Topic: Diary - Schramm
Diaries of AIF Servicemen
25 September 1918
2823 Private Herbert Leslie SCHRAMM, a 22 year old Farmer from Whites River, South Australia. He enlisted on 17 February 1916; and at the conclusion of the war Returned to Australia, 10 July 1919.
During part of the course of his military service with the AIF, Bert Schramm 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 Offensive 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.
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Bert Schramm's Handwritten Diary, 23 - 27 September 1918
[Click on page for a larger print version.]
Wednesday, September 25, 1918
Bert Schramm's Location - El Affule
Bert Schramm's Diary - Have had a quite day today. Batches of prisoners are still coming in. We are expecting to move onto Tiberias any minute.
9th Light Horse Regiment War Diary
9th Light Horse Regiment Location - El Affule
9th Light Horse Regiment War Diary - 1000 Orders received to be in readiness to turn out in 1/2 an hour notice to advance on Tiberias and attack that place at dawn on 26th September 1918.
8th Light Horse Regiment sent forward a squadron to Tiberias to make a vigorous reconnaissance. 9th Light Horse Regiment guards and picquets were to be relieved by a squadron of 5th Light Horse Brigade at 1430, but the relief didn't arrive until 1630.
1700 The Brigade moved. The Regiment, owing to guards not being relieved, was unable to move until 1845, several of the guards joining the regiment en route.
2030 Passed through Nazareth and continued on at a brisk walk observing ten minutes halt in every hour until Kefr Kenna [Canna of Galilee] was reached at 2330. Rejoined the Brigade here and moved off at 2400 for Tiberias. Through and just beyond the village of Kefr Kenna the main road was enclosed on either side by hedges and here a great deal of unnecessary congestion was caused through transport wagons and Royal Horse Artillery not observing the Rule of the Road and also halting in awkward placed. This caused the regiment to lose touch with remainder of Brigade for a distance of two or three miles and necessitating much hard riding and passing wheeled transport to recover the lost ground.
3rd Light Horse Brigade War Diary
A squadron of the 8th Light Horse Regiment, [MacPherson, Major LAW, MC], left Nazareth at 0500 and moved in reconnoitre Tiberias. A transmitting station from the Brigade Signal Troop, with an escort of one troop of the 10th Light Horse Regiment, [Gollan, Lieutenant AB], was at the same time despatched to Mount Tabor, eight miles north - east of El Affule. This hill - 1,843ft. in height - is the most commanding point in the whole district and through it touch could be kept with any patrol. The squadron lost visual touch with its Regimental Headquarters at Nazareth very shortly after leaving that place. A motor cyclist was attached to the squadron for carrying dispatches. Tiberias is about 18 miles north - east of Nazareth, on the western shore of the lake of Tiberias, and about six miles north from Semakh, on the extreme southern end of the lake. The main road from Semakh to Damascus runs up the western side of the lake and through Tiberias. The 4th Light Horse Brigade was to attack Samakh at daylight on the 25th September 1918 and advance up the western side of the lake. At 0900 the squadron reached Lubieh, and communications were established with the Brigade transmitting station on Mount Tabor by heliograph. From this point the country was more difficult, and the heights and roads on the left flank had to be picquetted, as it was known that the enemy had considerable forces in the vicinity of Safed. The light armoured motor battery reported to the squadron at Kurn Hattin. The patrols were approaching Hajaret En Nusara, and no resistance had been met with. When the enemy had discovered the presence of our troops on Hajaret En Nusara, which overlooks the town and is about 1,500 feet above - sea level patrols were sent by them to try and ascertain our strength. These patrols were soon cut off by our mounted men and captured, and as all natives were prevented from entering the town, the Turks had no information as to the number of our troops in that locality. One troop under Stubbs, Lieutenant JN, with Hotchkiss Rifle, was sent to point Z8 central, [on the beach, two miles north - west of Tiberias], to prevent the escaping enemy using the main road leading north along the lake. Forward patrols and the armoured cars fired upon machine guns, [known to be six], from a point just north of the town. Two Non Commissioned Officer prisoners reported 200 Turks, 50 Germans and 13 machine guns were holding the place. About 150 Turks, three motor cars, two motor lorries, and a number of horse drawn transports could be seen from Hajaret En Nusara retiring along the beach road. They were fired on by our troops in Z8 central and all retired to Tiberias, motor cars and lorries being abandoned along the road. At 1130 a squadron from the 4th Light Horse Brigade reached El Menaru south of Tiberias, and the Officer in Command thereof reported to MacPherson, Major LAW. He made arrangements to attack the town at 1400. The 4th Light Horse Brigade squadron advanced mounted from the south west, one troop of the 8th Light Horse Regiment along the sea shore from the north west, a second troop of the 8th Light Horse Regiment was sent from the west with orders to make good the gun position, 500 yards north of the town. The four armoured cars advanced along the main road. Slight resistance was met with from the gun position which was charged by a troop of the 8th Light Horse Regiment with drawn swords. The enemy abandoned their weapons and fled in disorder over the rocks on to the beach and into the town. No further resistance was offered and 8th Light Horse Regiment troops at 1500 galloped on and entered the town from the north simultaneously with, the 4th Light Horse Brigade squadron from the south and the armoured - cars from the west. Large quantities of military stores, motorcars, motor lorries, transport and machinery were captured, also 175 Turkish and 25 German prisoners. The signalling station on Mount Tabor was particularly useful. When the squadron first arrived at Tiberias, it at once reported the situation. This was passed on to Division who then instructed the Brigade to move that evening and attack Tiberias in the morning. Brigade at once signalled MacPherson, Major LAW, to remain in close touch with the enemy as Brigade would be there by the morning. Seeing his opportunity, however, that Officer captured the town with the assistance of the squadron from the 4th Light Horse Brigade, and at once flashed Brigade the result.
At 1700 the 3rd Brigade marched off for Tiberias, one squadron of the 10th Light Horse Regiment was away escorting prisoners to El Lejjun and the relief of the 9th Light Horse Regiment at El Affule had not yet been completed. Instructions were left for these units to follow on. Brigade arrived at a point two miles west of Tiberias at 0500, and bivouacked. Our left flankers passed over the battlefield of Hattin, where, in 1187, Saladin exterminated the large Crusader army under King Guy, which was endeavouring to relieve Tiberias. The 19th Brigade, Royal Horse Artillery joined the column at Kefr Kenna, and one troop, 10th Light Horse Regiment, which had been escort to visual transmitting station on Mount Tabor, [keeping touch with reconnoitring squadron at Tiberias], joined at Lubieh. At 1015 the Brigade moved to a bivouac at El Mejdel, on the western edge of the Sea of Galilee. Horses and men bathed in the sea, and were thus much refreshed after the night's long march. Two squadrons of the 8th Light Horse Regiment were employed to restore order and guard stores in Tiberias. A reconnaissance of two troops of the 8th Light Horse Regiment was pushed along the coast to the village of Tabghah. This place was found all clear and the inhabitants were friendly. They provided plentiful good forage for horses and refreshments for men. One squadron 9th Light Horse Regiment left at 1230 to reconnoitre Safed where a considerable force of the enemy had been reported. They reached this point at 1800 and reported all clear. These reconnoitring parties remained out during the night, the squadron at Safed, withdrawing to the main road near the Jewish village of Rosh Pina. There were two machine guns with the squadron. Outposts for the night were established at Khirbit Irbid and all lines of approach round the bivouac area.
9th LHR AIF War Diary, 25 September
Darley, TH, With the Ninth Light Horse in the Great War, Adelaide, Hassell Press, 1924.No Entry
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Bert Schramm's Diary
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Citation: Diaries of AIF Servicemen, Bert Schramm, 25 September 1918