Topic: BatzP - El Buggar
The Battle of El Buqqar Ridge, 27 October 1917
Falls account of El Buqqar Ridge
As part of the Official British War History of the Great War, Captain Cyril Falls was commissioned to produce a commentary on the Sinai, Palestine and Syrian operations that took place. In 1930, his finished work, Military Operations Egypt and Palestine from June 1917 to the end of the war, produced in two parts, was published in London.
Falls, C, Military Operations Egypt and Palestine from June 1917 to the end of the war, Part I, London, 1930, pp. 38 - 39:
After a quiet night, a post west of Bir el Girheir, where a troop of the Middlesex Yeomanry under Captain A. McDougall was dug in, was suddenly attacked in great strength at 4.10 a.m. on the morning of the 27th. Two troops of the Middlesex from support were sent forward to work round to the right of the post. In face of heavy fire they advanced to within view of it, to find that it was almost surrounded by the enemy. A squadron of the City of London Yeomanry from reserve, under Major L. P. Stedall, succeeded in reaching a very slight hummock 200 yards south of the hill occupied by the post. It was here under very heavy machine-gun fire which—so small was the cover—just grazed the horses' saddles after the men had dismounted, and was pinned to the ground. Yet though it could not reach the post, it prevented the enemy from surrounding S it completely. The Middlesex troop itself made a magnificent defence all day in a support trench, until late in the afternoon the advance of infantry of the 53rd Division induced the enemy to withdraw. The right-hand post of two troops north of El Baqqar had less good fortune. It also was attacked by several squadrons, which, sweeping round its right, forced the guns of the Hants Battery near Kh. Khasif to withdraw. Mere, too, relieving troops failed to reach the position, though they prevented the enemy from making further progress. The last message from Major A. M. Lafone, in command of the post, contained the words, "I shall hold on to the last." A little later a mass of Turkish cavalry was seen to surge right over the position. It had then held out for seven hours. There were only three survivors of the garrison of this post. They related that it was heavily and persistently shelled by the enemy in the intervals between mounted attacks. One charge was brought to a halt almost on the lip of the trench, 15 dead being counted within 20 yards of it. Finally the garrison was reduced to five who withdrew to a trench just behind the original line. Major Lafone sprang out into the open to meet the last charge and was ridden down. He received a posthumous award of the Victoria Cross.
The total losses of the 8th Mounted Brigade in this very gallant action were 10 officer and 69 other ranks mostly belonging to the two posts of the Middlesex Yeomanry. The resistance of these posts in face of overwhelming odds had prevented the enemy from advantage of this reconnaissance in force — carried out by an infantry regiment and the 3rd Cavalry Division — perhaps from digging himself in upon the position. Had he done so, he could have rendered work on the railway impossible, and would have been extremely difficult to dislodge. On the approach of the British infantry and the 3rd LH Brigade the Turks withdrew all along the line, and the position was occupied by the 53rd Division.
Citation: The Battle of El Buqqar Ridge, 27 October 1917, Falls account of El Buqqar Ridge