"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, 7 November 2008
The Battle of Beersheba, Palestine, 31 October 1917, Beatty Poem Topic: BatzP - Beersheba
The Battle of Beersheba
Palestine, 31 October 1917
Watering the horses at Beersheba
[From: Auckland War Memorial Museum, Williams Album 213]
The poem written by 2639 Tpr Arthur Wilson Beatty soon after taking place in the charge at Beersheba.
(Written by 2639 Tpr Arthur Wilson Beatty, C Sqn, 4th LHR)
We left the "Wadey" at break of day, We rode far into the night; Our loads were heavy, our horses poor, But we pushed them on as we'd done before, And swallowed the dust, and growled and swore, Till Esani came in sight.
Two days we rested, three days we rode, While the 'planes buzzed overhead. We left Khalasa at dead of night, And we rode till dawn; then, streaked with white. The mountains of Judah came in sight, Like watchers o'er the dead.
We kept our horses behind the rise, We followed the "Wadey" round, And sunset found us behind a hill, Our horses tired, but ready still To gallop again at their riders' will, And watch for the broken ground.
Three miles of a wind-swept, shell-torn plain Where death was sure to lurk! The shrapnel screamed, the bullets whined, Swift death spat out from the redoubts lined, And red flame showed where the wells were mined By the panic-stricken Turk.
The sun set red as we galloped on, Our ranks thinned here and there, As one dropped out who would ride no more And a groan, as somebody galloped o'er A foeman, battered and sick an sore, Surrendering in despair! . Onward we rode till we reached the town, At the end of the three-mile plain. Empty and burning the old town lay; The foeman beaten, had slunk away, And left us there at the dawn of day, To follow, and fight again.
The sun rose high on the saddest scene, The last of the boys "gone West!" They'd all gone out as the soldier dies - We buried them out on a lonely "rise" Where the mournful wind from the desert sighs We left them there at rest.
Perhaps a cross, or a row of shells, On wind-swept dusty "rise," Will mark where a brave man left the race With a willing heart and a smiling face - His grave a Bedouin camping place - But memory never dies!
The poem Beersheba first appeared in the Melbourne Australasian, 21 September 1918, p. 577.
2639 Tpr Arthur Wilson Beatty was born at Bungaree, east of Ballarat in 1893 to William Arthur Beatty and Mary Jane Beatty nee Wilson. He enlisted with the 4th LHR, 4th Reinforcements, Regimental Number 860 and embarked to Egypt on 13 April 1915. He returned to Australia on 10 June 1915 and was confined to Langwarren where he was discharged as medically unfit for military service. He re-enlisted in the 4th LHR, 18th Reinforcements and embarked for Egypt, 11 July 1916. He served with the 4th LHR through the Sinai, Palestine and Syrian campaigns. He was at Beersheba to take part in the famous charge. He returned to Australia on 25 July 1919 and returned to Sassafras where he appears to have lived the rest of his life. He died at Melbourne on 16 September 1981 at the age of 87.
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 - Hogan, Lieutenant LR; and, 51 Other Ranks left by train from Mahamadiyah for Anzac Rest Camp.
Wednesday, November 7, 1917
9th Light Horse Regiment Location - Bir Ifteis 0500; Tel el Sheria 1600.
9th Light Horse Regiment War Diary - 0500, moved from night outpost line to Karm arriving there 0800 where orders were received to water and ration and proceed to Tel el Sheria. The Regiment moved from Karm at 0900. The remainder of Brigade moved at 0915.
The Regiment moved mostly at the slow trot through Bir Imleih - Bir Salim Abu Irgeig at which place urgent message received from Brigade Headquarters to push on Notts Battery and Field Ambulance to Tel el Sheria. These were undertaken two miles north of Bir Salim Abu Irgeig where the Regiment halted for five minutes then moved forward again at the slow trot followed closely by Notts Battery and Field Ambulance arriving at a point two miles east of Tel el Sheria at 1200 having covered the 16 miles from Karm in three hours. On arrival east of Tel el Sheria information received that Gaza had been evacuated.
1600 The Regiment forming point of main body 3rd Light Horse Brigade moved forward towards Wadi Ayun el Sadeh. At 1645 A and B Squadrons with C Squadron in support trotted forward to take position believed to be held by enemy. On arrival it was found unoccupied and country one mile north thereof all clear. The Regiment less C Squadron withdrew to Sq O73 K33a [Ref Map 1/63360 Palestine Sheet XX] and bivouacked for night. C Squadron with 10th Light Horse Regiment on their right held night outpost right from 560 to west in Wadi Ayun el Sadeh.
3rd Light Horse Brigade War Diary -
At 0730 on 7th November the Brigade, less 9th Light Horse Regiment watered at Karm, and at 0815 moved at a trot and walk toward Tel el Sheria. The route taken was through Khirbit Imleih and Bir Salim Abu Irgeig positions won from the enemy on the previous day. 9th Light Horse Regiment moved from Karm at 0900 and joined up with the Brigade at point two miles east of Tel el Sheria station, at 1200, having covered the 16 miles from Karm in three hours. The Brigade now reverted to the command of the Australian Mounted Division and became Divisional reserve at a point 3/4 of a mile south east of Tel el Sheria railway station.
The enemy position at Tel el Sheria had been taken the previous day by our infantry and evidence of severe fighting could be seen everywhere. Heavy casualties had been inflicted on the enemy here by our artillery, but our infantry casualties had also been very heavy. Tel el Sheria was still being heavily shelled by the enemy. The news that Gaza had been evacuated by the enemy had just been received. The mounted troops were now to take up pursuit of the retreating enemy.
At 0400 orders were received for the Brigade to move via a crossing at Khirbit Um El Bakr over Wadi Sheria to cooperate with Anzac Mounted Division on the right and clear ridge from that place to Khirbit Barrata, and Wadi Ayun el Sadeh, which were reported held the enemy rear guards. 9th and 10th Light Horse Regiments galloped on to these positions but met with very slight enemy opposition, it was now quite dark, and the enemy had fallen back very rapidly.
Brigade outpost line with 10th Light Horse Regiment on right and 9th Light Horse Regiment on the left was taken up, at 2100 orders were received from Australian Mounted Division that the line Wadi Jemmameh - Zuheilikah, must be occupied by dawn on the 8th instant at all costs. 3rd Light Horse Brigade to connect with the left of Anzac Mounted Division and the right of 5th Mounted Brigade 10th Light Horse Regiment gained touch with the 2nd Light Horse Regiment but the 9th Light Horse Regiment was unable to link up with the 5th Mounted Brigade and they had not occupied the position ordered. The weather continued to keep fine.
On the following morning an attempt was to be made by the mounted troops to cut off part of the main body of the retreating enemy force. The enemy had been driven from his strong defensive position Beersheba - Gaza, and his force was becoming disorganised.
Thursday, November 7, 1918
9th Light Horse Regiment Location - Umm Hartein
9th Light Horse Regiment War Diary - 0600 Moved to Tel el Kale station watering at Nahr Kebir en route. Arrived at Tel el Kale Station at 1030 and bivouacked.
Friday, November 7, 1919
9th Light Horse Regiment Location - Adelaide
9th Light Horse Regiment War Diary - Regiment disbanded.
Diaries of AIF Servicemen, Bert Schramm, 7 November 1918 Topic: Diary - Schramm
Diaries of AIF Servicemen
7 November 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:
3rd LHR, Roll of Honour, James Hamilton Ayliffe Topic: AIF - 1B - 3 LHR
3rd LHR, AIF
3rd Australian Light Horse Regiment
Roll of Honour
James Hamilton Ayliffe
James Hamilton Ayliffe's name on the Roll of Honour, Australian War Memorial
James Hamilton Ayliffe
Service number: 260
Unit: 3rd Australian Light Horse
Date of death: 7 November 1917
Cause of death: Died of wounds
Cemetery or memorial details: PALESTINE 1 Beersheba War Cemetery
War Grave Register notes: AYLIFFE, Serjt. James Hamilton, 260. 3rd Australian Light Horse. Died of wounds 7th Nov., 1917. Son of Frank and Elizabeth Ann Ayliffe, of Myponga, South Australia. Native of Purnamoota Station, Broken Hill, New South Wales. Q. 81.
Source: AWM145 Roll of Honour cards, 1914-1918 War, Army.
Beersheba War Cemetery (Row Q, Grave 81), Palestine
Panel number, Roll of Honour, Australian War Memorial
Miscellaneous information from cemetery records
Parents: Frank and Elizabeth Ann AYLIFFE, Myponga, South Australia. Native of Purnamoota Station, Broken Hill, New South Wales
Brothers: 259 Sergeant Frank Keith AYLIFFE, 5th Motor Transport Company, returned to Australia, 8 October 1918; 6537 Pte William Hawden AYLIFFE, 50th Bn, killed in action, Villers-Bretonneux, France, 25 April 1918.
War service: Egypt, Gallipoli, Palestine
Proceeded to join Mediterranean Expeditionary Force, Gallipoli, 9 May 1915; to hospital, 12 September 1915 (sick); rejoined unit, 17 September 1915; disembarked Gallipoli for Alexandria, 20 December 1915.
Proceeded to join Western Frontier Force, 29 December 1915; appointed Lance Corporal, 29 December 1915.
Found guilty, 26 March 1916, of leaving camp contrary to orders given by a superior officer, 10 March 1916: awarded 28 days’ Field Punishment No 2; reverted to rank of Private.
Appointed temporary Corporal, 2 July 1916; appointed Corporal, 2 July 1916.
To hospital, Romani, 1 August 1916 (sick); rejoined unit, 4 August 1916.
Wounded in action, El-Arish, 9 January 1917; admitted to 1st Field Ambulance, 10 January 1917 (gun shot wound, right arm); transferred to 24th Stationary Hospital, 11 January 1917; to 14th Australian General Hospital, Abbassia, 14 January 1917; to Convalescent Depot, Abbassia,15 February 1917; discharged to 1st Light Horse Training Regiment, Moascar, 22 February 1917; taken on strength, 1st Light Horse Training Regiment, 22 February 1917.
Transferred to 3rd Light Horse Regiment, Moascar, 6 May 1917; taken on strength, 3rd Light Horse Regiment, Shellal, 8 May 1917.
Appointed Sergeant, 8 July 1917.
Admitted to 1st Light Horse Field Ambulance, Palestine, 7 November 1917 (gun shot wound, abdomen); died of wounds, 7 November 1917.
Medals: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal
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