Away from the Western Front : 13th-31st March, 1918

Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught reviews the troops

Q12527 Taking the Royal Salute Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught 12.3.18 Ismailia
Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught, receives the Royal Salute at the Investiture Parade at Moascar Camp near Ismailia, 12th March 1918.© IWM (Q 12527)

 

Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught toured bases of the EEF in Egypt and Southern Palestine during March 1918. A career soldier for over 40 years, the Duke’s visit was calculated to raise morale amongst all the troops .

L/Cpl Jock  Christie should have been decorated with his recently awarded Victoria Cross on this occasion but he had been wounded in the action a few days earlier and evacuated to hospital.  While he did receive his medal from the Duke of Connaught in hospital, this was not officially recorded in the Finsbury Rifles battalion diary.

 

Location KB DIKERIN Date: 13/3/18

Bn in Bivouac – Bn employed on road making.

Date: 14/3/18

Bn moved into new Bivouac area on NORTH side of WADI DEIR BALLUT. Reciprocal shelling during day. Strong working parties found during afternoon to assist RE on road making.

Date: 15/3/18

Bn (less details) engaged on road making throughout the day. Heavy wind with squalls of rain all day and previous night.

Date: 16/3/18

Presentation by Duke of Connaught at Jasur of Decoration to Officers 10 Officers and men of 54th Div. With following of this Bn were decorated. LT COL AM WINDSOR The CMG  A/Capt HG SANDER and Capt NM CUMING (RAMC) Attached this Bn. The MC, 450206 T/RM. RM. CALLENDER and 400 430 CSMG CANTWELL the MC. 451 330 ST H H CARTER DCM 451 73 R for J Boughton 453120 Rfn W DARE and 450 520  Alridge E. The MM.

Bn employed on road making under RE DIRECTION. BAD weather. WET.

Date: 17/3/18

Holy Communion at Bn at 0800. No work. Very wet and unsettled all day.

Date: 18/3/18

Bn employed on road making under RE direction. Specialist training.

Date: 19/3/18

Bn employed on road making under Res. Specialist training. Enemy airwalk active, one bomb dropped near Bivouac area. No damage.

Date: 20/3/18

Enemy aircraft active, four bombs dropped near pack mules– 3 mules slightly injured.

Date: 21/.3/18

Bn engaged all day on road construction under RE – specialist classes. Reims gun and signalling. Leave party of 3 officers and 14 of ranks proceeded for 10 days leave.

Draft 10 men reported from Base depot.

Date: 22/3/18

Bn engaged on road making under RE, specialists training. LT Col WINDSOR CMG assumed companies of 162 Bnf Bde during temporary absence of CO of 162 Bde.

Date: 23/3/18

Bn on Rfe Road work. Specialist training. MAJOR HAMMOND ADUTA proceeded to KULAT RASELAM on orders of OP.

Date: 24/3/18

Captain Revd Dixon Spain Life Empire for ALEXANDRIA to ENGLAND for 3 weeks leave of absence.

Date: 25/3/18

Half Bn..W.E work.

Date: 26/3/18

Bn engaged on R E Specialist training as usual. Lt Col WINDSOR from 162 Bde on the return of MUDGE from XXI Corps.

Date: 27/3/18

Bn engaged on RE work. Bn Bivouac area heavily shelled Turkish artillery with 42s and 59s. Left Bivouac area for an area about 500 yards move forward. Total Bn casualties 24 ORs.

Date: 28/3/18

Bn engaged squaring up Bivouacs. Quiet day. Slight reciprocal shelling of front lines contd REV Wilson CF reported for duty via Capt Rev Dixon. Spain to England.

Date: 29/3/18

½ Bn engaged morning and afternoon on road making under direction of RE.

Date: 30/3/18

Easter Sunday. Holy Communion at the Bn 0800. in company areas 1000. Quiet day. No working parties. Front line and surrounding areas heavily shelled by Turkish artillery 1600 1730. No damage to the Rm. 1 casualty only.

Date: 31/3/18

½ Bn engaged during morning on RE work and ½ at night between 2300 and 0300 road making under RE.

Candy 1/11 London. Rgt.

Location U.I.D.59 Sheet 14. Palestine Map Date:

Away from the Western Front: 9th – 12th March 1918.

Operations in the Jordan Valley

1.11 mule and limbeer at Kantara

Mule drawn limber 1/11th London Regiment. El Kubri, December 1917. © IWM (Q 57790)

At this stage in the campaign it was increasingly hard to replace transport animals and their equipment. During the action at Mejdel Taba, artillery fire killed and wounded some of the brigade mules (the 1/5 Bedfordshire Regiment recorded this in their battalion diary) so finding mules and pack saddles amongst the abandoned Ottoman positions was a real boon.

Date: 9/3/18

Company and specialists training.

Date: 10/3/18

Holy Communion at Bn Hill 0830. Orders perceived from Bde for the Advancement of night of XXI Corps line to a line N of MEJDEL TABA. Bn orders issued as per copies annexed to all concerned. A attached.

Date: 11/3/18

Company and specialist training during morning. Preparation for the advance being made.

Date: 12/3/18

Bn paraded at 0500 and moved to the delaying point. Advance commenced at 0745 with artillery co-operation, by 0830 the line ZIMMEL LEBED-MEZEIRAM had been captured without opposition 0930 Advance assured and by 1230 MEJDEL JABA was in our hands after slight opposition 162 Bde Casualties 1 of Rank killed and 18 wounded. 1 enemies issues 1 officer and 37 of ranks taken prisoner also 4 wounded prisoners. 2 MGS and 1 automatic rifle, 8 mules and 5 pack saddles and other valuable material also taken. Bn went into Bivouac 500 yards SW KB DIKERIN. (Sheet XIV Palestine 1st  map). Enemy aircraft active during afternoon. Bombed artillery and working parties infiltrating. slight casualties.

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