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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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Saturday, 1 August 2009
The Volunteer Movement in Western Australia, 1st Battalion W.A. Volunteers
Topic: Militia - LHW - WA

Western Australian Militia

1st Battalion W.A. Volunteers


The following is an extract from the book written in 1962 by George F. Wieck called The Volunteer Movement in Western Australia 1861-1903, pp. 41 – 42:

1st Battalion W.A. Volunteers

The Infantry corps at Perth, Fremantle, and Guildford being completely independent of each other, and having a one-company organization, it followed that training would never be advanced beyond Company level. The Military Commandant was aware of the limitations and accordingly, in 1874 created a temporary training body designated the 1st Battalion W.A. Volunteers embracing the abovementioned corps with himself as Commander.

This organization had no administrative entity: it was designed to extend the field training of officers and men to battalion level and to that end special parades were held. It was an excellent idea for, apart from the purpose of the exercises, inter-corps rivalry caused more vim to be imparted to the home training in preparation. When assembled on parade two or more equal Companies would be formed, corps taking turns to be broken up for that purpose.

This organization answered the purpose of the Military Commandant until 1899 when the formation of the 1st Infantry Regiment rendered it unnecessary.


Previous:  Guildford Rifle Volunteers 

Next: Geraldton Rifle Volunteers


Further Reading:

Western Australian Militia, Light Horse

Western Australian Militia, Infantry


Citation: The Volunteer Movement in Western Australia, 1st Battalion W.A. Volunteers

Posted by Project Leader at 12:01 AM EADT
Updated: Friday, 4 September 2009 10:47 PM EADT
Surafend, the massacre, Palestine, 10 December 1918, Fotheringham Account
Topic: BatzP - Surafend

Surafend, the massacre

Palestine, 10 December 1918

Fotheringham Account


Sergeant Harold Alexander Fotheringham's account of his actions

The following account by 1054 Sergeant Harold Alexander FOTHERINGHAM, 6th LHR, details events he witnessed during the day leading up to the events at Surafend.

About 1500 on the 10th December 1918, I saw a NZ Soldier near the farriers forges. There several of our farriers were there. The New Zealander said to me: "We are going to raid the village at daylight tomorrow - let any of the men know it's on and if they care to join us they can." I then walked away to my own lines. The New Zealand soldier who visited the 6th LH Lines at 1500 on December 10th wore red and white colours on the puggaree of his hat.

Between 1800 and 1830, I saw another NZ Soldier in the lines of "C" Troop, "A" Squadron. He was mounted and speaking to some men in the end bivvy. I overheard him say - "We've altered the time of the raid and it's going to take place in about an hours time." (I do not think he was the samde man who was in the lines at 1500.) I did not hear any reply from any men. I went to the latrine and he was still there when I returned. I then wsent to my bivvy and did not see him again.

The next thing I know of the matter was when the raid started. I heard a number of men in the lines talking about it and apparently watching the raid.

A short time afterwards an order came down to "Stand to".


Further Reading:


Battles where Australians fought, 1899-1920


Citation: Surafend, the massacre, Palestine, 10 December 1918, Fotheringham Account

Posted by Project Leader at 12:01 AM EADT
Updated: Wednesday, 20 January 2010 1:37 PM EAST
The Nek Gallipoli, 7 August 1915, Trench Map
Topic: BatzG - Nek

The Nek

Gallipoli, 7 August 1915

Trench Map


Trench Map illustrating the trench systems at Russell's Top and Pope's prior to the August Offensive, 1915.

[Click on map for larger version.]


In attempting to understand the complexity of the planning involved in producing the August Offensive at Gallipoli in 1915, accurate maps of the trench systems were at a premium. This map was produced by the M.E.F. Headquarters in the weeks prior to the attack. All references to trench systems in plans or War Diaries relate specifically to this specific map. Thus this map becomes an essential companion in understanding all the references given for this particular region.


Further Reading:

The Nek, Gallipoli, 7 August 1915

Roll of Honour, Australian, British and Turkish 

Gallipoli Campaign

Battles where Australians fought, 1899-1919


Citation: The Nek  Gallipoli, 7 August 1915, Trench Map

Posted by Project Leader at 12:01 AM EADT
Updated: Friday, 6 August 2010 5:00 PM EADT
The Battle of Beersheba, Palestine, 31 October 1917, 20th Corps, War Diary Account
Topic: AIF - DMC - British

The Battle of Beersheba

Palestine, 31 October 1917

20th Corps, War Diary Account


War Diary account of the 20th Corps.


The follow is an extract from the 20th Corps War Diary regarding the Battle of Beersheba.

31 October 1917

0310 - T13. Advanced 20 Corps to GHQ - Inner Infantry Brigades 60th and 74th Divisions in touch and reached line of deployment. Desultory rifle fire, slight shelling:- 53rd Division reached all required positions.

0455 - T15. Advanced 20 Corps to 10th Division - 2/4th Devons will move from Kantara to Shellal about 1 November and be at the disposal of Defences El Arish for protection of Karm, Imara and Shellal.

0600 - T16. Advanced 20 Corps to GHQ etc. - Situation report - All troops of all divisions in position according to plan without incident. Patrol 53rd Division attempted to cut telephone wires from Saba to Sheria but unable owing to rifle fire. Patrol reached point within 400 yards of railway about W.32.c. central. Country traversed is passable for all arms.

0710 - T18. Advanced 20 Corps to 74th Division. Camel Brigade report 0600 situation normal, nothing to report. Instruct Camel Brigade to report normally through you.

0750 - T19. Advanced 20 Corps to 53rd Division. 60th Division reports dust quite obscured observation for wire-cutting, batteries ceasing fire till air clears - report timed 0707.

0830 - T20. Advanced 20 Corps to 10th Division. - 7th Mounted Brigade occupied Point 1210 to Goz el Naam at 0540. Anzac Division occupied line Goz el Shegeib to Bir Araba without opposition at 0200.

0840 - T22. Advanced 20 Corps to GHQ. Left Brigade. 60th Division were within 500 yards of advanced works in H.29.c. and H.35. and intense bombardment on this objective began at 0830.

0940 - T23. Advanced 20 Corps to GHQ etc. 60th Division report 181st Brigade captured enemy works from Z.19. to Z.16. inclusive at 0845 approximately. Guns now moving forward. Enemy shelling light.

1115 (About) - T27. Advance 20 Corps to GHQ etc. 60th Division gained objectives in first stage, namely advanced works in H.29.c and H.35. at 0840. Now bombarding enemy's line for attack of 2nd stage. 74th Division report that at 1045 General Officer Commanding 74th Division saw enemy body of 300 or 400  strong moving from behind trench line about el Abreij in a North North East direction as if heading for Point 910, 2 miles out of Beersheba on Beersheba - Gaza road. We shall attack enemy's main line of trenches at 1215 with 60th and 74th Divisions. Our airmen report seeing bodies of enemy moving from Beersheba along Khalassa road and thence east towards Ras Hablein.

1230 - T29. Advanced 20 Corps to 74th Division. Camels of Imperial Camel Corps Brigade may be moved forward as far as dividing line between squares T.27 and T.28 provided they move in small parties, and are screened from view on arrival.

1355 - T31. Advanced 20 Corps to GHQ and 53rd Division. 60th Division has captured all objectives. 74th Division believed to have captured most objectives.

1435 - T35. Advanced 20 Corps to 10th Division. Your Brigade Group at Shellal less 2 Battalions on fantass duty will move at once to Goz el Basal. Report arrival.

1615 - T38. Advanced 20 Corps to 60th Division. Descorps wire begins. "Advance has been delayed as Tel el Saba has only just been captured. Have ordered whole Corps to advance on line originally laid down, including 7th Mounted Brigade, which has been ordered to move north and come under orders of Australian Mounted Division." ends. Message timed 1520.

1815 - T44. Advanced 20 Corps to GHQ etc. Situation report 60th Division concentration east of Red Line with outposts on Blue Line and Corps Cavalry Regiment on right flank. 74th Division are attacking works to north of Wadi Saba at 1900. 53rd Division with one Brigade, 10th Division on old line. Remainder of 10th Division at Goz el Basal.

1845 - T47. Advanced 20 Corps to 4 Divisions. - 2nd Anzac Brigade have reached Wadi Itmy and are attacking to the North. Remainder o f Anzac Mounted Division plus Australian Mounted Division having taken Tel el Saba are now advancing on 3rd objective. Australian Mounted Division less 2 Brigades plus 7th Mounted Brigade have been ordered to attack Beersheba. Objective western edge of village. One Australian Division in reserve.

2100 - T53. Advanced 20 Corps to 60th Division - GHQ report situation at 1800. So far as can be seen Anzac Mounted Division hold a line from "K" in Sakaty - 1040 - 960. Australian Mounted Division have one Brigade holding a line about 1200 yards south east of Beersheba. 5th and 7th Mounted Brigades support this Brigade and whole Corps has been ordered to gain possession of the third objective tonight. 4th Australian Light Horse Brigade reported in Beersheba 2050.

2128 - T54. Advanced 20 Corps to 4 Divisions. Descorps report Beersheba occupied at 1940 by 4th Light Horse Brigade and estimate their captures to include 250 prisoners, 9 field guns, and 1 machine gun. Water reported plentiful in Beersheba.

2145 - T55. Advanced 20th Corps to Deputy Assistant Quartermaster General, 20th Corps. Be prepared to feed and water 53rd Division on the ridge Towal abu Jerwal to "T" of Arab el Teiaha, and if necessary, 74th Division on line 920 - 900 - 870, north of Bir Saba.

2255 - T63. Advanced 20 Corps to GHQ. 74th Division reported 2125 all objectives reached north of Wadi Saba, no opposition. 60th Division reported 1930 fire in Beersheba near mosque. Big explosion east of town.

2210 - T56. Advanced 20 Corps to 4 Divisions etc. 266th Brigade Royal Field Artillery, Imperial Camel Corps Brigade and the 2 Battalions 55th Division hitherto attached to Smith's Group will revert to command of 53rd Division at 2400 tonight, October 31. 53rd Division less one Brigade and Imperial Camel Corps Brigade under command of the General Officer Commanding 53rd Division will advance at 0530 tomorrow to seize high ground north of Beersheba. Objective ridge running west from Towal abu Jerwal towards the "T" in Arab el Teiaha, Imperial Camel Corps Brigade to be placed on right of infantry of 53rd Division to gain touch with Desert Mounted Corps. - 10th Division will take over front from Gaza - Beersheba road south of Irgeig to Point 550 wast of El Girheir exclusive, relieving present left Brigade of 53rd by 6 a.m. tomorrow, November 1, thus freeing this Brigade of 53rd Division to follow remainder of Division. - Yeomanry Mounted Division takes over from 550 east of el Girheir through 510 on Abu Shawish road to Hiseia all inclusive by 6 a.m. November 1. Heavy artillery attached 53rd Division will revert at 6 a.m. tomorrow, November 1, to command of the General Officer Commanding Heavy Artillery Group and batteries of 96th Heavy Artillery Group will be in new positions to bombard the Kauwuka group works by 3 p.m. tomorrow, November 1st. Acknowledge.

2225 - T57. Advanced 20 Corps to 60 and 74th Divisions.  60 and 74th Divisions will be responsible for clearance of battlefield tomorrow beginning at dawn. War material to be collected, dead to be counted and buried, and enemy gun positions searched. 60th Division to be responsible for works south of Wadi Saba, 74th Division north of Wadi Saba. Both divisions to be prepared to leave this work, assemble and move at an hour's notice. 60th Division will send one Squadron Corps Cavalry Regiment into Beersheba tomorrow morning, Squadron to be at point where Fara Saba road crosses enemy works at 0600, and to gain touch with Desert Mounted Corps. Officer Commanding Signals will have motor Cyclists at same point to accompany squadron commander into Beersheba.
Further Reading:
The British Army

The Battle of Beersheba, Palestine, 31 October 1917

Battles where Australians fought, 1899-1920

Citation: The Battle of Beersheba, Palestine, 31 October 1917, 20th Corps, War Diary Account

Posted by Project Leader at 12:01 AM EADT
Updated: Saturday, 3 October 2009 6:47 PM EADT
Romani and Bir el Abd, Falls Account, The Evacuation of the Wounded
Topic: BatzS - Bir el Abd

Romani and Bir el Abd

Sinai, 4 - 9 August 1916

Falls Account, The Evacuation of the Wounded


The Battle of Romani, 4-6 August  and Bir el Abd, 9 August 1916

[Click on map for larger version]

[From: Military operations: Egypt and Palestine, Sketch 10 facing p. 178.]


As part of the Official British War History of the Great War, Captain Cyril Falls and Lieutenant General George MacMunn were commissioned to produce a commentary on the Sinai, Palestine and Syrian operations that took place. In 1928, their finished work, Military Operations, Egypt and Palestine - From the outbreak of war with Germany to June 1917,  was published in London. Their book included a section specifically related to the battle of Romani and is extracted below.

MacMunn, G. & Falls, C., Military operations: Egypt and Palestine, (London 1930), p. 203:


Part 10. The Evacuation of the Wounded.

The evacuation of the wounded in a terrain such as Sinai was of very great difficulty. Neither motor ambulances nor horsed ambulances could be employed. At the period of the Battle of Romani no ambulance trains had yet been taken across the Canal, so that the evacuation of wounded from Romani, and from Mahamdiyah on the light coast railway, had to be carried out on open trucks. However, the distance which wounded had to be carried by rail was comparatively short, since No. 31 General Hospital was in the Canal Works on the east bank at Port Said, and No. 26 Casualty Clearing Station also east of the Canal, at Qantara East, the starting point of the desert railway.

The majority of the wounded and the only cases that caused difficulty were from the A. & N.Z. Mounted Division. The division had four mounted field ambulances: the New Zealand, and 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Australian Light Horse Field Ambulances. Prior to the battle mobile sections of each of these were organized with eight sand-carts (a two-wheeled cart with an awning) and a number of camel cacolets. Camel cacolets were of two kinds: a small collapsible chair for sitting cases, and a sort of bed for lying cases. Both were carried slung to a camel, one each side. Sand-sledges, which the Australian troops, it is claimed by their official historian, were the first to use, were also employed. [See: Sand Cart Plans and Description .] The tent divisions were immobile and remained in positions further back as main dressing stations. The camel transport was found unsuitable in front of these main dressing stations, and sand-carts and sledges were chiefly employed between them and the advanced stations near the firing line. The wounded suffered very severely during their transport to Qantara in the intense heat.


Previous: The State of The Royal Flying Corps in Egypt at the time of the Battle of Romani

Next: Bir el Abd, Sinai, 9 August 1916


Further Reading:

Battle of Romani, Sinai, August 4 to 5, 1916

Bir el Abd, Sinai, 9 August 1916

Battles where Australians fought, 1899-1920


Citation: Romani and Bir el Abd, Falls Account, The Evacuation of the Wounded

Posted by Project Leader at 12:01 AM EADT
Updated: Monday, 7 September 2009 6:00 PM EADT

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