Topic: AIF - 2B - 2 LHB
Battle of Romani
Sinai, August 4 to 5, 1916
2nd LH Bde, AIF, War Diary Account
2nd Light Horse Brigade
Operations in Sinai Peninsula from 4th August to August 13th 1916.
At 0100 information was received that the enemy were attacking our outpost to the south west of Katib Gannit. The Brigade stood to and awaited orders. At 0400 the Brigade was ordered to support the 1st Light Horse Brigade who were being driven in by the enemy force. The Brigade immediately took up a position on Wellington Ridge. The 6th and 7th Light Horse Regiments in the firing line, and the Wellington Mounted Rifles Regiment in reserve.
The 1st Light Horse Brigade fell back to Wellington Ridge and subsequently to Et Maler. The Ridge was held by the 2nd Light Horse Brigade and a company of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers. The enemy in force were pressing forward and the Royal Welsh Fusiliers were then ordered to retire to Post 22. The advance of the enemy was slow owing to the splendid fight the 6th and 7th Light Horse Regiments were putting up. At 0730 the Wellington Mounted Rifles Regiment were ordered to take up a position with their left flank resting on No. 2 Outpost and extending to the west, to cover the retirement of the remainder of the Brigade from Wellington Ridge.
At 0700 the retirement from Wellington Ridge was ordered. This was carried out very slowly, squadron by squadron retiring short distances each supporting one another. During the retirement, many acts of gallantry were performed. The whole ridge was swept by shrapnel, machine gun and rifle fire, but not a man who was wounded was left behind. The casualties during the retirement numbered about eighty and all these were carried out stage by stage as the troops retired. At the final position taken up before leaving the Ridge a stand was made sufficiently long to have all the wounded removed to safety. The 6th and 7th Light Horse Regiments then withdrew the 7th Light Horse Regiment taking up a position on the west of the position already taken up by the Wellington Mounted Rifles Regiment. The 6th Light Horse Regiment taking up their position on the right of the 2nd and 3rd Light Horse Regiments who had been brought up into line.
At 0400 the Brigade moved forward to attack the enemy's position on Wellington Ridge and extending to about 3 miles to the west. The Wellington Mounted Rifles Regiment supported on their right by the 7th Light Horse Regiment were the first to come into close contact with the enemy on the western slopes of Wellington Ridge. By a brilliant bayonet charge the ridge was carried and that was the turning point of the day in our favour. The enemy broke and fled in disorder. Prisoners were freely taken and in other places hundreds surrendered at a time. Six machine guns and equipment galore was strewn all over the field. The enemy were pressed and retired from their positions on Mount Meredith out on the plains towards Qatia closely followed by the Wellington Mounted Rifles Regiment supported by the 7th Light Horse Regiment. At Qatia the enemy made a stand and the advance of our troops was checked. During the retirement of the enemy, 800 prisoners, seven machine guns and an ammunition column was taken. Touch was established with the other Brigades of the Division and an order was given by General Chaytor, New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade for a combined attack on Qatia by the Mounted Division to commence at 1415. The Brigade attacked with its left approaching the north end of Qatia Hod and its right the tomb of Qatia. The advance with the 6th Light Horse Regiment on the right, the Wellington Mounted Rifles Regiment on the left, and the 7th Light Horse Regiment in reserve was carried out with spirit and energy pressing forward to within 500 yards of the enemy's position. Constant pressure was maintained upon the enemy until dusk and considerable casualties were inflicted by machine gun and rifle fire at close rang. At dusk the Brigade was ordered to return to Et Maler for supplies and water for horses. Some of the horses having been without water for forty hours. From the moment the counter attack was made in the morning, the closest touch was kept with the enemy, the Wellington Mounted Rifles Regiment in particular being conspicuous in this part of the operation.
The Brigade was commanded during the day by Lieutenant Colonel W Meldrum Wellington Mounted Rifles Regiment, the Brigadier, Colonel JR Royston having been wounded.
Citation: Battle of Romani, Sinai, August 4 to 5, 2nd LH Bde, AIF, War Diary Account