Topic: AIF - DMC - British
The First Battle of Gaza
Palestine, 26 to 27 March 1917
Headquarters 162nd Infantry Brigade, 54th Division War Diary Account
Headquarters 162nd Infantry Brigade, 54th Division War Diary Account.
The following is a transcription of the Account from the War Diary of the Headquarters 162nd Infantry Brigade, 54th Division detailing its role at the First Battle of Gaza, Palestine, 26 to 27 March 1917.
Extracts from War Diary of Headquarters 162nd Infantry Brigade, 54th Division War Diary Account
Brigade General Commander Brigadier General A Mudge.
25 March 1917
Brigade left Rafa at 0400 and reached In Seirat at 1930, halting at Khan Yunis from 0730 to 1630.
26 March 1917
Left In Seirat about 0730, start being delayed on account of fog and took up a position of readiness about L.2.42, covered by Outposts found by 1/4th North Hampshire Regiment. 1/10th London Regiment being detached as escort to Divisional Artillery from 0830 to 1500. At 1900 orders were received to take up a line of Outposts from a point one mile north east of Sheikh Nebhan through Mansura to a point one mile north of Mansura. Units moved off independently about 2030 and occupied the new positions. 1/10th London Regiment on right, 1/11th London Regiment in continuation of the line, 1/5th Bedford Regiment on left, each Battalion with 1 section Machine Gun Company touch being established with Battle Outposts 53rd Division on left. Brigade Headquarters about 500 yards south of the 2nd "B" in Burjabiya with 1/4th North Hampshire Regiment and 162nd Machine Gun Company (less 3 Sections) in reserve. The operation was completed by about 2300 (1/4th North Hampshire Regiment by 0400 27th inst.). During the night and after dawn the position was strengthened by trenches and rifle pits.
27 March 1917
At daybreak the 1/5th Bedford Regiment were subjected to considerable shelling and owing to movement of 53rd Division Battle Outposts then left became much exposed. The situation at this point was very ably handled by Captain Hobbs 1/5th Bedford Regiment. About 0630 the line which was entirely under observation from the Sheikh Abbas - El Sharta Ridge, was strengthened by 2 Companies 1/4th North Hampshire Regiment on the left of the 1/11th London Regiment. At 0700 the left of the line was taken over by the 163rd Infantry Brigade and the 1/5th Bedford Regiment withdrawn into Brigade reserve. On their arrival the 1/4th North Hampshire Regiment (less 2 Companies) took up a position on the right of 1/10th London Regiment. At 0715 about 500 Turks with a few cavalry could be seen advancing in extended order over the crest of Sheikh Abbas and neighbouring ridges, others remaining on the skyline, and a request was sent to General Officer Commanding 162nd Infantry Brigade for Artillery to open on them. Some remained about 2,000 yards distant, others advanced in small parties at different times, the nearest coming to the right of 1/11th London Regiment who sustained some casualties from rifle fire. The advance, however, was not continued.
The position occupied by the Brigade were throughout the day subjected to considerable shell fire especially in the centre of the Line. At 1840 orders were received to retire to the In Seirat positions. This was carried out without incident the Wadi Ghuzze being crossed at Sheikh Nebhan. The 1/10th London Regiment and 1/11th London Regiment were placed in immediate support of the existing Outpost line found by 52nd Division from Point 320 through Point 310 to the 200 Contour south of the first "E" in El Breij. Brigade Headquarters established at Point 310 and the remainder of the Brigade returned to their original bivouac sites occupied on night 25th/26th. Owing to the short notice given of the retirement and to a previous order sending camels for rations, water etc, some camels had not returned to their units by 2200 and a small quantity of stores including Small Arms Ammunition had to be left and was buried.
Casualties this day were Second Lieutenant RE Bass, 1/5th Bedford Regiment wounded and 20 Other Ranks.
28 March 1917
Outpost line running from Point 310 through Point 320 to Point 330 taken over.
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