Topic: AIF - DMC - 2 Sig Sqn
The First Battle of Gaza
Palestine, 26 to 27 March 1917
2nd Light Horse Signal Squadron, War Diary Account
2nd Light Horse Signal Squadron, War Diary Account.
The following is a transcription of the Account from the War Diary of the 2nd Light Horse Signal Squadron detailing its role at the First Battle of Gaza, Palestine, 26 to 27 March 1917.
24 March 1917
Wheeled transport of Squadron left at 1600 for Khan Yunis.
25 March 1917
"D" Troop left with Headquarters of Division at 0800 and marched with 5th and 6th Mounted Brigades along beach to Deir el Belah, picking up the 3rd light Horse Brigade along the way.
Wheeled transport of Squadron joined up from Khan Yunis about 1900.
Communication to concentrated Division by Despatch Riders - Telephone to Desert Column. Rear party left at Rafa under Lieutenant Millar to work on office for details left behind there.
26 March 1917
0230 Squadron left camp at 0230 and took its place in a column consisting of the Anzac Mounted Divison and Imperial Mounted Division marching to surround Gaza from the north and east - Crossing of Wadi Ghuzze was nearly 3 hours late on pre-arranged timetable, and a fairly thick mist prevailed for some hours after daylight.
About 1000 A temporary halt was made by Divisional Headquarters near Sheikh Abbas, a Signal Office was established and several messages were sent to and received from Desert Column. communication by visual was obtained with 5th Mounted Brigade detached to operate on north east side of Beersheba Road. The other two Brigades were in reserve close to Divisional Headquarters.
1030 Divisional Headquarters moved to Khirbit Reseim.
1100 visual communication with 5th Mounted Brigade obtained at new Headquarters and also with Anzac Mounted Division.
1130 Visual communication with Desert Column regained.
Nothing could be seen of Desert Column or Eastforce Visual Stations thus endeavours were made to do so.
1230 Vibrator communicaction with Anzac Mounted Division obtained - 3rd and 6th Brigades still in reserve.
About 1530 Divisonal Headquarters moved to Khirbit Rufieg - office remained open till 1600 to work of messages, but visual communication was obtained from new Headquarters to all 3 Brigades about 1600 and with Anzac Mounted Divisoin old and new Headquarters.
1630 Communication with Desert Column by vibrator.
1645 "B" Troop laid cable to Anzac Mounted Division new Headquarters, and about same time the 3rd Light Horse Brigade was detached to assist this Division.
About 1700 6th Mounted Brigade detached to meet enemy advancing towards Huj - Touch with them by radio.
1730 Cable laid by "B" Troop to 6th Mounted Brigade Headquarters - this line was cut by traffic and shrapnel frequently but was eventually got through about 1900.
1800 A mounted orderly arrived from 5th Mounted Brigade with message. No messages were sent back by him. touch was lost with this Brigade just before this, endeavours were made to reach them by lamp without success. It transpired that the Brigade Signals Officer had been sent to find the Imperial Camel Corps. 3rd Light Horse Brigade returned to left of 6th Mounted Brigade and in touch by lamp.
1830 Ordered by Staff to move office to Gaza side of ridge, move took place in dark and touch was lost with Desert Column, 6th mounted Brigade and Anzac Mounted Division by cable for about 3/4 an hour. In touch with 3rd Light Horse Brigade and Anzac Mounted division by lamp.
1930 Line to Anzac Mounted Division again cut in many places, but through again about 2200. Several important messages sent to them over Desert Column line and received by them by induction.
2100 Difficulty experience with 6th Mounted Brigade, line tested all night and from subsequent reports it appears that our signals were received by them, but their instrument was out of adjustment and they could not reply. Their lamps were out of condition also and could not answer ours.
The 5th Mounted Brigade concentrated near Divisional Headquarters about this time.
2200 Through again by telelphone and buzzer to Anzac Mounted Division.
2300 Anzac Mounted Division commanded to retire behind our Brigades, a guiding light being displayed at Imperial Mounted Division Headquarters.
2330 Message to 6th Mounted Brigade sent by lamp to 3rd Light Horse Brigade, and also by message to 3rd Light Horse Brigade and 6th Mounted Brigade.
2400 Signals ordered by Staff to pack up and make their way back to the Wadi Ghuzze before daylight.
The Motor Cyclish Despatch Riders of the Squadron had been much employed from about 1130 on this date till nightfall taking messages for the echelons in rear. One bicycle, the only Douglas Machine became a casualty early in the day.
27 March 1917
About 0100 The Squadron left Khirbit Rufien and marched back to Wadi Ghuzze reaching there at daylight and camped near In Seirat about 0100.
No casualties to personnel occurred, one eagon and one motorcycle were damaged but were brought in, 4 miles of D5 cable were left out, and one vibrator was lost by the 6th Mounted Brigade.
1300 In touch with all Brigades and Desert Column by messengers.
1730 Divisoin left camp near In Seirat for an outpost line on the Goz el Taire.
1830 Office established on ridge near Lone Tree and in touch with Desert Column by visual and vibrator. 3rd Light Horse Brigade and 6th Mounted Brigade close by.
1845 Divisional Headquarters moved in dark about 1 mile along ridge to the south to Sheikh Hamuda.
1930 Communication established by cable with Desert Column and 5th Mounted Brigade by cable and 3rd Light Horse Brigade and 6th Mounted Brigade by messenger. Visual Station established but unable to pick up any reply.
2300 Visual Station closed. All horse and men dead beat.
2400 Messengers despatched to 3rd Light Horse Brigade and 6th Mounted Brigade returned at 0400 reporting unable to find them.
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
2nd Australian Light Horse Signal Squadron, AIF
2nd Australian Light Horse Signal Squadron, AIF, 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, 2nd Light Horse Signal Squadron, War Diary Account