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Wednesday, 26 March 2008
The First Battle of Gaza, Palestine, 26 to 27 March 1917, Desert Column, Signals, In and Out Messages, 26 March 1917
Topic: AIF - DMC

The First Battle of Gaza

Palestine, 26 to 27 March 1917

Desert Column, Signals, In and Out Messages, 26 March 1917


Desert Column, Signals, In and Out Messages, 26 March 1917.


The following is a transcription of the Desert Column, Signals, In and Out Messages, 26 March 1917, from the War Diary of the Desert Column detailing the part of the battle plan for the First Battle of Gaza, Palestine, 26 to 27 March 1917.

26 March 1917

In and Out Messages

Desert Column
G. 26/1
Aeroplane will be flying ready to cooperate with artillery at 0800 today aaa Addressed Des Col and 5th Wing RFC.

Eastern Force 0447

Desert Column
G. 7
Divisional Headquarters near El Breij aaa 160th Bde crossing the Wadi Ghuzze aaa 158th Inf Bde also crossing aaa All quiet aaa I will report further shortly when communications properly established

53rd Division 0520

Desert Column
GA. 2
Head of Column has crossed Wadi at crossing reconnoitred yesterday aaa Progress very slow owing to dense fog

Anzac Mounted Division 0530

H.Q. Desert Column
G. 11
160th Bde and 158th Bde now across the Ghuzze aaa 159th in support of my right partly over the wadi aaa No news yet of left detachment aaa All quiet no shots heard

53rd Division 0550

53rd Division
SK 4
Desert Column Headquarters established 0700 at HILL 310 El Breij

Desert Column 0705 (sd) SH Kershaw

H.Q. Desert Column
G. 14
My l60 Bde pushing slowly forward Sheluf aaa 158 Bde towards Mansura aaa Have told them to go slowly as artillery support would be difficult if it cleared suddenly

53rd Division 0709

H.Q. Desert Column
G. 15
Will move my HQ forward to neighbourhood of El Bur Jaliye as soon as it clears and exact situation can be ascertained aaa 158 and 160 Brigades pushing towards Mansura and Sheluf respectively

53rd Division 0736

53rd Division
AP 1
The 54th Division now approaching Sheikh Nebhan moving east of 310

Desert Column 0745 (sd) A Pirie

Anzac Mounted Division
AP 2
Situation 0750 a follows aaa 53rd Division one brigade, approaching Sheluf one brigade approaching Mansura aaa 54th Division leading troops approaching Sheikh Nebhan aaa So far touch not gained with enemy

Desert Column 0750 (sd) A Pirie

53rd Division
SK 5
Anzac Mounted Division and IC Bde both across the Wadi at 0750 Anzac about 3 miles east of wadi I.C. Bde nearing Mendur

Desert Column 0800 (sd) SH Kershaw

H.Q. Desert Column
G. 16
I am moving my Headquarters forward to about Bur Saliye

53rd Division 0808

H.Q. Desert Column
G. 17
My CRE reports that they have found water in Wadi Ghuzze near divisional crossings aaa He has 2 spear points down with sumps aaa Prospects good

53rd Division 0815

Desert Column
No opposition yet been met with 188th Bde on N slope Mansura 160th Bde not yet up to Sheluf aaa Guns coming into action

53rd Division 0900

H.Q. Desert Column
G. 18
158th Bde on Mansura aaa 160th about 2,400 yds SW of Ali Muntar aaa Am joining GOC 158th near Mansura aaa enemy showing up near Ali Muntar

53rd Division 0914

53rd Division
SK 6
Large cloud of dust appears to be moving towards Gaza from direction of Tel el Sheria aaa Can you clear up situation

Desert Column 0917 (sd) SH Kershaw

Desert Column
G. 500
Am now on Mansura ridge with GOC 158th Brigade aaa Advanced troops of Bde about ¾ mile further north aaa Can see a few enemy about Ali Muntar aaa Am assembling brigadiers with view to attack

53rd Division 0920

53rd Division
SK 7 G.500
Column Commander trusts you will press your attack vigorously aaa

Desert Column 0925 (sd) SH Kershaw

Desert Column
G. 114
Arrived Sheikh Abbas 0755 opposed by enemy camel men about the K of Kher er Reseim on main Gaza - Beersheba road aaa Enemy retired after a few shots aaa Am advancing Addressed Des Col repeated Imp Mtd Div

Anzac Mounted Division 0930

G.O.C. Desert Column
Ref Map: Syria 1/250,000
Akra & Hareira areas as usual. No movement in trenches. Saw 500 cavalry proceeding S, One mile west of Simsim. Our cavalry seen about 1 mile SW of Gaza. All roads to Gaza clear. A lot of dust seen at Beersheba.

67th Observer RFC 0930 (sd) RV Nalder, 2/Lt

Anzac Mounted Division
Imperial Mounted Division
IC Brigade
AP 5
Column Headquarters remaining Hill 310 for the present aaa Can you explain heavy column of dust in direction of Tel el Sheria

Desert Column 0937 (sd) AM Pirie

Desert Column
VM 315
Dust indicates bodies of cavalry apparently moving from Beersheba to Irgeig.

IC Brigade 0950

Desert Column
FSM 234
Following from aeroplane addressed Desert Column begins aaa 0935 our infantry estimate 1 Division moving towards Gaza extend from Un Jerrar to point 2 miles SW of junction of RAFA road and Wadi Ghuzze aaa They are in artillery formation aaa 0950 one regt light horse 6 miles E of Gaza aaa Head of remainder on Gaza Beersheba road aaa ends

Sigs ICC 1001

Desert Column
FSM 233
Following dropped from aeroplane begins aaa 0852 In Seirat estimate 1 Bde our infantry halted app in close column battalions facing it aaa 0856 El Meadli estimate 2 bdes our infantry aaa Camel Corps (one div) and Light Horse (2 div) with RHA line from 4 miles S to 4 miles SE Gaza aaa 0900 Gaza shelters still standing in rear of trenches aaa Too high to observe whether men in trenches aaa 30 horsemen riding E on Sheria road out of Gaza aaa Big column of sand dust 20 miles in direction Hareira aaa Signed Rhodes. addressed Des Col.

Sigs ICC

53rd Division
WO 2
GOC wishes me to impress on you the extreme importance of the capture of Gaza before reinforcements can reach it aaa Heavy clouds of dust on road towards Sheria

Desert Column 1020

Desert Column
OM 8
Deserter from Gaza confirms strength enemy's guns and MGs but states only 2 battalions infantry there with 500 Austrians and 4 big calibre guns 200 cavalry or camelry aaa Support promised by division from Jemmama asked for at 1000 this morning saw Very few supplies at Gaza only enough for 24 hours aaa All wells blown up except three aaa Huj only 2 or 3 small wells aaa Water for animals in small quantity found near El Reseim aaa One brigade watered aaa Repeated Anzac.

Moundiv 1025

53rd Division
WO 5
Brigade 54th Divn upon which you may call is situated at Sheikh Nebhan you should get in touch with it

Desert Column 1025 (sd) VM Fergusson.

Anzac Mounted Division
Imperial Mounted Division
RFC report enemy appear to be evacuating Gaza parties leaving trenches aaa taking roads to centre of town aaa small parties six to nine man mounted and dismounted moving east WT & S appear to be unaltered aaa Trenches to north and Northwest appear more heavily manned than south and south west trenches aaa Anzac take action
Desert Column 1035 (sd) AM Pirie

By helio
Desert Column
GK 118
DHQ arrived K of Kher Reseim aaa Two hostile aeroplanes attacked column on march with MG fire aaa Advance guard have driven enemy from she Gaza Beersheba road aaa A few shots still going on in front aaa No sign of enemy on south western flank

Anzac Mounted Division 1040

Desert column
G. 64
Division has arrived at Beit Durdis where D.H.Q. are established aaa enemy have fired 14 shell at our troops on the march near Beit Durdis aaa 2nd LH Bde now moving NE into position

A. & NZ Mounted Divn 1115

Desert Column
BM 316 SK 6
Ref my BM 315 dust still visible appears moving towards Sheria

IC Bde 1052

Desert Column
BM 317 WO 3
Am not in touch with motor batteries

IC Bde 1110

Desert Column
BM 318
Dust now appears to be transport wagons moving towards Sheria

IC Bde 1112

Desert Column
GK 183    AP 3
2 LH Bde made Texalie good at 1034 and are now pushing on to beach aaa We have Gaza surrounded aaa owing to heavy rifle fire have wing broken out SE Beit Durdis do not deem it advisable to close in on Gaza yet

Anzac Mounted Division 1114

GOC 53rd Division
WO 4
I am directed to observe that

(1) you have been out of touch with Desert Column and your own H.Q. for over 2 hours
2) No gun registration appears to have been carried out
3) That time is passing and you are still far from your objective
4) That the Army and Column Commanders are exercised at the loss of time, which is vital
(5) You must keep a GS Officer at your H.Q. who can communicate with you immediately
(6) You must launch your attack forthwith

1130 (sd) VM Fergusson. Lt. Col.

Desert Column
G. 19
Where are infantry bde and FA bde which are to come to my support if required aaa I should like then at Mansura now as I am not sure what enemy's strength is aaa Addressed 54th Divn repeated Des Col

53rd Division. 1153

53rd Division
WO 7
No message from you for two hours aaa when are you going to begin your attack aaa Time is vital importance aaa No GS Officer at your HQ for two hours

Desert. Column 1200 (sd) VM Fergusson.

Desert Column
OM 2
Column or smoke and dust visible at angle of 132 degrees from Resm el Atawineh aaa Smoke stationary dust seems to be moving north aaa patrols are investigating

Moundiv 1200

Anzac Mtd Divn
Imp Mtd Divn
WO 8
Both cavalry divisions will reconnoitre immediately with view to closing in on enemy at Gaza to assist Infantry if ordered aaa One brigade only from each division would be employed leaving two brigades to continue observation aaa No news by aeroplane or any enemy movement from any direction aaa acknowledge

Desert Column 1205 (sd) VM Fergusson.

Desert Column
AK 116
About 30 prisoners have been taken including 2 Germans aaa Turk sergeant of telegraph co 4th Army states garrison GAzA consists of 125th and 79th Regts of 3 Battns each aaa Also 2 Turk M.G. Cos six 75 m.m. guns 1 Squadron Camel Corps No Ca also 3rd Divn complete in Jemmama area aaa 47th and 40th Regts of 3 Battns each at mules aaa 81st Regt absorbed in 3rd Divn aaa among prisoners 4 of crew of Medjrelieh now telegraph corps aaa 6 wagons 12 donkeys 6 camels captured aaa

Desert Column
AK 122
Situation at 1035 as follows aaa DHQ at Beit Durdis aaa 2 LH Bde have moved off to surround Gaza from the north H.Q. are on high ridge one mile east of Jebalieh and troops have moved on towards the sea aaa Patrol of one squadron has left to reconnoitre towards Huj and one squadron towards Deir Sineid aaa 2nd LH Bde are sending patrol towards Nejed aaa There is intermittent firing on my eastern flank but nothing to be seen aaa Three shells have been fired at us from Gaza aaa

Anzac Mtd Division 1934

IC Bde
450 rounds 10 pdr ammunition is now at Sheikh Nebhan.

Desert Column 1237 (sd) SH Kershaw

54th Division
Desert Column
EF 6
Move 161st Inf Bde with its artillery bde and field ambulance to Mansura aaa On arrival they will cams under orders of Desert Column aaa send one cable wagon of Div Sig Co with them aaa Acknowledge aaa 54th Division repeated Desert Column

Eastforce 1240

Desert Column
GE 124
Water in neighbourhood of Beit Durdis are a few small pools in Wadi el Halb about Khirbit Kufish

Anzac Mounted Division 1244

Anzac Mtd Divn. (verbal)
Imperial Mtd Divn
WO 9
You should call on imperial Div for assistance at Beit Durdis should you require it aaa Addressed Anzac repeated Imperials

Desert Column 1300 (sd) VM Fergusson.

53rd Division
AP 4
Following from Eastforce aaa Move 161st Inf Bde with its artillery Bde and Field Ambulance to Mansura aaa On arrival they will come under orders of Desert Column aaa Send one cable wagon of Div Sig Co with them aaa Acknowledge aaa Addressed 54th Division repeated

Desert Column 1300 (sd) AM Pirie

Anzac Mtd Div
SE 9 GA 127Division aaa Addressed Anzac Mtd Divn repeated Eastforce

Desert Column 1300 (sd) SH Kerahaw

Anzac Mounted Divn
Imperial Mounted Divn
53rd DiIvn
WO 10
Column Commander considers it most desirable that mounted troops should press in on Gaza to assistance of infantry which is on very extended front aaa General Chauvel is placed in command of both mounted divisions aaa The IC Bde white ordered to area KH er Reseim aaa General Chauvel should order Imperial Division move to the north about Khirbit Kufiea or Beit Durdis to release the Anzac Division for attack on Gaza sandhills from N.E. aaa Aeroplanes report no enemy activity in Akra and Hareira areas aaa Report action taken aaa Addressed Anzac Mounted Division repeated Imperial Mounted Divn

Desert Column 1300 (sd) VM Fergusson.

Desert Column
DM 38
Division established north of Gaza Saba road near Reseim aaa 5th Brigade operating on right flank report enemy patrols visible Huj to SHERIA cavalry and camelry aaa Enemy infantry about 150 strong holding ridge along 400 contour NE and SW through Kh el Jindy extending to south of Gaza Saba road about 1 mile aaa officers patrol Worcester Yeo reports columns of smoke at Abu her Eirat dust moving north from Sheria aaa enemy appears to be evacuating stores along Saba road report ends.

Mountdiv 1309

54th Division
AP 5
The Imperial Mtd Divn has been placed under the orders of Gen Chauvel who has been instructed to attack Gaza from the north east and to move the Imperial Mounted Div to the neighbourhood of Khirbit Kufieh or Beit Durdis aaa You will move your Brigade to Khirbit er Reseim at once and watch area between Huj inclusive to Khirbit el Asaferiyeh aaa Acknowledge aaa Addressed IC Bde repeated 54th

Desert Column 1510 (sd) AM Pirie

Desert Column
GA 120
2nd LH Bde report have captured OC, Gaza and staff aaa please expedite reply to my enquiry as to what is to be done with prisoners

Anzac Mounted Divn 1316

Desert Column
Troops are now moving forward to the attack aaa Your instructions as to importance of time thoroughly understood and will be acted on aaa attack will be pressed vigorously

53rd Division 1319

Desert Column
GA 122 AP3
Dust most probably our own troops reconnoitring in that direction

Anzac Mtd Divn 1320

Desert Column
G. 128
2nd L.H. Bde have made beach good at 1210

Anzac Mounted Division 1324

53rd Division
SK 10
Following from Anzac Mounted Div aaa 2nd LH Bde have made beach good at 1210 aaa

Desert Column 1345 (sd) SH Kerahaw

Desert Column
Advanced battalion of 160th Bde in possession of Yellow Clay Hill within come six hundred yards of the mosque on Ali Muntar aaa Will report further as soon as I have further news

53rd Division 1359

Desert Column
G. 30
159 Bde on my extreme right is now swinging round right of 158 Bde with its leading battalion and will probably be in action within twenty minutes aaa 160 Bde advanced troops closing on SW end of Ali Muntar aaa Heard from 54th Division at 1115 that 161 Bde group was at Sheikh Nebhan and sent messenger for it but it is reported to be S of El Sire aaa I have sent for it

53rd Division 1356

Desert Column
G. 131
2nd L.B. Bde report parties of enemy attempting to escape from NE end of Gaza aaa They caught one coy on road with MG fire and dispersed it aaa These parties now in scattered formations among prickly pear hedges aaa Bde have taken position to oppose any move from the town aaa Am sending squadron NZMR Bde to assist

Desert Column 1401

Desert Column
Anzac Mtd Divn will move on Gaza to assist the Infantry aaa Imperial Mounted Division will take war BEIT Durdis from Anzac Mtd Divn aaa G.O.C. Imperial Mtd Divn will be responsible get all observation to east and north now carried out by both divisions aaa Acknowledge

Anzac Mtd Divn 1410

Desert Column
GT. 285
Advance of troops to attack confirms enemy Occupying Ali Muntar aaa Brisk rifle fire aaa Attack developing aaa Both 160 and 158 Bde advanced troops in close action.

53rd Division 1411

Anzac Mtd Divn
AP 6
Reference my WO 10 what action do you propose to take aaa matter urgent

Desert Column 1415 (sd) AM Pirie

Desert Columm
G. 159
Our patrol towards HUj reported seen enemy cavalry patrol ten men aaa They retired on approach patrol aaa 50 tents can be seen south of Huj

Anzac Mtd Divn 1425

Desert Column
G. 150
Enemy one troop and 1 MG reported advancing from Huj

Anzac Mounted Division 1426

Desert Column
G. 21
Though anxious to attack at once am compelled to await till artillery in position aaa Have been delayed two hours by fog aaa Hope to attack about midday aaa would like infty bds of 54th Divn and arty bde of that division placed at my disposal aaa sent to Mansura aaa Have already asked G.O.C. 54th Divn but have received no reply aaa I will not use it unless it is necessary but can usefully employ all my infantry bdes

53rd Division 1428

Desert Column
GK 159
D.H,Q. has closed at Beit Durdis and reopened on gassy hill about
2 miles N.E. of Beit Durdis aaa Bearing to Ali Muntar 245 degrees as Addressed Major Foster repeated Desert Col Imperial Mtd Divn

Anzac Mounted Divn 1520

Anzac mounted Division
AP 7
53rd Division have captured ridge 600 yds south of Mosque on Ali Muntar

Desert Column 1421 (sd) AM Pirie

Anzac Mounted Division
AP 6 G.134
Presume you have instructed Imperial Mtd Divn as to area you wish him to observe

Desert Column 1426 (sd) AM Pirie

Desert Column
G. 137 AP 6
Copy of orders already sent aaa GOC intends to close on Gaza with NZMR Bde 2 LH Bde and 22 Mtd Bde aaa Imperial Mtd Divn to be responsible for all observation am to relieve detachments Anzac Mounted Division without delay aaa HQ Anzac Mounted Division to move to Hill 1/4 mile SE of H of Jebelieh at once aaa Attack to begin as soon as possible

Anzac Mtd Divn 1437

Desert Oolumn
OM 4
Armoured cars now reconnoitring Gaza Saba road

Moundiv 1439

Desert Column
OM 5
Worcester Yeo report one squadron captured small Turk post by surprise at EL Kafkah 16 prisoners ends aaa One Arab camel man has surrendered from Gaza

Moundiv 1445

Desert Column
GA 13 AP 8

Anzac Mounted Division 1505

Desert column
GT 890
The following telegram from G.O.C. 158th Bde repeated for your information aaa With reference last para of his telegram am sending him the battalion from divisional reserve aaa 161st Bde now approaching my headquarters aaa message begins General Mott And myself are at present on rise 2500 yards south of Ali el Muntar aaa We have consulted together and have arranged to swing the right flank which now considerably overlaps the original objective given so as to hit the enemy's flank and roll it up supported if possible by MG fire aaa On the left flank General Mott is pushing his last battalion the Herefords against Ali Muntar aaa Both General Mott and myself have now no troops left aaa We will do the best to capture the position with the troops available but it appears to be very strongly held aaa 8ince writing this I have a message from 5th Welsh saying enemy is holding high ridges about one mile East of Ali Muntar east of Beersheba road aaa 5th Welsh in conjunction with 4th Cheshires are arranging to attack this position aaa My right flank is very exposed without any reserve aaa ends

53rd Division 1531

Desert Column
T. 480
Does situation admit of trains being sent to A. & N.Z. Mountdiv

Q Desert Dolumn 140

Anzac Mtd Division
AP 9
Success of the operation at Gaza depends largely on the vigour of your attack aaa it to imperative that the position should be ours before dark aaa You should if you consider advisable withdraw a portion of the Imperial Mounted Division to assist you in the attack aaa Enemy's trenches northwest of Gaza between EL Meshaherah are EL Mineh are reported strongly held aaa Am sending three batteries armoured ears to your assistance aaa acknowledge

Desert Column 1550 (sd) AM Pirie

Imperial Mounted Div
Anzac Mounted Div
SR 10 (a)
Send both batteries and light car patrol report Anzac Mtd Div H.Q. At ¼ mile SE of H in Jebalieh at once and cooperate in attack on Gaza from N. E.

Desert Column 1550 (sd) S.H. Kereshaw

Anzac Mtd Div report verbally Patrol near Deir Sineid reports 3 Infantry columns advancing on Gaza from DEIR Sineid estimated strength about 300

ICC Brigade
AP 10
Aeroplane reports at 1545 aaa Saw about 200 cavalry about 5 miles S of Gaza on Hareira road halted aaa 1 Battn of Infantry halted 2 miles W of Beersheba aaa ends

Desert Column 1600 (sd) AM Pirie

Desert Column
GR 142
Have just had report from Deir Sineid that three enemy columns are moving towards us from that direction aaa Body of 3O0 infty are reported to have moved into the sandhills W of Deir Sineid aaa Have sent one squadron 22nd Bde to oppose them and am ordering up one Brigade Imperial Mtd Divn aaa Can aeroplane reconnaissance verify this

Anzac Mounted Division 1600

IC Brigade
AP 11
A force of enemy infantry and camelry reported moving west from Huj and about three Miles distant from that place

Desert Column 1645 (sd) AM Pirie

Desert Column
3000 Infantry 2 squadron Cavalry advancing from Huj in south westerly direction

Mountdiv 1650

Desert Column
EF 18
Move your division to line Ordered in my EF 15 Of today aaa Address 54th Division repeated Desert Column for information aaa Acknowledge
Eastforce 1738

Q. Deir el Belah
SK T. 480
No aaa Trains must stay Deir el Belah at present

Desert Column 1750 (sd) SH Kershaw

GOC 155 Bde
EF 19
Reference instructions to take your brigade to Tel el Ajjul you should stop short of WADI Ghuzze and take up position about Tel el Shabani between main road and the sea instead or as
Copy to Des Col.

Eastforce 1750

54th Division
RP 16
Be prepared take up position on line from El Burjaliye ridge one mile name northeast of Sheikh Nebhan through El Burjaliye and Mansura to point one mile north of Mansura aaa If Occupied battle outposts of 53rd Division will connect with your left aaa Camel Brigade between your right and Wadi aaa Considerable enemy reinforcements on march aaa All transport camels must be sent out of wadi before morning aaa acknowledge

Copy of Des Col 1755

155th Brigade
EF 17
Your brigade probably will have to move near to Tel el Ajul tonight
in reserve but finding Own local protection aaa you will be
informed position of other troops later aaa Send officer to reconnoitre at once on assumptive gap of 3 miles between you and left of 53rd Division which however will be far in advance of your right aaa Acknowledge
Copy to Des Col

Eastforce 1755

Anzac Mounted Division
AP 14
As soon as it is dark the mounted divisions under your orders will break off the nation and retire across the wadi to the Deir el Belah plain west of the GOZ el Taire aaa Column Headquarters will be on hill 310 there General Chauvel will report on his arrival sea acknowledge

Desert Column 1810 (sd) A.M. Pirie

Desert Column
GT 860
Following message received from 159 Brigade begins 5th Welsh report that they and 4th Cheshires have taken redoubt N by E Ali Muntar aaa 4th Cheshires are on the ridge and enemy are retiring to N.E. stubbornly aaa 5th Welsh have suffered heavily aaa ends

53rd Division 1819

Anzac Mtd Divn
IC Bde
SK 12
The IC Bde and the motor machine gun batteries are placed hereby placed under your command aaa In the event of yoar withdrawing west of the wadi you will employ the Camel Bde to assist in your retirement aaa You should get into touch with General Smith immediately aaa Acknowledge aar Addressed Anzac Mtd Divn repeated I.C. Bde

Desert Column 1825 (sd) SH Kershaw

Desert Column
EF 20
If Gaza, not taken early tonight G.O.C. may decide to withdraw over wadi Ghuzze during night aaa In this case you will withdraw your division by same routes and to same positions as you occupied last night leaving rearguard in touch with rearguard of 53rd Division aaa If definitely decided will wire act in accordance with EF 20 aaa Get transport as soon as possible aaa Acknowledge aaa Addressed 54th Divn repeated Desert Column

Eastforce 1836

Anzac Mounted Division
AP 15
After assisting In covering your withdrawal you will direct the I.C. Brigade to fill the gap between the right of the 54th Division and the Wadi Ghuzze from about half a mile east of Khirbit el Adar through UM Jerrar to the WADI aaa acknowledge

Desert Column 1938 (sd) A.M. Pirie

AP 17
SK 15 Train of 53rd Division can move up

Desert Column 2012 (sd) A.M. Pirie

Desert Column
EF 24
CGS over phone said chief hoped it would be possible to let the 53rd Division know tonight that he was very pleased with what they had done

Eastforce 2020

53rd Division
O I/O Signals
SK 16
53rd Division will come under the direct orders of Eastforce as soon as communication can be arranged by Eastforce

Desert Column 2345 (sd) SH Kershaw

AP 18
Situation at dusk from cavalry and aeroplane reports aaa Enemy's forces advancing from Hareira about half a mile north west of Khirbit Hurab Diah point 4O0 aaa enemy forces advancing from Akra area after being severely handled by cavalry and guns in digging in on line through point 400 northeast by east of BEIT Durdis aaa Column moving from north has entrenched itself on very narrow front on Wadi Hesi south of Deir Sineid and is bivouacing between that place to Beit Lejus aaa No further information as to situation at Gaza yet

Desert Column (sd) A.M. Pirie

53rd Division    
AP 19    
Commander-in-Chief expresses his pleasure with the manner in which the 53rd Division has conducted today’s operations aaa Column Commander wishes to add his appreciation of their gallantry

Desert Column (sd) A.M. Pirie

53rd Division
AP 20
What is present situation are you in touch with left of 54th

Desert Column (sd) A.M. Pirie

Desert Column
G. 43
As I have to withdraw my right I cannot hold Ali Muntar as it would present a dangerous Salient aaa Orders have therefore been issued for my line to run from a point N of Sheluf through Mansura to join up with 54th Division on western slopes of Sheikh Abbas

53rd Division 2112

Desert Column
EF 25
53rd Division must dig in on its present line throwing back left flank and maintaining connection with 54th Division on right aaa 54th Division entrenching from north or Mansura down Burjaliye ridge aaa About one mile gap between right of 54th Division and Wadi Ghuzze to be filled by Camel Brigade aaa Mounted Divisions to be withdrawn to position of readiness behind our right In neighbourhood of IN Seirat ready to cooperate against enemy first in event of his attacking us and secondly to cooperate in counter attack by our right aaa One mounted brigade to be placed at disposal of GOC about Tel el Ajjul aaa 8rigadier-General Commanding to report Eastforce Battle Headquarters for instructions as soon as Brigade arrives aaa GOC Desert Column will command two amounted Divisions less one Brigade with Camel Brigade aaa 53rd Division will receive orders direct from G.O.C. Eastforce as soon as communications arranged aaa 52nd Division less one infantry brigade and attached troops will form general reserve about IN Seirat aaa Acknowledge aaa Addressed Desert Column repeated 52nd Divn 54th Divn 5th Wing RFC Q Eastforce.

Eastforce 2300


War Diaries

All War Diaries cited on this site should be read in conjunction with the Australian Light Horse Studies Centre, AIF War Diaries of the Great War, Site Transcription Policy which may be accessed at:

Australian Light Horse Studies Centre, AIF War Diaries of the Great War, Site Transcription Policy 



Further Reading:

Desert Mounted Corps

The Desert Mounted Corps, Roll of Honour

The First Battle of Gaza, Palestine, 26 to 27 March 1917

The First Battle of Gaza, Palestine, 26 to 27 March 1917, Allied Forces, Roll of Honour

The Palestine Campaign, 1917 - 1918

Battles where Australians fought, 1899-1920


Citation: The First Battle of Gaza, Palestine, 26 to 27 March 1917, Desert Column, Signals, In and Out Messages, 26 March 1917

Posted by Project Leader at 12:01 AM EADT
Updated: Tuesday, 1 March 2011 9:03 AM EAST

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