Topic: AIF - 3B - 9 LHR
9th LHR, AIF
War Diary, 2 October
Pro Gloria et Honore - For Glory and Honour
Regimental March - Marching Through Georgia
Friday, October 2, 1914
Formation of the 7th Light Horse Regiment "B" Squadron at Morphettville Race Course, South Australia.
The 3rd Australian Light Horse Brigade was accepted and was to be raised from the Southern and Western states.
Saturday, October 2, 1915
9th Light Horse Regiment Location - Rhododendron Hill
9th Light Horse Regiment War Diary - Lieutenant White GWW reported back from hospital. Second Lieutenant Wilkinson R and 33 men for reinforcements for A and B Squadrons arrived, also 18 men for D Squadron.
Monday, October 2, 1916
9th Light Horse Regiment Location - Bir el Abd
9th Light Horse Regiment War Diary - Order received from Brigade for Regiment to take over the Front Line from 7th Light Horse Regiment.
Tuesday, October 2, 1917
9th Light Horse Regiment Location - Um Urgan
9th Light Horse Regiment War Diary - Regiment left camp at 0630, watered and formed the column at 0830 and proceeded towards Point 860 arriving at 1200. Remained in support in vicinity of Point 860 throughout the day. Watered horses at pools one mile north east of Point 860 at 1600. Withdrew with the Brigade headquarters at 2000 reaching camp at Um Urgan at 0300. Throughout the day the enemy were quiet.
Wednesday, October 2, 1918
9th Light Horse Regiment Location - Khan Kusseir
9th Light Horse Regiment War Diary - 0515 Hogan, Lieutenant LR, reported a large column of infantry moving north one mile east of Regimental bivouac. Doubt existed as to whether they were enemy or part of Sherifian Army. A mounted patrol from A Squadron was immediately dispatched to investigate and report and message signalled to Brigade headquarters reporting presence of column about 2000 strong and asking for information. B and C Squadrons were ordered to turn out in light fighting order mounted.
0530 A few shots were heard from direction of column and shortly after a galloper from 8th Light Horse Regiment standing patrol came in hurriedly along the road and reported that the column was enemy infantry. Remainder of Regiment less heavy packs was now ordered out.
Reconnoitring patrol had now returned and confirmed 8th Light Horse Regiment galloper's report.
0545 The Regiment less heavy packs moved out to attack. Just after moving following messages received from Brigade Headquarters: - Believed to be Germans and move out at once and investigate 8th Light Horse Regiment and machine guns will be ready for support you if required." With B Squadron in advance and Sharp, Lieutenant RC; and, his troop from A Squadron as right flank guard the Regiment moved at 0545 at a fast trot north east along main road for about half a mile then swung towards the left through the vineyards. The rear of enemy column was now observed about one mile ahead on main road. The Regiment by increasing the pace and moving towards the foothills rapidly gained on the enemy who had by now mounted several machine guns and pushed out several small parties to his left flank to endeavour to hold up our advance. Although the Regiment came under machine gun and rifle fire the enemy failed to check the speed of our advance the Regiment soon reaching a favourable position about one mile from left flank and opposite centre of enemy column.
0700 Orders were now issued for A Squadron to move rapidly whilst B Squadron took up a position dismounted and brought fire to bear on to centre of enemy column. Regimental Headquarters was established about in Water Channel and touch gained by heliograph with Brigade.
0735 Regimental Headquarters moved to B Squadron position leaving a signal station to maintain touch with Brigade. A and C Squadron were now observed to be ahead of enemy cavalry advanced guard and to be swinging in towards main road to seize Khan Ayash and Khurbet i Asafur thus completely cutting off all chances of enemy retreat. About this time the head of main column of enemy seemed to be in a state of uncertainty and their leaders appeared to be conferring. Simultaneous with the final movement of A and C Squadron remainder of Regiment under orders from Daly, Major TJ mounted, drew swords and charged the main column detaching a small party from B Squadron to gallop around the rear of enemy. The combined movement was entirely successful. The main column surrendered before our troops reached them. A and C Squadron with drawn swords quickly charged the enemy advanced troops composed mostly of cavalry. A Squadron seized the pass and captured two 745mm guns near Khurbet i Asafur. The whole enemy force amounting to 91 officers, 515 cavalry, 1064 infantry, six Germans, 26 machine guns, one mounted gun [No. F7524], two 7.5 cm M15 GKM guns, twelve automatic rifles, 254 rifles, 285 animals was captured within one hour of the Regiment moving from bivouac at Khan Kusseir, approximately seven miles. Amongst the officers captured was the Divisional Commander who defended Shunet Nimrin against our attacks in May 1918. The Regimental Standard of the 46th Regiment was captured. Personnel captured belonged mostly to 45th Regiment.
The rapidity of movement contributed largely to the success of the operation but much credit is due to both Charley, Major WT; and, Bleechmore, Major C, for the skilful manner in which they manoeuvred their Squadrons in so quickly seizing Khan Ayash and the main road entering the pass at Khurbet i Asafur. Also Daly, Major TJ, for ordering charge and Shaw, Lieutenant OJ, for quick issue of orders.
0800 Freebairn, Lieutenant DT, with troop escorted the prisoners to Brigade Headquarters. After the past strenuous fortnight the horses responded to this additional test with wonderful vigour. Ground over which the Regiment advanced was fairly rough and covered with small loose stones. Except for a few small dry wadis the line of advance was devoid of cover. When main column surrendered Smyth, 902 Signaller RN; and, Halliday, 1258 Signaller NC, were moving back to Regimental Headquarters signal station when they encountered a party of the enemy composed of three Germans and 35 Turks taking up a position within a few hundred yards of the signal station. A German officer was mounting an automatic rifle when Smyth and Halliday with great gallantry under bomb fire rushed the German officer taking his pistol and fired into the enemy and seized the automatic rifle. The enemy were so surprised that they surrendered in a body. This promptness of action prevented the enemy obtaining reverse fire on to the portion of the Regiment guarding the main column of prisoners.
0900 After collecting the captured war material into one dump the Regiment returned to bivouac at Khan Kusseir.
1400 A Squadron moved out to reconnoitre country for stragglers six miles east of bivouac. They returned at 1700 reporting country clear of enemy. Our casualties for the day - one man accidentally injured [crushed by his horse which was shot under him] Animals - one ride killed, four rides wounded.
3rd Light Horse Brigade War Diary - Shortly alter 0600 a local inhabitant reported to Brigade Headquarters that there was a party of two hundred Turks asleep five kilos to the east of our camp. Instructions were at once sent to the 8th Light Horse Regiment [with four machine guns] to go and collect them. Before the 8th Light Horse Regiment had left it's lines however, [it was bivouacked about a mile towards Damascus] the night outpost of the 10th Light Horse Regiment [the forward Regiment] observed at 0615 a column of infantry moving north, one mile east of Regimental bivouac. The Regiment at once saddled up.
Brigade was asked if it were known who they were, Brigade replied that believed to be enemy and to move out at once and investigate, and that the 8th Light Horse Regiment and four machine guns would support. It will be remembered that the 8th Light Horse Regiment and four machine guns had been warned some time previously to move out. The 9th Light Horse Regiment moved at 0645. It was apparent that the enemy column was making for the pass, where the Aleppo road enters the hills at Khurbet i Asafur. The 9th Light Horse Regiment had tried to intercept the enemy there tin' previous afternoon, so knew exactly what to do and the country over which they would be required to pass. The remainder of the Brigade was ordered to saddle up and follow. The Brigadier and Staff went by motor car along the Aleppo Road. The 9th Light Horse Regiment moved out at a gallop. It was imperative that they should get to the pass before the enemy could occupy it with machine guns and hold us off. The Regiment then pushed along the road for half a mile then left it wand swung to the left under the foothills. At this time the rear of the enemy column was about one mile ahead on the main road, The Regiment soon gained on the column which had now mounted several machine guns and pushed out small left flank guards.
Although the Regiment came under rifle and machine gun fire its pace was not checked and it soon reached a favourable position about one mile from left flank and opposite the centre of the enemy column. A Squadron then raced for Khan Ayash and C Squadron for Khurbet i Asafur. The remaining squadron, B, dismounted and opened fire on the centre of the column with a view to throwing it into disorder. By 0735 the two leading squadrons had got level with the cavalry advanced guard of the column and was swinging on to the main road. The head of the enemy column now appeared to be in a state of uncertainty and their leaders appeared to be conferring.
Simultaneous with the final movement of the two advanced squadrons the remainder of the Regiment drew swords and charged at the main column. The combined movement was entirely successful. The main column surrendered before our troops reached them and the Hotchkiss Rifles which were covering this advance were ordered to cease fire. A and C Squadrons, with drawn swords, quickly charged the enemy advanced troops composed mostly of cavalry. A Squadron at Khan Ayash rushed a machine gun just as it was mounted and ready to fire. C Squadron seized the pass and captured two 75mm guns near Khurbet i Asafur. The whole enemy force amounting to 91 officers, 318 cavalry, 1064 infantry, eight Germans, 26 machine guns, one mountain gun two - 75mm - GKN guns, twelve automatic rifles, and 285 animals were captured within one hour of Regiment moving from bivouac at Khan Kusseir, approximately seven miles.
Amongst the officers captured was the Divisional Commander who defended Shunet Nimrin against our attacks in May 1918. The Regimental Standard of the 46th Regiment was captured. Personnel captured belonged mostly to the 46th Regiment.
When main column surrendered Smyth, 902 Signaller RN; and, Halliday, 1258 Signaller NC, were moving back to Regimental Headquarters Signal Station when they encountered a party of the enemy composed of three Germans and 85 Turks, taking up a position within a few hundred yards of the signal station. A German officer was mounting an automatic rifle, when Smyth, 902 Signaller RN; and, Halliday, 1258 Signaller NC, with great gallantry rushed the German officer, taking his pistol, fired into the enemy and seized the automatic rifle. The enemy were so surprised that they surrendered in a body. Both these signallers were awarded the DCM.
Our force suffered one casualty in this engagement.
Thursday, October 2, 1919
9th Light Horse Regiment Location - Adelaide
9th Light Horse Regiment War Diary - Regiment disbanded.
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See: 9th Australian Light Horse Regiment, Contents
Australian Light Horse Studies Centre, AIF War Diaries of the Great War, Site Transcription Policy
9th Australian Light Horse Regiment, Roll of Honour
Battles where Australians fought, 1899-1920
Citation: 9th LHR AIF War Diary, 2 October