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"At a mile distant their thousand hooves were stuttering thunder, coming at a rate that frightened a man - they were an awe inspiring sight, galloping through the red haze - knee to knee and horse to horse - the dying sun glinting on bayonet points..." Trooper Ion Idriess

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Tuesday, 10 March 2009
Times, 24 November 1899, Account
Topic: BatzB - Belmont

Belmont

South Africa, 23 November 1899

Times, 24 November 1899, Account

 

Times, 24 November 1899, p. 5.

 

LATEST INTELLIGENCE.

THE WAR

WESTERN FRONTIER.

BRITISH VICTORY AT BELMONT.

The following telegram from the General Officer Commanding Lines of Commnnication, dated Cape Town, November 23, was received at the War Office at 10 o'clock last night:

 

Following telegram received from Lord Methuen:

 

(Begins.) Belmont, Nov. 23. - Attacked enemy daybreak this morning in strong position. Three ridges carried in succession, last attack being prepared by shrapnel. Infantry behaved splendidly and received support from naval brigade and artillery.

Enemy fought with courage and drill. Had I attacked later I should have had far heavier losses.

Victory was complete. Have taken 40 prisoners, and am burying good number of Boers, but the greater part of the killed and wounded have teen taken away by their comrades. Have large number of horses and cows ; have destroyed large amount of ammunition.


Following is a list of casualties :

3rd BATTALION GRENADIER GUARDS.

Killed-Lieutenant Fryer.

Dangerously wounded. - Lieutenant Blundell.

Wounded. - Second Lieutenants Leslie and Vaughan.

Slightly wounded. - Lieutenants Gurdon-Rebow end Russell.

And in addition the following officers are reported as wounded.-Lieutenants Lygon, Cameron, and Lieutenant-Colonel Crabbe.

Rank and file. - Killed 26, wounded 36, missing 13.


1st BATTALION COLDSTREAM GUARDS.

Officer wounded.-Lieutenant Grant.

Rank and file.-Killed 8, wounded 17, missing 5.


2nd BATTALION COLDSTREAM GUARDS.

Slightly wounded. - Lieutenant the Hon. Claude Willoughby.

Severely wounded. - Second Lieutenant Burton.

Rank and file. - Wounded 6.


1st BATTALION SCOTS GUARDS.

Severely wounded. - Major the Hon. North Dalrymple Hamilton.

Wounded. - Second Lieutenants Bulkely and Alexander.

Rank and file. - Killed 9, wounded 34.


1stt BATTALION NORTHUMBERLAND FUSILIERS.

Officers killed. - Captain Egar, Lieutenant Brine.

Dangerously wounded. - Major Dashwood, Lieutenant Felting.

Severely wounded. - Captain Sapte, Lieutenant Fishbourne.

Rank and file. - Killed 12, wounded 32.


2nd BATTALION SOUTH YORKSHIRE REGIMENT.

Rank and file. - Wounded 3.


2nd BATTALION NORTHAMPTON REGIMENT.

Officers severely wounded. - Captain Freeland, Second Lieutenant Barton.

A later telegram reports Brigadier-General Fetherstonehaugh severely wounded through shoulder.

At 1 45 last night another telegram was received from the General Commanding Lines of Communication, Cape Town. It was despatched at 8 5 p.m. and was as follows :

Gatacre reports having yesterday encamped a battalion of infantry at Putters Kraal, and that reinforcements of mounted troops and half a battalion of infantry will be moved to same camp to-day.

Dutch rising continues in Broken Nail districts. Police at Molteno report armed Dutch left Cradock to join rebels at Broken Nail, taking armed natives with them.

French conducted reconnaissance towards Arundel, which he found held in strength, and withdrew with three men wounded - No. 1,996, Policeman L. Bawtree, thigh, dangerous; 3,084, Corporal Thomas, chest and arms, dangerous; 4,618, Private Willett, arm, serious, both of mounted infantry 1st Worcester Regiment.

Boers reported moving from Natal to vicinity of Bloemfontein. Telegraphic communication with Belmont reopened. Line inspector reports heavy engagement to the east of Belmont to-day.

Enemy utterly routed. No details yet received. Postmaster Hope Town reports Kuruman people have defeated North rebels.


(THROUGH REUTER's AGENCY.)

ORANGE RIVER, Nov. 23, 1 p.m.

Mr. J. D. Logan, a member of the Cape Legislative Council, who has just returned here from Belmont, states that the British troops have engaged the enemy on this side of Belmont.

The British artillery practice was magnificent, and the infantry carried the kopjes at the point of the bayonet, driving the Boers from their position.


(FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT.)

ORANGE RIVER, Nov. 23.

There are Boers all round Witteputs. They are constantly sighted. It is reported that they are retiring on Belmont.

A reconnaissance with lancers was shelled yesterday morning by the Boers from Belmont Station at 600 yards. The shrapnel burst well, but we had no casualties. The enemy's force is estimated at 2,000 men with five guns.

 

Further Reading:

Boer War - Battle of Belmont

Battles where Australians fought, 1899-1920

 


Citation: Times, 24 November 1899, Account 

Posted by Project Leader at 11:01 PM EADT
Updated: Friday, 3 April 2009 10:46 AM EADT
Merivale Street, Qld, Courier Account 31 March 1919 p7, demonstrations
Topic: BatzA - Merivale

Merivale Street

Queensland, 24 March 1919

 

The following is a contemporaneous account of the battle at Merivale Street taken from the pages of the Brisbane Courier.  The text from the scan is of poor quality and thus cannot be readily transcribed into text but it is legible enough to allow the contents to be satisfactorily read.

The ongoing Battle of Merivale Street, Queensland, from the account published in the Brisbane Courier, 31 March 1919.

 

[From: Brisbane Courier, 31 March 1919, p. 7, Demonstrations.]

 

 

Further Reading:

Merivale Street, Queensland, March 24, 1919

Battles where Australians fought, 1899-1920

 


Citation: Merivale Street, Qld, Courier Account 31 March 1919 p7, demonstrations

Posted by Project Leader at 11:01 PM EADT
Updated: Monday, 30 March 2009 1:02 PM EADT
Query Club, 21 July 1915
Topic: Gen - Query Club

 The Query Club

21 July 1915

 


 

The large scale of the Great War often gave people a sense of alienation from the activities of the government and the army. To overcome this, newspapers of the day commenced columns called Query Club or similar names, where ordinary people could clarify their understanding of the complex processes. They also provide us, the historians, an insight into witnessing first hand, the responses of the various bodies to public concerns. The end product is a window into a society now almost out of living memory.

This is the Query Club from the Sydney Mail, 21 July 1915, p. 46.

 

NAVAL GUNS

"Darlington"

It is not known with what guns the latest British warships are armed. The biggest guns reported officially are 15-inch, but it is believed that 16.5-inch weapons have been tested, if not actually mounted. Previous to the introduction of the 13.5-inch, the 12-inch was the biggest British naval gun.


WAR PENSIONS

"Ignorant"

Whether a man is married a day or ten years before he embarks for the front, in the event of his being killed, the widow is entitled to a pension - varying from £52 a year for a private to £156 a year for an officer in receipt of 50s a day or over. A sergeant's widow would receive at least £70 a year. Applicants for pensions should fill in their claims on special application forms, to be had from the Pensions Office, 17 Blight Street, Sydney.


NAVAL ENGINEER OFFICERS

"Selwyn"

The universities of Australia are co-operating with the Minister for Defence in regard to the provision of engineer officers for our navy from the ranks of university graduates. The principle conditions approved by the Minister and the universities are:

  • All candidates to be nominated by the university, and to have completed a university course of not less than four years in mechanical engineering, exceptional cases to be considered on their merits.
  • Candidates to have not less than 12 months' workshop experience.
  • Age not to exceed 24.
  • Six candidates to be entered each year.
  • Candidates, on entry, to be given the rank (on probation) of engineer sub-lieutenant, with pay and allowances.

For further information write to the Registrar of the university in your State, or to the Navy Department, Melbourne.



GERMAN ATROCITIES


H.O.

Although many of the earlier stories circulated about the German atrocities in Belgium were subsequently found to be greatly exaggerated, the main charges of murder, brutality, rape and other actions of "frightfulness" were proved up to the hilt by the independent commission over which Lord Bryce presided. In reviewing the evidence Lord Bryce declared that there were in many parts of Belgium deliberate and sytematically organised massacres of the civil population, accompanied by many isolated murders and other outrages. Innocent men, women and children were murdered in large numbers, and many women were violated. Looting, house-burning, and the wanton destruction of property were ordered and countenanced by the officers of the German army as part of a system of general terrorisation. Women and children were used as a shield for advancing forces exposed to fire, wounded prisoners killed, and the Red Cross and white flags frequently abused. The conclusions of the independent commission of inquiry have been published in pamphlet form. You can get a copy from your bookseller for a few pence.



NATURALISATION

B.C.W.

Every child born in Australia, even if his parents are foreigners, is regarded as a British subject.


A FATHER'S RIGHTS

"Motherless" is a girl, 16. On her mother's death her father broke in the home, all the children being taken charge of the relations. Now that "Motherless" is in service the father demands the money she is earning. She asks: Can he take my money? Can he prevent my living with an aunt who is pleased to have me? Can he compel me to go with him?

If your father failed in the past to provide for you as a father should, he is not entitled now to step in and claim your money or impose his will on you. Take no notice of his demands, and if he pesters you, inform the police.


Further Reading:

The Query Club

 


Citation: Query Club, 21 July 1915

Posted by Project Leader at 12:01 AM EADT
Updated: Sunday, 12 April 2009 9:14 AM EADT
Suez Canal Attack, Egypt, Official British History Account, Pt 3
Topic: BatzS - Suez 1915

Suez Canal Attack

Egypt, January 28 - February 3, 1915

 Official British History Account, Pt 3

 

The following is an extract from:

MacMunn, G., and Falls, C., Military Operations Egypt & Palestine - From the Outbreak of War with Germany to June 1917, London, 1928, pp. 25 -  28.

 

Chapter II

 

SYRIA AND SINAI

The terms "Syria" and "Palestine," the former of which included the latter, were prior to the post-war settlements vague in meaning. Syria was generally taken to mean the strip of fertile country on the Mediterranean shore from the Cilician Gates to the Egyptian frontier at Rafah; Palestine, "from Dan to Beersheba," extended from the neighbourhood of Tyre to the same frontier. Neither term corresponded to the political divisions of Turkey, the occupying Power. These divisions were the Sanjaks [The Turkish administrative area known as the vilayet may be taken to correspond to the French " department" ; its subdivision, the sanjak, to the " arrondissement."] of Adana and Jebel-i-Bereket (from the Adana Vilayet) and the Sanjak of Aleppo (from the Aleppo Vilayet), these three including the country from near Tarsus to just north of Alexandretta; the Vilayet of Beirut, from Alexandretta to north of Jaffa; the Vilayet of Damascus, including the country east of Lebanon and the Jordan, from Hama in the north to Aqaba in the south; and the independent Sanjak of Jerusalem, from north of Jaffa to the Egyptian frontier and east to the Dead Sea. The province of the Lebanon had a special administration from Constantinople, created to put an end to the blood-feuds of its inhabitants: Druses, Maronites, Christians and Turks.

When Turkey declared war the Fourth Army, with headquarters at Damascus, consisted of some 60,000 troops with 100 guns, comprising the VI Corps in the north with headquarters at Adana and the VIII Corps in the south with headquarters at Damascus. The Turkish Army had been mobilized since the 2nd August. It was expected to be formidable, as Turkish troops have always been, but it had not fully recovered from the demoralization and disorganization consequent on the Balkan and Tripolitan Wars. This applied particularly to formations distant from the capital and so less under the influence of the German Military Mission than those in Turkey proper.

The railway communications with Turkey were unsuited to warfare on a large scale, but capable of carrying and supplying as many troops as could be transported over the hundred miles of desert between the Egyptian frontier and the Suez Canal. From Haidar Pasha Station at Scutari, opposite Constantinople, to Rayak on the Litany River, 25 miles north-west of Damascus, the line was the single track standard gauge of the Anatolian-Baghdad Railway; its value greatly lessened by the gaps already mentioned.

At these gaps twenty tunnels were uncompleted, the break in the Taurus being 20 miles in length and that of the plan. Amanus, at the Bagche Tunnel, 5 miles long. Though work was being pushed on, these gaps were not covered by rail for a considerable time to come, but had to be bridged by motor and animal transport of all kinds. [The Amanus gap was covered early in 1917, the Taurus tunnels pierced for a light railway about the same time, but the first through train from Haidar Pasha Station to Rayak (about 900 miles) did not run till September 1918.] As far as Muslimie, north of Aleppo, this line had also to bear the traffic for the Turkish forces in Mesopotamia.

At Rayak the standard gauge ceased and a 1.05 metre gauge line ran through Damascus to Deraa, 50 miles south of that city. Here it bifurcated, running south to the Hejaz and west to Haifa. There was also a branch running from Rayak over the Lebanon to the sea at Beirut. From Affule, south-east of Haifa, a branch to Jerusalem via Nablus had been begun, which the Turks diverted and began to extend southwards along the Plain of Sharon after the commencement of hostilities. The Jerusalem-Jaffa line, belonging to a French company, was unconnected with this system and of a slightly different gauge (1 metre). Apart from the demerits of this railway system where the feeding of large armies was concerned, the patrolling of the coast by the Navies of Britain and France prevented the arrival of coal by sea. There were no local mines of any value and, as may be imagined, but little coal could be sent across the Taurus and Amanus. Supplies from two large colliers which were in the port of Haifa at the outbreak of war provided coal for the transportation of the troops employed in the attack on the Suez Canal to railhead, then a short distance south of Nablus. Thereafter the Turks were forced to fall back upon wood-fuel for their engines.

The problem before Sir J. Maxwell was, however, concerned less with the numbers of troops of which Turkey could dispose in Syria or with the quality of her railway communications from Constantinople than with her power to cross the desert between the frontier and the Suez Canal.

The Sinai Peninsula, mountainous in its southern half, sand desert in its northern, was crossed by no modern communications. Even the “Way of the Philistines," along the Mediterranean shore, was no more than a camel track. This track ran from El Qantara (the bridge: formerly the crossing of the old Pelusiac branch of the Nile) through Romani, Qatiya and El Arish to Gaza, within the Turkish frontier.

It was watered by occasional oases, with brackish wells, more frequent as it approached Egypt, and threaded its way through areas alternating in shifting sand-dunes and a firmer surface of flint and pebble. The other principal track ran via Nekhl, from Suez to Aqaba; and at Nekhl alone, an Egyptian military and civil post, was there any appreciable water supply. Between these two routes was a third but difficult one, even less well watered, through Jifjaffa, to the Canal at Ismailia. How many troops could be brought across and at what season? What route would they follow?

In a War Office estimate made in 1906 it had been, suggested that 5,000 men and 2,000 camels represented the largest possible force. The whole question, in fact, depended upon the water-supply, which was not constant. Apart from the wells, there were here and there stone cisterns, remnants of a bygone civilization, in which winter rainwater was collected by the Bedouin. After these rains also considerable pools often existed for short periods, during which there was no reason why much larger numbers than those suggested should not subsist in Sinai. It befel that, though for several years there had been little rain in Sinai, in the winter of 1914 there were some heavy storms. This unusually great supply of water made practicable the central Sinai route for considerable numbers of troops.
 

 

Previous Chapter: Suez Canal Attack, Egypt, THE CANAL DEFENCES, Official British History Account, Pt 2

Next Chapter: Suez Canal Attack, Egypt, ADVANCE OF THE TURKS, Official British History Account, Pt 4

 

Further Reading:

Suez Canal Attack, Egypt, Contents

Where Australians Fought, Sinai, 1916-1917

Light Horse Battles

Battles where Australians fought, 1899-1920

 


Citation: Suez Canal Attack, Egypt, Official British History Account, Pt 3


Posted by Project Leader at 12:01 AM EADT
Updated: Sunday, 26 April 2009 11:21 PM EADT
North Russian Campaign, 61464 Private Wilfred John Robinson
Topic: BatzO - Emptsa

North Russian Campaign

Australian Casualties
 
61464 Private Wilfred John Robinson
 
 

61464 Private Wilfred John Robinson at Netley in hospital uniform, October 1919.

 

Wilfred John Robinson, a brief military biography from The AIF Project:

Regimental number61464
ReligionBaptist
OccupationShipping clerk
Address'Avon', Kenilworth Parade, Ivanhoe, Victoria
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation18
Next of kinFather, J H Robinson, Kenilworth Parade, Ivanhoe, Victoria
Previous military service54th Infantry
Enlistment date1 December 1917
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name11th General (Victorian) Reinforcements
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/111/3
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Melbourne, Victoria, on board HMAT A37 Barambah on 31 August 1918
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal RollGeneral Service Reinforcements
FateDischarged 11 June 1919
Miscellaneous details (Nominal Roll)

Enlisted as 133001 Sergeant W J Robinson in 45th Battalion, Royal Fusiliers for service with the North Russian Relief Force

Severely wounded at the Battle of Emptsa, 29 August 1919.

Robinson served in North Russia with 45 Battalion, Royal Fusiliers as a member of a Lewis gun crew in Brigadier General L W de V Sadlier-Jackson's Brigade.

 

61464 Private Wilfred John Robinson at Netley in hospital uniform, October 1919.

 

Wilfred John Robinson's Bible saves his life at Emptsa

 

The Bible wallet and bullet hole top left.

 

 

The wallet was carried by Private Wilfred John Robinson during his service with the North Russia Relief Force in 1919. He was injured during the action at Empsta on 29 August 1919. Robinson carried this wallet, produced by the YMCA for Christmas 1918, with a diary, papers and bible, in his top breast pocket. It saved his life when it took the full force of the bullet which injured him.

 
 
Further Reading:
 
Battles where Australians fought, 1899-1920 
 
 

Citation: North Russian Campaign, 61464 Private Wilfred John Robinson

Posted by Project Leader at 12:01 AM EADT
Updated: Saturday, 2 May 2009 9:58 PM EADT

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