Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales

Minahan diary, 1917-1918 / Michael Minahan
MLDOC 1360

[Transcriber’s Notes:

[Michael Minahan was born at Cobham Lake. Milparinka, near Tibooburra, NSW. He was 25 yrs 11 mths when he enlisted in Sydney, NSW 17 Sept 1914.
Embarked from Sydney on HMAT A29 "Suevic" 19 Dec 1914
Arrived Alexandria 1 Feb 1915.
Left for Peninsular 14 May
Oct 1915 Scalded foot. Floriana Hospital, Malta
Rejoined Regiment 27 Jan 1916 Maadi Egypt
Gap in records
Diary begins in Soldiers’ Own Note Book and Diary for 1917
Transferred to Hqrs Desert Column (Groom) 22 April 1917
Transferred to 2nd LHT Reg.. Moascar 20 June 1917
Transferred to 6th LH Regt 21 July 1917
Involved in action around Rafa, Gaza, Beersheba and Jaffa
Wounded (gun shot) 3 Dec 1917
Hospital Abassia
Diary ends 3 Jan 1918
Transferred To Australian Army Service Corps Tng Unit as driver under provisions of AIF Order 785. 23 Feb 1918
Embarked on "Port Darwin" for return to Australia ex Suez, 15 Nov 1918

p68 Battle of Magdhaba
p70 Battle of Rafa
p95 and p177/8 First Battle of Gaza
p101 and p186 Second Attack on Gaza
p157 Battle of Beersheba]

[Page 1]

[Map titled The Great European War – Western Area]

[Page not transcribed]

[Page 2]

[Title page of Soldiers’ Own Note Book and Diary for 1917]

[Page not transcribed]

[Page 3]

M. Minahan
24 Carrington St.
Wynyard Square

[Remainder of page not transcribed]

[Page 4]


[Regimental No] 434 [Rank] Tpr
[Name] Minahan M
[Home Address] Galong nr [indecipherable} New South Wales
[Corps] 6th LH. att DHQ att Headqrs 2nd Army Corps
[Section] El Arish
Enlisted about 5th Sept 1914 Sworn in 17 Sept 1914 Embarked Dec 20 arrived in Egypt Feb. 2nd 1915
[Date] January 1st 1917

[Pages 5 to 56 are printed material and not transcribed]

[Page 57]

May 30th 17.
Total number of prisoners captured by the Anzac [indecipherable] Div from April 24th 1916 to May 30th 17.
1st L.H. Bgde
2nd L.H. Bgde
3rd L.H. Bgde

[Page 58]

[Reg.No. – Date of Joining – Rank – Name – Address]
434 – 17 Sept 14 – Tpr – M Minahan – Galong
702 – July 15 – Tpr – G. Stratton – Hay
Tpr – J. Penny – New Zealand
Tpr – W Smith - Melbourne

[Page 59]

March 28th 1918
Advanced over Jordan cleared Jacko out of hills and pushed on to Es-Sault our objective rail Line to Mecca Jacko was too strong had to retire enemy had plenty of guns we had one battery [indecipherable] was very cold in the hills a couple dying of exposure our casualties were very heavy
Reg only 100 odd

[Page 60]

April 2nd 1918
had another go at Jacko occupied Es Sault again but had to leave on account of rations. Prisoners totalled 1,100 including many Germans We are not having it all our own way. The heat and dust are awful and flies
well we are getting used to them

[Pages 61 to 65 are printed material and are not transcribed]

[Page 66]

Left Mazar 21st 12 16 [Dec. 1916] 1-30 pm. reached rail head 6 pm. left 9 pm. First Third NZ, & Camel Corps moved to attack El-Arish on 22nd Turks evacuated marched in 10 am El-Arish population about 2000 Arabs Camped El Arish

[Page 67]

25th December A very quiet Xmas. Fowls for dinner
26 Shifted camp.
27 Very wet & cold
28 Raining like Hell erected Bivouacs
29 Cleaning Gear
30 Very Cold 1st
Brigade left for Rafa
31 3rd & NZB Shifted to 139 K. First rum

[Page 68]

On 22nd 23rd 5.30 moved en route to attack Maghabda Arrived Turkish position 5.30. 24th. 23 miles from El Arish hard fighting all day. Victory was ours at 3.30. Brigades left for El Arish at 9.30. 1300 prisoners 4 guns. Machine guns etc.

[Page 69]

Made arrangements with D.P.M. to have my allotment stopped from March 1st 1917 And transferred to myself.
Since we left Romani on October 18 our Daily rations have been Bacon, Meat, Potatoes, Onion, Bread, Jam. Cheese occasionally Figs very very seldom not enough to fatten a rat

[Page 70]

8 Mon January 1917
getting ready for Rafa stunt. moving out 2 pm for 1st Brigade Hqrs. Left Headqrs pm. Travelling until 1 am. camped until 2 pm very cold shivered up a sweat reached Rafa about 7 am Battle commenced very heavy rifle & machine gun fire and plenty of bombs & shrapnel. saw one bint have the life scared out of her a bomb dropped about 20 yards from her luckily it did her no damage. I think she is going yet heavy fighting all day. Turkish reinforcements coming up NZ told off to hold them up G.C. [General Chauvel?] ordered retreat order reached [Auck ?] NZ Brigade too late they was at Jacko with the bayonet result they flew the white flag. 1600 m. wounded & 300 [in decipherable] 4 guns 7 M.G. & other material of war retired back 12 mile that same night. Camped there and left for El Arish next morning reached El Arish about 3 pm very hungry and sleepy went to bed that night to dream of a little girl whose name starts with G.

[Page 71]

1 Mon January 1917
Very windy wet & cold 3 Taubes over no damage

2 Tues January
In camp very cold & miserable day very quiet

3 Wed January
Similar to Tuesday

[Page 72]

4 Th January
Similar to 3rd & NZ. Moved to El Arish from 139 K.

5 Fri January
In Camp Railway reached El. Arish from Kantara distance 154 K

6 Sat January
General visit Brigades Taube over no damage

[Page 73]

7 Sun January
Taube over K29 M37
9 Tues January
Battle of Rafa heavy fighting all day captured 1600 prisoners 7 guns & 4 machine guns

10 Wed January
Camped at Rafa

[Page 74]

11 Th January
arrived back from Rafa

12 Fri January
very windy and dusty

13 Sat January
nothing to report

[Page 75]

15 Mon January
Fine day very quiet

16 Tues January
Fine day 12 Aeroplanes over

17 Wed January
Fine day Usual camp work

[Page 76]

18 Th January
Fine day nothing doing

19 Fri January
Fine day lat sleep and work

20 Sat January
Very rough Sea our Aeroplanes very busy flying overhead

[Page 77]

22 Mon January
Blowing a hurricane very dusty

23 Tues January
Routine Camp Work very windy and dusty

24 Wed January
Left with General Sir H Chauvel for Cairo on Duty. Travelled all day until midnight when we reached Cairo

[Page 78]

25 Th January
visited Base made arrangements to have allot stopped from 1 March
Spent in Cairo Had Photo taken

26 Fri January
Duty in Cairo visited Major Foster in 14th General Hospital

27 Sat January
Duty in Cairo Beautiful weather

[Page 79]

28 Sun January
Left Cairo 6 pm for El Arish

29 Mon
Arrived El Arish 11 am Very tired and sleepy
Received letter from Gladys. Very happy

30 Tues January
Taubes over dropping bombs. Very hazy day. Difficult to locate aeroplanes.
Rum Issue

31 Wed January
Dug a Funk Hole Taube over dropping bombs visited the 7 wells
Got Loused

[Page 80]

1 Th February
Digging Funk Hole Taubes over. No damage visited 1st Brigade wrote letter to G.

2 Fri February
very windy & dusty Taubes over observing visited D.C.H. Rum Issue

3 Sat February
Fine day. Usual camp work. Getting very monotonous

[Page 81]

4 Sun February
Taube over nearly dropped with well directed shot mine exploded near pier
Very quiet day

6 Tues February
Visited 3rd L H Bgde General inspected Brigade Taube over moved A.Air C. guns up the Waaddi Rum !

7 Wed February
Usual Camp work very fine weather

[Page 82]

8 Th February
Visited Auckland Regt at 7 wells. Also Headqrs Camel Corps. Flies very bad

9 Fri February
Very fine day. 2nd Bgde moved from Mazar to El Arish saw Ted Grace from Kantarah. Rum Issue

10 Sat February
Drops of rain very cold 1st Brigade moved back to Bayond.[?] Auckland & Canterbury football A scoreless match Anxiously awaiting Aus. Mail
Jacko’s airmen have forgotten to visit us

[Page 83]

11 Sun February
Visited old Regt old mates in great spirits had tea with them also saw C Squadron playing football. Very much like rain thunder & lighting something awful. Hope we do not get a wet skin General Chetwode & Chauvel inspected 2nd Brigade in morning afternoon played football between C Squadron 6th L H & Wellington Regt A scoreless draw got wet to the skin going home anxiously awaiting Aus mail Taube over observing Received Gift from Lady Mayoress Melbourne had great feed. Very quiet day cleaning gear and mending clothes Rum Issue
Waadi in Flood Train delayed

14 Wed February
Australian mail arrived letters from G & N. very worried. Great game of Football between Auckland & Wellington Regt A scoreless draw. Fine weather very much like an Australian spring day.

[Page 84]

15 Th February
Very cold day little rain 10 Aeroplanes went out to bomb Jacko. Pay day. Wrote to G. & N. also sent P.C. Sky very black thoughts of another wet skin

16 Fri February
Very cold day showery Peter & Andy gone to join 2nd M. Div Rum Issue Had a easy day mostly reading and day dreaming of home and one I.L

17 Sat February
Very fine day match between Australia & New Zealand 6 to Nil
Saw all old boys in Squadron

[Page 85]

18 Sun February
Very quiet day. G. visited Magdhara. Beautiful weather. Taube sighted
a good many of our machines out Bombing

20 Tues February
Very fine weather great activities in camp getting ready to move to Rafa 22nd Bgde arrived Tommies

21 Wed February
G Chetwode & Chauvel visited 22nd B. very hot afternoon pulling down bivouacs and packing up moving off at 7.30 am 22nd

[Page 86]

22 Th February
Moved to Sheikh Zawaied as we were going along beach a Taube was over observing travelled all day reached Sheikh about 4 pm tired & dusty very fine country en route was warned for picquet as soon as we reached camp
2nd B & NZ. B. moved to Rafa where they engaged the enemy
gave horses feed of green barley
[See also p 187]

23 Fri February
Fixing a temporary camp in Hod 2nd NZ Bgde arrived back from Rafa they drove Turks out of their front line trenches our casualties were very slight
53 inf arrived expect a big go in a few weeks our camp is crawling with Camel ticks I have been scratching like Hell
[in margin] Rum Issue

24 Sat February
Taubs over observing no bombs had Mike out grazing Turks occupied Rafa 2nd Bgd moving out to keep in touch

[Page 87]

25 Sun February
Mike very bad green feed did not agree with him General Dobell Chetwode & Chauvel visited front line tenches otherwise very quiet

26 Mon February
Letters from G & N. Taubes over Loveredge knocked by mule Harry Cook landed 2nd Bgde stunted to Rafa Railway passed camp Duchess went gay 6 Prisoners

27 Tues February
Rained like Hell Son & myself got wet to the skin up at 3 2nd Bgde met Turkish Cavalry. Rum Issue Q M arrived drunk Miller & Shean had a box on more Turks

28 Wed February
Horses out in the crops Taubes over General went to Rafa more Turks

[Page 88]

1 Th March
Pay Day
Generals Murray Dobell Chetwode Chauvel visited front Line Galloped like Hell Taube over in dozens to protect G Murray Taube over just as G.M. arrived

2 Fri March
Taube over General Chetwode & Chauvel visited Rafa Tommie Generals beggars to Gallop. Mike got a hiding General visited tent camp
2nd Bgde captured 6 snipers Big Gun opened on them Rum Issue very small

3 Sat March
Moved camp from Sheikh Zawaied to the beach near the Med. Had a hard day shifting and lugging bivvie Taubes over Air Craft Guns arrived to night Mike very bad with colic Cigarette issue.

[Page 89]

4 Sun March
Very cloudy little rain Taube over & brought down at Rafa Patrols in action General left for Rafa with armoured cars very cold & rain Looking forward to a move

6th Tues March
Very slow day very lazy and sleeping throughout the day. Turks returning Rum Issue

7 Wed March
Had a trip to Rafa with General returning in the evening Inspected two aeroplanes Niggers very scared of them The airmen were throwing signal bombs at them and they were going like Hell

[Page 90]

8 Th March
Taube over early flying very low 2nd Bgde moved 2 miles up the beach Turks retired about 12 miles

9 Fri March
Taube over flying very low Twelve of our planes went out to bomb Jacko who is still retreating Rum Issue General had a day in

10 Sat March
Broke Camp at 10.30 to move 7 miles up the beach very desolate and bleak. Worked like niggers to erect bivvies. Water a great drawback can only move short distances. Jacko still retiring Taubes over about 5.30 flying very low Anxiously awaiting Aus mail. NZ moved with us

[Page 91]

11 Sun March
Bivvie down during the night blowing like Hell Covered with sand when I woke

12 Mon March
Bivvie down again pouring rain wet to the bone buggar of a day blowing awful Taubes over Son back from Cairo started to train B

13 Tues March
Had Baldy out 4 a.m working otherwise very quiet Taubes over in morning

14 Wed March
Baldy out with Boxer B going well Taubes over Australian mail arrived Rum Issue

[Page 92]

15 Th March
Taubes over very quiet day Turkish Lancers sighted by our Patrols

16 Fri March
Taubes over in morning getting very hot usual routine

17 Sat March M
N.Z. had an engagement with Turkish Lancers nothing doing [indecipherable] Taubes over very hot day

[Page 93]

18 Sun March
Baldy out hasy day. Very quiet & hot Taubes giving us a spell

19 Mon March
Taubes over but dropping no bombs A big move expected

20 Tues March
Still working Baldie gave him a good gallop this morning at 4 a.m expect him to win Race Thursday

21 Wed March
Race coming off to day. Fine day and big crowd present Baldie ran third in Anzac Steeple. Taubes over not dropping bombs
[See also p191]

[Page 94]

22 Th March
Taubes over this morning having rest after races moving at any moment for Gaza or Beersheba big battle expected

23 Fri March
General went to Gaza Turks holding a strong position surrounding town Taubes over. Waiting 2 hours notice to move to Belah

24 Sat March
Very quiet getting ready to move to Gaza Taubes over

[Page 95]

25 Sun March
Left Rafa 2 a.m Arrived Belah about 4 pm
[See also pages 177/8]

26 Mon – 28 Wed March
Left Belah 2 am to surround Gaza L.H. S.E of Town Infantry attack from coast to our Flank. Taubes flying very low opening with M.G. fire Town surrounded by 9 am 2nd Bgde captures General Staff and privates. Infantry att over very open ground casualties very heavy. Shrapnel like flies Fierce fighting all day N.Z. & 2nd Bgde went into the Turks with fixed bayonets about 4 pm and advanced about 2 miles capturing 360 prisoners and 2 guns
Our casualties very light got order to retire about 7 pm Turks still in town Cavalry returning to Belah 8000 Turks Reinf attacking our rear 3rd Bgde holding them until we clear out. Very quiet Infantry holding Turks LH holding Flanks big offensive coming off out all day & night from Saturday night at 2 am
[See also p186]

[Page 96]

29 Th March
Very quiet Taubes very busy large quantities of stores and ammunition arriving big battle expected any day. First wash for five days very nice
out all day 2 am to 9 pm

30 Fri March
Still waiting Taubes extra busy Tanks arrived at Belah I bet Jacko gets a shock. Waiting for mail Total P to date 629 including G.S. out all day 3 am to 7 pm

31 Sat March
Shifted camp about 1 mile great activity big battle expected 60 pounders opened fire to night Turks replied to no affect Aus mail arrived 1 letter from N. no photos yet out all day 3 am to 8 pm

[Page 97]

1 Sun April
Jacko over flying very low Big guns opened on Turks infantry crossed Wadi out all day

2 Mon April
Taubes very active all day. Had look at the Tanks very complicated 2, 6 pounders 4 M.G & several Hochkiss G. about 32 ft long 15 ft long
Turks captured from B Inf day of Gaza fight 52 MG. 1 MC. & 8 M [indecipherable]

3 Tues April
Fierce fighting for two hours on the Front. Heavy bombardment by Turks Aeroplanes very busy 2nd & NZ Bgde were Cinema in the evening also G. Chauvel & staff including myself also a block photo of G.C. staff.

4 Wed April
Artillery exchanging shells Taubes very busy otherwise very quiet Orders came out for all Aus ranks to clean all steel gear and Turks not 5 miles away the way the B. win their battles shining gear

[Page 98]

5 Th April
Very quiet usual artillery duels and Taubes very busy cleaning all steel gear I cleaned mine with a rasp lost a lot of sweat

6 Fri April
Talk of the fight coming off on Sunday hope so Taubes keeping very busy also very hot Aeroplane dropped a bag of mail from prisoners

7 Sat April
Enemy very active also Fokkers flying overhead throughout the day An old sailing vessel arrived with a cargo of shells beautiful weather

[Page 99]

8 Sun April
Visited Khanunue also 1st Brgde Beautiful orchids for miles arrived home at 5 pm enjoyable day

9 Mon April
Very quiet Artillery & Fokkers very busy. Thousands of shells arriving per steamer

10 Tues April
Usual Artillery activity Fokkers very busy over our lines for hour or more
gave chase to one of our machines who steered clear of him

11 Wed April
Great preparations large quantities of shells & Guns arriving must be 150,000 men here about 70,000 Turk from all accounts Ariel duel this evening our fellow came out on top Battle expected any day

[Page 100]

12 Th April
Captured one of the Turkish Lancers usual Artillery bombardment Fokkers very busy. One of our Airmen killed in duel Battle coming off in a few days anxiously waiting

13 Fri April
Very quiet Heavy artillery bombardment and Fokkers very busy Received Gas helmets we are going to use Gas shells

14 Sat April
Turks bombarded our Hospital with 6 in gun for 2 hours They gave notice to [indecipherable] result was they mean to shift it
Heavy Artillery duel all day Fokkers very busy dropping bombs fine weather having plenty of sleep I will need it too

[Page 101]

15 Sun - 16 Mon April
very heavy bombardment by Jacko with 6 inch guns niggers going in all directions conference on battle expected in a few days Turks moved up to line [indecipherable] buggars don’t know what will be worse H or Gas Artillery & Fokk very busy very hot. Moving out 6.30 all night ride

17 Tues April
Moved out at 6.30 16th Dust was that bad could not see the chap in front of you also very cold shivered up a sweat Infantry att Gaza and were repulsed with heavy loss

18 Wed April
Recon a T. Position 8 miles east of Shallal terrible hot and dusty leaving for Gaza at 6.30

[Page 102]

19 Th April
Travelled all night in Position at dawn terrible bombardment with B. Guns tanks & Gas used Fokkers doing damage with bombs no advance made

20 Fri April
travelled until 1 am to 3 miles W of [indecipherable] dog tired and very sleepy

21 Sat April
moved to new camp about 3 miles W of J. water very scarce General Chauvel left Anzac Div for Desert Column Headqtrs also sent with him

[Page 103]

22 Sun April
moving again to day to a new camp are amongst the Tommies don’t find them so bad

23 Mon April
Camped about 3 miles from Khan Yunus watering there terrible dusty nearly chokes me very quiet on the front Gaza very hard to take

24 Tues April
Buggar of a day blowing like Hell from the South. dust to blind a chap. Had a drop of J W. otherwise very quiet

25 Wed April
Very hot & dusty first wash for Four days it was great would give a 100 for a long P. went to the beach about 9 miles swam horse longing to have a spell feel done

[Page 104]

26 Th April
Terrible hot and dusty wind enough to burn a chap having a fairly easy time on D Column. Chums don’t seem too bad. Very quiet on the front

27 Fri April
Very cool day wish for drops of rain had a drop of SJ Fokkers very busy otherwise very quiet with heavy Guns in action

28 Sat April
Had a few drops of rain, also very cool otherwise very quiet A few Fokkers over

[Page 105]

29 Sun April
Rum Issue
With General on joy ride beautiful weather Albo over about Sundown shot fired at him. [Albo or Alba = Albatros]

30 Mon April
Very quiet & beautiful weather light rain also Canteen grub. An Albo. over with two Bristols in pursuit Bridge on to night

1 Tues May
Had a trip to Beach gave horses a dip very rough Artillery active on both sides also Albos.

2 Wed May
Big guns going some also Albos very warm and Flies would carry a chap away

[Page 106]

3 Th May
Having a very easy time G using motor giving horse a spell a – of a camp flies are terrible. Albos are very constant in their visits Heavy artillery duel

4 Fri May
Getting on tip top with the chums an easy day on our backs giving our common enemy some hurry up Heavy guns pouring shells into Gaza Federal Elections Eggs for dinner (half bad)

5 Sat May
Very quiet 2 E [?]nearly knocked me over nearly touched earth Jacko bombed Hell out of us last night dropped about 40 bombs and played his M.G. on [indecipherable] We are returning combatments to night
Living like fighting cocks camped near canteen

[Page 107]

6 Sun May
Usual Aero & Artillery duel bad flies would drive a chap mad Jacko reported very strong likely to be here some time

7 Mon May
Very hot and dusty Albos over all day and bombed hell out of us at night most Hospit or casualty

8 Tues May
No change on front usual artillery activity and Albos over also bombed us throughout the night

9 Wed May
Very quiet on front usual artillery duels Bgde on stunt Albos over all day and during night bombed Hell out of us at 9 & 2 o’clock

[Page 108]

10 Th May
As usual on front with Aeroplanes very busy with bombs Aus mail in
letter from D. N.G. also writing all lights out at night

11 Fri May
not feeling too well had a terrible job to finish letters Usual on front
large quantities of stores being removed back. Big attack expected

12 Sat May
Usual on front Artillery very active two Divisions arrived and camped at Khan Yunus Keeping very warm and dusty

[Page 109]

13 Sun May
Keeping very quiet no sign of a move

14 Mon May
Getting very monotonous nothing but fight flies and eat dust Batt of Indians came in for a rest

15 Tues May
Very quiet no sign of a move feeling very queer had a great night JWs
Very cold evenings

16 Wed May
As usual Alba over dropping small bombs still visiting Hospital chance of a trip tip in camp war over by June 30

[Page 110]

17 Th May
Aeroplanes and Artillery very busy. Went for a ride in the [indecipherable]
Had a few apricots very hot and dusty & about fed up

18 Fri M ay
Heat terrible and flies – very quiet day. Laying about eating flies Mackenson no sign of a move reported here

19 Sat May
A terrible day. Dust a treat all day. Could not see 50 yds and not a drop of water to have a wash I got the horse brush and brushed myself
All appearances of keeping up all night

[Page 111]

20 Sun May
Awful night got smothered in dust could not see when I got up don’t want to experience another like it

21 Mon May
still blowing hard all day with dust the same give me the desert Very hot and dust bad our New Planes very busy. Good news from France

22 Tue May
Getting warmer as days go by. and flies they are thriving simply eat a chap
Very good shooting at Jacko with Air craft French Gunners

23 Wed May
Took horses to Shellal waited until lunch then moved back to Bens’ [indecipherable] The AMD blew 8 miles of railway and destroyed a [indecipherable]

[Page 112]

24 Th May
Very hot and dusty cleaning gear aeroplanes very busy. Otherwise on front very quiet

25 Fri May
Very quiet went to DADOS [?] with White Taubes very busy also Artillery Aus mail arrived

26 Sat May
Usual activity in the air General visited the whole of the front line Getting warm and dustier The natives are still harvesting

[Page 113]

27 Sun May
A day of rest and beautiful weather

28 Mon May
Anzac Div relieved by IMD camped near Khan Yunus Great air duel in evening Taube drove one of our machines to earth

29 Tue May
Very quiet and very dusty nothing doing on the front Aircraft very busy

30 Wed May
Usual quietness Aeroplanes very busy. Feeling very seedy want a change

[Page 114]

31 Th May
Nothing doing on the front. Aerial activity no sign of a move must be waiting for Jacko to attack

1 Fri June
General visited line 15 South of Fara in sight of Beersheba great activity in air one Taube forced down

2 Sat June
Artillery duel through out the day. Taube forced down at Rafa machine intact also pilot & observer our chaps after Jacko when he shows out

[Page 115]

3 Sun June
Taube forced down on the beach very hot feeling below zero

4 Mon June
Jacko dropping bombs very little damage also great air duel.
[indecipherable] from Ada [?] also L. thinks the world of it Very quiet on the front

5 Tues June
Going like hell not a moment to spare Very quiet in trenches very heavy bomb Taubes very active dropping bombs.

6 Wed June
Still travelling some early morning until dark cannot find time to write a line Getting very warm usual activity in the air Three enemy machines brought down in one week

[Page 116]

7 Th June
Still going wondering when it is going to cease too tired to do anything Usual on front

8 Fri June
Very quiet day. Although Aeroplanes had a duel or two Leaving for Cairo on duty [as a groom?]

9 Sat June
Arrived in Cairo at 5.30. very tired and sleepy

[Page 117]

10 Sun June
Still in Cairo having a good time

11 Mon June
In Cairo visited 14th Gen Hospital

12 Tues June
Still having a good time

13 Wed June

[Page 118]

14 th June

15 Fri June

16 Sat June

[Page 119]

17 Sun June

18 Mon June
Arrived back at Khan Yunus

19 Tues June
Before orderly room being absent without leave returning to Moascar

20 Wed June
Arrived Moascar met all the old boys Are returning to the Regiment

[Page 120]

21 Th June
Moascar very dusty place

22 Fri June

23 Sat June

[Page 121]

25 Mon June

26 Tues June

27 Wed June

[Page 122]

28 Th June

29 Fri June

30 Sat June

[Page 123]

2 Mon July

3 Tues July

4 Wed July

[Page 124]

5 Th July

6 Fri July

7 Sat July

[Page 125]

9 Mon July

10 Tues July

11 Wed July

[Page 126]

12 Th July

13 Fri July

14 Sat July

[Page 127]

16 Mon July

17 Tues July

18 Wed July
Leaving for Regt at 0100

[Page 128]

19 Th July
Arrived at Rafa went into Detail camp for 24 hours

20 Fri
Left Rafa for Regt at Tel-el-Fara arrived at 2300

21 Sat
Left Fara for outpost line 5 miles north W. for one weeks duty in trenches and patrols 5 miles to water horses

[Page 129]

23 Mon July
Usual work man redoubt at night and also five night patrols

24 Tues
Horses out all day water at Waidi [?] at 8. then graze G [?] of W. until 2.30 watering then return to camp

25 Wed
Same old routine trenches at night etc stand to at 3.30 until 5 am

[Page 130]

26 Th July
Still no change in work Stand to is a killer Wishing we were out of it

27 Fri
Leaving to morrow for old camp at Fara

28 Sat
1st Regt 1 L.H. B returned us this morning we are returning to camp N of Fara leaving at 2 am on a stunt with [indecipherable]

[Page 131]

29 Sun July
out all day. but nothing doing returned to camp about sunset

30 Mon
Resting all day Leaving at 6 pm for W.Imlay

31 Tues
1 Wed August
Left at 6 pm for W.Imlay making for rear of Turks lines our troop was surrounded by T for 2 hours horses 1½ m away A.S. went 2 miles further
Ran into 2 Batts of Turks we withdrew safely and reached camp at 6.30 am. very tired and as red as Berries Doing 24 hours water Guard at Shellal mounting at 4.30

[Page 132]

2 Th August
Very easy Guard at Water. relieved at 6.30. Regiment marched out laying cable to Khan back at 12 night

3 Fri
Very lazy all day. Leaving for [indecipherable] at 6 pm about 16 miles
5th Reg carrying out stunt we took out post on W. Imlay cold as charity left W. at 4 am for Fara

4 Sat
Very sleepy and tired having a good old sleep

[Page 133]

5 Sun August
Ted Sedgwick went to church having a great joke with him

6 Mon
Usual stunt to hurry Jacko up

7 Tues
Out all day. arrived back late in the evening

8 Wed
Having a quiet day a few fatigues and very windy and dusty

[Page 134]

9 Th August
Leaving for another stunt. out all night

10 Fri
Arrived back in the morning very tired getting plenty of work

11 Sat
Brigade stunt for 24 hours

[Page 135]

12 Sun August
out all day annoying Jacko

13 Mon
Arrived back in camp at 7 going to blow them out

14 Tues
A day of rest and I am going to make the most of it

15 Wed
Leaving far a stunt at 2 am going to take a line near Jackos redoubt

[Page 136]

16 Th August
Taking line 600 yds Jacko very warm laying out no cover Lieut Tim Black our troop leader seriously wounded [indecipherable]

17 Fri
Having a quiet day Arrived back from Post 8 am Tim Black died wounds at Rafa

18 Sat
Leaving for Beach for a good spell relieved by Tommies

[Page 137]

19 Sun August
Having a great time here plenty of surf

20 Mon
Transport driver had a go with the Gippos shots exchanged also [indecipherable]

21 Tues
Having a great time eat sleep and loaf

22 Wed

[Page 138]

23 Th

24 Fri

25 Sat
Boxing tourney opened to night some very [indecipherable] fights a good nights amusement old Brig Ref

[Page 139]

26 Sun August

27 Mon
Beach Cinema show, mail

28 Tues

29 Wed
Boxing Tourney

[Page 140]

30 Th

31 Fri

1 Sat September
Beach Tourney

[Page 141]

3 Mon September

4 Tues

5 Wed

[Page 142]

6 Th September

7 Fri
First rain in Palestine Beach
Wrote to Jack White to apply for Furlough for myself

8 Sat

[Page 143]

9 Sun September
Gibbs of 7 gave trial scene from Merchant of Venice
Beach Concert in YMCA

11 Tues

12 Wed

[Page 144]

13 Th September

14 Fri

15 Sat

[Page 145]

16 Sun September

17 Mon
Beach Band Concert

18 Tues
Left beach for Aba-San [?] 2 miles to water Dust awful

19 Wed
Blowing like the devil usual dust

[Page 146]

20 Th September
Talk of having night alarms not too pleasant usual dust storms

21 Fri
not so dusty as other days Certain we will be called out to night 15 min to have all ready

22 Sat
Fine weather heavy Guns moving to right Flank

[Page 147]

23 Sun September
Very quiet Playing football Fine weather Football match
Going on 24 hrs Guard

25 Tues
Beautiful weather Guard throughout day. Inspection of Regt by B. Major

26 Wed
Day of rest

[Page 148]

27 Th September
Silly buggar stunt about 6 miles south of camp I was in the artillery

28 Fri
General Allenby inspected horses of Division

29 Sat
Jumping party for Brigade

[Page 149]

30 Sun September
Pay day also Prayers

1 Mon October
C Squadron played G Sqd Football a scoreless draw very dusty

2 Tues
Very dusty a couple of Taubes over talk of a big move

3 Wed
A & B Sqd Played a draw Four Taubes over in the morning still very dusty and rain seems near

[Page 150]

4 Th October
A hurry up turn out everybody in Fatigue dress moved out ready for action in 30 minutes inspected by M Gen [indecipherable]

5 Fri
Football in chaps are getting some nasty knocks very rough

6 Sat
7 & 5th LH played a hard game 3 all

[Page 151]

7 Sun October
day of rest

8 Mon
Usual work keeping very dusty

9 Tues
Still very dusty having a fairly easy time

10 Wed
7 & 6 LH played a very good game 3 all points for 7th

[Page 152]

11 Th
D. [indecipherable] went to Rafa to put cross of Lt Blacks grave
Capt Steele brought down an Albatros Scout both pilot & machine uninjured

12 Fri
Very dusty but it is the usual every day [indecipherable]

13 Sat
Still blowing like Hades very little to do Sham fighting near Rafa Sort of rehearsal

[Page 153]

14 Sun
Very quiet

15 Mon
3rd & 4th Sqd team had a very funny match 4th won by 3 Arrival of beer very little sold more water than hops

16 Tues
Another Albatros brought down by Capt Steele machine smashed to atoms pilot killed. Plenty of fatigues 1st & 2nd played 16 to nil

17 Wed
Had a great night getting plenty from the Sergts very dusty

[Page 154]

18 Th
Talking of leaving for front great activity on Railways Shells by the thousand arriving

19 Fri
Nothing doing yet very windy and dusty

20 Sat
Still nothing and usual dust Had great time on Perf [?] the joke of the camp

[Page 155]

21 Sun
Left Abbasan for Esani [indecipherable] Esani early morning

22 Mon
Fatigues to burn making roads in the Wadi and digging wells Birthday

23 Tues
[indecipherable] going all day Fatigues

24 Wed
Leaving at 5 for Aziz [?] on Beersheba line passed through Khallasa about 10 reached Esani small [indecipherable]

[Page 156]

25 Th to 27 Sat
Arrived Aziz [?] Wells in terrible state Turks before leaving blew them in outpost all night and as soon as we came off told off to clean wells out worked from 6 until 12 pick & shovel had 6 hours off and went on for another 4 hours a bit tough on Bully & Biscuits but we are doing our best horses have not had water for 42 hours every sign of them having a drink in the morning. Turks are [indecipherable] a few miles out our Patrols are in touch the Big move expected any day We are still on the wells and are getting them into shape although there is not much water

[Page 157]

28 Sun
General Allenby was out to inspect the well he was very pleased with the work done

29 Mon
We are getting sick of the work on the rations 4 on and 8 off on B & B and there is no [indecipherable]
Prince of Morocco arrived at Asluj Fine old chap Minister of Foreign Affairs with him.

30 Tues
Leaving to night form Beersheba attack to be launched at 10 am

31 Wed
Travelled all night in Pos 5 miles W of Beer at 10.30 on Hebron Road Heavy Bombardment all day 4th Brigade attacked at 10 pm capturing the whole of the town and 1000 [indecipherable]

[Page 158]

1 Th
Moved about 3 miles further W Turks returning towards Gaza having a bad time for rations

2 Fri
Outpost night moved on to a Turk position about 9 am met opposition Cpl Thompson killed Snipers very active and good shots occupied hills day

3 Sat
Outpost night still occupied with enemy 9,000 prisoners 80 guns heavy fighting on our left dog tired and sleepy

[Page 159]

4 Sun
Outpost night still in touch enemy

5 Mon
Dug position at 3 pm still in same position heavy fighting on our left

6 Tues
Left for Beersheba for water 12 miles M.G. Sect & Composite Regt left to guard Flank 32 Casualties arrived Beer 12.30 Watered and left for Sheria at 6 pm

7 Wed
Arrived Sheria early morning relieved Yeomanry Infantry broke line and drove back 8 miles Anzac Mtd Div 1st & 2nd Bgds took up the running Turks [indecipherable] for all they are worth

[Page 160]

8 Th
Prisoners by the hundreds also Battery of Guns millions of rounds of ammunition Shells by the stacks Advanced about 4 miles during the day
Jacko giving us plenty of shells

9 Fri
Still in pursuit of Jacko who is burning as he goes Water is scarce at present C. Troop position with plenty of water Casualties not too heavy

10 Sat
Still after the Brown chap who is going for his life we are holding about 17 miles of Beersheba Jerusalem Railway Very big post in Turks lines more stores being burnt Lack of men [indecipherable] more prisoners

[Page 161]

11 Sun
Moved from [indecipherable] got into Camp at [indecipherable]

12 Mon
Moved to a camp near beach standing to have travelled 200 miles to date Casualties very heavy

13 Tues
Chasing Jacko in beautiful country nearing [indecipherable] fine villages and Natives can speak English mostly German Jews

14 Wed
On the Right Flank [indecipherable] about 20 miles from Jerusalem very rough and stoney Jacko still retiring Taubes are conspicuous by their absence

[Page 162]

15 Th November
SarronaRailway Junction captured for Jaffa Jerusalem and Beersheba Rolling stock and guns on trucks captured 460 prisoners and Turkish Hospital full of wounded

16 Fri and 17 Sat
Passed through a fine village natives speak good English bought bread and oranges very dear Jacko still retiring Sleeping with boots off first time for 17 days about 14 miles from Jaffa Left for position about 8 miles south of Jaffa relieving 1st Brigade Jacko still [indecipherable] about 24 miles our front

[Page 163]

18 Sun to 20 Tues November
Watered our horses at a German Settlement Wilhelmia mostly women and children they do not seem too friendly but make the most of it There is a fine avenue of Gum trees growing through the centre of village The place boasts Hotel two storyes The eatables are very dear eggs p1 each Butter 3/- lb and other articles at ruling prices wine is [indecipherable] cheap [indecipherable]

21 Wed
We are doing Patrols and outposts around the Settlements still in touch with Jacko We do not know how we are going on in [indecipherable]

[Page 164]

22 Th
Our Regt is attached to 54 Div doing Patrols & Recon do not know how long we are likely to remain with them. We are getting tired of it all have not had a chance to write a letter since 20 of October and do not know how long will be before we have the pleasure.

23 Fri
Doing patrols for 54 Div heavy shell fire on our right do not know if Jerusalem has fallen The [indecipherable] is charging 4f for Butter and 5f for honey [indecipherable] paying with a smile

24 Sat
Early morning Patrol 4 am Jacko still in the Hills with M.G. opened on us heavy fire We can shift him at any moment Rumours he is going to counter attack I hope he does if so we [indecipherable]

[Page 165]

DEC [Presumably entries relate to dates Dec 2nd to 5th See page 167]
25 Sun November
very quiet day visited Jaffa very dirty place very fine buildings

26 Mon
Stunt to night raiding Jacko trenches at 8 pm We started all right but our infantry artillery put barrage on us so we suffered [indecipherable] 2K & 21 W including myself

27 Tues
Passed through Jaffa Ramleh on way to 14 AGH Just a nice wound bullet still in arm giving a little pain

28 Wed
Rejoined unit near Jaffa Going into trenches to night Plenty of shells thrown at us today luckily no casualties

[Page 166]

29 Th
Took one line of trenches at dusk. Very [indecipherable] Jacko about 400 yds on our front Horses left in rear with spare man Trenches are awful too narrow we dare not move in case of shell and sniper We do 24 hours in trenches

30 Fri
We and Cavalry [?] took a line of trenches but could not hold them enemy too strong. He shelled us for hours and they were simply raining. We withdrew about 600 yds still in trenches cannot move or show ourselves we are isolated until dark

1 Sat Dec
In support at night digging at 4 am. 7th Regt captured 147 men 2 MG 200 Rifles Jacko tried to dig in too close Heavy shell fire all day We had 9 casualties trying to raid a Jacko post

[Page 167]

NOVEMBER 25, 26, 27, 28 [Presumably entries relate to these dates not those shown. See also p179]
2 Sun and 3 Mon December
Jacko counter attacked the line held by A.M.D. heavy casualties inflicted on him We were recalled from the 54th Div Reached old camp with 54th erley] sign of a counter attack by Jacko

4 Tues and 5 Wed
Stand to 4 am left to Patrol to Jackos line met heavy fire 1 mile E of Railway Station Jacko advancing along R line about 4,000 we engaged enemy for hour or so and then retired to let infantry have a go at him Jacko launched attack about 9 am terrific shell fire he launched att 3 times and was repulsed each time Jacko had two companies wiped out retired about sundown We are being relieved by 2nd Regt rejoin Brigade to day

[Page 168]

6 Th
Still on the way in motor & horse treated very well in clearing station Left in Hos train Arrived at 14 AGH 9 in the evening record trip 3 days

7 Fri
Had bullet taken out very quiet here after front line hope I am not here long

8 Sat
Usual Hospital routine plenty of mates here very busy visiting

[Page 169]

9 Sun

10 Mon

11 Tues
Had trip to Cairo very quiet at present

12 Wed
Red cross trip to Pyramids an enjoyable afternoon had Tea at Mena
arrived home 6.30

[Page 170]

13 Th
Hospital very quiet Aus mail in

14 Fri

15 Sat

[Page 171]

16 Sun and 17 Mon December
Hospital received letters & cards not feeling too good slight touch of malaria Rec Nelly Photo Slight rain

18 Tues
Malaria in full swing out to bed not feeling up to the mark

19 Wed
Still in bed feeling better attack did not last long

[Page 172]

20 Th [
Hospital pay day Large sum of 10/-

21 Fri
Hospital Getting ready for Xmas decorations

22 Sat
Hospital decorating a treat ward looking very well

[Page 173]

23 Sun December

24 Mon
Concert by staff 14th Hospital Decorating finished ward looks OK

25 Tues
Beautiful day Xmas box RC. Razor & Brush Nuts Cigs Lollies etc
Fine dinner and tea supplied by Sisters had a great time

26 Wed
Saw Doctor and got discharge either go out to morrow or next day Heartily sick of Hospital

[Page 174]

27 Th December
Getting discharge today leaving Hospital in the morning Boat leaving for Australia tomorrow Wish I was going

28 Fri

29 Sat

[Page 175]

30 Sun December

31 Mon
Discharged to day proceeding to P. Said Rest Camp for 14 days

1 Tues [Jan 1918]
Port Said having a good time town very lively

2 Wed
Port Said Applied for leave to Cairo

3 Th
Leaving tonight for Cairo 4 days

[End of formal diary entries. The remaining pages were written at other times and are not all dated]

[Page 176]

Cash Account
Jan 23 - Harry Lange - received 100 – Paid
ditto – Ted Kummel – received 50 – Paid
June – F J Collier – received 300 – Paid
ditto - ditto – 600 – Paid

[Page 177]

25th March 1917
Battle of Gaza
45 miles from Jerusalem First shots fired by Turks about 11 am at Anzac Mounted Div Infantry started to attack Gaza about noon heavy fighting all day with considerable losses inflicted on the 53rd Inf Div their total casualties were 25% of their total strength The casualties of the Mounted were about 70 We were attacked in our rear by 3000 Turkish reinforcements

[Page 178]

the third Brigade were sent out to hold them and 8 armoured cars
they carried out their job well and we started to retire about 11 pm.
All the Mounted men got well away but the Infantry were not so lucky loosing a lot of men 52 Guns also motor vehicles We reached Belah next morning and are now awaiting a big attack which will come off any day Tanks are going to play a big part

[Page 179]

Monday 26th Nov
Taube flying off German Settlement all the women and kids are cheering and clapping their hands. They were telling us the Turks would drive us back when they wanted to They had a chance to day and failed We have lost 17 men from Troop since October 26th

[Page 180]

[Blank Page]

[Page 181]

The emergency rations issued to the Squadron was lost by no fault of the men. To make up the shortage, Capt Thomson had the hide to take the amount short out of the daily issue to Div In other units the officers went to AIF Canteen and bought some out of their own pockets

[Page 182]

It was also given out on good authority that the officers said 8 P.T. was too much for Troopers to pay for beer so they commandeered the beer that was ordered for the men. This is what a chap enlisted for to be treated like a Blackfellow. It’s a long lane that has no turning

[Page 183]

We are having a great Bridge Tourney between mates The players are Walter Weatherstone - Dick Troy – Ted Sedgwick – Mick Minahan
The state of the game at present leaves Weatherstone 3339 [?] Minahan

[Page 184]

We were camped on the Beach for 31 days during that time the officers & Sergs done nothing but drink It was disgraceful the way both lots carried on. The troopers could not get a taste and one officer refused to sign an order for the men to get a drop of alcohol when it was obtainable at A.I.F Canteen

[Page 185]

Since April 19th 1917 There has been very little to report usual night raids by the Australians & NZ Mounted men also by the Infantry both which being very successful in their operations. The main reason why operations are delayed is on account of the water East of Tel el Fara the water is very scarce and it will take a big fight to get Turkish Positions to have supply of water

[Page 186]

Gaza Battle
First Battle fought on Monday March 26th 1917 T. holding a very strong position. Fight lasted all day. B Force had to retire back to Wadi. Casualties were 3400 also lost prisoners etc Second battle fought on April 19th terrific bombardment and fierce fighting all day Tanks in action done no good also had to retire Casualties were official through Clearing station at Deir el Belah 8000 odd number of dead not known M. Div about 60

[Page 187]

Thursday 22nd February 17.
Was a great day for all we moved out of the heavy sand into the good country where there are green fields galore and we are as happy as sand boys. Looking forward to the time when we will be in the Promised Land We have had a glimpse of it and are longing for more

[Page 188]

[Blank Page]

[Page 189]

Letter Register
Feb 2 – Gladys Noble – Galong
ditto – Nelly Slattery – ditto
Feb 6 – Gladys Noble – ditto
Ditto – Nelly Slattery – ditto

Tuesday. We went back to Belah to water & feed Infantry still attacking town with heavy losses a great assault made by NZ and 2nd Brigade on Eastern end captured 2 guns and 300 prisoners
Wednesday Very quiet so far a big offensive coming off 40,000 Turks on our front

[Page 190]

Friday General went to Gaza Infantry att Turks S of Gaza Taubes over awaiting 2 hours notice to move
Saturday Very quiet getting ready to move to Gaza
Sunday left Rafa at 2 am for Gaza very hot but beautiful country arrived Gaza about 2 pm camped at Gaza night
Monday left Gaza at 2 am to surround town town sure at 10 am Taubes over galore opened on us with M.G. no damage plenty of shrapnel flying about
a few prisoners including officers & T. Sailors terrific fighting all day nearly sunset and not taken the town rein attacking our rear

[Page 191]

Results of Races held at Rafa on border of Palestine and Sinai Peninsular on Wednesday 21st March 1917
Rafa Cup - Dipso - 6th Regt
J. Land Stakes - Maori Chief - H.A.M.D.
Syrian Derby – Yem – Ken. Tommie
Siani G.N.S. – Clawstor – Tommie
Stewards W.Pte – Sultan – 7th Regt
Border Stake – Directly – Tommie
Anzac Steeple – Lord Rivers – H.A.M.D.
Jerusalem [indecipherable] nameless Indian for mules.

[Page 192]

Gallipoli Peninsular
One night opp. our line the Turks were sighted putting Barb. W. entanglements in front of their trenches our major of M.G.S. who was in the front line at the time said the M.G. or R. were not to open on Turks until he has orders from Headqrs to do so the T. communication was a mess so he walked or ran to the Hqrs about 700 yds to ask if he could open fire on the Turks. By the time he had orders to do so the Turks had all their entanglements fixed and out of sight next day the Major M.A. tried to break the wire with M.G. fire and needless to say failed to do so

[Page 193]

Left Sydney on S.S. Suevic for active service on Sunday Dec. 19th 1914 Arrived at Alex on Feb 1st 15 Left Alex for Peninsular on May 14th arrived 19th & landed Left October 20th landed at Malta about 25th left Malta January 16 reaching Egypt about 20. Left Cairo for Canal Feb 26th and been in the vicinity ever since Feb. 9th 17

[Page 194]

Bridge El-Arish 6.2.17
We – They
2 – 12
8 -12
36 – 12
8 – 8
16 – 8
J. Penny – J. McCann

May 9 1918
Army Justice
S.S. Skelsey had misfortune to contract VD in Australia returned to unit was disrated after 3½ yrs as S. Corp Finn was sent to H. suffering VD contracted at Jerusalem returned to unit and was promoted Sergeant. This is the sort of thing we have to suffer and say

[Page 195]

[Map of The Great European War – Eastern Area]

[End of Diary]

[Transcribed by Peter Mayo and Patricia Ryan for the State Library of New South Wales]