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2nd Squadron
Wellington Mounted
Rifles Regiment

Copied From the Australian War Museum scanned PDF File AWM 35/5/12
New Zealand Mounted Rifles.  War Dairy for W.M.R. JUNE 1916
 
Transcribed to text by Gordon Sylvester NZMRA - September 2011
Transcribers notes: entries of question marks (??) are undecipered
script.

AWM 35/5/12
War Diaries  WMR

Wellington Mounted Rifles
ANZAC MOUNTED Division

June 1st            HOSTILE AIRCRAFT bombed the 1st BDE L.H. at ROMANI, our MACHINE GUN specially sited for aircraft opened fire at LONG RANGE.  CRAFT went away after some 10 minutes.
       
2nd       Special patrol of one SQD found by 9th SQD
        SQUADRON left camp at 0400 arriving QATIA 0630.  From here they sent out a PATROL to HAMISAH consisting of a troop.  Patrol remained at HAMISAH until 1330 when they returned to QUATIA arriving 1445.
        SQUADRON left for camp at 1545 arriving 1730 and reported all clear.
        SOUTHERN PATROL of 1 NCO and 6 men of 9th SQD.
                OBSERVATION POSTS  =  9th SQD
INLAYING PATROL        =  9th SQD
OUTPOSTS                         =  2nd SQD
ALARM POST          =  6th SQD
2nd Lieut  GREY  N. G. To Hospital
           
3rd        2nd Lieut O’DOWD  P. J. Transferred to Wellington Inf. Reg.  27/5/16

4th            OPERATION ORDERS for a special reconnaissance to BIR EL ABD received 4:6:16.  SPECIAL HEADING to ORDERS drafted by OC Wellington Mounted Rifles as follows
                        It is the intention of the O/C FORCE to make a reconnaissance of BIR EL ABD with the following objects

  1. To ascertain strength of enemy FORCES in and around BIR EL ABD.
  2. To destroy enemy stores found in the vicinity, and all NATIVE COMPOUNDS.
    The reconnaissance took place June 5th and 6th 1916
               
                                                                                                    (page 2)
    Regiment paraded at 1350 and moved into place immediately in rear of CANTERBURY at 1355.
                O/C 9th SQD one troop as RIGHT FLANK GUARD, one as LEFT FLANK + one as REAR GUARD.
                6th SQD found one TROOP as ESCORT to CAMEL TRANSPORT leaving Camp at 1200 with orders to ESCORT them to OGHRATINA and remain with until further orders.
    6th SQD also found one TROOP as ESCORT to MOUNTED FIELD AMBULANCE to OGHRATINA + remain with AMBULANCE until further orders.
    Two MACHINE GUNS were left in CAMP as ANTI-AIRCRAFT GUNS.
    Force arrived at OGHRATINA at 1830 and bivouacked for the night.  The water for horses becoming short it was well into the middle of the night before finishing. 

    6th             Fed the horses at 0200.
                One troop of 9th SQD detailed as connect files between REGIMENT in advance and MAIN BODY.  Advance Regiment moved off at 0300 and MAIN BODY at  0315. 
    FORCE moved to a point about one mile east of De BARBIS and halted  until word was received from ADVANCE GUARD ‘All Clear’ at 0830. 
    FORCE then returned to OGHRATINA to water and feed up, but owing to a shortage of water, proceeded  independently to BIR ED RABAH where REGIMENT watered and fed.  Water for horses short again here, so 9th SQD + MGS remained behind to finish watering + followed on HQ, 2nd + 6th (less 1 TROOP) left ER RABAH at 1400 arriving at CAMP BIR ET MALER at 1630.  Other TROOP of 6th SQD. acted as ESCORT to MOUNTED FIELD AMBULANCE and arrived back at 1400.

                                                                                                            (page 3)
9th. SQD., & MACHINE GUN arrived CAMP at 1715
            Returned from Hospital  Maj. SPRAGG

7th.       Orders received for one extra TROOP for OUTPOST LINE in future.

8th                                OUT POST LINE              6th SQD.  1 TROOP 9th
                                    ALARM POST                  2nd  “
                                    OBSERVATION POST    2nd  “
INLAYING PICQUET            2nd  “
SOUTHERN PATROL            2nd  “

9th        Owing to AUCKLAND being short of two TROOPS O/C 2nd. SQD., found ALARM POST of two TROOPS.

10th      Orders to find OUTPOSTS, ALARM POSTS, etc., cancelled.  REGIMENT ordered to move out at 1145 to OGHRATINA and remain there until all clear reported by AUSTRALIAN FORCE, who had gone out previously on RECONNAISSANCE to BIR BAYUD & back through BIR EL ABD.

BRIGADE less C.M.R., who had already gone out with the A.L.H., left BIRET MALER at 1145.  WELLINGTON REGT. Detailed 9th SQD., under Lt. GRANT as ADVANCE GUARD.  Arrived OGHRATINA.
11th      At 0345  BIVOUCKED immediately REGIMENT found protection to the FRONT & AUCKLAND on flanks, water and fed up.  Word came through “all clear” & BDE.,moved off for CAMP at BIR ET MALER at 1310 arriving camp at 1715.
HOSTILE AIRCRAFT flew over us on way back but did not attack us in any way, although they fired on our camp with a MACHINE GUN when passing over some 20 minutes before.  No damage was done anywhere, Lt. NORTH left in camp in command of camp DETAILS.

[Transcription Notes:  A change in the format of the War Dairy at this point.  A pre-printed landscape document. Still hand written by William MELDRUM Lt. Col. OIC WMR]

                                                                                                                        (page 4)
12th            REGIMENT found special patrol to QATIA sending one TROOP to HAMISAH.  Owing to some misunderstanding the A.L.H also sent a SQD in this PATROL
 O/C 2nd SQD ordered to return at 1130, but owing to CAMELS being sighted SQD remained out until satisfied who what the CAMELS were.  They were found to be under escort of the YEOMANRY.  SQD returned to camp.  Arriving 1900.
           
13th                  OUT POST LINE              9th SQD. 
And 1 TROOP    6th
                        ALARM POST                  6th   “
                        OBSERVATION POST    2nd  “
INLAYING PICQUET            2nd  “
SOUTHERN PATROL            6th   “

At 0745 a message came from BDE to say that an ENEMY AIRCRAFT flying in a WESTERLY direction.

                                                                        (page 5)
14th             PIONEER PARTY proceeded to ABO HAMRA  for well digging.  Party left BDE at 0640 under Lt. HOLLAND arriving ABO HAMRA at 0740.  Found water to be very brackish.  Arrived back in CAMP 1800.

15th            REGIMENT, less three TROOPS, paraded at 0400 & proceeded with BDE at to QATIA.  Order of March            H. Q.
                           2nd SQD
                           6th  SQD
                           9th SQD
                          M.G.       (two)
            9th. SQD found RIGHT FLANK GUARD of one troop & LEFT FLANK GUARD of one troop, also one troop as REARGUARD.  O/C 9th. detailed 1 NCO and 4 men to ESCORT frontline TRANSPORT CAMELS to QATIA.  ARRIVED at QATIA at 0600 & bivouacked there for the day.  FLANK & REAR GUARDs found necessary DAY POSTS to flank and rear.
O/C 2nd SQD detailed one TROOP for OUTPOST DUTY to take up positions by 1800, withdrawing at 0500.

                                                                                                                        (page 6)
16th.     O/C 9th. SQD furnished two TROOPS for PATROL DUTY leaving at QATIA at  0400.  One TROOP proceeded to HOD JAGIA and the other BIR EL HAMISAH.
 Established observation posts at these places withdrawing at 1120 to QATIA.
            O/C 9th. detailed one troop to find all day POSTS and to be in position by 0400.
REGIMENT ordered to leave QATIA at 1215 for BIR ET MALER arriving camp1400.  Remainder of BDE proceeded to camp BIR ET MALER at 1400. O/C 9th detailed ADVANCE GUARD.
                                    9th SQD returned CAMP by 1600
                                    OUTPOSTS  6th SQD & 1 TROOP of 2nd SQD
                                    ALARM POSTS   Two TROOPS 2nd Returned from Hospital   Lt. Grey.

17th. & 18th.            PIONEERS proceeded to ABU HAMARA for WELL DIGGING at 0500.  Arriving back in camp at 1800 on each day.  This was BRIGADE WORK.

                                                                                                                        (page 7)
19th.                            OUT POST LINE              2nd SQD + 1 TROOP 9th. 
                                    ALARM POST                  9th   “
                                    QATIA PATROL            6th   “
SOUTHERN PATROL            9th   “
                                    OBSERVATION POSTS  6th  “
INLAYING PICQUET            6th  “

20th.             PIONEERS from 6th & 9th SQDs proceeded to BDE. H.Q. under Sergt McIvor and reported for duty to Lt. Martin A.M.R at 0400.  The whole party proceeded to OGHRATINA cleaned out the wells and returned CAMP at 1430  21:6:16.

                                                                                                                        (page 8)
21st.     Took part in a RECONNAISSANCE carried out by the AUSTRALIANS who reconnoitred HOD EL GEILA, HOD UMEL DHAUANIN, and HOD EL MUEHALFAD.
            REGIMENT less Five Troops left BIR ET MALER at 0500 providing? Protection to front and flank, found by troop from 9th SQD  6th SQD two sections in rear.  Section of the MOUNTED FIELD AMBULANCE accompanied REGT to QATIA.
Remaining three TROOPS of 9th SQD, left camp at 0400, moved out QATIA, from here one troop went to HILL 245, one to SAGIA, and the other HODEL HAMISAH with orders to make good the COUNTRY to the SOUTH and SOUTH EAST of QATIA. 
O/C 9th sent out officer to report to point where party working on RAILWAY had reached.
            O/C 6th SQD had detailed ONE TROOP to remain in camp with orders to ESCORT CAMEL TRAIN, with SUPPLIES to OGHRATINA, if required.
            Also one TROOP to escort CAMEL CONVOY, proceeding with ALH to OGHRATINA. Reporting to their BRIGADE (ALH) at ROMANI & water troops & Hs.
            REGIMENT arrived at QATIA 0700.  NECESSARY points put out immediately and two Machine Gun’s set up for HOSTILE AIRCRAFT.
                                                                                                                       
(page 9)
            Remainder of REGIMENT arrived QATIA 0700.  And bivuoaced here pending further orders, remaining troop of 9th SQD finding necessary POSTS.  TWO MACHINE GUNS setup as Anti aircraft  Guns.
Immediate communications obtained with 1st ALH Brigade at OGHRATINA,  NZMR Brigade at BIE ET MALER, and ANZAC MTD. DIV at ROMANI.
            Patrols reported all clear.  These PATROLS returned to QATIA each day at by 1730.
            O/C 6th SQD detailed two TROOPS to find night outposts and O/C 2nd detailed one TROOP to act as INLAYING PICQUET and to find two posts.   WIRE from ANZAC Mtd.
 Div. To keep a sharp lookout for Missing Air PILOT & OBSERVER from missing aircraft.

22nd     O/C 2nd SQD detailed two TROOPS to find PATROLS and one TROOP for DAY POSTS.                                                                                                                
(page 10)
            O/C 9th SQD detailed two TROOPS to take up OUTPOST positions and one TROOP to act as INLAYING PICQUET.  These troops to be in position by 1800. Two MACHINE GUNS took up positions as for previous night.
23rd.                 Patrols.  One TROOP 6th to BIR EL HAMISAH and one to point 245.
                          9th.   HOD   es SAGIA O/C 9th detailed 1 TROOP to find DAY POSTS.
                        Received wire at 0750 from ANZAC MTD DIV reporting having located AEROPLANE and that ALH BDE REGIMENT FORCE leaving ENGINE with it was going to withdraw to OGHRATINA.
Wire from ANZAC MTD Div to return CAMP.
Patrols ordered to withdraw immediately.  REGIMENT left QATIA at 1530 arriving CAMP 1715

 

24th                                                                                                                  (page 12)
                        OUTPOSTS 2nd SQD  +  1 TROOP 6th. SQD
                        ALARM POSTS Two Troops 9th SQD
                        OBSERVATION POSTS             6th SQD
                        INLAYING PATROL            6th SQD

25th            Marched out   Capt. MILNE  D.S.  (N.Z.M.C.)
                           " in     Capt.  WOOD  G.H. (N.Z.M.C.)

26th      9th SQD found QATIA PATROl.  On reaching QATIA one troop was sent to HAMISAH SQD returned CAMP by 1730.  One OFFICER was sent to report to RAILWAY ENGINEERING OFFICER at the present point reached by working party.

27th                  OUTPOSTS                   6th
                        INLAYING PICQUET     2nd
                        OBSERVATION POSTS 9th

28th                  FREE

29th                                                                                                                  (page 13)
            Orders were received on morning of 29th June for a special RECONNAISSANCE to BIR
 EL ABD  with the following objects.

  1.  To surprise any ENEMY POSTS at dawn.
  2. To find out any traces of recent occupation.

TROOPS who took part in  Reconnaissance were 2nd L.H. Brigade (less 5th and 12th L.H. Regt.) and Wellington Mounted Rifles. The actual attack on BIR EL ABD at dawn was carried out by Wellington Regiment and one Squadron of 6th L. H. Regt, who acted as a separate force under the command of Col. MELDRUM.
            Col. MELDRUM’s force left starting point (100 yds N of W of W.M.R. Camp.) at 0230 and proceeded to OGHRATINA by way of EL RASAH.
            2nd SQD W.M.R. provided flank and rear guards L.H. SQD provided rear guard. Arrived at OGHRATINA at 0800 and bivouaced here for the day.  9th SQD found all necessary DAY POSTS. From here 1 SQD of 6th A.L.H moved independently of W.M.R.
                                                                                                (page 14)
30th      with orders  to attack BIR EL ABD in conjunction with us from the NORTH at dawn. REGIMENT left OGHRATINA AT 2200 arriving at HOD DE BABIS just on at 2400.  Moved on again at 2420 arrived  EL BIRDIEM at 0115 leaving here at 0130 they arrived at UHM ZAGLIA AT 0200.
                                    6TH SQD moved on from here to a point 174 east of BIR EL ABD arriving there at 0250.  Their orders were to approach ABD from this point at 0325 and attack in conjunction with L. H. SQD advancing from NORTH and remainder of REGT who advanced from the SOUTH.
                                    Remainder of REGIMENT left ZAGHLIYA at 0330 and timed themselves to arrive at BIR EL ABD in time to launch attack at dawn.  2nd SQD dismounted on this side of BIR EL ABD and moved forward in 9th SQD being kept in reserve.  The attack was timed exactly but there was no sign of any ENEMY.
                        The remainder of the BRIGADE had in the meantime moved up from the WEST along the road that if any of the ENEMY would have been seen for certain had they been in vicinity.

                                                                                                            (page 15)

            On finding no ENEMY in BIR EL ABD Col. MELDRUM sent two troops of 9th SQD to reconnoitre to the EAST towards SALMANA with orders not to go more than 2 miles.  They sighted several CAMEL PATROLS near SALMANA but finding nothing of importance withdrew after patrolling for about two miles distance arriving back to BIR EL ABD at 0500.
            REGIMENT left BIR EL ABD at 0500 and marched to OGHRATINA.  Remained here  to water and feed up.  Leaving again shortly after 1600 arriving back at CAMP at BIR ET MALER at 1930.

                                                Strength at month ending 31:6:16
                                                OFFICERS                      25
                                                OTHER RANKS             481
                                                HORSES                      556
                                                                        Signed  W. MELDRUM  Lt. Col.
                                                                                    Cmr W.M.R.