Topic: AIF - NZMRB - WMR
Bir el Abd
Sinai, 9 August 1916
WMR, War Diary Account
Regiment paraded at 1445 and moved to starting point. The 1st and 2nd Light Horse Brigades joined up here and marched to Qatia at 2300 with orders to go to by northerly route to Hisha and from there to cut between Bir el Abd and Salmana with view of cutting off any Turk in Bir el Abd.
On arriving at Khirba shortly after midnight of the 8th. Column marched for 2¼ miles on a bearing of 22 degrees and then a bearing of 80 degrees.
Immediately on arrival at high ground some 2½ miles North West of Hod Hisha, an enemy big gun fired several shots at us. The Brigade occupied the high ground to the north and 2nd Australian Light Horse Brigade occupied ground on their left and gaining touch with the New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade for acting further to the south.
The Regiment dismounted behind a large ridge and awaited orders. After remaining here for half an hour we were ordered to move out on foot and occupy a high ridge about half a mile further north. This was done without any loss. From here Turks could be seen moving about 1,000 to 1,500 yards to our left front. They did a good deal of sniping when we first arrived, but superiority of fire was soon found by us.
In accordance with orders remained during the morning. The Regiment moved forward in extended order. 2nd Squadron on the left and 9th Squadron on the right and 6th Squadron in support. The ridge was taken with little opposition with the enemy withdrawing along the flat towards Hod Hisha. The 7th Light Horse Regiment, acting in conjunction with our attack gave us good covering fire from left flank and moved up to our support immediately on hill falling into our hands.
It was when in occupation of this high ground that we had most casualties. The Turks opened on us with every kind of fire including high explosives from a big gun, which searched the whole ridge, the sand the explosion was very local and did little damage.
The Turkish Infantry began moving forward under cover of their heavy fire and we began retiring at 1430 as ordered if unable to push any further forward. All the wounded were got away safely just before retirement.
The 6th Light horse Regiment who had been kept in reserve took up a position to cover the retirement of the 7th Light Horse Regiment and Wellington Mounted Rifles Regiment. The retirement was made a slow one in order to give the Ambulances plenty of time to move away.
The New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade proceeded to Kairi where they watered and fed up afterwards moving to Oghratina. Bivouacked here for the night.
Roll of Honour
Lest We Forget
Citation: Bir el Abd, Sinai, 9 August 1916, Wellington Mounted Rifles Regiment, War Diary Account