Copied From the Australian
War Museum scanned PDF File AWM 35/5/14
Zealand Mounted Rifles. War Dairy for W.M.R. AUGUST 1916
Transcribed to text by Gordon Sylvester NZMRA - September 2011
Transcribers notes: entries of question marks (??) are undecipered script.
War Diaries WMR
Pagination starts with cover page as No. 1 in each file
Wellington Mounted Rifles
ANZAC MOUNTED Division
Aug 1st. Regiment paraded at 0220 and moved to starting point.
Brigade moved off at 0230 arriving Bivouac 0330. Left Bivouac for QATIA at 0400 arriving 0545.
Shortly after leaving Bivouac two troops of 6th SQD under Capt. Bax left on Patrol to Hill 110. Immediately on arrival at QATIA Lt. Grant proceeded with two troops of 9th SQD to patrol towards UM UGBA and took up a position some 200 yards west of HOD. Lt. Herrick took out the Lewis Guns to give Patrol any support required.
At 0825 Hill 110 reported 12 Turks two miles to their East and a further 21 one mile East South East. Two sections from this Patrol reported to HQ at QATIA found all clear between 110 and QATIA and then returned to EASTERN end of HOD ER RABAH where they remained until relieved.
Reliefs were sent out at 1000 to UGBA and Hill 110 except for some brisk sniping during afternoon on the part of the Enemy nothing occurred of note during remainder of day. Brigade left for Camp at 0700 arriving 2110.
Aug 3rd Regiment paraded at 0215 and took up their position as Advance Guard to the Brigade at 0230. Brigade marched to Bivouac moving off from again for QATIA at 0400.
9th SQD provided SCREEN and 2nd SQD two troops as RIGHT FLANK GUARD. On approaching QATIA the screen came under a heavy fire from both Machine Guns and Rifles, and it was evident the HOD was strongly held. The Screen returned to a suitable position immediately dismounted.
The Left Flank Guard also came under a heavy fire and had to retire to a good fire position.
Other movement The right flank was quieter and although there was continuous movement on this flank all day very little eventuated and practically no firing was done.
The Enemy could be seen digging in on Ridge NORTH and East of QATIA.
The Turks sniped continuously at long range but no one was hit. But several horses were killed by ‘dropping’ fire, otherwise it was a quiet day and the REGIMENT withdrew at 1700 joining BRIGADE at Bivouac at 2030, watered horses on way in arrived back shortly after 2115.
Aug 4th. Word having been received that the Turks were attacking, Regiment moved out from CAMP At 0400 and took up a position as BDE reserve below the NORTHERN Slope of WELLINGTON RIDGE.
The 6th and 7th Regiments in the meantime had reoccupied WELLINGTON RIDGE down to the HOD.
The TURKS having driven in 1st ALH BDE who retired back through our lines, Regiment was ordered to take up a position in No. 2 Outpost and Ridge in front of No. 1 Outpost in order to cover retirement of 6th & 7th Regiments. The Turks still advancing in force 6th & 7th Regt fell back on position on Ridge in continuation of our right running South West.
Two Regiments of 1st ALH BDE were caught up to support 6th & 7th Regiment on our right and owing to the combined effect of the Machine Gun and Rifle fire together with that of the Artillery the Turks advance were held up.
Sniping on both sides with Rifles and Machine Gun was continued throughout the day but all our portion was held.
Aug. 4th. Between 1600 and 1700 a Company of Scottish Light Inf. Came in on our Right replacing 7th ALH who moved further to the Right. We held our position during the night and received orders for a counter attack to be ????? at 0400 next morning.
Casualties :- Maj. Batchelar A. H. 2nd Lieut. Cruickshank J. B.
Capt. Scott J. D. 2nd. Lieut. Holland A.
Lieut. North P. J. (5 Officers & 19 Other Ranks)
5th. At 0400 Regiment fixed bayonets and stormed up WELLINGTON RIDGE with 7th ALH on our right and supported on our left by the Royal Welsh Fusiliers.
Rushing up with me????????? dash they broke through Turkish? front line pressing forward from Ridge to Ridge absolutely ??????????? the Turkish troops who surrendered in hundreds.
Collecting the Regiment together and ordering up the Lead horses Col. Meldrum remounted the Regiment and at once followed up the retreating Turks towards QATIA. Passing on the North of Mt Meredith. Regiment pressed forward over the Ridge and came down into a position three miles
Aug 5th. East South East of Mt Meredith and six hundred yards North West of BIR MARAIEH where we were held up by a Mountain Battery and Heavy Machine Gun and Rifle fire.
As the Turkish Rearguard appeared to be in strength at BIR MARAIEH and to the Southeast of QATIA Oasis we took up, at 0400, a position for Defense commanding BIR MARAIEH posting six machine guns in position with the intention of watching the Turkish rear until sufficient supports came up for us to make an attack.
Here we remained until 0900 closely observing Turkish movements and communicating them back to BDE. HQ. In the meantime Patrols were sent out to our right to observe Turkish movements pick up prisoners etc. One of these patrols under Lt. Allison capturing a Turkish Ambulance and eighty camels and their drivers, also an Ammunition supply while it was close by Ambulance. A quarter of an hour after capture had been affected a Troop of 7th ALH REGT arrived on the scene and assisted in rounding up some of the Camels who had broken away.
At 0900 I received an urgent appeal for assistance from the C. R. A. Who reported that he was two miles EAST of KAT IB GANIT and was being attacked from the North East by Turks. Two Squadrons at once moved to the assistance of the Artillery
At 1000 Col. Meldrum assumed command of 3? ALH BDE. vice Capt. Royston wounded, and Maj. SPRAGG took over command of Regiments.
Until 1400 the two squadrons were in a position defending Artillery. Remainder of Regiment remained support.
At 1230 orders were received that BDE in conjunction with remainder of ANZAC MOUNTED DIVISION were to attack QATIA.
WELLINGTON REGIMENT during the advance on QATIA were on left of the advance with 6th. ALH on their right and 7th ALH in support.
At 1415 advance began the Regiment being allotted the NORTHERN END of QATIA OASIS as its objective. The whole line moved forward until the Regt on the extreme left was within seven to eight hundred yards of OASIS and on the edge of the HOD?. Lacking in cover [unreadable] (it was better off to a)dvance was hung up owing to heavy Machine Gun and rifle fire of the Turks who had extended along inner? edge of Oasis. A uniform fire was kept up by Machine Guns, Lewis Guns and Rifles and much damage inflicted on those? who would be moving about the Oasis.
The enemy was well supported by artillery at least the guns being used, ten shells often bursting simultaneously, but owing to the skilful use made by the men of cover for themselves and their horses casualties were not uncommon.
A constant pressure was kept on the Turks until dusk when a withdrawal was effected. The wounded were all evacuated and the Regiment returned to camp for water and supplies.
Capt. Wood D .H. (N.Z.M.C.) (attached Regt.)
Other Ranks 9.
Aug 6th A quiet day every advantage taken to spell horses and men. 9th SQD detailed one troop to Escort Camels with supplies from ROMANI to HAMISAH.
Aug 7th. Another quiet day Lt. Williams (I/C Camel Escort) arrived back at about 2000.
Aug 8th. Regiment paraded at 1445 and moved to ‘starting’ point.
The 1st and2nd BDE joined up here and marched to QATIA. Arriving at 1700.
We watered and fed up here.
Column left QATIA at 2300 with orders to go by NORTHERLY route to HISHA and from there to cut in between BIR el ABD and SALMANA with a view to cutting off any Turks in BIR el ABD.
On arriving at KHIRBA shortly after midnight of the 8th Column marched for 2¼ miles on a bearing of 22 ½0 and then on a bearing of 800.
Immediately on arrival at high ground some 2½ to 3 miles North West of HOD HISHA, an enemy big gun fired several shots at us. The 1st BDE occupied the high ground to the north and 2 ALH occupied ground on their right, shortly afterwards gaining touch with N.Z.M.R BRIGADE to? acting further to the South.
The Regiment dismounted behind a high sand hill and awaited orders. After remaining here for half an hour we were ordered to move forward on foot and occupy a high ridge about half a mile further South. This we did without any loss.
From here no more Turks could be seen moving about on a sand ridge about 1000 to 1500 yards to our left front. They did a good deal of sniping when first arrived, but superiority of fire was soon proved by us.
In accordance with orders received during morning REGIMENT moved forward to take left front, moving in extended order. 2nd SQD on the left and 9th on the right and 6th SQD in support. The Ridge was taken with little opposition the enemy
9th withdrawing along the flat towards HOD HISHA. The 7th Regt acting in conjunction with our attack gave us good covering fire from left flank and moved up to our support immediately on HILL falling into our hands.
It was in occupation of this high ground that we had most casualties. The Turks opened on us with every kind of fire including high explosives from a big gun, which searched that whole ridge but in the sand the explosion was very local and did little damage.
The Turkish Infantry began moving forward under cover of their heavy fire and we began retiring at 1430 as ordered if unable to push any further forward.
All the wounded were put away safely just before retirement.
The 6th Regt ALH. who had been kept in Reserve took up a position to cover the retirement of 7th and Wellington Regiment. The retirement was made in a slow one in order to give the Ambulances plenty of time to move away.
The Brigade proceeded to KHIRBA where they watered and fed up [before] moving onto OGHRATINA bivouacked here? for the night.
Casualties Capt. Sommerville A. H. Other Ranks 4 Killed
Wounded 2nd Lieut Grey E. J. 21 Wounded
2nd. Lieut Lyons W. G.?
Aug 10th. Regiment paraded at 0630 and marched with Brigade to KHIRBA.
Regiment remained here all day. Orders were received in the evening for the Regiment to go on a special Patrol to the North, to thoroughly search ground occupied by 1st and 2nd Brigade on day of 9th of August and push onto HOD el HISHA if enemy not in strength. Reconnaissance to begin early morning of 11th.
11th At 0300 two troops under Lieut. Williams left KHIRBA with orders to proceed to high ground occupied by 1st Brigade on 9th.search it thoroughly and also ground well to the North on completion to take up a position on high ground and await remainder of Regiments arrival.
Remainder of Regiment moved out at 0400 and occupied the ground to the south of Lt. Williams where 2nd ALH BDE had occupied on 9th, obtaining touch with Northern Patrol, also with 5 ALH Regt operating to the South.
Northern Patrol captured a patrol of three Turks on
11th. In the early morning shortly before arriving at high ground eventually occupied by them. A Bedouin was also captured further north by them.
It could be easily seen that the Turks were still holding HISHA in strength especially a strongly entrenched line some 800 yards NORTH West of it. Their defensive line running right across the flat ground. This of course prevented any aggressive movement on our part and we remained on the high ground observing all day.
The Turks were busy all day. A good deal of the movement was carried out by troops moving from one position to another, apparently as a bluff?
Their losses on the 9th must have been heavy as they were still carrying out their wounded on stretchers on and off all day.
Camels were seen moving in and out of HISHA all day evidentially carrying away stores. Apart from a few shells nothing of note occurred throughout the day.
Owing to some movements to the NORTHWEST orders were received to move out a Patrol to the NORTH and report any movements there. Excepting for one Camel man seen to move south there was nothing to report. Patrol returned.
11th. Remainder of Regiment withdrew at 1830 finally leaving for KHIRBA at 1845 arriving at 2000.
12th. Remained at KHIRBA all day. Enemply*[*text typo] plane dropped two bombs, but both went wide of mark and did no damage.
Left KHIRBA for QATIA at 1830. Regiment found Flank and Advance Guards. Arrived QATIA 2215. Watered and Fed up. Bivouaced in SOUTHERN part of the HOD.
13th. Left for Camp at BIR et MALER. Regiment still finding Flank and Advance Guards. Arriving in Camp ?part one? 0815.
Col. MELDRUM temp BRIGADIER 2ALH BDE.
Mag. SPRAGG C. R. Temp I/C Regt. vice Col. Meldrum to ALH BDE
Capt BAX reported to Supply Depôt with Escort of 40 men and proceeded to R DI OGHRATINA with CAMEL Transport.
14th. Resting in Camp.
15th. Exercising of Horses.
Resting in Camp.
17th. A course of instruction in the Lewis Gun (4 men per squad) carried on for one hour daily under Regimental arrangements.
Also a Signalling Course (3 men per SQD) under Regimental arrangements.
18th. Exercising horses. In Camp. Regt. made up of one Sqd per Regt. left at 1700 to look for any material buried by Turks. Capt. SCOTT in charge WMR SQD.
19th. Exercising horses. In Camp. Squadron under Capt. SCOTT returned at 1810.
20th. Exercising horses. In Camp.
21st. Exercising horses. In Camp.
22nd. Exercising horses. In Camp.
23rd. Grooming of Horses. In Camp.
24th. Exercising horses. In Camp.
25th. Exercising horses. In Camp.
26th. Found the following Patrols from 2nd SQD.
- HILL 110 and South Edge of SABKHET BARDAWIL
- HOD UM UGBA -- QATIA and BIR EL MAMLDA
- BIR ABU GULUD -- BIR EL HAMISAH and BIR ABUTHELIA
Strength of Patrols two SECTIONS.
Places mentioned not to be taken as fixed points to go to but as localities.
Lt. Col. W. Meldrum, C.M.G. to be temp I/C of 2 ALH BRIGADE vice Col. ROYSTON C.M.G. D.S.O. appointed temp I/C of 3rd ALH Brigade dated 11/8/16.
Maj. C. R. SPRAGG to temp command WMR dated 16/8/16.
27th. Lt. Col. MELDRUM having relinquished command of 2 ALH resumed command of Regiment.
Maj. SPRAGG C. F. having relinquished command assumes command of 9th SQD. Horses Exercised.
28th. Horses Exercised
A Camel escort from the 6th SQD consisting of an Officer and thirty other ranks detailed to report at A.S.C. ANZAC MTD DIV. Romani at 1730.
29th. Patrols as for 26th. were found by 9th SQD. Exercising Horses.
30th. Exercised Horses. Struck TENTS and sent them with other heavy baggage to ROMANI RAIL HEAD. Left here during the night for KANTARA. An advance party went with baggage to prepare CAMP at SWING BRIDGE.
31st. Remainder of baggage taken by Regimental Transport to ROMANI and then on by rail to KANTARA. CAMP Thoroughly cleaned.
REGIMENT left BIR ET MALER at 1700 and proceeded to SWING BRIDGE CAMP.
Strength of Regiment month ending 31:8:16
Other Ranks 407 total 429
Horses 408 Riding
6 Pack. Total 437