"Battles of the Mounteds"
The Battles of Magdhaba and Rafa 1916 - 1917

The remote Turkish Outpost of Magdhaba prior to the attack by mounted forces in 1916.

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Below a segment taken from the Wellington Mounted Rifles WAR DIARY of December 1916, as written by Bill Meldrum immediately after the attack on Magdhaba.

23rd.     Regiment.  Paraded at 1755 & joined up with BDE who moved off at 1800
  Picked up Rations at a Divisional (Kitchen?)  and moved (moved?) On again at  0130  for Madghaba arriving within about five miles of destination at 0715 where horses were fed and Men had their breakfast.  After a short spell COLUMN moved on two miles where a halt was made for (direction?) purposes and Regiments were given their objectives.
            CMR received orders to attack from the NORTH towards Aladali,  WMR  to attack on CMR’s right, & the? AMR Regt had orders to swing around left flank and come in from N EASTERLY direction.
            At 0900 o/c WMR sent in 2nd and 6th Sqds with four Maxims and three Lewis Guns to the attack.  They advanced across the open flat towards the Enemy’s trenches moving in SW in line of Troop Columns with Screen about 1500 to 1700 Yards in advance.  Both Sqdns moved forward to within

                                                                                                            (page 6)
        [cont] a mile of enemy’s trenches, the Screen in the meantime having advanced to within ⅓ mile of Enemy position.
They were then received with Enemy Artillery from four Mountain Guns & at about 1600 yds here they dismounted, retired horses and advanced on foot.
            In the meantime the Screen advanced steadily right up to the trenches but drawing fire from all along the line they turned and galloped back to cover some 300 yds behind a ridge and then dismounted.
                        The ‘Main Body’ of 2nd & 6th Sqds continued to advance under the support of M G & Lewis Guns fire to within 600 yds of Enemy trenches, here they came under fairly heavy MG & Rifle fire.
At 1100 the 9th Sqdn were bought up to support left flank of 6th Sqdn.  They dismounted under shell fire some 1500 yds of Trenches & sent back the horses.  They advanced steadily under fire to the left of 6th Sqdn.  moving up within 500 yds of trenches.
                        At 1230 a message was sent to BGDE by o/c Regt that he intended moving forward to press the attack & suggesting that the 3rd (?) ALH and C M R should do so simultaneously.
                        At 1240 a message was received from the CMR suggesting we should attack with them.  A reply was sent that we would move forward with (??????) at 1315.

                                                                                                                        (page 7)
Dec                              At about 1315 the 3rd ALH BDE. were seen to be advancing on our
23rd.     left, they joined up at 1330 and the WMR Regt. advanced with them.  Enemy’s fire was steady and persistent but the advance assisted by MG and Lewis Gun fire was kept steadily up.
                                    At 1550 the Enemy under the steady & constant pressure showed signs of breaking up.
                                    At 1555 bayonets were fixed and when at a distance of about 80 yds from the trenches, and saw the white flags go up.  Some of our ‘men’ stood up thinking it was all over, but some Turks on the right opened fire, so the men went down to it again, and for about five minutes, MG,  Lewis Gun & Rifle fire was kept up, when the White Flags were shown along the line in front.
                                    The Turks came out of the trenches without their rifles.  The whole line then moved up, position taken and prisoners secured.  (?In) immediately steps were taken to collect prisoners and search the ground for dead and wounded and word was sent back for horses to be bought up.

                                                                                                            (page 8)
Dec      Bringing in of our wounded to DIV  (receiving? station?) was completed by
23rd.     2130.
                                                Killed                          Wounded
                                                1 Officer (Lt. Harding)
                                                5 Other Ranks 25 Other Ranks
                                    At about 1800 Regiment left battle field for Div rendezvous arriving  about 0645, fed up and had tea.

Copy Follows
Wounded Gallipoli Veteran Falls at Rafa Corporal Charles Rope Waikato Mounted Rifles NZMR
13/432 Corporal Charles Manfred Rope Died of Wounds.
computer colourised image.
On January 9th 1917, Waikato Mounted Rifleman Corporal Charles Rope was seriously wounded during the attack on the Turkish outpost of Rafa. He succumbed to his wounds later that day. Originally buried at El Arish, Charles along with the other men who fell at Rafa were later officially interned in the Kantara War Memorial Cemetery south of Cairo, Egypt.
Seventeen months earlier on Gallipoli, Charles had been wounded during the Anzac charge across no-mans-land to take the heights of Chunuk Bair on the 8th August 1915.

Turkish Map showing the Anzac Mounted attack on Magdabah.