Tag: Australians

8 July 1917

Extract from war diary of 11th Bn, 22nd (Cheshire) Regiment

Neuve Eglise

During the 8th the enemy shelled the line of posts also the vicinity of Battalion Head Quarters   O.27.c.   The shelling was exceptionally heavy at times and at 6 p.m. a heavy bombardment was opened on the right and on the line of posts held by the battalion.   The enemy did not attack on the Battalion front and by 8 p.m. all was quiet.     At 8.30 p.m. the enemy again opened a very heavy bombardment on our posts and all communication was rendered impossible.    Some Australians who have retired through our posts reported that the enemy was attacking and that our line of posts had fallen.   By 11 p.m., however, communication was restored and the line of posts was found

25 April 1917

Extract from war diary of 2nd Bn, 22nd (Cheshire) Regiment

KOCANMAH

Troop of Yeomanry attached, 2 platoons ‘B’ Co. with 2 Lewis Guns Battn Scouts and 3 Signallers paraded at 0630 hrs with orders to push on to Pass just S.W. of MOZGUL and hold Pass until reinforcements arrive, and if Pass is found to be occupied by enemys cavalry to endeavour to drive him out.  Pass was taken without opposition and enemys cavalry captured.  Remainder of Battn. paraded at 0700 hours, transport at 0800 hours.  Arrived in Camp near MOZGUL at 1500 hours

Extract from the diary of Maj P K Glazebrook, Cheshire Yeomanry, Egypt Expeditionary Force

It was a hot day today & we had to provide large wiring parties to do our entanglements. The result was that we soon had six men laid up with sun prostration. Shortage of water was largely responsible for it. One bright lad tried to use water sterilizers as sweets, & was soon in awful agony, & we were afraid we would die. We put him under Morphia and after a bit he recovered. We sent my horse down to the canteen & got a little lemonade, tinned fruit etc, but it took twelve hours. The Turks kept fairly quiet and so we had a peaceful day. Hardly any work except wiring was done. Sparrow was transferred to No 1 Company & Tom became my second in command.

[follow-on] I still can’t write much about our unsuccessful battle for Gaza, which looks like settling down into trench warfare in a Syrian summer, on inadequate water. Our men’s only complaint is thirst, & it certainly is hard to dig all day in the sun on a gallon a day for all purposes. They can’t wash their clothes at all, & have to shave and was themselves. They are having a pint mug at breakfast, lunch & tea, and a waterbottle to drink any time between 10 AM and 2 PM. They usually have about 2½ more pints in some other form, either a cup of water, stew, Bovril, or a  fountain _____ for washing between a party. Of course they are bound to get lousy before long.

The trench life from April 23rd for about six days consisted largely of digging. We “stood to” at 4 AM, manning our trenches, with ammunition, gas-helmets & rifles, until the patrol that we sent out in front of our wire at that hour came back and reported all clear in front. Breakfast as soon as it could be cooked, & then fatigues were always wanted for hostile aeroplanes was put out all day, & whenever one appeared, a whistle was blown & everybody remained still in the trenches. We hid the newly turned earth of our trenches with the bearded wheat in which our trenches were dug. Wiring parties worked under an engineer daily, & snipers lay out in front of us, hidden in the crops. We were often visited by Herbert, Lonsdale, Girdwood (our divisional general) & others, most of whom had some new ideas about where a trench should be dug, & we should still have been digging at the end of a month.  Some Turks were visible about three miles away, apparently digging too, & patrols of Turks & Australians used to fire occasional shots at one another on the plain in front of us. The Turkish gunners had got the range of our trenches on the left, the Pembrokes’ and Glamorgans’, & we saw a few shells burst daily by them, & often a few stretches go slowly away afterwards. Still the casualties were not many, & the Turk seems to be economical of his ammunition. A “stand to” at 6 PM, a few little worries about returns & reports, and our simple meals, filled in the day. The principle disadvantage of our nomad life is the utter uncertainty of our movements, as one never knows when one may move at short notice, & it is hardly safe to take off boots at night.