"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
The Australian Light Horse Studies Centre aims to present an accurate history as chroniclers of early Australian military developments from 1899 to 1920.
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Saturday, 21 July 2012
Australian Service Personnel, Photograph Albums, The Knapsack Bible, Album Contents Topic: AAC-Photo Albums
Australian Service Personnel
The Knapsack Bible, Album Contents
A Knapsack Bible with a bullet hole
The "Knapsack Bible" was a popular gift for soldiers for use in South Africa 1899-1900. It was bound in Khaki and sold for 2/6d and was sent to the specific trooper by book post for 3d. Three Bibles are displayed in this collection.
During the Great War, 2450 Private James Benjamin COWAN received a Knapsack Bible from his mother. This Bible was originally sent to South Africa with 56 Trooper Peter Bruce RANKINE, who served with the 2nd South Australian Mounted Rifles. This is the Bible upon which most of the album bases its material.
Two other Knapsack Bibles are displayed to illustrate the widespread nature of the book. One was distributed by JH Angas and the other was sent to Trooper T Richardson of the Imperial Yeomanry
Australian Service Personnel, Photograph Albums, Reverend Merrington's Gallipoli Diaries, Album Contents Topic: AAC-Photo Albums
Australian Service Personnel
Reverend Merrington's Gallipoli Diaries, Album Contents
Ernest Northcroft MERRINGTON
Ernest Northcroft MERRINGTON, 38 year old Presbyterian Clergyman of the St Andrews Presbyterian Church, Creek Street, Brisbane, Queensland and married to Flora Merrington, of 'Northcroft', Crowther Street, Hillend, Sth, Brisbane, Queensland. He enlisted on 8 September 1914 as a Chaplain (Class 1) in the Chaplains' Corps.
During the Gallipoli Campaign, Merrington maintained a diary which after the war, he had transcribed and sent to Dr CEW Bean as additional information regarding this particular history.
This transcribed diary and a series of collectables and photographs form part of this album. Each diary page is posted twice, the first post being a full sized document while the second is of smaller size noted with an "s" at the end of the link.
Jordan Valley 1918, The Battle of Abu Tellul, Palestine, 14 July 1918, Outline Topic: BatzJ - Abu Tellul
Jordan Valley 1918
The Battle of Abu Tellul, Palestine, 14 July 1918
Map highlighting the troop movements during The Battle of Abu Tellul, Palestine, 14 July 1918
[Click on map for enlarged version.]
Abu Tellul, a prominent hill on the west bank of the Jordan River in Palestine, was the scene of a strong attack upon Australian outposts on the night of 14 JuIy 1918. The height, and another called Musallabeh immediately north of it, formed a crucial bastion at the junction of the British defensive line running both west and south from here along the Jordan Valley Covering this important ground was a line of posts which were either dug or built up with stone sangars, and protected by curtains of barbed wire; these were situated 400-1,000 metres apart, and often separated by ravines. An attack was fully anticipated, and it was also recognised that when such an attempt was made the position might for a time be surrounded and isolated. The Australian light horsemen who held it - men of the 1st Brigade commanded by Brig. General Charles Cox - were, however, confident of their ability to hold out in such circumstances.
When the attack came at about 3.30 a.m., following a heavy artillery barrage, it was spearheaded by two battalions of the German Asia Corps (about 1,000 men) ahead of three Turkish regiments. Although one of the posts quickly became untenable and was abandoned under heavy pressure, elsewhere the Australians held firm and when ground was lost - as at Musallabeh for a time-made spirited counter-attacks. Sunrise revealed all the posts now isolated and under repeated assault by waves of enemy infantry, but with the defenders unwavering in their resistance. The position became critical once the Germans, having penetrated the outpost line, began climbing Abu Tellul's slopes. In savage fighting, which took place in temperatures already exceeding 38°C in the shade at 7 a.m., they succeeded in overwhelming one group of defenders, and reduced another to just three unwounded men.
The barren heights of Abu Tellul in the Jordan Valley.
At this juncture, however, Cox's reserve regiment counter-attacked with the bayonet, catching the Germans off balance and chasing them down into the valley between the two main ridge lines. Here the retreating enemy were caught in crossfire from the outposts they had bypassed and were effectively trapped. A similar bayonet charge at about 8 a.m. on a feature between the two heights met with equal success, and by 9 a.m. the enemy had been pushed back out beyond the outpost line and the situation restored.
The attack cost the enemy at least 105 dead and 45 wounded (these being found within the Australian-held ground), and as well 425 prisoners were taken; 358 of the latter were Germans. This was, in fact, the only time in which the Asia Corps was known to have carried the primary role in an attack, or - as the Official History puts it – the German infantry was used as 'stormtroops' in Palestine. As well, 41 machine-guns were taken from the enemy as a result of the action. Australian losses amounted to 31 killed and 46 wounded.
Germans captured at Abu Tellul marched through the Jordan Valley.
Extracted from the book produced by Chris Coulthard-Clark, Where Australians Fought - The Encyclopaedia of Australia's Battles, Allen and Unwin, Sydney, 1998, pp. 149-150.
Additional References cited by Chris Coulthard-Clark:
H.S. Gullett (1944) The Australian Imperial Force in Sinai and Palestine, Sydney: Angus & Robertson.
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