Somerset RHA

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Re: Somerset RHA

Postby greg » Tue Nov 17, 2009 10:27 am

David,

Here is a larger picture from the book. Not too much better as the quality of photo in books of the 1920's in NZ are such.
Hope it is of help. There is no reference as to who took the photo. :(

somerset rha.jpg


Click image.

Regards
G.I. Bradley
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Re: Somerset RHA

Postby stevenbecker » Tue Nov 17, 2009 2:11 pm

Mate,

Great action shot.

Notice the gun later has either his bandilier on backwards or has a Cavalry one on, purhaps more the former then later.

He is seen relaying his gun in between each shot.

I like the sandbags on the gun trail to stop the gun from sinking and moving to much in the soft sand.

I read some where that a number of RHA batteries started to wear the slough hat (it was said) in honor of the LH/NZMR they were attached to. Or purhaps they were better sun cover then the Wolsley cork hat.

In shots like this I am always looking for the GAP *gun aiming post which is a small pole in front of the gun to lay on to. I am still to see one?

S.B
Last edited by stevenbecker on Wed Nov 18, 2009 5:28 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Somerset RHA

Postby Steve_Butler » Tue Nov 17, 2009 8:05 pm

I look forward with interest about observations within this photograph.

Large reproductuion of Field Ambulance:
http://www.nzmr.org/squadron3.html
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Re: Somerset RHA

Postby Jonsig » Tue Nov 17, 2009 10:12 pm

After looking in the AWM it appears both the NZ Mounted field ambulance and light horse Field ambulance used the same model.
So not much help with that....

JP
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Re: Somerset RHA

Postby Steve_Butler » Wed Nov 18, 2009 9:11 pm

I was so hoping I could have slipped in this diary page from the Unit War Diaries (1/60/20part1) to enhance the idea that these men prancing across the plain in these great photos were the NZMR leaving Tel el Saba on the 1st November 1917.
I think unlikely - or at least unlikely to be proved - but interesting reading this offical signal issued at 1758 hours Oct 31st after Beersheba fell.

Image
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Re: Somerset RHA

Postby Jonsig » Thu Nov 19, 2009 12:06 am

After seeing the 3 close ups it is hard one!! I could go either way now, it is just to far away and nothing is really standing out to say Kiwi or Aussie for me. The first one had signs of Aussies the last two I cant be sure.

Nice A form, I did not no M.E.CO Ltd also did printing?
I have a few A, B and C forms I just received a New Zealand made 1914 printed C.3 form it is a huge A4 size used in The middle east used in 1916.
It also has a few Turkish prisoner of war envelopes one from Sida-Bisher I will post on a new thread.

Regards Jonathan
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Re: Somerset RHA

Postby David_Porter » Fri Jan 01, 2010 2:28 pm

Just thought I would add this image for you interest.
The Somerset RHA held a bi-annual reunion and this was the 17th in 1953.
Note the "Trooper from New Zealand" who responds to the ANZAC toast.

Image
Researching anything to do with Somerset Royal Horse Artillery
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Re: Somerset RHA

Postby Steve_Butler » Tue Feb 16, 2010 9:17 am

Some time back we discussed the "Sand Muzzles" used by the troops to describe a nose bag put on the horse to stop it sucking the salt out of the sand when left on the horse lines.
We were not sure exactly what the official name was for these bags, but suggested "Sand Muzzle" described them for the purpose of our discussion.

We seemed to have been spot on.
Powels 1920 book "With the New Zealanders in Sinai and Palestine" has this to say on page 46 of the publication. The Chapter is describing what the NZ horse was expected to carry, and states in part:

The Mounted Rifleman wore, on his person, a leather bandolier containing 150 rounds of ammunition, bayonet, service rifle, and haversack, the latter usually stuffed with tins of the inevitable "bully" beef and army biscuits. The saddlery on his mount consisted of head-stall and bridle, headrope, picketing rope, saddle, and blanket. In addition to this the horse carried, slung round his neck, a leather sand muzzle, which was slipped on in place of the nosebag when he had finished his meagre feed, to prevent him eating sand and dirt; this being a bad habit quickly indulged in by many horses when hungry.

In this sand-muzzle the trooper often carried his mess-tin, or "billy" for cooking or making tea, and his dandy brush for grooming. The next item was the horse bandolier, slung round the horse's neck and containing an additional 90 rounds of ammunition. Strapped on the front of the saddle were two leather wallets, probably containing towel, soap, spare shirt, socks, and what rations the rider could not get into his haversack; strapped on top of these again would be the greatcoat and one blanket.
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Re: Somerset RHA

Postby David_Porter » Sat Mar 20, 2010 9:52 am

Just found out that the trooper attending the 1962 Reunion of Somerset RHA in Taunton was H. C. Frost of the Auckland Mounted Rifles. He responded to the Anzac Mounted Division toast which was made at every reunion. Again it was coupled with a toast to the Inverness & Ayrshire Batteries RHA.
Researching anything to do with Somerset Royal Horse Artillery
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Re: Somerset RHA

Postby David_Porter » Thu May 27, 2010 12:31 pm

Great News.

A list of the photos taken by Captain H. S. White has been found.
The 3 pictures in post #5 are labelled as "Belah - New Zealand Mtd Rifle Brigade"
The men in post #3 with the Turkish gun are all Somerset RHA officers.
Researching anything to do with Somerset Royal Horse Artillery
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Re: Somerset RHA

Postby Steve_Butler » Thu May 27, 2010 1:36 pm

Great News indeed David - well done!
I will update the photos that I have posted on the website.
I find it very interesting that no-one could really say they were Australian or Kiwis with the information we had in the images. I will look up the war diaries to see what they have to say now we have a place name. Although from memory Belah was used a number of times, no only in the advance but also as a resting place back from the line - so a interesting little project to look forward to.
Thanks for that.
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Re: Somerset RHA

Postby Steve_Butler » Thu May 27, 2010 11:53 pm

On researching "Belah" in Powles "New Zealanders in Sinai and Palestine we find at least three occassions where the NZMRB are in force at Belah.

After the Rafa races in 1917 we have this entry:
Re First Gaza - arrival at Belah from Rafa:
country was hard enough to carry wheels, all wagons were brought up from Kantara to supplement the Camel Convoys now much too small for the augmented forces. First Line transport, i.e., baggage wagons, tool carts, etc., were formed into an improvised “Train” and loaded up with supplies. On the night of March 25th, the forward move began and by daylight the whole Division was at Deir El Belah, hidden as far as possible in the palm groves and orchards. The New Zealand Brigade marched up the beach and went out in front to hold a line just south of the Wadi Ghuzzeh- —to cover reconnaissances to be made by the Staff in order to determine the best place at which to cross the wadi and to advance upon Gaza.


Also this date has promise - also at the First Gaza - but departure - times ldon't ook right:
At 2.30 in the morning of the 26th March, the New Zealand Brigade left its bivouac at Belah with the Anzac Mounted Division to cross the Wadi Ghuzzeh. As there was a constant stream of infantry transport coining up from Rafa crossing and re-crossing the Belah flat no starting point was fixed, but units were ordered to march straight from their lines and to take up their positions in the column as it advanced. To make matters more difficult a heavy fog came down and there was no moon. The leading brigade, which had left its bivouac riding in “sections” upon reaching the open flat to the north of Belah, shortened up into “column of troops.” This caused a break in the column, and if it had not been for the good leading of the next brigade serious delay would have been caused. But our men had developed an almost uncanny sense of finding their way in the dark, and in spite of all these difficulties the wadi was reached and the crossing made twenty minutes only beyond the estimated time; and moving by compass the Division skilfully avoided the broken ground on the east bank and reached Sheikh Abbas at seven o’clock. Simultaneously the Advanced Guard ran into a Turkish post on the Gaza—Beersheba road and the first shots were fired.


This next one looks a bit promising if we belive this is the NZMRB ARRIVING at Belah after First Gaza - rather than departing Belah?

The greatest difficulty lay in extricating the 2nd L.H. Brigade from the labyrinth of cactus hedges and crooked lanes in which it had been fighting. This brigade’s horses were some four miles to the north and the night was a very dark one. However, it was done; and the troops of the Auckland Regiment that had been all day helping to hold off the Turkish reinforcements, were collected; and the Division began its march back at midnight, reaching Belah at half-past eight on the morning of the 27th.


Also 1917 Gaza we find this entry which would not appear to go with the daylight photos taken:
The Anzac Mounted Division was ordered to demonstrate towards the enemy positions about Tel el Sharia and Abu Hareira, to prevent the enemy there and at Beersheba from detaching troops towards Gaza. For this purpose the Division was to cross the wadi at Shellal. At half-past six in the evening of 16th April, therefore, the Anzac Mounted Division marched from its bivouac at Deir el Belah with the N.Z.M.R. leading; and after an all night march the Canterburys crossed the wadi at the Shellal ford at half-past four in the morning of April 17th, and were shortly followed by the remainder of the Division.



I don't think it was the final time - where after the war in December 1918 the Brigade departs Palestine for the last time:-

At 9 o’clock on December 18th the Brigade began its march back to Egypt. The journey was carried out by easy stages bivouacking at Yebnah, Mejdel, Gaza, Belah, and arrived at Rafa at 3 o’clock in the afternoon of the 22nd. The next two or three days were spent in erecting tents and laying out camps. Now began training and lectures under the re-education scheme laid down for the New Zealand Expeditionary Force.
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Re: Somerset RHA

Postby Jonsig » Fri May 28, 2010 12:21 am

I had the Officers with the captured gun correct as I said......

...................
The slouch hats on the two men appear to be British as is in the folded cloth puggaree type as on the Pith helmet. I no slouch hats were issued to some British units for use in Tropical areas.

Regards JP
...................

The other 2 scence pic's were too far away too be accurate.
Thanks for the update.
JP
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