Topic: Diary - Schramm
Diaries of AIF Servicemen
10 July 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.
The complete diary is now available on the Australian Light Horse Studies Centre Site at:
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Bert Schramm's Handwritten Diary, 7 - 12 July 1918
[Click on page for a larger print version.]
Wednesday, July 10, 1918
Bert Schramm's Location - Kantara, Egypt.
Bert Schramm's Diary - Arrived at Kantara at 7 am this morning and caught the 9.45 train to Cairo. Arrived here in the afternoon. Am staying at the Australian Soldiers Club.
9th Light Horse Regiment War Diary
9th Light Horse Regiment Location - Solomon's Pools, Bethlehem, Palestine.
9th Light Horse Regiment War Diary - 0800 Charley, Major WT, returned from Ludd.
1730 The Regiment joined remainder of Brigade and moved via Bethlehem and Jerusalem to Talaat ed Dumm arriving there at 0115 and bivouacked for remainder of night.
Two GS Wagons on the march went over bank at side of road between Jerusalem and Talaat ed Dumm. Whalan, 23 Driver J, was severely bruised and evacuated to 3rd Light Horse Regiment Field Ambulance. On arrival the Brigade became Corps Reserve.
3rd Light Horse Brigade War Diary
On the evening of the 10th July 1918 the Brigade marched to Talaat ed Dumm with a view to relieve on the night of 16th July 1918 the 1st Light Horse Brigade as garrison of No 3 sub sector [El Musallabeh] of the line.
At dawn on 14th July 1918, orders were received to march at once to the forward area - the enemy had launched an attack on El Musallabeh and Abu Tellul positions in No. 3 sub sector. On arrival of the Brigade at Jericho at 1030 information was received that the counter attack by 1st Light Horse Brigade had broken up the enemy attack and that all lost positions had been regained.
9th Light Horse Regiment moved to support the New Zealand Mounted Rifle Brigade who was to operate on the left of the line at No. 3 sub sector, but at 2100 returned to Wadi Nueiameh, 1½ miles north east of Jericho and bivouacked with the remainder of the Brigade, without having been engaged.
The attack had been made by 1,400 Germans and two Divisions of Turkish infantry on the line held by the 1st Light Horse Brigade and the 5th Light Horse Regiment of the 2nd Light Horse Brigade. The two Turkish Divisions on the right of their attack were completely repulsed - part of the German force broke through the line between two strong points. Those who got through were counter - attacked by the 3rd Light Horse Regiment and all were either captured or killed. The Germans opposite the 5th Light Horse Regiment were repulsed, and then counter attacked with serious loss to the Germans. 500 prisoners in all were taken, including 350 Germans. A subsequently captured document refers to "the unfortunate attack on Auja where the Germans and Turks each lost 600 men."
The relief of the 1st Light Horse Brigade from No 3 sub sector was carried out during the night 15/16th July 1918. Throughout 15th July 1918 the whole of the area was heavily shelled and heavy casualties had been sustained by 1st Light Horse Brigade in men and horses, particularly the latter.
Our horse lines, bivouacs, and watering places were within range of the enemy batteries - some of them were with in direct view of the enemy observation posts, and even if they could not see them in the folds of the ground they had no doubt where they were, as the horses had to go to water twice a day. Their aeroplanes were frequently over and, no doubt, took photographs of our camps. As the horses had practically no cover from shell fire it was then decided that the whole of the horses, less those of the reserve Regiment with detachment of 3rd Machine Gun Squadron bivouacked behind the steep El Madhbeh Ridge, would be sent back to the Wadi Nueiameh and thus out of range of anything less than 5.9.
8th Light Horse Regiment with one section 3rd Machine Gun Squadron were on right of sub sector - El Muskerah, El Musallabeh, and 10th Light Horse Regiment on the left Vyse, Vale, View, Vaux, Zeiss and Zerum posts.
There was little enemy rifle or machine gun fire, but enemy artillery was active day and night and there were a few casualties.
The heat and dust of the Jordan Valley. [1,000 feet below sea level], was most unpleasant and temperature from 110 to 122 degrees [Fahrenheit] were recorded. There was a plentiful supply of water in the area from the Wadi Auja stream although continually under enemy shell fire. The horses that were in the area had to be watered in this stream and often drew enemy shelling.
All available men in the Brigade were employed in digging and the improvement and wiring of the defences. The night working parties were continually shelled.
Active night patrolling was carried out in front of all positions but enemy always moved back quickly when encountered. The enemy endeavoured to reconnoitre our positions regularly, especially El Musallabeh.
The large number of men sent to hospital with malaria caused concern. Anti mosquito work had been carried out daily ever since the troops moved into the valley. This work consisted of draining all stagnant pools where practicable, if not, putting oil on them; with regard to running streams, reducing their width by filling in with stones and so making them flow faster and by blocking all side back waters, where water could become stationary. This is action was taken with respect to all water under our control, but unfortunately a large part of the stagnant water in the district lay between the two lines and the enemy fired on all parties, working there. Practically every Officer or man that patrolled over this swampy land, though it was on one night only or who occupied one of the posts on the edge of the swamp contracted malaria.
Men on sentry wore mosquito gloves and a net but without much avail, a net under such conditions is little protection.
The specially organised system of day and night observation was carried out and no enemy movement passed unobserved.
The enemy was in strength at El Baghalat with advanced positions along Grant Ridge from which he sniped. Guns shelling the Brigade were located at Umm es Shert, Red Hill, [large calibre], Wadi Fasail and Chalk Ridge.
The situation remained the same except for a lively bombing encounter on the early morning of 6th August 1918 between enemy patrols and ours.
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
National Archives Service File.
Embarkation Roll, AWM8.
Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour
Nominal Roll, AWM133, Nominal Roll of Australian Imperial Force who left Australia for service abroad, 1914-1918 War.
War Diaries and Letters
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