Topic: AIF - NZMRB - CMR
The Battle of Rafa
Sinai, 9 January 1917
Canterbury Mounted Rifles Regiment, War Diary Account
Canterbury Mounted Rifles Regiment, War Diary Account
The following is a transcription of the Canterbury Mounted Rifles Regiment, War Diary Account detailing their role at the Battle of Rafa, Sinai, 9 January 1917.
Masaid 8 January 1917
Orders receive that the New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade will move out at 1200. Starting point on beach north of New Zealand Mounted Field Ambulance. Canterbury Mounted Rifles Regiment paraded at 1145 on beach north of Canterbury Mounted Rifles Regiment lines. Connected up with Brigade as stated. Proceeded along beach towards Wadi El Arish where the Brigade watered at the wells of the 52nd Division. After watering proceeded to position near 1st Light Horse Brigade arriving there at 1400. Off saddled and fed up and remained here till 1600. At 1600 a general move was made in direction of Rafa. Very cold night. halted at intervals during the evening. Arrived at Sheikh Zowaiid at 2130. Fed up horses and had a halt til 0100.
Rafa 9 January 1917
At 0100 the Column moved out again in an easterly direction at about 5 miles out the New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade branched off and proceeded in a direction of Shokh el Sufi where an encampment of hostile Arabs were reported.
0630 Large number of Arabs about. Auckland Mounted Rifles Regiment advanced guard and they proceeded to collect the men. Brigade then moved on over the border into Turkey and concentrated behind Hill 350 (Reference Map Rafa 1:125,000 See: Map segment of Rafa 1:125,000) Commanding Officers went forward to review the situation.
0915 Received orders that there would be a general advance to the Turkish position at Rafa and trenches at Hill 255 at 1000. The New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade moved out of behind hill 350 at 0940 and made a flanking movement around to the north east of Hill 255. The ground was very open and we suffered few casualties on the movement to the flank.
1000 One Troop of the 8th Squadron proceeded to the high sand hill north of Rafa and cut off some of the enemy capturing a large number of men, camels, donkeys and stores. Also took possession of the Police Post capturing numerous maps and telephone instruments. The remainder of the 8th Squadron under Major Pauce pushed forward and pushed forward towards the Turkish Redoubts on Hill 255. The remainder of the Regiment dismounted in rear of Police Barracks.
1130 Headquarters Canterbury Mounted Rifles Regiment in Police Barracks. The 10th Squadron under Major Murchison were sent to take up a position on the right of the 8th Squadron.
1200 At 1200 the 1st Squadron under Major Huist CC advanced and took up a position right of 10th Squadron. The advancement was up over open country and no shelter or protection. Very heavy fire (rifle) but our Lewis Gun and Machine Guns of Machine Gun Squadron kept up a splendid covering fire while our troops were advancing. 1st Squadron connected up with the 5th Mounted Brigade on their right and 8th Squadron connected up with the Wellington Mounted Rifles Regiment on their left. Messaged received that a combined attack was to be made at 1545. Message not received till 1605. Our advance was pushed on and we succeeded in advancing and capturing the Turkish Redoubts at 1630, capturing 134 prisoners. Instructions were received to man the captured trenches as reports received that a number of Turkish reinforcements were within 3 miles of Rafa.
1715 Received further orders that the Column would move off at 1730 so horses were brought up and ready to move off by 1730.
Our casualties were:Killed:7/514 Trooper Gibbs, LH, 1st Squadron1258 Trooper Le Levice, MG, 1st Squadron16041 Trooper Ledingham, A, 8th Squadron16107 Trooper Mitchell, GO, 8th Squadron
WoundedMajor Bruce, RT, 8th SquadronSecond Lieutenant Latter, LC, 1st Squadron7/1113 Temporary Sergeant McIntosh, CJ, 1st Squadron (since died.)1244 Trooper Handesider, D, 1st Squadron16373 Trooper Boag, JW, 1st Squadron24848 Trooper Drayton, GF, 1st Squadron7/1330 Trooper Bain, W, 8th Squadron24913 Trooper McKinnon, R, 8th Squadron7/1603 Trooper Cottrell, AM, 8th Squadron1335 Trooper Blue, FJ, 8th Squadron9/1786 Trooper Brown, TH, 8th Squadron7/1236 Lance Corporal Godfrey, DH, 10th Squadron2231 Trooper Bickley, 10th Squadron1077 Trooper Harris, N, 10th Squadron17386 Trooper Clunes-Ross, K, 10th Squadron7/2159 Trooper Swaysland, TA, 10th Squadron13475 Trooper Scott, W, 10th Squadron7/1792 Trooper Thompson, DW, 10th Squadron1820 Trooper Beresford, R, Headquarters
Our (Canterbury Mounted Rifles Regiment) Captures are estimated at:6 Germans
75 Rifles, Bayonets
5,000 Rounds Ammunition
20 Pack Saddles
2 Riding Saddles
50 Pack Riding Camel Saddles
15 Camel Loads fodder
Also 123 prisoners taken in the final charge. This included one Major (Regimental Commander) and 5 other Officers. Large numbers of Turkish dead were found in the trenches. Our artillery did good work. The Turks had 4 Mountain Guns which were captured.
1800 The New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade moved off in direction of Sheikh Zowaiid arriving there at 2230 and after waiting, proceeded to our allotted camping areas. There all our rations were ready - bivouac for the night.
Masaid 10 January 1917
Received orders at 0210 that the Brigade would move off at 0630. The Regiment moved out of bivouac at 0630 and connected up with Brigade. 10th Squadron formed the Advance Guard to the Division. Proceeded in direction of El Arish arriving in Wadi at 1200 and then watered.
1200 After watering the Brigade proceeded to bivouac Masaid arriving at our bivouac at 1430. Rest of day devoted to settling down to pitch tents etc.
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