Topic: AIF - Cars
1st AUSTRALIAN ARMOURED CAR SECTION, AIF
THE BATTLE OF MEGIDDO
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 3.
THE BATTLE OF MEGIDDO - Part 3
We ran the gauntlet for about five miles like this (it seemed like ten) when we came to a spot on the road that was completely blocked by a train of German motor lorries that had been abandoned. Hundreds of natives from an adjoining village were busy looting these vehicles and at first they were too busy to take any notice of us. We got busy clearing a track for our car and had nearly got it through when the natives who were all armed with rifles and knives began to congregate around us. Several of them began to snatch things out of our car such as our haversacks, field glasses etc. By this time we were practically clear and we covered them with our revolvers.
The natives then began to get their rifles ready and to flourish their knives and the prospects looked ugly. Meantime, the driver got his engine going and we grabbed a native boy who was hanging around the car, pulled him in and held him between us and the tribesmen while we did the next mile in record time and not a shot was fired at us. When we were out of range we kicked the boy out. After another two or three miles we arrived at our destination and we were not sorry to see a detachment of Indian Lancers.
We explained to the officer in charge that we had had a fairly eventful drive up and that we did not relish the idea of the trip back again, it was bad enough with two of us coming up with our hands free but to go back encumbered with a wounded man who would be in pain and not able to stand the jolting and bumping if the car was driven at speed was certainly looking for trouble. The officer in charge agreed and arranged to send a few of his lancers along with us until we were past the village that gave us the chief trouble.
We got away as quickly as possible with our charge and the mounted escort who must have been seen coming for when we arrived back at the scene of trouble there was not a man to be seen anywhere and the village was absolutely deserted. We said goodbye to our Indian friends then and did the twelve miles back to Beisan without a shot being fired at us. We arrived just as it was getting dark and handed our charge over to the doctor. We then explained to Headquarters how "clear" the road was on our outward journey. The divisional commander sent messages next morning to all villages along the road that if any more sniping occurred along the route that he would burn all the crops on both sides. This had the desired effect as no more shooting took place by the tribesmen along that route.
Next day the unit received instructions to join the 11th Light Armoured Car Battery and proceed bank to Lejjun where the Desert Mounted corps Headquarters was stationed. We arrived there in the dark end bivouacked for the night. Next day we were to join the 5th Cavalry Division who were making a dash on the town of Haifa which was still in the hands of the enemy. The town was attacked during the afternoon and fell about four o'clock. Shortly afterwards we drove in and took possession. We slept in an olive grove that night and next morning our orders were to proceed south (around Mount Carmal) along the coast and search the villages for enemy and rifles etc. We went through the villages of Athlit and Tantura and although we found none of the enemy left we got large supplies of rifles, 30 cases of ammunition and a bag of bombs which we handed in. We returned to Haifa and slept in our old quarters again.
On the 27th September the Corps pushed on through Nazareth to Tiberias where we stayed for the night, we had considerable difficulty in getting through the mountains near Nazareth. Our aeroplanes the day before had severely bombed an enemy mechanical transport column as it was in the pass and had played havoc with them. The result was that in places the road was blocked by disabled vehicles which we had to push over the side into the valley below in order to get past.
We arrived at Tiberias on the shores of the lake in time for tea and stayed there for the night. The blue waters of the Sea of Galilee looked very refreshing after the dry and dusty journey and most of the men indulged in a bathe at the first opportunity. We also had fresh meat that day which was a welcome change after weeks of Bully.
Previous section: 1st Australian Armoured Car Section - Megiddo - Part 2
Next section: 1st Australian Armoured Car Section - Megiddo - Part 4
Further Reading:The Australian Light Horse - Structure
Citation: 1st Australian Armoured Car Section - Megiddo - Part 3