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AWM35/5/22.
War Diaries  WMR
Pagination starts with cover page as No. 1 in each file

Australian Imperial Force unit war diary
NEW ZEALAND UNITS


Transcribed to text by Gordon Sylvester NZMRA - December 2011
Transcribers notes: entries of question marks (??) are undecipered
script.

 

 

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WAR DIARY
Wellington Mounted Rifles Regiments
April  1917


Deir El Belah                                                                                                              (page 2)
April. 1st.          Usual routine.

2nd.                  Regt marched out with Brigade to form outpost line from Hill 320^< 320 Goz
                        El Taire. CMR left sector WMR centre and AMR right sector.
                        2nd. Squadron with 2 Maxim guns and 1 Lewis held left sector
                        6th. Squadron with 2 Maxim guns held centre
                        9th Squadron with 2 Lewis guns held right sector, ???  ?????? ???  the positions were entrenched

3rd.       0500    Reconnoitring patrol sent out in direction of Tel. El. Jemmi and reported all
clear at 0600.  After which 2 day observation posts established and squadrons spent the morning in deepening & replenishing their trenches.
            1530    Regt. relieved by Regt. from Imperial Division and returned to Camp at Deir
El Belah.
The Lewis guns (3 in number) and all equipment pertaining thereto were returned to Ordnance stores at Khan Yunus.

Deir El Belah                                                                                                  (page 3)
4th.                   Usual routine.  Horses exercised.
                        12 Hotchkiss Guns with equipment complete were issued to the Regt.  4 per
 Squadron.
5th                    Regiment exercising  horses  1 Officer and 1 NCO per Squadron to attend lecture on Gas at Div.  Headquarters.

6th                    Regiment exercising horses.

7th                    Regiment exercising horses.  Usual routine.

8th.                                Regiment paraded for divine service at 0930  Paraded again mounted at 1155
 joined up with Brigade and marched out to form an outpost line in the same ground  and with the same dispositions as on the 2.4.1917
Capt. J.B. Hine having marched in from N.Z.M.R. Training Regt Moascar is appointed  2nd. I/ command of 2nd Squadron. 3.4.1917.
Capt. J.O. Scott marched in from hospital  8.4 .1917
Capt. J. O. Scott and Lieut. P.J. North marched out to N.Z.M.R. Training Regt. Moascar.

 Deir El Belah                                                                                                 (page 4)
9th.       0500    Reconnoitring patrol sent out in direction of  Tel-El- Jemmi and reported all clear as at 0600 after which two day observation  posts were established and Squadrons Spent the morning improving their trenches.
            1300    Regt relieved by Regt from Imperial Mtd Division and marched back to camp
 at Deir El Belah. 

10th.                 Regt paraded at 0730 and reported to RE at El Demeing?.
                        At 0800 proceeded to Wadi crossing at Tel-El-Jemmi and El Demeing divided the  Regt into two working parties for the purpose of improving the roads across the wadi at Jemmi and El Mensur.
                        At 1300 work was stopped on the road and the Regt was sent onto ????
                        canvas tanks at Wadi Ghuzze to hold the water which was being brought out by Camels & Regt ???????  ?? at 1600 and marched back to camp.
           
11th.                Duty Regt.  A picquet of  2 Officers and 81 O/R to Administration
                        Commandant Deir El Belah at 1000 for 24 hours ???????????????????.
Classes for instruction and gas where held at 1000 and 1600.
Major C.R. Spragg to take command of 9th Squadron with effect from? [ 11/4/ 1917]
Marched in from Hospital Lt. A.D. Herrick 10.4.1917
Marched in from N.Z.M.R. Training Regt Moascar ??????????? on strength 23 O/R 10/4/1917
                       
Deir El Belah                                                                                                              (page 5)
12th.                 Horses exercised.  Gas helmet drills were carried out
                        No/ 1217 Temp Sgt. John Powell has been awarded the following decoration
 Croix de Guere  G.R.O. No. 279 List 2721 of 30.3.1917

13th.                 Horses  exercised.  Classes of instruction in Gas at 1000 and 1400 were held
                        Marched out to Hospital 2 O/R

14th.                 Duty Regt Horses exercised.  Inspection of Saddlery by O/C Squadrons
                        Instructional classes in Gas at 1000 and 1400 were held
                        Class of instruction for Hotchkiss gunners
                        Marched in from Training Regt Moascar 3 O/R. 13.4.1917
                        Marched out to School of Instruction Cairo 2 O/R

15th.     1000    Church Parade.  Recieved orders to be ready to move.

Deir El Belah                                                                                                              (page 6)
16th                  Preparing to shift camp.  Bivouacs’ left standing  until the afternoon
                        1630    All baggage and accessories removed to Brigade Headquarters Dump.        

            1800    Regt fell in & joined up with Brigade at 1810 at Eastern End of Belah Lagoon.
 Order of march  C.M.R.  W.M.R.  A.M.R. M.G.S.
1830    Brigade moved off & marched to Shellal via Beri Sela – arrived Shellal a 600
        
17th.     0630    Watered horses in Wadi Ghuzze at Shellal  crossing. 
                        Moved onto Eastern side of Wadi and relieved C.M.R. as covering troops to ANZAC Division
            0830    Moved out as Advance Guard along the Rafa Beersheba Raod with the 2nd Squadron moving on both sides of the  road and 9th Squadron on the left taking up a frontal of about 2 ½ miles with ???? squadron in reserve.  We came in contact with  Enemy cavalry along 500 contour who retired without offering much resistance of our advance.
                        Continued the advance to point 550  Beit Abutaha                 
                                                                                                                        (page 7)

17th.                 and put out observation posts and held the ground until 1830.  Troops of
                        C.M.R. holding ground on our right and 22nd Mounted Brigade on our left.
            1830    Acted as rearguard to Brigade & returned to Wadi Ghuzze as Shellal &
 bivouaced for the night.

18th.     1000    Moved out as reserve Regt to Brigade and moved out in direction of point 500
 Deit Abu Taha with 1 troop as left flank guard & two troops as right flank guard  retired to Shellal at 1830.  Arrived back 2000.  Watered and fed moved out with Brigade at 2300 in direction of point 280 South East of Tel-El-Jemmi at 0600

19th.                 Arrived at point 280 S.E. of Tel-El-Jemmi at 0600- Enemy aeroplane bombed Brigade.  C.M.R. only Regt affected by bombs.
            0930    Received orders to report to B.G.C. 5th. Mtd?  Brigade  to attack Sausage Ridge.  Issued rations Moved off without watering at 1015 Reported at ANZAC Mtd Divn. On way received orders to not independently ??????
Under  D.H.Q. but report to 5th Mtd Brigade H.Q. to ascertain position.  Left 1100  Moved to West End of Sausage Ridge.  Reconnoitred position with O/C Inverness Battery.

                                                                                                                        (page 8)
19th          1130    Attacked along Ridge supported by Inverness  Battery.  Front lines 9th.
                        Squadron on right 6th Squadron on left on reserve 2nd Squadron.
            1230    Had progressed halfway along ridge against considerable opposition –
                        Steadily increasing from redoubt on East end of Ridge.  Two guns of Ayreshire Battery then came up & one Battery of  Leicestershires.
                        Between 1200 & 1300 about 600 Turks reinforced Redoubt.
            1315    Position reported to D.H.Q. reinforcements asked for in order to take the ridge.      
1400    Received orders from N.Z.M.R. Brigade that  Desert Column did not want attack pressed. As reinforcements were not available.
            1430    Turks pressed forward in Wadi on left of Sausage Ridge and the Warwick S
                        Regt (5th. Mtd? Brigade) retired from Wadi.
                        Mounted? Artillery fire on Wadi and in Redoubt to East of position
            1500    2nd Squadron pushed in remaining Machine Guns owing to increasing pressure by enemy
            1515    About 300 or 400 Turks advanced on right front all guns were directed on redoubt & right front to prevent enemy counter attacks.

                                                                                                                        (page 9)
19th.     1530    Two squadrons of reinforcements were asked for but refused
            1535    Right of line pushed 300 or 400 yards.
            1545    Reported situation to D.H.Q. all guns kept firing and Enemy positions & by
1645 counter attacks on right flank was driven back with heavy loss & front
 line readjusted.          
1645    Leicester Battery recalled to 1st ALH Brigade.
1800    Received orders to retire at dusk in conjunction with 5th Mounted Brigade.
 Redoubt heavily shelled and maintained? By HE and shrapnel.
            1830    Received amended orders not to retire until 1945 to enable 5th A?? Brigade to
evacuate wounded.
            1845    The RU Guns withdrawn
            2020    Front line withdrawn,  Mounted and moved off, 3rd Sqdn rearguard.  3rd
Auckland sqdn left flank guard.
            0100    Bivouaced Tel-El-Jemmi after watering.
                        Side Note :-   Casualties
                                                Killed  1 O/R
                                                Died of wounds  1
                                                Wounded  21              
                       
20th.     1000    Rejoined Brigade & moved out after issuing rations to point 370 West of 
                        Goz El  Sleil?.  Rested until 1600
            1630    Moved out to take-up outpost lines at point 360 East of Weli–Sheikh–Nuran.
WMR on left CMR and AMR on right.  6th Squadron occupied Redoubt on Hill 360.  9th Squadron had listening post 600 yards on left of point 360.
            1800    Watered Horses at Shellan Crossing.

                                                                                                                                    (page 10)
April 21st.
            1000    Watered horses at Abu El Heeia Crossing.  Relieved at 1700 by 5th LH Regt  (2nd ALH Bde).  Moved back to Abasan El Kebir joining Brigade ?Mek? at 1900 & bivouaced for the night.

22nd.    1100    Received orders to move to point 310 to take up outpost line, moved out.
            1430    Moved out and watered at Abu Sitta enroute.  Arrived point 310 at 1700 & formed reserve Regt to Brigade.
        
23rd.                 Patrols under 2nd in Command of Regt moved out in direction of Khir-bit-Erk point 380 & 300.  A patrol to 380 unable to reach its objective owing to presence of enemy and returned to Kir Bit Erk point 380 & 300.  Patrol 380 unable to reach its destination owing to presence of enemy.  Ordered to Kir Bit Erk.  Patrols commenced to withdraw.  At 1600 watered horses en route at Abu El Hissih? Crossing and arrived at bivouac at point 310 at 1800.
Remainder of Regt entrenching strong position West side of Wadi Ghuzze about 500 yards N of point 310.
Lt. Col W Meldrum took over temporary command of NZMR Brigade dated 23/4/17.
Major Dick took over temporary command of WMR Regiment 23/4/17

                                                                                                                                    (page 11)        
24th.                 Patrol of two troops to Kir Bit Sihan.  Patrol of one troop in direction of Sausage Ridge South of B in Wadi El Baha. – Patrol of one troop to Khir Bit Erk moved out at 0600  Returned to bivouac at 1600 according to orders. 
Remainder of Regiment continued  ???? work of entrenching post 600 yards North of point 310.

25th.                 Patrol work same as for 24th April

26th.                 Patrols same as for 24th April
            1800    Regiment moved back one mile west of point 310 & bivouacked for the night.

27th.                Patrols same as on 24th April
                        Remainder of Regiment working on trenches between point 330 inclusive to point 310.
                        Lt. C.B. Easther to be Temp ADC to GOC NZMR Brigade to date 23/4/1917
                       
                                                                                                                        (page 12)
28th.                 100 men from Regt working on trenches between points 330 and 310
                        1700    Regiment moved out & took up outpost  lines 360,  330  310 each  the 2nd Squadron on right  6th centre  9th left.  Each Squadron putting out two posts. AMR Regt on our right  CMR in reserve

29th.                 Relieved at 1330 (by Battalion from 74th Inf  Division) joined up with Brigade and moved to position quarter of mile West of Tel-El-Fara and bivouaced  for night.
Major C.R. Spragg appointed temp Lt. Col and ordered to take command NZMR training Regt. Moascar.  To date from 26/4/1917

30th                  Watered horses. Regiment resting

                                                                     Strength of Regt
                                                  Officers           Other Ranks     Horses    
                                                    20                     462                 566        

                                                                        Signed C.A. Dick
                                                                        Major
                                                                        W. M. R. Regt.