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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

The Australian Light Horse Studies Centre aims to present an accurate history as chroniclers of early Australian military developments from 1899 to 1920.

The Australian Light Horse Studies Centre site holds over 12,000 entries and is growing daily.

Contact: Australian Light Horse Studies Centre

Let us hear your story: You can tell your story, make a comment or ask for help on our Australian Light Horse Studies Centre Forum called:

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WARNING: This site contains: names, information and images of deceased people; and, language which may be considered inappropriate today.

Tuesday, 17 March 2009
605th Machine Gun Company War Diary - 7 April to 3 May 1916
Topic: Gm - Bk - 605 MGC

German 605th Machine Gun Company (MGC)

War Diary, 7 April to 3 May 1916 

 

605th Machine Gun Company War Diary - 7 April to 3 May 1916

 

The entries

 

7.IV.16:  

At 5 this afternoon we arrived at Constantinopel but had to sleep another two nights in our railway carriages as our future quarters had still to be disinfected. Our strength on leaving Charlottenburg was 1 officer (Lieut. V. Benkwitz) and 31 O.R. including actg. S.M. and N.C.O.'s.

 

8.IV.16:   

To-day we loaded our boxes on sailing boats to cross the Bosphorus to Haidar-Pascha.


9.IV.16:   

To-day at 6 a.m. we marched with our equipment from the goods station Stambul to Pera-Constantinopel where we were given billets. Today we got our supplies from the ship Corsovado.


10.IV.16 to 29.IV.16:   

During this period all our boxes were moved to the goods station at Haidar-Passha. During the last four days everything was loaded into trusks.


21.IV.16: 
  

Today we paraded before H.M. the Sultan, Mahamed V.


31.IV.16:   

This afternoon at 2.30 we were taken on a Turkish transport from the goods station Stambal to the main railway station Haidar Pascha. Departure took place 4.30 p.m. A coffee issue was made from the field kitchen at 8.30.


1.V.16:   

7.40 to 8.45 a.m. coffee issued at Tuschan. 12.20 to 1 p.m. dinner at Inom. 7 to 12.55 a.m. halt and coffee issue at Sabun Bunak.

2.V.16:   

8.45 to 9.30 a.m. coffee issue at Tschai, 11 to 2 p.m. dinner at Ak-Schehier. To got our evening coffee just before reaching Konia.


3.V.16:   

5.30 to 6.15 a.m. coffee issue at Airandi-Derbend. Stop from 9 to 1.05 p.m. at Erigli where we had dinner. At 2.30 this afternoon we arrived at Posanki. The company furnished details to unload the trucks whilst the remainder pitched tents.

 

Previous Page: 605th Machine Gun Company War Diary - 3 to 7 April 1916

Next Page: 605th Machine Gun Company War Diary - 3 to 8 May 1916

 

Further Reading:

German 605th Machine Gun Company (MGC) , Contents 

The Battle of Romani

Light Horse Battles

Battles where Australians fought, 1899-1920

 


Citation: 605th Machine Gun Company War Diary - 7 April to 3 May 1916 


Posted by Project Leader at 12:01 AM EADT
Updated: Wednesday, 15 April 2009 7:52 PM EADT
Bert Schramm's Diary, 17 March 1919
Topic: Diary - Schramm

Diaries of AIF Servicemen

Bert Schramm

 

During part of the course of his military service with the AIF, 2823 Private Herbert Leslie Schramm, a farmer from White's River, near Tumby Bay on the Eyre Peninsular, 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 1918 breakout 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.

 Bert Schramm's Diary, 17 March 1919

 


Bert Schramm's Handwritten Diary, 17 - 19 March 1919

[Click on page for a larger print version.]

Diaries

Bert Schramm

Monday, March 17, 1919

Bert Schramm's Location - Moascar, Egypt.

Bert Schramm's Diary - Fresh developments today. Two more squadrons have left here today all fully equipped and mounted and I believe the rest of our Brigade is leaving here tomorrow. We have all our gear on the station and are to leave in the morning but don't know where we are going.

 

 

9th Light Horse Regiment War Diary

9th Light Horse Regiment Location - Moascar; Abu Hamad; Zagazig, Egypt.

9th Light Horse Regiment War Diary - Remainder of 8th Light Horse Regiment ordered to proceed dismounted to Zagazig. 9th Light Horse Regiment to be ready to move out at short notice.

1000 Orders received that 9th Light Horse Regiment [less mounted squadron] 150 strong, 76 all ranks A Squadron, 74 all ranks C Squadron would entrain for Zagazig at 1100. Hurried preparations were made and at 1115, 13 Officers, 128 Other Ranks, 9th Light Horse Regiment and remainder of 8th and 10th Light Horse Regiments, entrained at Moascar on construction train. Scott, Lieutenant Colonel WH, CMG DSO commanded train. Mounted squadron and rear parties were left behind.

After the dull routine of Moascar camp life all ranks were keen for a bit of excitement.

The Regiments arrived at Abu Hamad without incident. At kilo 46 railway line and telegraph wires had been destroyed. Gangs immediately set to work to repair breaks. Four Officers and 50 Other Ranks, B Squadron, marched back from here to Abu Hamad as reports received stated that the Christians there were in danger.

At 1930 break in railway and main telegraph line repaired and train proceeded towards Zagazig. Edgerley, Lieutenant; and, 14 Other Ranks, C Squadron, were left to guard the canal bridge at kilo 46.

The Regiments arrived at Zagazig without incident at 2100. Disentrained and bivouacked near Supply Depot. Twelve Other Ranks sent back as train guard to Moascar.

 

Darley

Darley, TH, With the Ninth Light Horse in the Great War, Adelaide, Hassell Press, 1924.

No Entry


Previous: Bert Schramm's Diary, 16 March 1919

Next: Bert Schramm's Diary, 18 March 1919

 

Further Reading:

9th Light Horse Regiment AIF War Diary - Complete day by day list

Bert Schramm Diary 

Bert Schramm Diary - Complete day by day list

 

Additional Reading:

Darley, TH, With the Ninth Light Horse in the Great War, Adelaide, Hassell Press, 1924.

 


Citation: Bert Schramm's Diary, 17 March 1919


Posted by Project Leader at 12:01 AM EADT
Updated: Wednesday, 6 May 2009 11:41 AM EADT
1st Australian Armoured Car Section - The Dead Sea - Part 1
Topic: AIF - Cars

1st AUSTRALIAN ARMOURED CAR SECTION, AIF

THE DEAD SEA

Part 1

 

This is a transcription from a manuscript submitted by Captain E.H. James called "The Motor Patrol". It is lodged in the AWM as AWM 224 MSS 209. This is Part 2.

 

THE DEAD SEA - Part 1



Towards the end of June the Light Car patrol received instructions to patrol the River Jordan from Hajla and Henu to the mouth, where he River enters the Dead Sea. The orders were to patrol twine daily (at dawn and in the evening before dark) and to report the result to divisional Headquarters. On either bank of the river there were clay foothills over which we soon made motor tracks. These hills commanded a good view of the surrounding country for about 10 miles and by the aid of field glasses any movement could quickly be seen. The river was nominally the dividing line between the two forces but actually the British hold both banks for most of the distance. This patrolling of the River banks meant that the unit spent a considerable amount of time travelling backwards and forwards from the camp north of Jericho to the Dead Sea which was the starting point of the line to be patrolled and in order to reduce this dead mileage we applied to have our camp moved down towards our starting point. This request was granted by Headquarters and accordingly on 12th July we were transferred to Rujm-of-Bahr on the coast and generally known as the Dead Sea Post. This new move was a very welcome one to all members of the unit. It meant that we got away from the choking and blinding suet encountered wherever bodies of horsemen were moving (end this was practically all the time near a Light Horse camp) but whet was far more welcome was the fact that we were near the water and bathing could be indulged in. We built our bivvies right alongside the water and in the morning rolled out of the blankets into the sea for our swim. The Dead yea would be a good place for non swimmers, as it would be practically impossible to drown. The buoyancy of the water is such that a person may stand in deep water and hold his arms up out of the water and the water will not rise over his neck. A swimmer used to fresher water however, will notice that it is vary difficult to get speed up. This is probably because of the density of the water and of the difficulty of keeping the feet down as they have a tendency to rise to the surface all the time. One of the chief amusements of the Place was to encourage visitors to dive into the water head first. The water was intensely bitter and if any of it went up the nose or got into the mouth the victim would probably cough and splutter for half an hour or until no managed to wash out his throat with fresh water again. If the water got into the eyes it would sting very severely for quite a while. A peculiar effect of a dive into the water was the speed with which the diver shot up out of the water again and sometimes if a parson dived straight down he shot out feet first again.

The Dead Sea Post was an ideal spot from many points of view for our camp. There was a workshop there and a forge which were extremely useful to us. One of the first things we did after being stationed there, was to remove the wheels from our cars and leave them overnight or as long as possible soaking in the Sea. Our wheels were only wooden ones (as the pressed steel wheels were not available at that time) and we had experienced considerable difficulty in keeping wheels tight owing to the extreme heat and in some cases we had narrow escapes from wheels practically collapsing altogether. The result of the soaking was to swell the wood making the spokes and felloes tight. This was not merely a temporary remedy because the brine soaked right into the wood and although the wood appeared perfectly dry in the day time, in the night air the salt would always get damp again causing the joints to swell.

There was stationed quite a fleet of motor boats at our post. They included a couple of fast six cylinder "Wolseley" speed launches each fitted with a Vickers gun. There were also some ships boats with outboard motors and later on two large Thornycroft twin screw gun boats each fitted with a three pounder were transported overland by tractors and launched near our camp. These boats greatly appealed to the men of our unit who were nearly all good mechanics and expert machine gunners and on many expeditions across the water the Dead Sea fleet was manned by the members of the Light Car Patrol who became known as the "Amphibians". Quite a lot of work was done by these boats after dark as we would then run our "agents" across the sea, land them in enemy Territory and pick them up at prearranged spots after they had completed their mission. On certain nights the boats would cruise along the enemy coast keeping watch for lights as if one of our men wished to be picked up he would light a fire under a cliff or overhanging ground so that the light would not show inland. The boat would then move quietly in towards the light and pick him up. Great caution of course had to be exercised as there was always the risk of treachery but this was never experienced. One of the agents, an old native, who appeared to be well trusted by Headquarters, had made many trips backwards and forwards and seemed to bring back a lot of information. This old chap was generally very regular in keeping his appointments with the boat, but one night he did not turn up and after the third night of cruising he was given up for lost by the crew. But about a week later the lookout reported a light some miles south of the usual position. A boat was sent down and after carefully cruising towards the light they discovered the old chap nearly dead, lying on the beach alongside a fire which he had lighted. He was carried on board and given some food and water after which he seemed to revive. He had been badly wounded in the foot and he was taken across as soon as possible to be attended to. There was a large hole in his foot where a bullet had gone through it and it was expected that the leg would probably have to be amputated. It appeared that the old fellow had been seen by some of the Turkish sentries as he was passing through their lines and they had fired at him, one shot getting him in the foot.

 

 

Previous section: 1st Australian Armoured Car Section - Palestine - Part 3

Next section: 1st Australian Armoured Car Section - The Dead Sea - Part 2

 

Further Reading:

1st AUSTRALIAN ARMOURED CAR SECTION, AIF, Contents 

Australian Light Horse Order of Battle - Outline 

The Australian Light Horse - Structure

Australian Light Horse Order of Battle

Battles where Australians fought, 1899-1920

 



Citation: 1st Australian Armoured Car Section - The Dead Sea - Part 1

Posted by Project Leader at 12:01 AM EADT
Updated: Sunday, 18 July 2010 9:27 AM EADT
The Battle of Hébuterne, France, 27 March 1918, Roll of Honour
Topic: BatzWF - Westn Front

The Battle of Hébuterne

France, 27 March to 5 April 1918

AIF

Roll of Honour, 27 March 1918

 

Poppies on the Roll of Honour, Australian War Memorial, Canberra

 

The Roll of Honour contains the names of all the men from the Allied Forces known to have given their lives on 27 March 1918 during the Battle of Hébuterne, France, 27 March to 5 April 1918.

 

Roll of Honour

 

Thomas Nicholls BARTLETT, 22nd Infantry Battalion

Charles BEER, 58th Infantry Battalion

Harry BENNETT, 47th Infantry Battalion

Michael BEVERLEY, 9th Infantry Battalion

Joseph BROKENSHIRE, 58th Infantry Battalion

Percy Neil BROOKS, 48th Infantry Battalion

Frank Primatt Burnaby BUNTING, 58th Infantry Battalion

 

Leslie Davis CAIRNS, 3rd Machine Gun Battalion

John Henry CHAMBERLAIN, 24th Infantry Battalion

Alfred Ernest CHURCH, 48th Infantry Battalion

Hugh Alexander CONLEY, 47th Infantry Battalion

Joseph Peter COOK, 58th Infantry Battalion

James Francis CRONENBURG, 16th Infantry Battalion

Clarence Edward Vincent CUMMINS, 19th Infantry Battalion

 

George Robert DALZIEL, 9th Infantry Battalion

Herbert William DAY, 58th Infantry Battalion

Thomas DIXON, 15th Infantry Battalion

Horace James DUGGAN, 58th Infantry Battalion

 

Walter Francis EAGER, 18th Infantry Battalion

 

John Joseph FAHEY, 47th Infantry Battalion

Charles FLOYD, 52nd Infantry Battalion

Philip FOOTE, 13th Infantry Battalion

James FORD, 15th Infantry Battalion

Charles FOSTER, 10th Infantry Battalion

 

Ernest GATTON, 47th Infantry Battalion

Harry GOFTON, 4th Infantry Battalion

Joseph GREEN, 5th Machine Gun Battalion

 

William John HARPER, 13th Infantry Battalion

Arthur Robert HARRIS,

George McDonald HAWKE, 58th Infantry Battalion

Herbert Leslie HUGHES, 58th Infantry Battalion

 

Norman Henry JOHNSTON, 3rd Field Artillery Brigade

 

George Chapman KING, 16th Infantry Battalion

John Valentine KNOWLES, 59th Infantry Battalion

 

Norman Edward LE BROCQ, 58th Infantry Battalion

Frank LILLY, 48th Infantry Battalion

William Richardson LISLE, 15th Infantry Battalion

Leonard LYONS, 4th Division Signal Company

 

William MCNEE, 48th Infantry Battalion

Frederick James MITCHELL, 22nd Infantry Battalion

Alfred Stanley MORROW, 19th Infantry Battalion

 

Ernest James Henry NEWEY, 58th Infantry Battalion

 

Walter James OSBOURNE, 58th Infantry Battalion

 

Charles Alexander PEDEN, 3rd Machine Gun Battalion

Walter PETERSON, 24th Infantry Battalion

Alexander James PHILLIPS, 58th Infantry Battalion

William Stevens PRESS, 16th Infantry Battalion

John Daniel PROELLOCKS, 47th Infantry Battalion

 

John REID, 58th Infantry Battalion

Harry Fergerson ROLES, 49th Infantry Battalion

Ormond Leslie RUMPF, 58th Infantry Battalion

Michael RYAN, 58th Infantry Battalion

 

James Henry SCHOFIELD, 51st Infantry Battalion

Edwin George SIMMONDS, 22nd Infantry Battalion

 

Alfred Charles THORN, 45th Infantry Battalion

Charles Edward TREBILCOCK, 3rd Machine Gun Battalion

 

William Henry WALLACE, 58th Infantry Battalion

Alfred WEBSTER, 47th Infantry Battalion

Rowland Robert WELLS, 10th Infantry Battalion

Edwin George WILLIAMS, 10th Infantry Battalion

William Erskine WILLIAMS, 24th Infantry Battalion

Roy Clifford WOLFENDEN, 36th Infantry Battalion

 

Lest We Forget

 

 

Further Reading:

The Battle of Hébuterne, France, 27 March to 5 April 1918, Contents

The Battle of Hébuterne, France, 27 March to 5 April 1918, Roll of Honour

Battles where Australians fought, 1899-1920

 


Citation: The Battle of Hébuterne, France, 27 March 1918, Roll of Honour


Posted by Project Leader at 12:01 AM EADT
Updated: Monday, 28 March 2011 7:13 AM EADT
Monday, 16 March 2009
Zeebrugge, Belgium, April 22 to 23, 1918
Topic: BatzN - Zeebrugge

Zeebrugge

Belgium, 22-23 April 1918

 

Zeebrugge, a naval operation conducted against the Flanders coast on 22-23 April 1918, aimed at closing off the Belgian port of Bruges from use as a base for German submarines. The port itself lay thirteen kilometres inland, its access to the sea being via a ship canal exiting at Zeebrugge or a series of minor waterways leading into Ostend harbour. Both exits were vulnerable to blockage if ships could be sunk in their narrow mouths, although such an enterprise was an especially difficult undertaking. Not only was the entrance at Zeebrugge shielded by a 2.5 kilometre long mole, swinging in an arc from west of the canal mouth to provide a barrier against fierce North Sea storms and creating an artificial harbour, but the whole stretch of coastline from Nieuport to Knokke was heavily fortified by more than 200 German guns ranging in calibre from 3.5 inches to 15 inches.

In February 1918 a call was made among naval units in Britain, seeking volunteers for 'special service'. Men from the RAN battlecruiser Australia (then in port at Rosyth, Scotland) offered themselves, and one officer and ten ratings (five seamen, five stokers) were chosen. These were detached for training at Chatham depot, before being assigned to ships in the attacking force. The core of this force was five old light cruisers specially prepared as blockships – three (Thetis, Intrepid and Iphigenia) planned for use at Zeebrugge, the other two (Brilliant and Sirius) against Ostend. The stokers from Australia joined the crew of Thetis, the leader of the ships to block the channel, while the seamen joined HMS Vindictive as bomber - throwers in a storming party to he landed on the Zeebrugge mole. The officer, Artificer Engineer William Edgar, was placed in charge of the engine room of the Mersey ferry-boat Iris, whose role was to attend Vindictive during the landing of the storming party.

The attacking force sailed late on the afternoon of 22 April, 146 vessels making for Ostend while 76 headed for Zeebrugge. The latter group was nearing its objectives when the Germans opened fire at 11.50 p.m. Although lashed by hire from the defenders' guns, Vindictive succeeded in reaching the mole although sadly out of position, and with the assistance of Daffodil, one of the two supporting ferry boats managed to land her storming parties. A company of naval assault personnel in Iris could not also be put ashore, however, because of' the water turbulence and the fact that the scaling ladders carried on board were too short. The success of the submarine C3 in reaching its assigned position under a section of viaduct near the mole's land-end, before tonnes of high explosive packed on board were detonated, ensured that the garrison did not receive reinforcements which made the storming parties' task impossible.

Meanwhile the three blockships charged forward, making for the canal mouth. Subjected to massive enemy fire and caught in a strong current, Thetis missed the gap in the enemy's net defences and became ensnared, trailing this wreckage which eventually pulled her up 300 metres short of the canal mouth where she went aground. The two vessels following managed to get inside the two piers which jutted out into the sea from either side of the entrance, before charges were blown which put them on the silty bottom. The crews of all three ships were taken off by a motor launch, but only after the storm of fire directed at this vessel had caused heavy casualties among the men packing its decks.

An hour after the action began the signal was given for the attackers to withdraw. Retrieving as many of the assault personnel as could get hack, Vindictive and her two ferry-boat consorts pulled away from the mole while making thick smoke to mask their escape. At this moment Iris had the misfortune to be hit by heavy shells fired blind by the enemy through the smokescreen. The explosions caused heavy casualties and set the vessel on fire, but Iris still managed to reach Dover at 2.45 p.m. that same day under her own power.

While the Zeebrugge raid had broadly achieved its goal, that on Ostend failed completely. The action of the Germans late on the afternoon of 22 April in shifting or removing two marker buoys critical to accurate navigation meant that the attacking squadron lost its way. The two blockships went ashore on the sand north of their intended mark, their crews also being picked up by motor launches. The failure of this part of the operation prompted a second attempt against Ostend on 9-10 May, this time using the battered Vindictive as blockship. It, too, failed to quite achieve the desired result, in that the old cruiser sank just clear of the central channel into the harbour. This mattered less, however, since only small shallow-draught vessels could use the canal system here, and ocean-going submarines and destroyers already at Bruges were thus bottled up. And although the Germans managed to bring Zeebrugge back into service by removing the piers and dredging the sides of the canal, this still only made possible the passage of small submarines at high tide.

In addition to restricting the use of the port facilities at Bruges, the Allies had won a significant moral victory with this epic raid. Eleven Victoria Crosses were won during the combined operation of 22-23 April. Although heavy, losses had not been crushing; in the 1,784-strong Zeebrugge assault force, for example, there were 170 killed and 400 wounded. None of the Australians present were among the casualties - Australia was, in fact, the only ship providing volunteers who did not post losses. This was purely by good luck, since one of the stokers in Thetis recorded that on making their way from the wrecked blockship they were obliged to row a lifeboat some 800 metres under fire before being picked up by a motor launch. At the height of Iris's withdrawal, Edgar had also braved fire on the upper deck to turn on the vessel's smoke apparatus; his service in the action earned him the Distinguished Service Cross and promotion to Engineer Lieutenant rank. Three of the RAN seamen in Vindictive were also awarded Distinguished Service Medals.



 

Extracted from the book produced by Chris Coulthard-Clark, Where Australians Fought - The Encyclopaedia of Australia's Battles, Allen and Unwin, Sydney, 1998, pp. 143-145.

 

Additional References cited by Chris Coulthard-Clark:

Arthur W . Jose, ( 1928), The Royal Australian Navy 1914-1918, Sydney: Angus & Robertson.

 

Further Reading:

Battles where Australians fought, 1899-1920

 


Citation: Zeebrugge, Belgium, April 22 to 23, 1918

Posted by Project Leader at 11:01 PM EADT
Updated: Tuesday, 14 April 2009 11:33 PM EADT

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