Somerset RHA

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Re: Somerset RHA

Postby stevenbecker » Sat Nov 14, 2009 3:06 pm

Mate,

The photo of the gun and five officers could have been taken after either Magdhaba or Rafa where four 75 mm Mountain guns were captured in each battle.

The NZMB had a hand in capturing the four guns at Magdhaba (some disputed who captured them, the NZMB or 8 LHR) while the four guns captured at Rafa were by the LH.

While the two officers with the slouch hats could be aussie, I am inclined to say there Kiwi's. Since many NZ hats were not pointed (lemon squeeze),

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Re: Somerset RHA

Postby Jonsig » Sat Nov 14, 2009 5:29 pm

S.B

You should not forget that felt hats were issue also to some British units. I have also seen a photo of Irish troops returning from the Tropics at the end of WW1 all wearing slouch hats, its not just a Aussie and NZ thing.
The Puggarees are not NZ.
Here is a Photo I own just to show you Pointy hats, slouch hats,Hats pinned up on the side............. "all British"
jp

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Re: Somerset RHA

Postby greg » Sat Nov 14, 2009 7:40 pm

David,

Action at River Auja, 24th & 25th November,1917

..... The 6th & 9th Squadrons were holding the ford near the beach while the Somerset Battery gave wounderful support, shelling Muannis at 1,400 yards when the 2nd and Canterbury Squadrons were clear of it....

Kiwi Trooper pg 162. see also: http://www.nzetc.org/tm/scholarly/WH1-S ... a033a.html

As for the photo Steve, I would have to agree with Jonsig that they are Australians and I base this on the puggrree and on the leather water buckets around the horses. I have seen photos of Kiwis with these buckets but usually one or two in a group, but not a whole troop as in the photo. I also think that I can make out that some are wearing leather leggins and not puttees. I would change my mind if they were wearing puttees for sure. :)

Your thoughts??

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Re: Somerset RHA

Postby Steve_Butler » Sat Nov 14, 2009 10:21 pm

Perhaps - Of course it is hard to decipher. But here to put the some doubt in the mind is this image that we posted on a thread in Feb this year - it is a close up of a young Canterbury Mounted Rifleman taken the morning after the taking of Tel el Saba and Beersheba. His fellow troopers wear puttees but this man wears leather leggings.
Obviously some had leggings to wear and preferred them. There seems to be a great deal of latitude to any dress code.

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Re: Somerset RHA

Postby David_Porter » Sun Nov 15, 2009 5:17 am

Thanks for your comments Mr. Becker, I favour the Magdhaba event myself for the source of that particular mountain gun.

Greg, many thanks for pointing me to another source I hadn't seen before. The quote ties in with what I know of November 25th and the episode around Sheik Muannis, it being very difficult for the Somerset battery. Charles Salut was killed that day and Edward Evans was awarded the DCM for bravery having rowed a boat back across the river with the heliograph equipment. A couple more were badly injured the following day from heavy bombardment.

Regarding Tel el Saba, I also have his photograph from the Charles Mail collection of POWs being lined up.

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As this thread is filling up quickly, I'm starting a new one on an artist in the Jordan Valley
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Re: Somerset RHA

Postby Steve_Butler » Sun Nov 15, 2009 6:51 pm

Large screen file of Captain White's second photograph available at:
http://www.nzmr.org/squadron2.html
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Re: Somerset RHA

Postby greg » Sun Nov 15, 2009 7:11 pm

Hi Steve,

Thanks for the second photo. Great shots and thanks to David for sharing them with us. Just goes to show how close the Aussies and the Kiwis were in their uniforms and tack in the desert war. As for the leather buckets you would have to be correct that these were not for water because of the holes as you say. If these were the Kiwis I thought at least one or two would show the squadron cloth badge on the side of the puggrrees, which stand out on many photos of lesser quality. As much as I would like these pictures to be that of Kiwi Squadrons, I am more inclined to them being Aussies :cry:

However this is only my opinion!! Can anyone else put some light(horse) here?? :roll:

Regards

Greg
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Re: Somerset RHA

Postby Steve_Butler » Mon Nov 16, 2009 7:11 am

I'll push on to say these men in the photos are NZMR. (For no other reason than I have decided to take that side of the debate)
Here below is a picture we have on our site with the title penned on the back: "Billy and Me" - This is NZMR Machine Gunner Martin Eccles of the Wellington Mounted Rifles. (Alexander Turnbull Lib.)
First I would like to point out that NZMR felt hats had quite a high bowl when comparred to the ALH variety - and as Martin stands here in the desert sun, I can't see the difference between his attire than the majority of the men in the Captain White photos - Also please note how the canvas water bucket bag is slung at the rear of the saddle - in viewing this water bucket, its size and shape in perspective - comparred to the shallow bags worn about the necks of the advancing horses - I am now more convinced the other bags are "Sand Muzzles"
For want of a better word - what were these so called "Sand Muzzles" officially called?
Now that I have seen this photo below I can see a number of flattened canvas water-buckets attached in the same position at the rear left flank of the horses in the larger second photo.

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http://www.nzmr.org/archive/updates3_08.htm
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Re: Somerset RHA

Postby David_Porter » Mon Nov 16, 2009 8:46 am

It is certainly not clear cut.
Have a look at the picture at the bottom of the article at http://www.lighthorse.org.au/histbatt/batrom.htm
I also think that these "sand muzzles" feature in H. S. White's photos but date from nearer the Romani battle or just after. It is such a pity that the places are so similar and the photos have no clues or description attached.
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Re: Somerset RHA

Postby greg » Mon Nov 16, 2009 10:34 am

Warning: large photo.

The following picture is also from J H Russel. All his photos show Kiwis. This one is marked "a spell on a stunt" and is in the middle of pages that contain pictures of Jerico. He seems to have placed the photos based on a time line of his movements.

The photo shows what looks like the "sand muzzle??" and also does not show any markings on the puggrree!! There is also a rifle but seen on the horse in the middle which must be in a rifle bucket.

a spell on a  stunt.JPG


Steve you could be right!! If anyone finds a diary entry or a paragraph in a book that states something about these sand muzzles being issued would be great!!

Kiwis they are!!
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Re: Somerset RHA

Postby Jonsig » Mon Nov 16, 2009 11:07 am

Hi

Yes it is a close one to call can we see the Field ambulance pic please close up?
Was bidding on one of these Buckets about a year ago A really nice example of course I was outbid by an Aussie....
I have forgotten the official name :oops:

With the felt hats we have the problem of NZMR also being issued with Australian made felt hats, so the height of a hat should not be used as any kind of guide. Just to show you from a pic of mine these two men still have the Aussie puggarees underneath the chap on the right NZMR puggaree if faded and has rotted out these men in a group shot of Mixed NZMR have just got leave after many months in the field, all looking very worn out sun baked and in need of a good rest.

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Re: Somerset RHA

Postby Steve_Butler » Mon Nov 16, 2009 12:47 pm

great work guys - very interesting - will post field ambulance tonight hopefully.

Below is an image we have had posted on our "McCarroll" webpage and is taken I believe from the History of the Auckland Mounted Rifles book - :The Story of Two Campaigns"
It shows four Aucklanders in the Sinai - note the leather "Sand Muzzles" around each animals neck - the holes quite visible. We can also take notice of Jonsig's point of the hats - differing crown heights - differing visible puggaree types.
Image

attached: THIS EMAIL BELOW SENT IN THROUGH UPDATES PAGE - relating to the first photograph:

Hi Steve - What a great pic of mounted riflemen on the move.

Notice the sign board on the date palm and the varying activity as the eye proceeds through the different depths of field.

I think those are camels kneeling in the middle background starting at the left and progressing right to the rider standing in the "point" position. The next line back seems to my eye to include a number of dark rectangular shapes, which suggests wagons, progressing in the direction that the stationary wagon, standing by the tents, is facing. And on the horizon behind them I see more camels moving in the same direction.

Notice the hoof marks of many horses in the right foreground and stretching diagonally through the line of the advancing riders. The darker hoof marks contrast with those in the immediate foreground, on dry sand, almost suggesting they've been made in damp ground, perhaps a watering hole or wadi might be close by on the right, which might explain the small shrubs in the area.

The horses are all heads up and so it's a good bet that they are setting out somewhere, not returning from somewhere, and the riders are carrying full kit and caboodle.

And as discussed, if it's morning, given the shadow conformation, I reckon the riders approaching the viewer are heading south. That said, it can't be too early because the shadows are quite short. Indeed if you look at the shadow cast on each riders right shoulder and chest area, the line between dark and light suggests and angle to the sun which would make it about 10.00 - 11.00 o'clock.

A line from the tip of the hat of the officer second closest to the viewer, (just right of the date palm) to the extremity of the shadow he and his horse cast on the sand, also gives a good indication of the sun's position in the sky.

Notice four riders in the rank behind him, and a little to his left, are among the few who are in shirt sleeves. And of them, the one at the right is in front of a horse without a rider - perhaps packing a machine gun, and maybe the sleeveless guys are its crew?

The crown of the hats worn by the riders appears very deep, which might be a clue to their nationality. I have an idea that the crowns on Aussie hats were less deep - certainly modern day Aussie slouch hats have a very shallow crown. And of those that appear to be turned up at the side, many to me seem to be bent upwards as if by a breeze or the force created by their forward movement.

Cheers Malc
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Re: Somerset RHA

Postby greg » Mon Nov 16, 2009 5:35 pm

Here is a bit from the book Kiwi Trooper page 156..

Meanwhile, the N.Z. Brigade consolidated on Tel El Saba. Next morning the W.M.R moved some miles north to contact the Cameliers and had some scattered fighting. The horses were watered from pools in the Wadi Saba, but this soon gave out, so the Brigade moved to Bir Imshash, eleven miles east where there were some muddy pools.
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Re: Somerset RHA

Postby Jonsig » Mon Nov 16, 2009 8:43 pm

The camels to the left are of CTC ...Camel Transport Corps, Water Transport you can clearly see the water tanks on the side of the camels and the local dress of the Eqyptian CTC men......

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Re: Somerset RHA

Postby David_Porter » Tue Nov 17, 2009 4:43 am

Has anyone got the book that the action photo of Somerset RHA came from?
Greg supplied this link: http://www.nzetc.org/tm/scholarly/WH1-Sina-fig-WH1-Sina033a.html but I would like a higher quality scan. Also is there a photo credit?

I'm glad the three photos from Capt. H. S. White being subjected to enthusiastic scutiny. As soon as I saw them in September I knew I had to post them somewhere to get comments. The sand muzzles were issued in April or May 1916 - the Veterinary War Diary for ANZAC Mounted Division in May that year has a reference to them.
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