Topic: AIF - 4B - 11 LHR
Battle of Romani (Battle of Aweidia)
Sinai, August 4 to 5, 1916
11th LHR, AIF, War Diary Account
War Diary account of the 11th LHR, AIF.
Mobile Column moved from Rail Head at 1245, watered at Mahadat, bivouacked at Badr.
Patrol sent to Jeffeir at 1400. One Troop under Lieutenant Manning observation post. Regiment moved to Jeffeir in support of Imperial Camel Corps. Bivouacked for night. Supplies brought by camel transport. Lieutenant Manning's Troop returned to Bada at 1600.
Moved to Mageibra, arrived 0945 with Imperial Camel Corps.
Imperial Camel Corps moved towards Bayud.
Patrol of 10 men under Sergeant Merson of "A" Squadron sent to Badieh where they captured eight Turks who were there as a camp guard. 500 kits and a lot of tools and equipment was found in the camp.
As the Commanding Officer was the senior officer present, he stayed at Mageibra to receive messages by wireless from the Commander of the Mobile Column at Jaffeir retaining one Troop under Lieutenant Koch for protection of the camp together with the Machine Gun Section.
The balance of the Regiment (5 Troops) under Major Parsons moved in support of the Imperial Camel Corps to Bir el Aweidiya with instructions to return in the evening to water the horses and to draw rations and forage. There are nine wells at Mageibra and the Turks left three pumps and about 20 small wooden troughs at the wells. There is a good supply of water here and the quality is good.
The four Companies of the Imperial Camel Corps (being No.’s 4, 6, 9, and 10) under Major de Knoop gained touch with the enemy at 1730 about 1½ miles north east of Bir el Aweidiya. (Reference Map - Qatia 1:100,000 C.18) Two Troops under Lieutenant Stumm and Second Lieutenant Hoffman remained with the Imperial Camel Corps and occupied a position for the night covering the well. The remainder of the Regiment under Major Parsons returned to Mageibra.
City of London Yeomanry arrived at 1800. Lieutenant Koch's Troop furnished the bulwark with two men Troops told off as Inlying Picquets. Aeroplane dropped message at 1830 giving information about the enemy in the vicinity.
Camel convoy with supplies arrived at 0030. Rations and forage for 24 hours were issued at 0330 and the horses watered. Moved at 0530 for Aweidiya with the Light Horse and one Squadron and the Machine Gun Section of the City of London Yeomanry. Lieutenant Colonel Clark of the Imperial Camel Corpswith one Squadron remaining at the camp under Lieutenant Colonel Grant's instructions to guard the camp and to send out a patrol of one Troop to the north east to grain touch with the enemy. Arrived at Aweidiya at 0715 and relieved the Troops of Lieutenant Stumm and Second Lieutenant Hoffman who were sent back to camp to draw their 24 hours rations and forage. They were ordered to return when this was completed.
These two Troops and the Imperial Camel Corps were on a high sand ridge running east and west about ¾ mile north of the well at Aweidiya. They reported the enemy to be in a position on a high sand dune ¾ mile south east of Hod el Muhammam and the lower spurs running north east from it. Posts were also observed on the high ground near Hod el Baheir. I instructed the Imperial Camel Corps to attack on the south side of the enemy with the Light Horse on their right facing north west and the Imperial Camel Corps to move to the north east and then north so as to come against his flank and rear and to join in to the outer flank of the Light Horse. A message dropped from one of our planes at 0710 assured me that no enemy were within eight miles eastward of Aweidiya, and as his front was too strong to be taken I decided to attack his flank rear. The enemy had two field guns and at least two machine guns and 250 rifles in action at this place. The action started at 1050 and at 1250 he finally retired having been driven out by the Light Horse who advanced all together a mile on foot and the presence of the Imperial Camel Corps who threatened his rear. At 1230 four columns were seen retiring from the high ground near Hod el Bahier where they had expected to be attacked from the direction of Mageibra and had the position carefully prepared. The pursuit was then taken up and forty Turks were captured near Bahier together with their rifles and a lot of equipment and small arms ammunition. We came into action with the enemy's rearguard at 1430 near Hod el Dhaheiha. The Imperial Camel Corps arrived shortly afterwards and were deployed on the right of the Light Horse. The enemy was driven out of his first position and retired about ½ mile to the northward where he made a determined stand. His strength was probably four Field Guns, six Machine Guns and 1,000 rifles.
The City of London Yeomanry arrived on the scene of action at 1530 and I ordered them to occupy the line on the right of the Imperial Camel Corps so as to get round the enemy's flank. They did not get into action until 1615 after making a long advance on foot and mistaking No. 4 Company of the Imperial Camel Corps for the enemy. As they did not appear to be in a good position here, I withdrew them and sent them 800 yards to the north so as to outflank the enemy. This movement was carried out satisfactorily. The two Troops of the 11th Light Horse Regiment which had been sent to camp in the morning for supplies arrived at 1700. Those two Troops were put into the gap in the line between the Imperial Camel Corps and City of London Yeomanry and were instructed to cover the withdrawal of our force and act as rearguard. At 1715 I ordered the force to withdraw at 1745 but owing to the difficulty of evacuating the wounded caused by the shortage of cacolets and medical arrangements in the Imperial Camel Corps, the retirement could not be carried out until dark. The rearguard left at 1930 after all the wounded had been evacuated.
The total casualties in the force were:-
Officers Other Ranks Killed 2 12 Wounded 1 37
Roll of Honour
Lest We Forget
Citation: Battle of Romani, Sinai, August 4 to 5, 1916, 11th LHR, AIF, War Diary Account (Battle of Aweidia)