Topic: AIF - 1B - 3 LHR
Bir el Abd
Sinai, 9 August 1916
3rd LHR, AIF, Unit History Account
Frank M Blackwell and DR Douglas produced a unit history in 1950 called The Story of the 3rd Australian Light Horse Regiment. This story has subsequently been reprinted by Lieutenant Colonel Neil C. Smith AM with upgraded information in which included a section specifically related to the battle of Beersheba and extracted below.
Blackwell, FM, The Story of the 3rd Australian Light Horse Regiment, (Adelaide 1950), pp. 71 - 72:
On the 8th two-thirds of the Brigade moved out made up as follows, an arrangement necessitated by the recent loss of men and horses. Each Regiment supplied two squadrons totalling 236 men, and only the fittest horses were taken. The remainder of the Brigade remained in camp under Lieut.-Col. Fulton.
Major Lewis with "A" Squadron and part of "C," was attached to the 1st Light Horse Regiment. Major Bell, with "B" Squadron and remainder of C, was attached to 2nd Light Horse Regiment.
Thus constituted, the Brigade left Katia, which had now been evacuated by the Turks, and a halt was made here for two hours to water and feed the horses.
"A" and "B" Squadrons left at 9.30 p.m. and moved via Oghratina to Hod el Nisha, where the advanced guard got into touch with the enemy at 6 a.m. on the following morning.
The Brigade then moved forward and took up a position on a ridge some two miles north-west of Bir el Abd. During the advance the troops came under enemy shellfire from two 5.9 in. guns.
From this position an attempt to advance was made at 11.30 a.m., but this failed owing to the concentration of fire from enemy machine guns.
At 1.30 p.m. the enemy made an advance on the left of our position which was subjected to an accurate bombardment by high explosive shells and shrapnel, inflicting several casualties.
A short time previously the enemy had located our supporting artillery battery and inflicted heavy casualties on the gun teams. Some considerable delay occurred in consequence in salving the guns, and our troops had to remain in a very exposed position while the guns were being withdrawn. This completed, the Regiment withdrew at 4 p.m., reaching Oghratina at midnight, moving on next morning to Hod e1 Negiliat, where a stay was made until the 15th, arriving back at Romani at 2.50 p.m. on that date.
The Turkish rearguard proved at Bir el Abd that they still had plenty of fight left, and this section was always afterwards regarded as a most unpleasant one, due mainly to the high explosive shells which the Turkish artillery supplied.
Citation: Bir el Abd, Sinai, 9 August 1916, 3rd LHR, AIF, Unit History Account