by the fire of the Royal Horse Artillery batteries. Away to the east could be seen shrapnel bursting, no doubt; from the artillery of the 14th Brigade of the 5th Cavalry Division sent across to intercept the Turkish third Cavalry division retreating on Damascus. The 5th and 3rd Brigades pressed on, until at a point about 11/2 miles south west of El Mezze the French Cavalry Regiment which was leading was held up by machine gun fire from the garden west of the southern end of the town. The Royal Horse Artillery batteries were brought up and engaged these, machine guns - the 3rd Light Horse Brigade remaining halted ready to support the 5th Light Horse Brigade when and where required. The enemy machine guns concealed in the gardens were difficult to locate and swept the open ground over which any direct advance would have to be made. About 1530 orders were received that the 5th Light Horse Brigade were to turn into the hills on their left and cut the road and railway leading north west to Beirut along which the main line of retreat of enemy troops to Damascus lay, while the 3rd Light Horse Brigade, were to make their way to the north east road leading to Homs and Aleppo and block that line of retreat. The Brigade at once moved off, 9th Light Horse Regiment and six machine guns forming the advance guard. After a short advance over rough hilly country the Brigade reached a point about one mile south west of the village of Dumar. Reconnaissances soon showed that the nature of the terrain was such that an advance across country over Jebel Kasiun was impossible. The only alternative was the main road from Dumar through Er Rabue and then through the northern end of Damascus itself. In preparation of this the leading squadron of the 9th Light Horse Regiment and four machine guns took up a position on the high ground immediately south west of Dumar. Large bodies of the enemy were seen to be retreating along the road from Damascus to Beirut. They were in a closely formed column of infantry, transport and guns. This column was caught at effective range by the fire of our rifles and machine guns. Those who had passed before our occupation of the high ground commanding the road above Dumar were caught by the fire of the 5th Light Horse Brigade further to the west, while still further west again a squadron of the 8th Light Horse Regiment was also in position commanding road and railway. It is estimated that at least 700 casualties were inflicted on the enemy in this gorge of the Barada, in addition hundreds of animals were killed; horses, cattle, donkeys, sheep and dogs. The remainder of the column lost heart and returned back to Damascus and no doubt formed the bulk of the 12,000 prisoners which were collected there next morning. The Beirut road was thus closed at sunset on 30th September 1918. A visual station had been sent out to get communication with Division and through it orders were now received for the Brigade to bivouac in its present position for the night and march for the Homs road at 0500 the next day in pursuit of enemy retreating to the north east. Loud explosions were heard in Damascus and the flames of burning stores lit up the skies throughout the night.

The 9th Light Horse Regiment and six machine guns remained all night in position above Dumar sweeping the roads by fire and preventing any escape along this route by the enemy. Such targets are more dreamed of than realised by machine gunners.

At 1900 two troops of the 9th Light Horse Regiment, [Hargrave, Lieutenant LMS, MC and Masson, Lieutenant GG], reconnoitred the village of Dumar and found same clear of enemy, except for dead, sick and wounded and a few stragglers. The main road to Damascus was packed with transport but with little trouble would be passable to mounted troops. The bridge over the Barada was intact. A Turkish guard was still on sentry at the railway station.

Not withstanding rough country and the delaying action fought by the enemy south of Sasa the Brigade had covered 34 miles in 26 hours without off saddling, except for one hour at Sasa.

9th LHR AIF War Diary, 30 September

  

Darley
Darley, TH, With the Ninth Light Horse in the Great War, Adelaide, Hassell Press, 1924, pp 158 - 162.
The Fall of Damascus
As day broke on the 1st October, 1918, the beautiful city of Damascus, the Jewel of the East, came into view. Many splendid buildings could be seen, including the main railway station and the military barracks, now used as a hospital, from the staff of which the red crescent was flying. The Barada River wound like a silver thread through the town and surrounding country, with numerous small water channels passing through the beautiful orchards and vineyards which enclosed the city on all sides.
At 5 a.m. the Regiment, with the remainder of the Brigade, crossed the river by the bridge at Dumar and proceeded along the main road towards Damascus. As the advance continued the terrible execution of the previous day became apparent, the road being completely blocked with piles of dead and dying men and animals, and disabled transport. The advance troops reported that for nearly a mile ahead the road was practically impassable, and parties were sent forward to clear a track. It was gruesome task. The wounded Germans and Turks were carried, with as much care as possible, to the grassy bank of the river, where they were left to be collected by our ambulances, which were in rear of the Brigade, whilst the dead were removed to the side of the road to await burial.
Wounded animals were shot and dragged to the side of the road, as were also the vehicles. Many of the vehicles had overturned into the river during the attempt to break through, and had been abandoned.
The advance Regiment, 10th Light Horse Regiment, pushed forward and captured the railway station together with the train which had passed through the previous night. About 1,000 prisoners were also taken at this point. A few Germans made an attempt at resistance, but were soon overpowered and taken prisoner. At the barracks a huge force of Turks could be seen on the parade ground, and appeared to be in a state of great confusion. After a slight show of resistance they surrendered to the advance guard.
As the column reached the centre of the city dense crowds filled the streets and squares. A large number of these people carried firearms of some description, and as a sign of rejoicing they proceeded to discharge them into the air, so that what was really a peaceful entry sounded more like a desperate battle. The crowds were composed of all classes: Arabs in their long galabiehs, Syrians mostly in European dress, Greek and Turkish civilians, Jews, Armenians, and French. Cheering wildly they lined the streets and offered gifts of fruit and cigarettes to the passing troops.
This wonderful welcome was somewhat difficult to understand, and many doubted its genuineness. It was, however, ascertained from a guide that a rumour had been circulated the previous afternoon to the effect that in the event of the British Cavalry approaching nearer to Damascus the Germans intended burning the city, a threat they were determined to carry out. Not only had we approached, but we had actually entered the city which was thus saved from destruction. No doubt our rapid advance had frustrated the plans of the Germans, much to the delight of the inhabitants.
Passing through the narrow alleyways of the Bazaar the head of the column reached the French quarter, where it received a great reception. The inhabitants turned out in force, almost blocking the narrow streets, and evidence of their great joy was apparent on all sides. Gifts were showered on the troops as they passed, whilst many of the women and girls shouted greetings and blew kisses from the windows along the route.
The Brigade moved along the Aleppo road to Jobar, at which place a halt was called. After a short spell the advance was continued, the advance Regiment coming in contact with the enemy rear guard in the vicinity of Marista el Basal. The Regiment moved up in support, and the opposition was speedily overcome. At 1 p.m. information was received to the effect that a large enemy force, protected by a strong rearguard, was retreating north east along the main Aleppo road.
"B" and “C” Squadrons were therefore pushed forward to strengthen the flanks of the 10th Light Horse Regiment, and later “A” Squadron was moved up to the left flank. At 2 p.m. Daly, Major TJ, DSO, with the balance of the Regiment also moved up to the left flank and pushed rapidly forward to within one mile of Khan Ayash. At this point touch was gained with “B” Squadron, who were holding a position approximately one mile west of the village, the 10th Light Horse Regiment being astride the main road one and a half miles south-west, and with advanced troops in the village.
The enemy were now moving up the pass leading into the hills north of Kubbet i Asafur, thus securing their retreat. At 6 p.m. the Regiment concentrated on the main road two miles south-west of Khan Ayash, and moved to Khan Kusseir where it bivouacked for the night. Hogan, Lieutenant LR; and, ten other ranks were moved out as a night outpost, being posted on the edge of the olive grove in which the Regiment was bivouacked, with orders to watch the main road.
The following members of the Regiment, who had been taken prisoners at Sasa on the 29th September 1918, were reported to be in the German hospital at Damascus: King, 552 Sergeant AE; Betteridge, 262 Corporal AL; Down, 921 Corporal AC; Clark, 1528 Lance Corporal CB, Hanrahan, 2116 Lance Corporal EP; O'Donnell, 2140 Trooper DV; and, Adams, 702 Corporal HG.
At 6.15 a.m. on the 2nd October 1918, Hogan, Lieutenant LR, Officer in Command outpost, reported that a large force of enemy infantry were moving north, one mile east of his post. Doubt existed as to whether the advancing troops were actually enemy or Sherifian troops, and a mounted patrol of “B” Squadron was rushed out to investigate and report. A message was despatched to Brigade Headquarters reporting the presence of approximately 2,000 infantry, and asking for information.
The Regiment was at breakfast when the report from Hogan, Lieutenant LR, was received, but within ten minutes horses had been saddled and the Regiment paraded ready to move. At 6.30 a.m. a few shots were heard from the direction of the column, and shortly afterwards a galloper from the outpost reported that the column was composed of Turkish infantry.
Orders were at once issued, and the Regiment moved out to the attack, and as the head of the Regiment cleared the olive grove the following message was received from Brigade Headquarters; "Party believed to be Germans; move and investigate at once; 8th Light Horse Regiment with four machine guns will be ready to support, if required."
With “B” Squadron in advance and Sharp, Lieutenant RC; and, his troop of “A” Squadron as right flank guard, the Regiment moved at a rapid pace north-east along the main road for about half a mile, then swung to the left among the vineyards. The rear of the enemy column was now observed about one mile along the road.
By increasing the pace and moving towards the foothills the Regiment rapidly gained on the enemy, who had now mounted several machine guns, and pushed out several small parties to their left flank, in an endeavour to hold up our advance. In spite of the heavy machine gun fire the Regiment pushed forward and reached a favourable position about one mile to the left, and opposite the centre of the enemy column.
Orders were given to “A” Squadron to move rapidly and seize Khan Ayash, and to “C” Squadron to seize the main road in the vicinity of Kubbet i Asafur. “C” Squadron immediately galloped forward, followed by “A” Squadron, under heavy fire, whilst “B” Squadron dismounted and opened a heavy fire on the centre of the enemy column. Regimental Headquarters established themselves near the water channel and gained touch with Brigade Headquarters by heliograph.
The two squadrons who had been sent forward were now seen to be well ahead of the enemy advance guard, and to be swinging in towards the main road to seize the villages, thus cutting off all chances of escape for the enemy. The head of the main body of the enemy seemed to hesitate as if doubtful of its next move, and their leaders appeared to be holding a conference.
As the two squadrons swung round the remainder of the Regiment under orders from Daly, Major TJ, mounted, and with drawn swords, charged the main enemy column, detaching a small party of “B” Squadron to move round the flank. This move had the desired effect; the main body of the enemy promptly hoisting the white flag before the charging troops reached them.
In conjunction with this move, A and “C” Squadrons drew swords and charged the enemy cavalry advance guard. This was the first time the Light Horse, armed as cavalry, had the chance to try conclusions with the Turkish cavalry who were armed with sword and lance, and it was expected that they would put up a fight. The determined front shown by our men must have taken all the heart out of the enemy cavalry, as they surrendered without the slightest show of resistance.
“A” Squadron, moving forward, rushed a machine gun just as it was mounted and ready to open fire, whilst C seized the pass into the hills, and captured two 75 cm. guns near Kubbet i Asafur.
The Regiment collected together the various portions of the enemy force and proceeded to take stock of the bag, which gave the following totals: 91 officers, 318 cavalry, 1,064 infantry, eight German machine gunners, 26 machine guns, one mountain gun [No. F 7524], two 75 cm. [M 15, G.K.N.] guns, twelve automatic rifles, 264 rifles, and 285 animals. This force was captured within one hour of leaving the bivouac at Khan Kusseir, seven miles distant.
Amongst the officers captured was the General who commanded the Turkish Division defending Shunet Nimrin in the Jordan Valley, against our attack in May, 1918. The standard of the 46th Regiment was also captured, and is believed to be the only enemy standard captured during the war. That such a force could be taken in open country in such a short time and with so few casualties, appears astounding, but the fact must not be lost sight of that they had been driven from pillar to post for the past three weeks, with no rest and little food, facts which had, no doubt, taken the heart out of them.
The rapidity of our movements contributed largely to the success of the operations, but great credit is due to both, Charley, Major WT; and, Bleechmore, Major C, for the manner in which they manoeuvred their squadrons, in seizing the pass and main road ahead of the enemy columns. Daly, Major TJ, who conducted the operations, deserves special mention for his quick decisions and plan of operations, in which he was ably seconded by Shaw, Lieutenant OJ, the Adjutant,
In spite of the hard work of the past three weeks, the horses responded bravely to this additional call, and covered the ground in fine style. The ground passed over was devoid of cover and fairly rough, being covered with stones and broken by numerous small wadis.
When the main column surrendered Smyth, 902 Signaller JM; and, Halliday, 1458 Signaller NC, who were moving to the Regimental signalling station, in galloping over a rise were suddenly confronted by a party of the enemy composed of three Germans and 85 Turks, who were taking up a position within a few hundred yards of the signal station. A German officer was mounting a machine gun when Smyth, 902 Signaller JM; and, Halliday, 1458 Signaller NC, with great gallantry, and under a shower of bombs, rushed at the officer and snatched his revolver, which he had hastily drawn, from his hand. With this revolver they fired into the enemy and seized the machine gun, the prompt action so surprising the enemy that they surrendered.
Smyth, 902 Signaller JM; and, Halliday, 1458 Signaller NC, were both awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal for this gallant act, which prevented the enemy establishing a post from which a destructive fire could have been turned on the rear of the Regiment.
Freebairn, Lieutenant DT, with one troop, escorted the prisoners to Brigade Headquarters, where they were handed over. After collecting the captured war material into one dump, which was placed under a guard, the Regiment returned to bivouac to finish its breakfast, which had been so rudely interrupted. At 2 p.m. “A” Squadron was sent out to reconnoitre the country six miles east of the bivouac for stragglers, returning at 5 p.m. and reporting "all clear."
At 2 p.m. on the 3rd October Freebairn, Lieutenant DT, with a troop of “B” Squadron, moved out and mounted an outpost in the Wadi Maraba to guard the approaches to Damascus from the north. The inhabitants of these parts were very friendly disposed towards our men, bringing baskets of grapes, eggs, etc., into our lines. The country surrounding the bivouac was covered with flourishing vineyards and orchards which were abundantly watered. The grapes were ripe and of exceptionally good quality and flavour, being grown chiefly for drying into raisins.
On the following day “C” Squadron moved out at 9 a.m. to relieve “A” Squadron of the 8th Light Horse Regiment who were holding the pass at Kubbet i Asafur. Hahn, Lieutenant HJ, with a working party, and with A echelon of the transport, collected the captured war material, which filled five wagons. The captured guns were also brought in and sent to Damascus. At 11 a.m. orders were received for the Brigade to move to a point south-west of Damascus, leaving “C” Squadron of the Regiment at Duma to hold the main Aleppo road, and the Wadi Maraba.
At 3 p.m. the Regiment, less “C” Squadron, moved via the main. Aleppo road, through Damascus to a point two and a half miles south-west of El Mezze, where it bivouacked for the night. Four of the men who had been taken prisoner at Sasa on the 29th September 1918 and who had been recaptured on the fall of Damascus, rejoined the Regiment at this bivouac.

 

 

Previous:  Bert Schramm's Diary, 29 September 1918

Next:  Bert Schramm's Diary, 1 October 1918


Sources Used:

Bert Schramm's Diary

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.

 

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:

Australian Light Horse Studies Centre, War Diaries and Letters, Site Transcription Policy 

 

Further Reading:

Bert Schramm Diary

Bert Schramm Diary, Album

Bert Schramm's Photo Album

9th Australian Light Horse Regiment, AIF

9th Australian Light Horse Regiment, War Diary, Day by Day Account

Battles where Australians fought, 1899-1920

 


Citation: Diaries of AIF Servicemen, Bert Schramm, 30 September 1918


Posted by Project Leader at 1:01 AM EADT
Updated: Tuesday, 7 June 2011 7:38 AM EADT
570 Private Francis Darvall Templer
Topic: AIF - 1B - 2 LHR

570 Private Francis Darvall Templer, 2nd Light Horse Regiment, "C" Squadron

570 Private Francis Darvall Templer

 

Francis Darvall Templer, a brief military biography from The AIF Project:

Francis Darvall TEMPLER
Regimental number570
Place of birthGeraldine, South Canterbury, New Zealand
SchoolBoys' High School, Christchurch, New Zealand
Age on arrival in Australia21
ReligionChurch of England
OccupationFarmer
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation23
Next of kinFather, Edwd. Templer, Geraldine, South Canterbury, New Zealand
Previous military serviceNil
Enlistment date25 August 1914
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name2nd Light Horse Regiment, C Squadron
AWM Embarkation Roll number10/7/1
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Brisbane, Queensland, on board HMAT A15 Star Of England on 24 September 1914
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal Roll2nd Light Horse Regiment
FateDied of wounds 22 October 1915
Place of death or woundingGallipoli, Turkey
Age at death24
Place of burialNo known grave
Commemoration detailsThe Lone Pine Memorial (Panel 2), Gallipoli, Turkey

The Lone Pine Memorial, situated in the Lone Pine Cemetery at Anzac, is the main Australian Memorial on Gallipoli, and one of four memorials to men of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force. Designed by Sir John Burnet, the principal architect of the Gallipoli cemeteries, it is a thick tapering pylon 14.3 metres high on a square base 12.98 metres wide. It is constructed from limestone mined at Ilgardere in Turkey.

The Memorial commemorates the 3268 Australians and 456 New Zealanders who have no known grave and the 960 Australians and 252 New Zealanders who were buried at sea after evacuation through wounds or disease. The names of New Zealanders commemorated are inscribed on stone panels mounted on the south and north sides of the pylon, while those of the Australians are listed on a long wall of panels in front of the pylon and to either side. Names are arranged by unit and rank.

The Memorial stands over the centre of the Turkish trenches and tunnels which were the scene of heavy fighting during the August offensive. Most cemeteries on Gallipoli contain relatively few marked graves, and the majority of Australians killed on Gallipoli are commemorated here.

Roll of HonourPanel number, Roll of Honour,
  Australian War Memorial 3
Family/military connectionsCousins: a number (surname BARTON) served in the AIF.
Other details

War service: Egypt, Gallipoli

Medals: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal

 


Citation: 570 Private Francis Darvall Templer

Posted by Project Leader at 1:01 AM EADT
Updated: Wednesday, 1 October 2008 9:14 PM EADT

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