2nd Squadron
Wellington Mounted
Rifles Regiment

Copied From the Australian War Museum scanned PDF File AWM 35/5/11
New Zealand Mounted Rifles.  War Dairy for W.M.R. MAY 1916
Transcribed to text by Gordon Sylvester NZMRA - September 2011
Transcribers notes: entries of question marks (??) are undecipered

AWM 35/5/11
War Diaries WMR
Wellington Mounted Rifles Regiment
NZ  &  A Division
May  1st to 3rd                                                                                    HILL 70

 Continuation of BAYONET FIGHTING after 3rd of MONTH the thirty five Minutes was split up, fifteen minutes was devoted to BAYONET FIGHTING & the remaining twenty was devoted to MAP READING + COMPASS BEARINGS etc. 

1st   6th Squadron supplied morning patrols & 2nd Squadron afternoon patrols.
            Lt. Herrick returned from TRAINING REGIMENT & was taken on strength of REGIMENT dated 1: 5: 16 + posted temp 2nd in command of 6th Sqd

4th  REGIMENT proceeded on a WELL RECCONASINCE Reveille at 0345 leaving at 0500 Proceeded along  EL DUEIDAR ROAD thence to BIR GHARIF EL DUKAN to water horses & from there in a southerly direction to HILL 331 From HILL 331 6th Squadron proceeded to BIR EL JEFEIR & report on the well there.

9th Sqdn reported on wells at BIR GHARIF EL DUKAN
One troop of 2nd Sqdn to well at HOD AMU SIMARA Left HILL 331 for HILL 70 at 1430 arriving Camp at 1730
Communications from all PATROLS to REGIMENTAL H.Q. was maintained by SIGNAL, and from REGIMENT to BDE HQ

5th         2nd and 6th Squadrons found Patrols

6th        Cleaning of Saddlery
                              Lt. MARCHANT to Hospital
                              Pioneers under Lt. HOLLAND proceeded                                      
(page 2)
                        To well at KHAK WA KHUREIR and from there to well at HODAMU SINNIA?
                         Both wells were repaired  and reported on.

7th        Regiment less 9th proceeded to ROMANI leaving Hill 70 at 1000 arriving ROMANI about 1600  The Light Horse were on a special reconnaissance to BIR EL ABD
2nd Sqdn found all OUTPOSTS and PICQUETS within SECTOR allotted to the REGIMENT.

8th        6th Sqd accompanied by all the SIGNALLERS less those of 2nd Sqd moved out at 0400 to HILL 110.
From two patrols were sent out one in a NORTHERLY Direction to INUNDATION to report on same and  another in a NORTHEASTERLY Direction
                        Touch was maintained with the AUCKLAND PATROL on POINT 117 & with the  AUSTRALIANS in an EASTERLY Direction.
                        The Squadron left HILL 110 at 1600, watered on way through ROMANI arriving ANZAC SIDING at 2100.  Leaving here in time to reach CAMP at HILL 70 at 0830 on morning of 9th.  Remainder of REGIMENT left ROMANI at 1415 arriving HILL 70 2000 night of 8th.

9th        9th Squadron found all guards and patrols from 7th to 9th both dates inclusive.
                              Pioneer party left for BIRET MALER

10th        BAYONET FIGHTING and COMPANY WORK before breakfast for 35 minutes

11th                  2nd & 6th Patrols
                        1 Troop of 6th proceeded to Div H.Q. for duty.
11th        2nd and 6th PATROLS PIONEER PARTY proceeded to BIR ET MALER    
(page 3)
                        to prepare well at that place for REGIMENT  on arrival.
                        Orders for REGIMENT to move to BIR ET MALER Tents struck at 1900.
12th      REGIMENT moved out to BIR ET MALER at 0800.  Baggage stacked at end of lines ready for CAMEL TRANSPORT, but owing to shortage of CAMELS & SPECIAL TRAIN not running only absolutely necessary baggage was taken.
One troop left behind to clean up CAMP & follow on the same day.
Escort of 1  NCO and 8 men detailed as CAMEL ESCORT. 
Arrived at BIR ET MALER 1000 & bivouaced some ¾ mile SOUTH of that place.

13th      Preparing camp and improving wells.
                                    REVEILLE at 0300, saddle up and stand to in FULL DRESS MARCHING ORDER at 0345.  This order to take place daily.

14th      Being Regiment for duty had to find OUTPOST LINE
  No.1 PICQUET Two Troops (3 POSTS)  6th Sqdn
No. 2       “           “          “            “                    “ Inlying PICQUET consisting of Two Troops   9th.
Two observation posts of 1 NCO + 6 men also two men on inlying patrol to tour camp at ¾ mile radius, relief to go out every two hours.
                                                                           Major WHYTE temp detailed a BRIGADE MAJOR to 2nd A.L.H. Bde.

15th        C.M.R. moved out to HODED DABABIS 
16th      One troop of 2nd Sqd proceeded to Hill 103 leaving camp at 0300,

(page 4)
            Arriving at 0600.  From here they sent out PATROLS in a NORTH + NORTHEASTERLY direction to reconnoitre SOUTHERN SIDE OF SABKHET el BARDAWILL + to communicate with CANTERBURY MOUNTED RIFLES at HODED DABABIS.
This troop could not obtain touch with C.M.R. and sent patrol who came in touch with C.M.R. at 0900 and arranged with them for word to be sent through by signal when they moved.  Signallers got in touch with C.M.R. signallers at 1000.
Drinking water ran out at 1120.  The heat at this was very hard on horses and men.
Patrols collected by 1100 Five women, Seven children and Two men, but SANDCART wired for at 0815 did not arrive until 1500.
In the meantime CANTERBURY had left without signalling to that effect. Lt. Pierce finding could not gain touch with them sent out PATROL who reported seeing them leave about 1300.
Owing to the shortage of water two men were sent to WELL at HODED DABABIS to  fill some of the troops water bottles.  When they had been at WELL a short time they were fired on by what was apparently a small TURKISH PATROL and had to gallop to get clear.  One of their horses became done, but a C.M.R. PACKHORSE found loose was made use of so they joined up with C.M.R. returning camp following morning.
Remainder of TROOP left HIL 102 about 1500, one section went as escort to SANDCART + handed it + BEDOUINS over to the AUSTRALIANS at ROMANI, arriving camp
                        The TROOP arriving 1900 Men and Horses were in a very exhausted state on arrival in CAMP.
                                                                                                (page 5)

Another troop of 2nd Sqd, escorted Mtd Field Ambulance to QATIA leaving BIR el MALER at 0400, arriving back to CAMP at 2400.
                              9th SQD found  OUTPOSTS
                              2nd SQD                ALARM POSTS
                              6th SQD                OBSERVATION POSTS

17th      PIONEER PARTY under Lt. HOLLAND proceed to OGHRATINA for WELL DIGGING, but the heat prevented the BRIGADE from making projected move and Lt. HOLLAND was recalled.

18th       leaving OGHRATINA at 0300 on 18th.  Well was not completed.
                Party returned to camp arriving at 0830.
               REGIMENT less two MACHINE GUNS ordered to proceed to QATIA at 2000.
                              The 7th REGT A.L.H. BDE, supported the REGIMENT.
                              The WELLINGTON REGIMENT arrived QATIA at 2145.  Watered at a well there. 6th SQD.  supplied OUTPOSTS + the two MG’s were placed in good defensive positions.
Remainder of REGIMENT bivuoaced for the night feeding up immediately after  Watering.
In the meantime communications by telephone had been established H.Q.M.R. BDE notified of our arrival at QATIA.
At 2400 information from BDE that 2000 camels were moving in direction of BIR el ABD and to try and obtain, with same by means of OFFICERS PATROL.
CAMEL TRANSPORT with supplies for the following day arrived at 2445.
SCREEN moved out through OUTPOSTS at 0325.
                              MAIN BODY moved at 0330.
                                                                                                                        (page 6)

Arrived OGHRATINA 0530 OBSERVATION POSTS posted and screen withdrawn.
            OFFICERS PATROL under Lt. GRANT sent out at 0600 to high point some 3 ½  NE of OGHRATINA with orders to try + obtain touch with ENEMY PATROLS + watch all movements, and rejoin MAIN BODY, at 0900.
               Telephone and Heliographic communication established with 7th Regt.  A.L.H who arrived at QATIA 0450.  Telephone communication direct was also gained with H.Q. N.Z.M.R. BDE at BIR el MALER + DIV H.Q. at HILL 40.
                        Horses watered and fed.
                        At 0815 OFFICERS PATROL reported all clear, but at 0821 a further message came through of 12 Camels some2 ½ miles E of his position.  Message also added atmosphere very hazy making it difficult to observe.
                        Nothing further eventuating OBSERVATION POSTS ordered to withdraw to OGHRATINA.
               Patrol arrived back at 0940
               Main body moved out from OGHRATINA at 0950.  REARGUARD at 1000.
               Regiment reached QATIA 1135 and watered and fed remaining here until 0600.
Moving again at 1600 arriving camp at BIR el MALER 1745.
               Communications maintained with BDE throughout.

19th      9th Sqd supplied two PATROLS of 1 NCO and six men.  One going in a Southerly  direction to BIR ed DHABA + Northern PATROL to Hill 110.
                                                            OUTPOSTS                         =  2ND SQDN
                                                            ALARM POST                     =  9TH SQDN
                                                            OBSERVATION POST        =  6TH SQDN
                                                            From this date until further orders all work to be done, other than absolutely necessary between hours 0400 + 1000 and 1600 + 2100
                                                                                                                        (page 7)

20th  Regiment paraded for bathing at 0945 moving out to the COAST some four miles south of MAHAMADIAH.  Signal communication was established with BDE at BIRUMALER Leaving at 1430 arrived CAMP at 1545.
                                    Lt CRUICKSHANK + Troop returned from DIVISIOAL Duty at HILL 40

21st      Marched in Lt O’Dowd P.J. and 20 men from TRAINING REGIMENT

22nd               OUTPOST LINE            =         6th Sqd
                        ALARM POST =                        9th Sqd
                        OBSERVATION POSTS =          2nd Sqd
                        Patrol to BIR ED DHABA  1 NCO + 6 men was supplied by 2nd Sqd.
One man per Sqd detailed to go through further course of INSTRUCTION in Signalling and Telephone work with Regimental SIGNALLING OFFICER.

23rd      Bathing Parade cancelled owing to no word from Light horse on Reconnaissance.

24th                OUTPOST LINE            =        2nd Sqd
                        ALARM POST =                        6th Sqd
                        Patrol 1 NCO + 6 men =        6th  Sqd.
OBSERVATION POSTS =          9th  Sqd
9th Sqd proceeded to QATIA at 0500 arriving there at 0730.  From here they sent a  TROOP to HODU HAMASAH.  This TROOP left QATIA at 0730 with orders to search the country between QATIA and HAMASAH very thoroughly + not to hurry this reconnaissance.  They arrived in HAMASAH at 0930 and immediately put out Observation Posts.  While in occupation of the HOD they searched
                                                                                                (page 8)

it thoroughly and found twelve Yeomanry TENTS + a quantity of other equipment, evidently buried by the Turks.  The patrol left HAMISAM at 1345 arriving back at QATIA 1445.

The Squadron left QATIA for camp at BIR EL MALER 1545 arriving 1730.
Pioneers under Lt HOLLAND proceeded to BIR RABA at 0500 arriving there at 0700.  A LIMBER with all necessary material aboard accompanied the party.
An old WELL, with good water in, was found and cleaned out from a depth of twelve feet to fifteen feet.
Another well was also begun on & dug to a depth of some eight feet when water was found.  Party then returned to CAMP.  At this
            Marched in from TRAINING REGIMENT  1 Sergt and 34 O/R.

25th      Pioneers left CAMP to complete WELL at 0400 on 25th.  WELL Lowered to eleven feet & Iron frame put in to support.  This gave a depth of three feet of good water.  PARTY returned to CAMP arriving at1600 on 28th

26th   Marched in from Temp duty at Div HQ Lt LEVIEN

27th                Observation Posts =   6th Sqd
                        Inliving Patrol =            “  “
                        Patrol (Southern) =      “  “
                        OUTPOST Line =          9th Sqd
                        ALARM POST =            2nd Sqd

                        Two troops of 2nd Sqd. escorted the PERSONNEL from MOUNTAIN BATT ery to MAHAMADIA for BATHING PARADE on 27th

28th      BATHING PARADE  on 28th
            Lt MARCHANT to HOSPITAL.
                                                                                                                        (page 9)

29th      Orders were received during the morning that the BRIGADE was to move out at 2200 on the 29th.  The intention was to,

  • Surprise such of the enemy as were at BIR SALMANA and HOD SALMANA at dawn.
  • To destroy all ENEMY material in the vicinity

Wellington Regiment ordered to find ADVANCE GUARD of one SQUADRON in position by 2200.
Remainder of REGIMENT paraded by 2145 and moved off at 2155 to take up a position in rear of WIRELESS SECTION.
Order of March  H.Q. 2nd Sqd. 9th Sqd, MGS, Transport Half limber.  Pioneer  half limber accompanied REGIMENT and went with the TRANSPORT.
 PIONEER LIMBER loaded with necessary material for WELL DIGGING.  One day FULL RATION was carried + three horse feeds, one in nosebag and two strapped on top of overcoat in front of saddle.
Owing to the fact that FORCE went slightly off track + the gun later on in night becoming held up in sand arrived at DEBABIS some two hours late, time of arrival 0630.

30th      The WELLINGTON REGIMENT went ahead of FORCE from OGHRATINA, the remainder following on some hour and half later.  Bivouaced here for the remainder of daylight, moving out again at 2100.  ORDER OF MARCH  H.Q. 2nd, 6th, M.G. were brigaded.  9th SQD found two troops for LEFT FLANK guard and two for REARGUARDS.

                                                                                                (page 10)

30th     About one mile and half from BIR EL ABD the COLUMN was shortened by AUCKLAND REGT moving in a SE Direction to cut off communications in that direction and to move north to SALAMANA and work in behind N E of the HODS.  CANTERBURY REGT less one squad moved in NORTHERLY direction to attack SALMANA from the NORTH to engage any of the enemy who might drive out of BIR EL ABD.
                        After giving the flanking movements time to develop, remainder of FORCE moved on with remaining CANTERBURY SQD as advance guard.  Shortening of COLUMN allowed us to withdraw one TROOP from LEFT FLANKING GUARD.

31st      No opposition met with by MAIN BODY, but the forces working from the NORTH + SOUTH routed a small force of the ENEMY camped at SALAMANA.  Killing 15 and wounded 2.
At 0700 REGIMENT Gun and Field AMBULANCES ordered to return to BIR EL ABD as soon as possible to feed and water horses.  After halting plan? At 0810 arriving about 0915.  ADVANCE GUARD of two troops found by 2nd SQD.  They also then sent out one TROOP on either flank.  Two troops of 6th Sqd found REARGUARD.
Remainder of BDE caught up at BIR EL ABD but less BDE H.Q. moved on immediately owing to watering taking so much time.
Moved again from BIR EL ABD at 1230 for DE BABIS with orders to carry out a sweeping movement to gather in any BEDOUINS, goats etc.  2nd SQD searched ground for two MILES S of TELEGRAPH LINE + 9th SQD for Two MILES N of LINE at the same time they had to find sufficient protection to either FLANK.  Two TROOPS of 6th
                                                                                                (page 11)

31st                  SQD acted as a REARGUARD and two as an escort to the AYRSHIRE BATTERY GUN with orders to proceed with to KHIR BAS + there to ROMANI and join up with REGIMENT there.  This left the MAIN BODY with HQ all transport GUN and Field Ambulance arrived at DE CABIS? 1345.  Here fed up again + called in SCREEN + REARGUARD.  Moving off again for OGHRATINA at 1550 arriving at 1715 remaining until 1930 in order to feed up again and water.
The REGIMENT moved out from OGHRATINA at 1930 for CAMP at BIR el MALER arriving at 2345.
The horses stood the whole journey exceedingly well.

Officers                                   O/Ranks                                  Horses
    24                                            517                                          589

                                                                                                Signed  W. Meldrum
                                                                                                            Lt. Col Comm
                                                                                                Wellington Mounted Rifles
Bir et Maler

[Month Ends]