War Diaries  WMR
Pagination starts with cover page as No. 1 in each file

Australian Imperial Force unit war diary

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




Wellington Mounted Rifles Regiments
March  1917

Sheik Zowaiid                                                                                                             (page 2)
Mar. 1st.            Men and Horses rested.
                        0430    Stand to arms till daybreak.
2nd.                  Horses exercised.  Hotchkiss Gun Class
3rd.       0550    Regt. left camp for Reconnaissance of area lying East and Southeast of Karm
                        Ibn Milem.
            0615    Bde formed up.  WMR less 7th. Sqdn Advance Guard, 9th. Sqdn (Capt. Wilder)
 left flank guard. Watered horses en route at Sheik Zowaiid.
            0900    Advance Guard (Capt. C. L. Sommerville) passed Goz el Rad
            0950    Passed Hill 275.  Regt proceeded to a point one mile west of El Elabreisa
 enemy movement could be seen on El Qhabi,  Hill 410 (1/2 mile east of El 
Abreisad) Hill 410 1 ½ miles NW.
            1300    Returned to point ½ mile south of Hill 350, halted for feeding.
            1445    Bde returned to bivouac, 2nd Sqdn (Major Sommerville) advance guard.
4th.       1000    Church Parade.  Lt. R. J. Bird returned from Detachment  Bde OMR?
5th                    Horses exercised.
            0900    4 men per Squadron instructed in Hotchkiss Gun

Sheik Zowaiid                                                                                                 (page 3)
6th        0900    4 men per Squadron instructed in Hotchkiss Gun.
.                       Horses exercised and grazed. SW of a line Sheik Zowaiid – Goz Abu Rad.
                        2/Lt. C.N. Dallinson returned from Instruction ANZAC Mounted Divn.
7th        0615    Bde made a reconnaissance of the day to Khan Yun Us.  WMR supplied 2
 troops as rearguard.
            1030    Arrived at Rafa, One troop 2nd Sqdn under Lt Foley proceeded to  El Gubba.
                        Bde returned to Zowaiid.  WMR (less 1 Sqdn) rearguard 6th Sqdn Major
 Batchelar left Flank Guard.
            1650    Bde returned to camp.
8th.                   Horses exercised.  Class instructed in Hotchkiss Gun
9th.                   Horses exercised. Preparations made to move bivouac.
                        16 men marched in from Training Regiment.
                        3 men from School of Instruction

In Field                                                                                                            (page 4)
10th.     0100    Bde moved bivouac to area Mbir Elesha.  Arrived bivouac 1330
            0500    One troop 9th. Sqdn formed right Observation Post North of Goz in Goz A Bu
                        Um El Dakeir.
6th Squadron  (Major Batchelar) formed outpost line through line from Beach
through Point 140 to Point 101 inclusive.  9th Sqdn (Capt Wilder) in reserve.
11th.     0700    Observation Post & Outpost line withdrawn
                        Bde made a reconnaissance towards Gaza.
            0730    Regt plus 6th. Sqdn & 1 troop 9th. Sqdn) moved out & joined column
            1000    Column arrived Beni Sela  WMR moved to in an? El Jura.
            1210    From this position 2 patrols each of 1 troop reconnoitred Wadi El Gauzze half a mile North and south of junction Ghizze – El Mender
            1345    Both patrols returned after reporting all clear.
1435    Regt retired + rejoining Column at Khan Yunus
1735    Regt returned to bivouac
12th.                 Horses exercised.
            0900    Class instruction Hotchkiss Gun
In Field                                                                                                                        (page 5)
13th.                 Horses  exercised
            0900    Class instructed on Hotchkiss Gun
            0730    Escort of 1 NCO & 10men left as escort to Topographical Survey Section
                        remain on duty for one week
            1630    One troop 2nd Sqdn (Lieut North) formed night observation post at Goz Abu
                        Um El Dakier.
            1730    9th. Sqdn (Capt. Wiley) formed outpost
                        2nd Sqdn  (Major Sommerville) formed inlying Picquet
14th.     0500    Regt stood to arms here?0600
            0700    Night Observation Post & outpost lines withdrawn
                        Horses exercised Hotchkiss Gun Class
                        Capt (Temp Major) J. A. Sommerville promoted Major dated 20/2/17
                        RSM  W.J. Holly appointed 2/Lieut. to date 11/3/17.
15th.                 Horses exercised and class held for Hotchkiss Gun.
                        1300    One troop 2nd. Sqdn (Lieut. North) left for Div. H.Q. as escort to GoC A + NZ Mounted Div.
                                    2/Lieut.  R. Sutherland marched out to Training Regt.
                                    2/lieut. A. Hall reported from hospital
16th                  Day post of 1 NCO & 3 men supplied by 6th. Sqdn to prevent Bedouin coming
 down beach.
Hotchkiss Gun class

In Field                                                                                                            (page 6)
16th.     1000    One troop 6th. Sqdn (Lieut C. Leiven?) formed night observation post at Goz
                        Abu Um El Dakier.
            1730    2nd. Sqdn (Major J.A. Sommerville) formed night outpost line
                        6th. Sqdn formed inlying Picquet
17th.     0500    Duty Regt stood to arms to 0600
            0700    Night observation post & outpost Sqdn withdrawn Horses grazed and exercised.  Hotchkiss guns class.
18th.                 Bde left bivouac to lay and round up small reconnoitring patrols of Turks.
                        Lt. Col. W. Meldrum had charge of the Bde? (less AMR) Major C. Dick in charge of WMR.
            0545    Bde arrived cross roads half a mile north of second L in Um El Kelab
                        6th. Sqdn  (Major Batchelar) took up line 430 – 340 with 1 section M G Sqdn.  Remainder of Regt marched to 320 NW of first E in Goz Eltaire
            0915    Regt withdrew to Beni Sela and established its post to protect RE working in Khan Yunus.
            1600    Regt withdrew to bivouac.
                        Capt P Oldham marched in from Training Regt
                        Lieut (Temp Capt) N.G. Grant marched in from School of Instruction.
19th.                 Horses exercised.  Hotchkiss Gun Class
                        Major Wilkie reported from Hospital
            1600    One troop 9th Sqdn (Lt. A G Williams) formed night observation post
            1730    6th. Sqdn (Major Batchelar) formed night outpost line

In Field.                                                                                                           (page 7)
20th.     0500    Duty Regt stood to arms till 0600
            0700    Night observation post & Outpost Sqdn withdrawn
                        Horses exercised and grazed & class instructed in Hotchkiss Gun. 
21st.                 Horses exercised and Hotchkiss Gun classes.
                        16 horses, 30 men, 4 ½ limbers perform temporary Divl transport handed over.

22nd.                Horses exercised and classes in Hotchkiss Gun.  Capt. P. Oldham marched out
to Training Regt.  Sqn SM. R. H. Perrot promoted to RSM (WO 1st. Class)
                        Preparations made for move forward
23rd.                 Regt stood to.  Lieut. Bird  and  2nd. Lieut. Allison were detailed to accompany
Imperial Mounted  Divn. On their operations & returned to Regt at 1930. Major C. R. Spragg marched in from Training Regt.
24th.                 Regt stood to.
25th.     0200    Regt formed up  & joined the Bde which marched along the beach to make
???? pipe crossing Wadi El Ghuzze.
                        WMR formed advance guard with 9th. Sqdn (Capt A. Wilder) in the vanguard.

In Field                                                                                                                        (page 8)
25th      0615    Column reached Deir El Belah where Column halted, watered fed up.  At
0730 WMR pushed forward to make the Ghuzze good from the sea to the
Main Gaza Road.
            0840    Ghuzze reported clear, posts were established to keep the wadi clear for
                        infantry reconnaissance.
            1600    Regt retired to Deir El Belah where it bivouaced
26th.     0220    Regt moved off with Bde at 0230.  Division marched via hill 310 & crossed Ghuzze south of Abu Ibn Teibig and marched NE to El Humbra.  Very heavy fog
0830    Fog lifted.
About 1100 Column moving to enemy shelling moved into cave where it
 watered and fed up.
1430    Column moved NW from El Humbra to the hills NE of Gaza where Divl HQ’s were established.
            1550    The Bde then galloped forward into position under a hill NE of Gaza where
                        Bde HQ’s were established.
                        After a personal reconnaissance by OIC Bde and Off IC of CMR & WMR OIC CMR was ordered to advance W along the ridge towards Gaza and OIC WMR to move along the valley on CMR right.
            1600    The following dispositions were made by OIC WMR for the advance
In Field                                                                                                                        (page 9)
            26th.                 The 6th Sqdn extended from CMR right and advanced in 2 lines at 50 yards
Distance on the? right being on the Gaza – Latrum Road.  The 2nd Sqdn (less one troop with Divn) followed with 2 troops extended in support 100 yards behind and 1 troop on the right to protect the flank and to gain touch with the
 2nd  ALH Bde who were operating on the right of the Gaza – Latrum Road.
The 9th Sqdn followed in reserve in extended on a narrow front in two lines 150 and 200 yards behind the 2nd Sqdn.
The advance began at 1600, At 1625 a Turkish Ambulance Station with all
 equipment comprising 4 officers, 125 O/R 20 vehicles, tents etc also a number of rifles ammunition was broken & taken and? sent back under escort to Bde H/Qrs.
The enemy shelled the advancing troops and a good deal of rifle fire was met  with.  But both were ill directed and the advance went on rapidly up to the Cactus Hedges.  Through these a way was cut with the bayonet and the
advance continued.  On the left centre a Turkish trench with shallow narrow  lagoon?  in front temporarily checked the advance but 2 troops under Lts. Allison and Foley charged with the bayonet across the lagoon & bayoneted all
 the 32 occupants.

            In Field                                                                                                            (page 10)
Gaza  26          In the centre the advance continued to the cemetery where strong posts were
                                    encountered and defensive positions (were bayoneted) broken up by us.
                                    Meantime the right pushed on.  A Turkish gun position was located on the
 edge of the town – S of the Gaza – Latrun road and a lagoon.
An attack on the position was ordered, with Major Sommerville in command.
The attack was carried out with splendid energy.  The Turkish escort and gunners were shot and bayoneted  and the guns were? captured with limbers complete
By this time the right was well beyond the 2nd ALH advance & a counter attack  was threatened.  A lot of snipers were firing from 2 or 3 buildings about 75 yards from the captured gun position.
One of the guns was turned on these buildings and 2 shells were fired into them point blank with the result that 20 Turks immediately came out & surrendered.
An officer was dispatched to Bde H/Qtrs to obtain teams to remove the captured guns, and defensive positions were taken up & the wounded removed to dressing Station.
            1845    At 1845  2 troops of 5th ALH Regt. came up from the rear

In Field                                                                                                            (page 10)
(Gaza)             and they were sent to strengthen the centre where fire was becoming very hot.
            26th.                 About 1845 orders were received from Bde to withdraw.
                        1900    At 1900 2 teams of 6 horses each came up.  After some trouble owing to
 darkness enemy snipers the limbers and guns were collected in the roadway.
All troops were withdrawn gradually,  The guns, prisoners ??? were sent back
under escort, and the wounded evacuated from
            1900    the dressing station, and the troops return to the led horses.
            2015    As soon as all ranks had been accounted for the Regiment withdrew and
 joined up the Bde at 2115.
            2140    The Bde formed up and marched to rejoin the Divn at El Hum Bra.
            2400    The Division retired and regiment after all night march reached Deir El Belah at 0830 on 27th.

27th.     0830    Casualties Killed 1 O/Rank.  Wounded 4 Officers
                        Capt A. S. Wilder, Capt. C.L. Sommerville, Lt. A.W. Herrick, Lt. E.G.
                        Williams & 15 O/R’s (For account of  operations see Bde précis for 16th.)
                        Turkish casualties inflicted by Regt. on 26th.  5 Officers and 63 O/ranks

In Field                                                                                                            (page 11)
                                    Also captured 2 Krupp field guns 68 shells etc, 20 Waggons, horses &
 Ambulance equipment.
27th.     1730    Regt remained in bivouac resting.
                        Formed up & joined Bde to form outpost line from Hill 310 to Inseirat
                        inclusive.  WMR took left sector & CMR right.
                        Major Batchelar commanded left sector with 3 troops 6th Sqdn with 2 troops
 9th Sqdn.  One troop under Lieut. Black held right observation post
overlooking Ghuzze 2 miles in front of outpost line.
2nd Sqdn & 1 troop 9th Sqdn. in reserve.
28th.     0440    Night observation post fired upon by Turk patrol which retired
                        0500    Reconnoitring patrol   sent forward to Ghuzze and reported all clear at 0530
                                    About 0900 two day observation posts established and night outposts returned.
                        1330    Regt relieved by Regt LH Bde and retired to new bivouac on beach at Deir El Belah.
29th.     1530    Regt moved out to take up outpost line occupied on night of 27th/28th
                                    Outpost line Major Batchelar, 6th Sqdn with 1 troop 9th Sqdn

In Field                                                                                                            (page 11)
29th.                 Night observation post Lt. Pierce with one troop 2nd Sqdn.
                            In reserve 9th. Sqdn (less 1 troop) & 2 troops 2nd. Sqdn.
30th.     0530    Patrol to Ghuzze reported all clear.
                        0630    Two day observation posts established as on 27th.
                        1830    Regt relieved by Regt of Imperial Mounted Div & retired to bivouac at Deir El Belah.
31st.                 Regt remained in bivouac as men rested and horses exercised
                                    Strength as at 31st. Mar. 1917
                                                  Officers           Other Ranks     Horses    
                                                    21                     470                 566        

                                                                        Signed W Meldrum
                                                                        Lieut. Col
                                                                        Commdg Wellington M R Regt.