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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:

Desert Column Forum

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

Sunday, 9 January 2011
The Battle of Rafa, Sinai, 9 January 1917, Contents
Topic: BatzP - Rafa

The Battle of Rafa

Sinai, 9 January 1917

Contents

 

Items

Outline

The Battle of Rafa, Sinai, 9 January 1917, Outline

 

Maps

Map segment of Rafa 1:125,000

Map of Turkish Trench Works

Map outline for the Battle of Rafa, drawn February 1917

Map of Rafa accompanying the Official British War History Account

The Official Turkish War History Map

 

Accounts

Gullett Account
Official British War History Account 
Friedrich Freiherr Kress von Kressenstein Account

 

Egyptian Expeditionary Force

Desert Mounted Column (DC), General Murray's Despatches, Part 3 

 

Desert Column

Desert Column Order No. 10

The Desert Column Order of March details

Desert Column War Diary Account

The Desert Column Account

Chetwode Letter

 

Artillery

Commander Royal Artillery, War Diary Account

 

5th Mounted Brigade

5th Mounted Brigade, War Diary Account 

 

Medical Services

Butler, DMC Medical Services, AIF, Unit History, Account 

RAMC, EEF, Unit History, Account 

 

Anzac Mounted Division

Secret Special Instructions

Anzac Mounted Division, Order No. 69

Anzac Mounted Division Special Instructions

Anzac Mounted Division Battle Chronology, 8 - 11 January 1917

Anzac Mounted Division Signals Chronology 

 

Signals

Signal 0832

Signal 1054 

Signal 1435

Signal 1645

Signal 2359

 

1st Field Squadron Engineers 

"A" Troop, War Diary Account

"C" Troop, War Diary Account

"D" Troop, War Diary Account

2/1 Cheshire Field Company Royal Engineers attached to Imperal Camel Corps Brigade, War Diary Account

 

1st Signal Squadron

1st Signal Squadron, War Diary Account

1st Signal Squadron, Signal Order No 23

 

1st Light Horse Brigade

1st Light Horse Brigade, War Diary Account

1st Light Horse Brigade, Cox Account

1st Light Horse Brigade, AIF, Roll of Honour

 

1st Light Horse Regiment

1st Light Horse Regiment, War Diary Account

1st Light Horse Regiment, Unit History Account

1st Light Horse Regiment, Roll of Honour

 

2nd Light Horse Regiment 

2nd Light Horse Regiment, War Diary Account

2nd Light Horse Regiment, Unit History Account 

2nd Light Horse Regiment, Roll of Honour 

 

3rd Light Horse Regiment 

3rd Light Horse Regiment, War Diary Account

3rd Light Horse Regiment, Unit History Account 

3rd Light Horse Regiment, Roll of Honour

 

1st Light Horse Field Ambulance 

1st Light Horse Field Ambulance, War Diary Account

1st Light Horse Field Ambulance Transport Subdivision, War Diary Account

1st Light Horse Field Ambulance, Roll of Honour

 

1st Signal Troop 

1st Signal Troop, War Diary Account

 

1st Light Horse Machine Gun Squadron 

1st Light Horse Machine Gun Squadron, War Diary Account

1st Light Horse Machine Gun Squadron, Roll of Honour

 

3rd Light Horse Brigade 

3rd Light Horse Brigade, War Diary Account 

3rd Light Horse Brigade, Report 

3rd Light Horse Brigade, AIF, Roll of Honour

 

8th Light Horse Regiment 

8th Light Horse Regiment, War Diary Account

8th Light Horse Regiment, Unit History Account 

 

9th Light Horse Regiment

9th Light Horse Regiment, War Diary Account

9th Light Horse Regiment Unit History Account

 

10th Light Horse Regiment 

10th Light Horse Regiment, War Diary Account

10th Light Horse Regiment, Unit History Account 

10th Light Horse Regiment, Roll of Honour

 

3rd Light Horse Field Ambulance 

3rd Light Horse Field Ambulance, War Diary Account

3rd Light Horse Field Ambulance, Unit History Account 

 

3rd Signal Troop 

3rd Signal Troop, War Diary Account

 

3rd Light Horse Machine Gun Squadron 

3rd Light Horse Machine Gun Squadron, War Diary Account

3rd Light Horse Machine Gun Squadron, Unit History Account 

3rd Light Horse Machine Gun Squadron, Roll of Honour

 

New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade

New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade, War Diary Account

New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade, Unit History Account 

New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade, Roll of Honour 

 

New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade Signal Troop

New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade Signal Troop, War Diary Account 

 

Auckland Mounted Rifles Regiment 

Auckland Mounted Rifles Regiment, War Diary Account

Auckland Mounted Rifles Regiment, Unit History Account 

Auckland Mounted Rifles Regiment, Roll of Honour

 

Canterbury Mounted Rifles Regiment

Canterbury Mounted Rifles Regiment, War Diary Account

Canterbury Mounted Rifles Regiment, Unit History Account
 
Canterbury Mounted Rifles Regiment, Roll of Honour

 

Wellington Mounted Rifles Regiment 

Wellington Mounted Rifles Regiment , War Diary Account

Wellington Mounted Rifles Regiment , Unit History Account 

Wellington Mounted Rifles Regiment , Roll of Honour

 

New Zealand Mounted Field Ambulance 

New Zealand Mounted Field Ambulance , War Diary Account

New Zealand Mounted Field Ambulance Bearer and Transport Division, War Diary Account

 

1st New Zealand Machine Gun Squadron 

1st New Zealand Machine Gun Squadron, War Diary Account

1st New Zealand Machine Gun Squadron, Unit History Account 

1st New Zealand Machine Gun Squadron, Roll of Honour

 

Imperial Camel Corps Brigade

Headquarters, Imperial Camel Corps, Battle Account 

Headquarters, Imperial Camel Corps Brigade, War Diary Account

Imperial Camel Corps Unit History Account

Imperial Camel Corps Brigade, Roll of Honour

 

1st Battalion, Imperial Camel Corps

1st Battalion, ICC Brigade, War Diary Account - no War Diary exists for this month.

1st Battalion, ICC Brigade, Roll of Honour

 

3rd Anzac Battalion, Imperial Camel Corps

3rd Anzac Battalion, Imperial Camel Corps, War Diary Account 

3rd Anzac Battalion, ICC Brigade, Roll of Honour 

 

7th Light Car Patrol

No. 7 Light Car Patrol Account 

 

Roll of Honour 

The Battle of Rafa, Sinai, 9 January 1917, Roll of Honour

AIF Roll of Honour 

New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade, Roll of Honour 

British Forces Roll of Honour

Lest We Forget

 

 

Further Reading:

The Battle of Rafa, Sinai, 9 January 1917

The Battle of Rafa, Sinai, 9 January 1917, Roll of Honour

The Palestine Campaign, 1917 - 1918

Battles where Australians fought, 1899-1920

 


Citation: The Battle of Rafa, Sinai, 9 January 1917, Contents 


Posted by Project Leader at 12:01 AM EAST
Updated: Wednesday, 2 February 2011 7:27 AM EAST
Saturday, 9 January 2010
The Battle of Rafa, Sinai, 9 January 1917, Outline
Topic: BatzP - Rafa

The Battle of Rafa

Sinai, 9 January 1917

Outline

 

Rafa landscape, January 1917.

 

Rafa, the site of a former Egyptian police post on the Mediterranean border with Palestine. is the name generally given to an action between British and Turkish forces on 9 January 1917 which was actually fought about 1.5 kilometres to the south on ground known as El Magruntein. Following the capture of the other main Turkish post inland at Magdhaba (q.v) a fortnight earlier, the British commander of what was called the Desert Column, Lieut.-General Sir Philip Chetwode, prepared to take Rafa as well. Aerial patrols reported that place to be held by 2,000 - 3,000 enemy troops, who were busily digging in. Available for this operation was the Anzac Mounted Division (1st and 3rd Australian Light Horse brigades and the New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade) commanded by Major-General Harry Chauvel, reinforced by three of the four battalions of the Imperial Camel Corps (which also contained many Australians) and the 5th Mounted Brigade, a British yeomanry outfit.

 

Map outline for the Battle of Rafa, drawn February 1917.

[Click on map for larger version.]

 

After a period spent in reconnoitring routes and compiling plans of the Turkish defences from the air, Chauvel's troops commenced their march from El Arish at dusk on 8 January. Moving first to Sheikh Zowaiid, an Arab village sixteen kilometres short of the objective which was seized and sealed to prevent a warning being carried to the enemy, by dawn the attacking force had entirely surrounded Rafa and was in position to attack. Only at this stage was the true difficulty of the operation apparent to Chetwode and Chauvel. The Turks occupied a network of trenches rising in tiers around an earthen redoubt on a central knoll, and although these works were not protected by wire they completely dominated the long bare slopes leading up to them.

Once commenced at 10 a.m. the British assault-as at Magdhaba - made only slow progress. For the first time use was made of aircraft to direct the fire of artillery using radio, but despite this innovation the attack lacked the weight of guns to destroy the enemy's defences or their spirit. By midafternoon the force's reserves had all been committed, ammunition was getting short, and Chetwode was beginning to fret about whether success could he achieved in time to meet the pressing need for water for both his men and horses. When news reached him at about 4 p.m. that two strong groups of Turkish reinforcements, probably 2,500 men, were approaching from the east and north-east, Chetwode decided soon afterwards to break off the fight and withdraw.

 

Wellington Mounted Rifles 2nd Troop from 9th Squadron charging the trenches at Rafa.

 

Acting on this order, Chauvel had issued the necessary instructions to his brigades. As at Magdhaba, however the recall was ignored at unit level where the troops were determined to bring the action to a climax. The New Zealanders and the Camel Corps both succeeded in overrunning the redoubts in front of them, and within a short period the entire Turkish defence collapsed. Of the garrison, some 200 were killed and 1,602 taken prisoner (including 168 wounded); only a few escaped into the darkness which soon afterwards enveloped the battlefield. British losses totalled 486, including 71 killed.

With his flank guards already exchanging fire at long range with the approaching Turkish reinforcements, Chauvel did not attempt to hold the ground just won but withdrew to Sheikh Zowaiid where water and supplies had been dumped. The enemy did not re-occupy the defences, however, and - apart from a fruitless clash by cavalry and camelry the next morning with two light horse regiments left to cover a field ambulance while it searched for wounded - left the British in uncontested possession of Rafa.

 

Prisoners captured at Rafa.

 

Extracted from the book produced by Chris Coulthard-Clark, Where Australians Fought - The Encyclopaedia of Australia's Battles, Allen and Unwin, Sydney, 1998, pp. 122-123.



Additional References cited by Chris Coulthard-Clark:

H.S. Gullett, (1944), The Australian Imperial Force in Sinai and Palestine, Sydney: Angus & Robertson.

A.J. Hill, (1978), Chauvel of the Light Horse, Carlton, Vic.: Melbourne University Press.

 

Further Reading:

The Battle of Rafa, Sinai, 9 January 1917

The Battle of Rafa, Sinai, 9 January 1917, Roll of Honour

The Palestine Campaign, 1917 - 1918

Battles where Australians fought, 1899-1920

 


Citation: The Battle of Rafa, Sinai, 9 January 1917, Outline

Posted by Project Leader at 12:01 AM EAST
Updated: Saturday, 15 January 2011 7:41 AM EAST
Friday, 9 January 2009
The Battle of Rafa, Sinai, 9 January 1917, Allied Forces, Roll of Honour
Topic: BatzP - Rafa

The Battle of Rafa

Sinai, 9 January 1917

Allied Forces

Roll of Honour

 

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 during the Battle of Rafa, Palestine, 9 January 1917.

 

Roll of Honour 

 

AIF Roll of Honour 

New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade, Roll of Honour 

British Forces Roll of Honour

 

Lest We Forget

 

 

Further Reading:

The Battle of Rafa, Sinai, 9 January 1917

The Battle of Rafa, Sinai, 9 January 1917, Roll of Honour

The Palestine Campaign, 1917 - 1918

Battles where Australians fought, 1899-1920

 


Citation: The Battle of Rafa, Sinai, 9 January 1917, Allied Forces, Roll of Honour


Posted by Project Leader at 12:01 AM EAST
Updated: Sunday, 9 January 2011 8:44 AM EAST
The Battle of Rafa, Sinai, 9 January 1917, New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade, Roll of Honour
Topic: BatzP - Rafa

The Battle of Rafa

Sinai, 9 January 1917

New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade

Roll of Honour


Poppies on the Auckland Cenotaph plinth

 

The Roll of Honour contains the names of all the men known to have served at one time with the New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade and gave their lives in service of New Zealand as part of that unit.

 

Roll of Honour

 

Gordon (Clarence Gordon) ABERCROMBIE, Killed in Action

 

Jack CLARK, Killed in Action

Arthur Clarence COOK, Killed in Action

Albert John CROSS, Killed in Action

John CUNNINGHAM, Died of Wounds

Michael Joseph CURTIS, Died of Wounds

 

Leslie Walter GIBBS, Killed in Action

Thomas Robert GRAHAM, Killed in Action

 

William Thomas HARRIS, Killed in Action

John Robert HUESTON, Killed in Action

 

Stanley Whitmore KELSEY, Killed in Action

Harry KERSHAW, Killed in Action

 

Maurice James LE LIEVRE (LE-LIEVRE), Killed in Action

Alexander LEDINGHAM, Killed in Action

 

Henry Cecil McNAMARA, Died of Wounds

Robert McPHUN, Killed in Action

George Alexander MITCHELL, Killed in Action

George William MURRAY, Died of Wounds

 

William Alfred OTTAWAY, Killed in Action

 

Eric Howard PERRY, Killed in Action

 

Eion Alister ROBERTSON, Killed in Action

Charles Manfred ROPE, Died of Wounds

 

Thomas TURNBULL, Died of Wounds

 

Lest We Forget

 

 

Further Reading:

The Battle of Rafa, Sinai, 9 January 1917

The Battle of Rafa, Sinai, 9 January 1917, Roll of Honour

The Palestine Campaign, 1917 - 1918

Battles where Australians fought, 1899-1920

 


Citation: The Battle of Rafa, Sinai, 9 January 1917, New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade, Roll of Honour


Posted by Project Leader at 12:01 AM EAST
Updated: Sunday, 9 January 2011 8:50 AM EAST
The Battle of Rafa, Sinai, 9 January 1917, British Forces Roll of Honour
Topic: BatzP - Rafa

The Battle of Rafa

Sinai, 9 January 1917

British Forces

Roll of Honour

 

Poppies laid on the London Cenotaph

 

The Roll of Honour contains the names of all the men from the British Forces known to have given their lives during the Battle of Rafa, Palestine, 9 January 1917.

 

Roll of Honour 

 
2230 WJ BOULTON, B Sqdn 1st/1st Royal Gloucestershire Hussars

2465 EJ BROUARD, 1st/1st Royal Gloucestershire Hussars

 

HF CLIFFORD, B Sqdn 1st/1st Royal Gloucestershire Hussars

812 AH CRAIG, Lanarkshire Yeomanry

 

2037 H HANDS, 1st/1st Warwickshire Yeomanry

 

2957 PW LUCAS, 1st/1st Royal Gloucestershire Hussars

 

4338 R SCOTT, Attd 6th Coy Pembroke Yeomanry

 

2890 T TAYLOR, 1st/1st Warwickshire Yeomanry

2557 WH TYACKE, 1st/1st Warwickshire Yeomanry

 

1770 H VIVEASH, 1st/1st Royal Gloucestershire Hussars

 

3065 TH WHEELER, Royal Gloucestershire Hussars

1167 J WILSON, Lanarkshire Yeomanry

2066 EJ WILLIAMS, B Sqdn 1st/1st Royal Gloucestershire Hussars

2149 SH WILTSHIRE, 1st/1st Royal Gloucestershire Hussars

3303 EW WOODINGTON, 1st/1st Royal Gloucestershire Hussars

 

Lest We Forget

 

 

Further Reading:

The Battle of Rafa, Sinai, 9 January 1917

The Battle of Rafa, Sinai, 9 January 1917, Roll of Honour

The Palestine Campaign, 1917 - 1918

Battles where Australians fought, 1899-1920

 


Citation: The Battle of Rafa, Sinai, 9 January 1917, British Forces Roll of Honour


Posted by Project Leader at 12:01 AM EAST
Updated: Sunday, 9 January 2011 8:48 AM EAST

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