Auckland Mounted Rifles Field Diary (in part for August 1916)
August 3rd 1916
Operation Order by Brig. Gen. Chaytor received at 1700 for Regiment to proceed to DUIEDAR in support of 5th Light Horse on reconnaissance to BIR-NAQID. The Regiment (less 11th Squadron) and one section and NZMR Machine Gun Squadron (lieutenant Hinman) left HILL 70 at 2200 and arrived at DUIEDAR and relieved 5th Light Horse at 2400.
Patrols sent out to HILL 331 and HILL 383 at 0230. Patrols reported “All Clear” at 0430.
Report received from 5th LH Regiment at 0700 that NAGID was clear.
Message received at 0900 from Brigade H.Q. for 2 Squadrons less 2 Troops (4th Squadron) to proceed in direction of CANTERBURY HILL and reinforce Main Body on the way.
Captain Ranstead, Lieutenant Martin 2 troops (4th Squadron) detailed to remain DUIEDAR-QATIA road. The Regiment reinforced the Brigade at 1030. Enemy reported on our right flank at 1100 holding MOUNT ROLSTON.
[Diary continues next page]
Verbal Order received from G.O.C. for the 3rd Squadron to advance on ROYSTON with CMR on the left flank and Yeomanry on right.
2 troops of 4th Squadron and Machine Gun Section (under Lieutenant Hinman) under the command of Major McCarroll went up in support of 3rd Squadron at 1300. On arrival of support, steady advance made. Order – Signal message received from G.O.C. force that a general attack would be made on the enemy position at 1445.
1700 The enemy put up a number of white flags and 3 Officers and 150 Other/Ranks surrendered. MOUNT ROYSTON taken at 1730 and by 1830 practically a whole Turkish Force in the vicinity of ROYSTON surrendered, Approximately 1000 prisoners, rifles, quantity of ammunition and 4 Mountain Guns were captured by CMR, Yeomanry and AMR.
Orders to withdraw received at 1900 and rendezvous at PELUSIUM. On arrival of Infantry of 52nd Division. Arrived at PELUSIUM 2100.
Casualties: KIA: 2 O/R 3rd Squadron
Wounded: 4 O/R 3rd Squadron
Wounded: 2 O/R 4th Squadron.
5th August: PELUSIUM. The Regiment moved out from PELUSIUM with the Brigade at 0600 and furnished all protection on the march.
Arrived BIR EN NUSS 0730, where the 11th Squadron (less 1 Troop) and 2 Troops of the 4th Squadron rejoined the Regiment. Report by the O.C. 11th Squadron received at 0800 that 2/Lieut Allsop and 7 O/Rs were missing from Outpost at ABU RAML on the night of the 3rd Aug and believed to be prisoners of war.
The Regiment left NUSS with the Brigade at 1030 in the direction of QATIA. Verbal attack orders at 1400 to attack the S.W. corner of the Hod with the 3rd Light Horse on left flank, C.M.R. in reserve. The attack commenced at 1430, and as the 3rd L.H. Brigade did not come come up on our right. CMR Regiment took the right flank. The fighting throughout the afternoon and at 1800 the 11th Squadron were withdrawn from the position held by the Regiment and sent to the right flank to reinforce the C.M.R.. Orders to withdraw received by the G.O.C. Force at 1900 and rendezvous at a point 2 miles W on the QATIA - DUIEDAR ROAD. Lieutenant Johnson and 12 men (3rd Squadron) remained at QATIA as listening post. On arrival at the rendezvous point the Brigade moved back to KATIB GANNIT arrived at 2330 and bivouacked for the night.
Casualties: Wounded in Action.
2/Lt T Dale-Taylor
2 O/Rs 3rd Squadron
4 O/Rs 11th Squadron
Lieutenant O.P. Johnson promoted to Captain, vice Captain J.J. Raynes seconded dated 27-6-16.
Captain J.J. Raynes returned to New Zealand on duty and to SECONDED dated 27-6-16.
Captain O.P. Johnson posted to NZMR Training Regiment and seconded 27-6-16.
2/Lieutenant W.H. Coates returned from Hospital dated 4-8-16.
[…end of excerpt from AMR War Diary 5th August – Diary continues on 6th August 1916, see archive.]
NOTE DATES 6th & 7th to be Transcribed
8th August 1916
RABAH Regiment [AMR] moved out with Brigade at 0430 and moved right onto OGHRATINA – the enemy having retired during the night.
Patrols were sent forward and got into touch with the enemy patrols at DEBABIS.
Regiment left OGHRATINA with the Brigade at 1115 and arrived at DEBABIS at 1330 and bivouacked for the night. Enemy patrols pushed in, reports received that they were holding BIR EL ABD in force – No Casualties.
Message (written on board) found at OGHRATINA cordially written by a German Artillery Officer or N.C.O. stating that 2nd Lieutenant Allsopp was a prisoner of war.
[Note: a longer version of this message written sideways into the margin of the War Diary and states:]
|Copy of Message found at OGHRATINA written on a board – “Here was a German Artillerie Obserwation Poste and had seen all the movements of the English Cavalarie – Lieut Allsopp A.M. Rifles now a Prisoner of War – a Gentleman – had eaten in our Batterie. Dates 5/6 VIII.16.”
Operation order by Brigadier General Chaytor issued at 1700. The intention of G.O.C. being to attack BIR EL ABD at 0630 on the 9th instant with 3rd Brigade on the right flank and the 2nd Brigade on left.
9th August 1916
DEBABIS Regiment moved out of DEBABIS with the Brigade at 0430 and furnished the Advance Guard to the Brigade.
Lieutenant Coates and Reid being sent out as Advance Patrols.
Patrols and Advance Screen got into touch with the enemy ay 0515.
Orders received at 0545 from G.O.C. for Regiment to withdraw the Advance Screen and attack BIR EL ABD on the South Telegraph line at 0630 and that the 3rd Brigade would support on the right flank.
3rd Squadron [AMR] on the left and 2 troops of the 11th Squadron [NAMR] and one section of Machine Guns under Lieutenant McCarroll on the right commenced to advance at 0620.
One section of Machine Guns under Lieutenant Hinman covered the 3rd Squadron’s advance.
Reports received at 0645 that the enemy were bringing up large reinforcements over the long ridge S.E. of BIR EL ABD and the Regiment was compelled to extend its front on the right as the 3rd Brigade [ALH] had not yet arrived.
At 0700 Major McCarroll went on
[Note: new page in diary reference 640 5]
to command the right of the sector held by the Regiment and also took up 2 Troops (4th Squadron [Waikato]) in support.
The C.M.R. [Canterburys] who were on the left and the Regiment made steady advance and the enemy were pushed back.
At 0900 our right flank was reinforced with one Squadron of the 5th Light Horse as the 3rd Brigade [Light Horse] had not arrived.
Steady advances were made both by the C.M.R. and the left flank and at 1100 we held a line running S.E. and N.W. across Telegraph line. At 1120 CMR and 2 Troops 3rd Squadron on the left were compelled to retire on account of heavy enfilade fire and we were compelled to withdraw to the left flank back to the Telegraph line which left us with two exposed flanks as the 3rd Brigade had not yet been reported. The enemy attacked our position strongly at 1145 but we were able to hold them with reinforcements [that] arrived at 1200 (2 troops Warwick Yeomanry, 1 Troop 5th Light Horse and one section W.M.R. [Wellington] Machine Guns).
Further reinforcements arrived at 1430 and were sent out to reinforce the right flank as the 5th Light Horse on the extreme right flank reported the enemy were advancing in force on the ridge held by them.
Report received by Major McCarroll at 1350 that 2 Troop of 3rd Brigade had been seen within a 1000 yards of our right flank at 1200 but they had since disappeared. At 1500 we were holding the enemy well. At 1615 orders were received orders from G.O.C. to withdraw to a position 1000yards W on line running North and South over Telegraph line.
Major McCarroll took charge of the withdrawal on the right flank of the sector and on receipt of his report at 1800 that the right flank had started to withdraw the Warwick Yeomanry and the 5th Light Horse troops were withdrawn on the left flank followed by the WMR Machine Gun section and then the 3rd and 4th Squadrons.
At 1830 the whole of the Regiment including all troops that had been sent up to reinforce had been successfully withdrawn.
[Note: new page reference 640 6 ]
9th August (continued)
with few casualties, considering the way the enemy advanced when they saw the withdrawal taking place and the exceptionally heavy rifle and machine gun fire which was brought to bear on us.
Lieutenant Hinman and his section of Machine Guns did very good work in covering the retirement from the left flank, as did Lieutenant McCarroll with his Machine Gun section in covering the retirement on the right flank. The final withdrawal was delayed on account of shortage in sand carts for evacuating the wounded, but the latter were all successfully got out before the withdrawal actually started.
The Brigade rendezvoused at DEBABIS and when all units were reported present at 1930 – the Brigade moved back to OGHRATINA and bivouacked for the night.
Casualties – Killed in Action: Captain O. Johnson.
Wounded in Action: Captain Aldred, 2nd Lieutenant A.M. Martin
Killed in Action: (3rd Squadron) 4 O/R [Ordinary Ranks]
Killed in Action: (4th Squadron) 6 O/R
Wounded in Action: (3rd Squadron) 10 O/R
Wounded in Action: (4th Squadron) 7 O/R
Wounded in Action: (11th Squadron) 2 O/R
[Diary then continues onto 10th August 1916].