Topic: AIF - 3B - 9 LHR
9th LHR, AIF
War Diary, 19 April
Pro Gloria et Honore - For Glory and Honour
Regimental March - Marching Through Georgia
Sunday, April 19, 1914
See 4th Military District, South Australia for militia activities.
Monday, April 19, 1915
9th Light Horse Regiment Location - Mena Camp, Egypt.
9th Light Horse Regiment War Diary - No entry.
Carew Reynell Diary - No entry.
Wednesday, April 19, 1916
9th Light Horse Regiment Location - Serapeum, Egypt.
9th Light Horse Regiment War Diary - No entry.
Thursday, April 19, 1917
9th Light Horse Regiment Location - Rujm el Atawineh
9th Light Horse Regiment War Diary - The Regiment moved out with the Brigade at 2130 and proceeded via Wadi Sheria to the vicinity of Aseiferiyeh where the Regiment dismounted the horses being left under Ragless, Captain BB.
At 0330 a line was taken up 10th Light Horse Regiment on left joining the 4th Light Horse Brigade. 9th Light Horse Regiment on right touching the 5th Mounted Brigade and the 8th Light Horse Regiment in reserve. At 0400 the line advanced on a bearing of 65 degrees and by daylight was well up onto the high ground and the first Turkish redoubt. A heavy fire was opened up on our lines. In the first hours the advance was held up. On the left of Aseiferiyeh the infantry were heavily engaged and an intense bombardment was going out.
About 0900 white flags were observed on the Turkish trench directly to our front and the whole line advanced but owing to the great weight carried by the men [240 round SAA [Small Arms Ammunition]] slowly the position was taken with about 20 prisoners and by 0900 the line was straightened out and the enemy then opened up an intense artillery fire on our lines and a good many casualties were sustained.
0930 From the ridge the line pushed slowly forward towards the wadi directly beneath the main Atawineh position but the Yeomanry on the right were not coming sufficiently round the flank to enable the advance to be carried on. A
t 1200 the order was received to swing the Regiment round on its left flank, the line to face north. The 5th Mounted Brigade was also to swing round preliminary to an attack on the main Atawineh position being pushed home. On the turning movement commanding an intense rifle, machine gun and shell fire was concentrated on our line and after some time it was forced to retire behind the first Turkish redoubt that had been taken in the morning. At this period the enemy artillery was raining shells at our troops causing a large number of casualties.
At about 1400 the line was established about 500 yards from a strong enemy position. Some New Zealanders and Bucks Yeomanry holding a position to our right front.
At about 1630 a number of Turks left their trenches and commenced to advance on the right and were again driven back to their trenches. A constant fire was kept up by both sides until dark when orders were received to withdraw to the horses at 1945. The withdrawal was successfully completed and the Brigade returned to El Munkeileh where the horses were watered. An outpost line was taken up from Aseiferiyeh to El Munkeileh the 9th Light Horse Regiment on the left and the 8th Light Horse Regiment on the right. Throughout the day the fighting had been particularly constant and intense. The enemy artillery doing a lot of damage. In all we sustained nine Other Ranks killed, 5 Officers and 61 Other Ranks wounded.
Total casualties for the operation of the 19th April 1917.
Killed - nine Other Ranks.
Cork, 1318 Lance Corporal A, Killed in actionCronin, 1214 Trooper MP, Killed in actionElsdon, 118 Lance Corporal C, Killed in actionHaines [Heinze], 1106 Trooper W, Killed in actionKeane, 146 Trooper FT, Killed in actionMcKenna, 804 Corporal B, Killed in actionMitchell, Lieutenant CL, Died of woundsNettleton, 1029 Trooper W, Killed in actionRobinson, 1441 Trooper RG, Died of woundsSamuels, 1444 Trumpeter H, Killed in actionTompkins, 495 Trooper SJ, Died of woundsTruman, 2760 Trooper P0, Killed in action
Wounded Officers 5 -
Scott, Lieutenant Colonel WH;Phelan, Lieutenant E;Pascoe, Lieutenant WEH;Sharp, Second Lieutenant RC; and,Hogan, Second Lieutenant LR.
61 Other Ranks.
Horses: Killed - 9; Wounded - 10; Missing - 3.
Darley, TH, With the Ninth Light Horse in the Great War, Adelaide, Hassell Press, 1924, pp 86 - 88.
At 3 a.m. on the 19th April, 1917, the Regiment, less horse holders and pack leaders, moved forward in attack formation. The 10th Light Horse Regiment, on our left, joined up with the 4th Light Horse Brigade, whilst the right of the Regiment gained touch with the 5th Mounted Brigade, the 8th Light Horse Regiment being held in reserve. At 4 a.m. the line advanced, and by daybreak was well up on the high ground beneath the first Turkish redoubt, where it was met by a very heavy fire, the advance being held up.
For some unknown reason, the 5th Mounted Brigade had checked its advance about 1,000 yards in our rear, thus leaving the right flank exposed. Away to our left, the Infantry and Imperial Camel Corps were heavily engaged, and one of the tanks could be seen to have been knocked out of action, and to be in flames. It was very difficult at this point to locate the enemy as the sun was behind them, but the slightest movement of our line could be clearly seen from their position. We were fortunate to have a good crop of barley to lie in, but any movement of the stalks immediately drew a heavy shower of lead.
The 4th Light Horse Brigade, moving forward on our left, enabled us to advance, and at 9 a.m. the enemy's first line of trenches was rushed, and about 20 prisoners taken. These men were found occupying a series of shallow pits, but as the pits were facing west, no use could be made of them. As we were on the high ground, and near the redoubt we were to take, the enemy paid us special attention with his field guns, shells of all descriptions falling rapidly from the direction of Sausage Ridge and from the direction of Gaza.
At 9.30 a.m. the line was re-organized, and it was found necessary to swing back the right flank in order to conform to the movement of the Yeomanry Brigade, which was still some distance in rear. During these movements, the Regiment was heavily shelled and sustained many casualties. The swinging back of the right flank left a gap between the 10th Light Horse Regiment and the 4th Light Horse Brigade, and the 8th Light Horse Regiment were moved into the line, leaving the Brigade without a reserve.
From this time till noon, a heavy rifle and Hotchkiss gun fire was brought to bear on any targets appearing, but mainly on Rujm el Atawineh redoubt. At noon it was noticed that the 5th Mounted Brigade were moving up, and orders were issued to the right flank to conform to the movement, which was a preliminary to the attack on the redoubt. Just how this attack was to be carried out, no one seemed to know, as none of the Regiments had more than about 170 men in the firing line to start with, and all had suffered heavy casualties, with the result that by this time things were looking far from bright.
On the order to attack being given, the Regiment responded with its characteristic dash. On topping the rise, it became fully exposed to the enemy, who seized the opportunity to pour in a withering fire from every available weapon. An attempt was made to get to grips with the Turks, but the heavy fire forced the Regiment to fall back to cover after suffering heavy casualties.
At 2 p.m. the remains of the Regiment were re-organized and again moved forward, the men digging small pits for themselves with their bayonets, whilst the enemy continued his unwelcome attentions. As it was seen that we were not likely to effect a break through, and were receiving far too much attention from the enemy, a party of New Zealanders were sent to our support, and fought through the rest of the day with the Brigade, showing splendid courage.
At 2.30 p.m. One squadron of the Bucks Hussars [Yeomanry], under the command of Cripps, Major, galloped to within a short distance of our position, dismounted, and reinforced our line. It was an inspiring sight to see this squadron gallop up, under heavy gun fire, and as far as could be seen, no casualties occurred to their horses. It made us wonder why we had dismounted and marched so far with our heavy loads of ammunition in the early hours of the morning.
At 4.30 p.m. the enemy commenced a counter attack, but being met by a well-directed and sustained rifle fire, were forced back to their line. A short time later they made a second and more determined attack. For some distance they were in dead ground, but as soon as they came into view the rifle and machine gun fire from our line took all the heart out of them, and they were again forced to retire hastily to the shelter of their positions.
The sight of the enemy coming into the open was a most welcome one, as it was seldom that they could be induced to leave their cover, and all ranks felt that it was a great opportunity to get a bit of their own back - which they did. From now until dark a heavy fire was maintained by both sides, and at 7.45 p.m. orders were received for the Brigade to retire. As it was now quite dark, the horses were brought up to within half a mile of the line, and the Brigade moved back to El Munkeileh, which was reached at 10.30 p.m.
The men had had their water bottles filled the previous afternoon and had to rely on that supply and a few biscuits for their meals during the day. It was an extremely hard day under a scorching sun, and those who got back to El Munkeileh were thoroughly done up; still, after attending to their horses and drawing rations, the Regiment was sent on outpost. Throughout the day the fighting had been particularly constant and the fire intense, the enemy artillery causing many casualties. Their planes were also constantly passing overhead, and dropped a number of light bombs.
The casualties of the Regiment consisted of nine other ranks killed, seven officers and 61 other ranks wounded, one officer and six other ranks dying before they could be evacuated to hospital, making a total of 77 casualties. Unfortunately, a few of the wounded died after reaching hospital. The signallers of the Regiment suffered exceptionally heavy casualties, as out of a total of 15, twelve were either killed or wounded.
Throughout the day all communication between the Regiment and the Brigade had to be maintained by telephone, it being impossible to use visual signalling owing to the absence of cover. The manner in which the signallers carried out their arduous and dangerous duties was a splendid example to all.
During the afternoon the commanding officer, Scott, Lieutenant Colonel WH, DSO, was wounded by a fragment of shell, and Daly, Major TJ, assumed command.
A few words must be said in appreciation of the splendid work of the Regimental Medical Officer and his staff throughout the day. In spite of the exposed position of their dressing station, each case as it was brought to them received the best of attention and skill, and it was undoubtedly due to their splendid efforts that so many of the wounded recovered. The stretcher bearers, as usual, carried out their duties in the same self sacrificing manner as was characteristic of them throughout the whole campaign.
To say all ranks were disappointed at the failure of the attack hardly describes the feeling which existed, but that failure was not due to any lack of determination or bravery on the part of the troops engaged. The policy of passively allowing the enemy to build a long line of strong positions, on ground previously taken by our troops, could never be understood, but seemed to be a repetition of the mistakes made at Gallipoli.
The British casualties sustained during this second attempt to oust the Turks from the Gaza line were estimated at 15,000, but the failure led to important changes being made in the personnel of the General Headquarters Staff. It remained to be seen how the change would work out, but from the moment the troops saw the new Commander in Chief they felt confident that success would crown their future efforts, nor was their confidence misplaced.
Friday, April 19, 1918
9th Light Horse Regiment Location - Selmieh
9th Light Horse Regiment War Diary - 0900 Moved from Selmieh to Kubeibeh arriving at 1400 and bivouacking for the night.
Hargrave, Lieutenant LMS, marched in from Ludd.
Burns, Lieutenant AG; and, three Other Ranks proceeded on seven days leave to Cairo.
Saturday, April 19, 1919
9th Light Horse Regiment Location - Zagazig
9th Light Horse Regiment War Diary - One mounted troop patrolled Es Sawa - Isnika - Bahtet - Amrit reporting all quiet.
Six Other Ranks marched out to A Details for early repatriation.
Turner, Captain Chaplain RC, returned from leave to Port Said.
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Citation: 9th LHR AIF War Diary, 19 April