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"At a mile distant their thousand hooves were stuttering thunder, coming at a rate that frightened a man - they were an awe inspiring sight, galloping through the red haze - knee to knee and horse to horse - the dying sun glinting on bayonet points..." Trooper Ion Idriess

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Monday, 9 March 2009
Bert Schramm's Diary, 9 March 1919
Topic: Diary - Schramm

Diaries of AIF Servicemen

Bert Schramm


During part of the course of his military service with the AIF, 2823 Private Herbert Leslie Schramm, a farmer from White's River, near Tumby Bay on the Eyre Peninsular, kept a diary of his life. Bert was not a man of letters so this diary was produced with great effort on his behalf. Bert made a promise to his sweetheart, Lucy Solley, that he would do so after he received the blank pocket notebook wherein these entries are found. As a Brigade Scout since September 1918, he took a lead part in the September 1918 breakout by the Allied forces in Palestine. Bert's diary entries are placed alongside those of the 9th Light Horse Regiment to which he belonged and to the 3rd Light Horse Brigade to which the 9th LHR was attached. On this basis we can follow Bert in the context of his formation.

 Bert Schramm's Diary, 9 March 1919


Bert Schramm's Handwritten Diary, 8 - 10 March 1919

[Click on page for a larger print version.]


Bert Schramm

Sunday, March 9, 1919

Bert Schramm's Location - Moascar, Egypt.

Bert Schramm's Diary - Nothing doing. There is some talk of drill starting tomorrow and the whole of the Brigade have sworn to refuse to do it.



9th Light Horse Regiment War Diary

9th Light Horse Regiment Location - Moascar, Egypt.

9th Light Horse Regiment War Diary -  Voluntary church services. Syllabus of training issued.



Darley, TH, With the Ninth Light Horse in the Great War, Adelaide, Hassell Press, 1924.

No Entry

Previous: Bert Schramm's Diary, 8 March 1919

Next: Bert Schramm's Diary, 10 March 1919


Further Reading:

9th Light Horse Regiment AIF War Diary - Complete day by day list

Bert Schramm Diary 

Bert Schramm Diary - Complete day by day list


Additional Reading:

Darley, TH, With the Ninth Light Horse in the Great War, Adelaide, Hassell Press, 1924.


Citation: Bert Schramm's Diary, 9 March 1919

Posted by Project Leader at 12:01 AM EADT
Updated: Wednesday, 6 May 2009 12:11 PM EADT
1st Australian Armoured Car Section - The Motor Dash on Aleppo - Part 1
Topic: AIF - Cars



Part 1


This is a transcription from a manuscript submitted by Captain E.H. James called "The Motor Patrol". It is lodged in the AWM as AWM 224 MSS 209. This is Part 1.


The Motor Dash on Aleppo - Part 1

When Major General MacAndrew left Damascus with the 5th Cavalry Division with Aleppo as his objective it was known that he had a pretty tough proposition in hand. Aleppo was a Turkish military depot where several divisions were stationed with large supply and ammunition reserves. It was also a Railway Depot and junction of the two Railway Systems to Baghdad and Damascus and was in direct communication with Constantinople.

On the other hand the 5th Division was only about half its strength on account of the losses through disease and battle etc. The horses were more or less done on account of the strenuous operations preceding the taking of Damascus and there was over 200 miles to go before reaching the objective with perhaps the prospect of strong enemy resistance anywhere on the route. Nevertheless, the division made excellent progress considering the conditions for over a third of the distance when it was realised that progress was getting considerably slower and the horses were becoming more or less done.

General MacAndrew, or fighting Mac as he was known, realised that something else would have to be done if the operations were to be successful as speed was one of the main factors necessary for success. The General than decided when the division reached Homs to collect all the available motors together and make a rush for the enemy's base leaving the division to follow on as soon as possible. Three Armoured Car batteries (Nos. 2, 11 and 12 L. A.M.B.S.) and three Light Car Patrols (Nos. 1, 2 and 7 L.C.P.S.) were hastily collected together with their necessary transport vehicles. Each armoured car battery consisted of four 50 h.p. Rolls Royce armoured care, each mounted with a Vickers Machine Gun and each Light Car Patrol consisted of four light care each mounted with a Lewis Gun.

Both units of course had necessary tenders accompanying them with extra patrol, oil, water, actions end ammunition. Thus the fleet counted between them twenty four machine guns with their crews and transport. The armoured cars were the battle ships of the fleet, but owing to their weight they were more or less compelled to stick to the hard ground. The cars of the Light Car Patrols while they did not have the protection of the larger vehicles could venture on to places where the others could not go and were like the light cruisers of the fleet.

This little mobile army, with General MacAndrew in command himself, left Hama at daybreak on the morning of the 22nd of October, 1918 and said good-bye to the rest of the division.

After driving due north for an hour or two a fleet of enemy motor vehicles hove into view. phase vehicles consisted of a German armoured our and a number of German motor lorries fitted-with steel tyres and each mounting a machine gun and than, began one of the prettiest little fights that has probably ever bean witnessed. This was probably the first occasion on record of a battle between two fleets of motor vehicles. The German vehicles saw that they were outnumbered and were making all haste to get away north firing frantically with their machine was from the rear of the lorries as they bounced and jolted over the rough ground. The big German armoured car endeavoured to cover the retreat of the other vehicles. Our armoured cars rushed up alongside the enemy vehicles and a running fight ensued at a speed of about thirty miles per hour with the Light Car Patrols hovering round to get a shot in now and then, while some of them rushed ahead in order to cut off the enemy vehicles. The shooting from the German lorries was very erratic as owing to the roughness of the ground, the speed at which they were travelling and the unsuitableness of the vehicles for fast travelling, the gunners one minute would be firing into the ground and the next into the clouds. After a few minutes of this running fight the German armoured car suddenly stopped, a door opened at the side and the crew rushed out towards some barley crops growing alongside the track only to be shot down as they ran. The other lorries were then gradually surrounded and captured and some caught fire and were burnt. On examining the enemy armoured car we found that the engine was still running and we soon discovered why the crew left it so hurriedly. The fact being that it was a very unhealthy place to be as the bullets from our vehicles were penetrating the supposed armour plating and going clean through both sides at close range. The bullets from the German cars only fell harmlessly from the plating of our armoured care, so the fight was more or less a one sided one.


Previous section: 1st Australian Armoured Car Section - Megiddo - Part 4

Next section: 1st Australian Armoured Car Section - The Motor Dash on Aleppo - Part 2


Further Reading:


Australian Light Horse Order of Battle - Outline 

The Australian Light Horse - Structure

Australian Light Horse Order of Battle

Battles where Australians fought, 1899-1920

Citation: 1st Australian Armoured Car Section - The Motor Dash on Aleppo - Part 1

Posted by Project Leader at 12:01 AM EADT
Updated: Monday, 13 April 2009 11:25 PM EADT
605th Machine Gun Company War Diary - 5 to 16 June 1916
Topic: Gm - Bk - 605 MGC

 German 605th Machine Gun Company (MGC)

War Diary, 5 June to 16 June 1916 


605th Machine Gun Company War Diary - 5 to 16 June 1916


The entries



Today Act. Sergt-Major Kura fell sick with malaria and was sent to the sick tent. Till further orders we get our rations as noted yesterday. On account of the great heat we drill from 6-8 a.m., instruction from 9-11 a.m., instruction 3-4 p.m. and drill from 5-6 p.m.


Today Act. Sergt Major Kura was transferred from the sick tent to No. 212 Field Ambulance; dysentery got worse with Pte. Stolz who in consequence was also sent to No. 212 Field Ambulance. Today Pte. Reinhard arrived here with an artillery train and reported to the company the same day. Today we received 27 Turkish soldiers (other ranks including, N.C.O.'s.)


Today (Wednesday) the Turkish soldiers have an afternoon off. Nothing new.


Today drill and instruction. Otherwise, nothing new.


Since our arrival here we got cooked fruit for dinner, and in the evening we bet our strong soup with our meat ration. Today the Turks have a day off.


This morning drill and instruction, and in the afternoon instruction and drill. No change to-day.


Being Whitsuntide we had a holiday.


Early this morning we bad target practice with the Turkish gunlayers, Instruction afterwards, and drill from 4. to 5.30 p.m.


Nothing new to-day.


This morning drill and exercise. The Turkish details have the afternoon off.


Pte. Beuth reported nick with stomach catarrh and was sent to the sick tent. This morning we had 2 hours drill and this evening we had a route march of 4 hours.


To-day the Turkish troops have the day off excepting bathing and washing clothes. The German troops bathed this morning and in the afternoon some fatigues.


Previous Page: 605th Machine Gun Company War Diary - 1 to 4 June 1916

Next Page: 605th Machine Gun Company War Diary - 16 to 24 June 1916


Further Reading:

German 605th Machine Gun Company (MGC) , Contents 

The Battle of Romani

Light Horse Battles

Battles where Australians fought, 1899-1920


Citation: 605th Machine Gun Company War Diary - 5 to 16 June 1916

Posted by Project Leader at 12:01 AM EADT
Updated: Wednesday, 15 April 2009 3:45 PM EADT
Suez Canal Attack, Egypt, Official British History Account, Pt 4
Topic: BatzS - Suez 1915

Suez Canal Attack

Egypt, January 28 - February 3, 1915

 Official British History Account, Pt 4


The following is an extract from:

MacMunn, G., and Falls, C., Military Operations Egypt & Palestine - From the Outbreak of War with Germany to June 1917, London, 1928, pp. 28 -  31.


Chapter II


Egypt was watchful and fairly well informed. The British aeroplanes available were incapable of long flights. [The detachment under Major S. D. Massy, 29th Punjabis, consisted of three Maurice Farmans sent from Avonmouth in November, two Henri Farmans taken over in Egypt, and one B3.E2a which arrived from India in December. The aerodrome was at Ismailia, with a landing ground at Qantara. For long reconnaissances into Sinai it was found necessary to send out troops to prepare temporary landing grounds some miles east of the Suez Canal. The longest flight ever carried out was 176 miles, for which a specially large petrol tank had to be fitted to the machine. This, however, was after the Turkish attack on the Suez Canal.] The French seaplanes, put at Sir J. Maxwell's disposal in November, of which there were seven in the Aenne Rickmers - a captured cargo steamer equipped as a seaplane carrier at Port Said, were better, though far from powerful enough for the work they were called upon to perform. Hard driven Jan, by an energetic commander, Lieutenant de Vaisseau de l'Escaille, they carried out reconnaissance flights which were remarkable, particularly in view of the fact that the forced descent of a seaplane on land meant almost certain death for pilot and observer. [Thus in December Lieutenant de Vaisseau Destrem, with a British officer as observer, on two occasions flew up the Wadi Arabi from Aqaba and strove to surmount the steep range east of the valley, in order to reconnoitre Ma'an, on the Hejaz Railway. The task was beyond the power of the 80 h.p. engine, but attempts were continued by him and others until Sir J. Maxwell ordered them to stop, fearing that they would cost him one of his invaluable pilots. In the same month Lieutenant de Vaisseau Delage took off from the Doris off El Arish, flew over Gaza, then turned south-east to Beersheba. On his return his engine stopped while he was still ten miles from the sea. The wind just carried the seaplane over the water, but it was in a sinking condition when the Doris steamed up from Al Erish (a distance of 35 miles) to its rescue.] From information obtained by them and from the reports of agents it became clear that the attack would not be much longer delayed, and almost certain that it would come through Central Sinai. It was known to the headquarters of the Force in Egypt that a large force, including the 10th, 23rd, and 27th Divisions, was assembled close to the frontier about Beersheba.

On the 11th January it was thought desirable to issue to the Egyptian Press a statement that an attack was imminent, in order that excitement might be, so far as possible, discounted and allayed. Nekhl had by this date been held by a small body of the enemy for more than a week. On the 25th a force, estimated at one regiment, was reported to be marching on Qantara.

The trenches prepared on the west bank had not been occupied till the 22nd, and then only by small detachments. When, on the 26th, Moiya Harab, 25 miles east of the Little Bitter Lake, was reported to be occupied by some 6,000 men, and at the same time, 40 miles to the north-west, the British covering troops exchanged fire in front of Qantara with an enemy who fell back in the afternoon, it was decided to take up the positions for the defence.

Two battalions of the 32nd Indian Brigade were sent to hold the trenches along the west bank from Bench Mark Post, north of Lake Timsah, to Ballah, of which sector Br.-General H. D. Watson was put in command. All along the front the trenches on the west bank were reinforced from local reserves. The New Zealand Infantry Brigade was brought up the same day from Cairo, the Otago and Wellington Battalions being sent to El Kubri in the 1st Sector, while headquarters with the Auckland and Canterbury Regiments detrained at Ismailia, where they were held in reserve. H.M.S. Swiftsure, Clio, Minerva, the armed merchant cruiser Himalaya, and H.M.S. Ocean entered the Canal, taking stations near Qantara, Ballah, Shallufa, Gurkha Post, and Esh Shatt respectively. The French coastguard ship Requin was already in Lake Timsah, where the Canal Company had dredged a berth for her east of the main channel.

Next day (the 27th) the enemy was found to have established himself astride the El Arish-Qantara road, 5 miles east of Qantara, in the 3rd or northern Sector ; while in the early hours of the morning he also approached the Canal in the 1st or southern Sector, making slight attacks on the Baluchistan and Kubri posts. Major-General Wilson appreciated these feints at their proper value and, confident that the main attack would fall on some part of the 2nd Sector, reinforced Serapeum, its central post, by the 2nd Raj puts from Moascar.

Additional warships now entered the Canal, the French cruiser D'Entrecasteaux taking station just north of the Great Bitter Lake and the Proserpine at Port Said. On the 1st February the Royal Indian Marine ship Hardinge took station just south of Lake Timsah and north of Tussum. The ships defending the 2nd Sector were, it will be seen, stationed either at the extremities of the section of the Canal forming it or; in the Requin's case, in Lake Timsah, since from these points only, owing to the height of the eastern bank about Tussum, could they bring oblique fire to bear upon an enemy advancing on that front. The Canal was now closed each night and reopened each morning, so that the interruption to traffic was not serious.

On the 28th aeroplanes located a force of between three and four thousand 8 miles east of Deversoir in the central Sector, which was next day observed to have increased considerably. A reconnaissance by the enemy on the morning of the 28th against the Qantara bridgehead, on the east bank, which reached the barbed wire, resulted in six casualties among the Sepoys of the 14th Sikhs and the 1/6th Gurkhas in the post. The Turks left three dead in front of the wire and dragged away several wounded.

On the 30th January the enemy closed in generally, the greatest concentration being observed east of Bir Habeita, about nine miles east of the Canal at Serapeum. He had been unable to disguise his intentions, and General Wilson awaited the main attack upon the 2nd or central Sector, with sufficient forces deployed upon the Canal and with strong reserves.


Previous Chapter: Suez Canal Attack, Egypt, SYRIA AND SINAI, Official British History Account, Pt 3

Next Chapter: Suez Canal Attack, Egypt, DISPOSITION OF TROOPS IN THE CANAL DEFENCES, Official British History Account, Pt 5


Further Reading:

Suez Canal Attack, Egypt, Contents

Where Australians Fought, Sinai, 1916-1917

Light Horse Battles

Battles where Australians fought, 1899-1920


Citation: Suez Canal Attack, Egypt, Official British History Account, Pt 4

Posted by Project Leader at 12:01 AM EADT
Updated: Sunday, 26 April 2009 11:07 PM EADT
Sunday, 8 March 2009
1st Australian Armoured Car Section - The Motor Dash on Aleppo - Part 2
Topic: AIF - Cars



Part 2


This is a transcription from a manuscript submitted by Captain E.H. James called "The Motor Patrol". It is lodged in the AWM as AWM 224 MSS 209. This is Part 2.


The Motor Dash on Aleppo - Part 2

After this little delay the column pushed on once more and by evening we had reached the village Seraikin where it was decided to stay for the night. Outposts and machine guns are placed around the camp and everyone took their turns at watching through the night. The village of Seraikin contained an aeroplane depot and we surprised the occupants in time to prevent any planes from rising.

When we arrived at Seraikin we were fortunate in being quick enough to prevent the aeroplanes there from taking off and flying to Aleppo with the information of our proximity. We were specially anxious that the enemy should not know what a comparatively insignificant force was advancing against them. The General wished to use the element of surprise to as much advantage as possible. Near the village we discovered a small gun with a calibre of about 1.5 inches. It was mounted on a small folding carriage something like the German maxim gun tripod. There was also a case of shells. These were something after the style of the Pom Poms and would be under one pound in weight. We put the lot into the back of one of the cars and they came in very useful later on. Next morning we made an early start as usual and proceeded north until we came to Khan Tuman. Here the cars suddenly and unexpectedly ran into a small detachment of Turkish Cavalry. There was a sudden burst of fire from the Lewis Guns and a couple of the Cavalry men fell wounded. Some of the Light Cars then made a rush to head off the horsemen from the direction of Aleppo which they succeeded in doing. The officer in charge and a party of his men were surrounded and they surrendered. A few of the remainder galloped off to the west where they got into some rough timbered country where the motors could not penetrate without a lot of trouble. As they were cut off from Aleppo it did not matter very much what happened to them. After this little episode the force pushed on again and were almost in sight of Aleppo before any serious opposition was encountered.

The flying motor force had been particularly fortunate. First of all the enemy motor vehicles had been encountered and exterminated. Next the aeroplanes had been caught before they had time to rise and then the cavalry patrol had been cut off. So the enemy headquarters had practically received no news whatever of what was happening and the surprise was complete. They were evidently very anxious thinking that something was wrong and were nervous. However, on reaching a position within view of the town it could be seen that the place was alive with troops. Trenches had been dug all round the city and the troops could be seen in these through the field glasses. A couple of armoured cars drove down the road towards the city and encountered a storm of rifle and machine gun fire.

Some batteries of Artillery also opened up with shrapnel and H.E. The general then called a halt and collected his small force under the shelter of a friendly hill for a council of war. He then decided to make as much display of force as possible. The armoured cars manoeuvred on the skyline making as much display and dust as possible. Some of the Lewis guns were taken off the light cars which were also driven about in view. The guns were carried along under cover of some stone walls and rocks so as to get within range of the trenches and make as much noise as possible. In the meantime, our "Brave" allies the Arabs apparently began to think something was doing and could smell loot for the began to collect in thousands on the horizon in every direction. In the distance it looked like an army collecting on the doomed prey.

Several hundred of these Arabs mounted on horseback collected in rear of our cars and one of them who was apparently a man of importance after talking with our interpreter began to harangue his followers with the result that they all sprang into the saddle and rode forward up to the motor car column. Apparently this was not enough for their leader for he began to talk and yell at them seriously for about ten minutes or a quarter of an hour which presumably had the effect desired as they all rode forward on to the skyline. Immediately about ten machine guns and a couple of batteries of artillery opened fire. That was enough. The horsemen all turned tail and galloped until they were out of sight to the yells and jeers of the British and Australian onlookers. It was now our turn to make some show and several parties of machine gunners crept forward with their Lewis Guns. We also carried along our captured Pom Pom and sent across all the little shells from various positions at extreme range. Although they did no damage they made plenty of smoke and noise which was what we wanted for it looked to the Turks that we were bringing artillery up. After this the General decided on a bold stroke and resolved to send a demand to the Turkish Commander in chief to surrender. Accordingly in the afternoon Lieut.. McIntyre of No. 7 Light Car Patrol drove into the enemy's lines in a car under a white flag with documents for the Turkish Commander. No shots were fired at the car, but when the Turkish trenches were reached the car was stopped. McIntyre was blindfolded and taken through on foot to an officer who took him to the Turkish Commander who was very courteous. General MacAndrew's ultimatum requested the immediate surrender of all troops’ arms and war material in the town. In return the General promised safe custody and the best treatment given to prisoners of war.

Previous section: 1st Australian Armoured Car Section - The Motor Dash on Aleppo - Part 1

Next section: 1st Australian Armoured Car Section - The Motor Dash on Aleppo - Part 3


Further Reading:


Australian Light Horse Order of Battle - Outline 

The Australian Light Horse - Structure

Australian Light Horse Order of Battle

Battles where Australians fought, 1899-1920


Citation: 1st Australian Armoured Car Section - The Motor Dash on Aleppo - Part 2

Posted by Project Leader at 12:01 AM EADT
Updated: Monday, 13 April 2009 11:26 PM EADT

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