We are returning to Abd again.
The new horse is a good strong one. N.D. Just the ususal camp life at a place near el Abd. The end of the campaign. (I’ll say the end of the campaign because I don’t think there will be any more fighting in this zone unless of course we push on towards Damascus or Jerusalem) by us making a reconnaissance in force on Mazar which was held by about 1000 Turks 80 camel men and a couple of batterys of anti-aircraft guns.
The 2nd and 3rd Brigades and Camel Corps with 1st Brigade in reserve at Salmana and 4 batteries of field guns, 1 battery of Indian mountain guns and I don’t know how many machine guns but we (our Brigade) had 35 maxim and 9 Lewis guns. We captured enemys patrol and began hostilities @ about 0530, but had to withdraw later on account of water trouble. Horses had to be watered and the only water obtainable was in possession of the enemy, so we had to return. Altogether our horses had the saddles on for 28 hours and the distance traveled was over 40 miles. The Turks who were well entrenched evidentally feared our return and a few days later they evacuated the position.
Our Camel Corps now hold the place. The rations and water were kept up to us remarkably well right through the campaign. Of course there were days when we were short of water, but that couldn’t be helped.
The march on Mazar was a wonderful sight and one that I’ll never forget. It was a most trying time for us though. We were half dead for want of sleep. One kept dozing whilst on the march and that seemed to make us worse.
During the fighting we pulled ourselves together wonderfully and one would think to look at us that we had a full nights sleep. However, on the return home in the fierce white heat of the day, we relaxed once more into the semi conscious state we were in before the fight took place. This was the end of our second campaign.
These notes are really only for the purpose of recalling memories in detail. I intend to describe to you fully by word of mouth as one does not get the opportunity to write detailed accounts of everyday happenings.
J. A. Graham
A quiet day in camp. Make mention of the fact that our Mascot (Nigger a dog) was in the charge. During my ride of 30 miles from Abd to Dueidan for a fresh remount my nag knocked up and I had a ride I’ll never forget.
J. A. Graham
Today is the 11th Aug and he still holds Bir il Abd.
The losses are extremely heavy. The prisoners alone amount to 5000 but so far I have not got the figures of the killed and wounded. Ours are not nearly so heavy. Losses in this Regt are about 100.
We are having a most trying time. The first two days I done 45 hours duty in 48 hrs and ever since we have had to content ourselves with a sleep on horseback or an occasional few minutes in the desert. Abdul left a good deal of booty behind and we have been eating it for him. (Plenty of preserved fruits and dates also horse fodder).
At Ogratina a bottle was picked up and found to contain Cholera germs and after driving the enemy from Bir el Abd we found a notice written in the following manner: “Australia and other followers beware of Cholera, with best wishes from the German Army Medical Corps”.
What do you think of that warning us after they spread the germs which should have by then taken a grip on us.
Thanks to the innoculation we escaped it.
J. A Graham
We carried on Reconnaissance until August 4th when the Regt went out in strength and got in behind the enemy’s left wing and surprised him. However, we did not engage him but just drew his fire and in the afternoon a NZ Brigade coming on the other flank captured the lot which included a battery of guns and 6 machine guns.
We followed (not as a Regiment this time but as the 1st Anzac Mounted Division) him to Quatra and engaged him there. Our Regiment made a charge of 700 yards on his position which resulted in success for us.
It might be said that it is the first time in history that a charge on horseback with fixed bayonets was ever made.
J. A Graham
Jack Graham, ANZAC soldier, kept a diary from 1914-1918. Here it is, blogged 100 years later to the day....