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#1 ddycher

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Posted 04 April 2009 - 05:49 AM

All

Anybody have any interest or details on the movement of the 1/1st North Midland Mounted Brigade whilst in Egypt ? Am particularly interested in Dec 1915 - Jun 1916.

Would appreciate any advise.

Regards
Dave

#2 River97

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Posted 04 April 2009 - 06:10 AM

Dave,

This from Wikipedia.

The 1/1st moved north in November 1914 as Divisional Cavalry for the Northumbrian Division. On May 20, the Regiment formed part of a parade of some 40,000 men before H.M. The King and Lord Kitchener. The Regiment was then ordered south to Filey and then to East Anglia, to form part of the 1/1st North Midland Mounted Brigade. In October 1915 they set sail for Alexandria.[2]
In 1916, the Regiment was part of the Western Frontier Force, a dreary job, causing a number of NCOs and men to join the newly formed Imperial Camel Corps and 120 officers and men to be detached for service under T. E. Lawrence. In December 1916, the 22nd Mounted Brigade moved to the Suez Canal Zone to form part of the ANZAC Mounted Division. The Regiment first saw action during the First Battle of Gaza, a hard engagement for both the men and the horses, and in the Second Gaza Battle it was posted to the far right flank. In General Allenby's reorganisation 22nd Mounted Brigade transferred to the Yeomanry Mounted Division.[2]
In October 1917, the Regiment took part in the third battle of Gaza, and on the 13th November at El Mughar, supported a charge by 6th Mounted Brigade. A Squadron led 22nd Mounted Brigade, having captured their objective they pressed on to Akir and established a position on the far side of the village square, however they had to withdraw as they were unsupported by the rest of the Brigade. Sadly it transpired that the village was the location of a Turkish Corps Headquarters, and had the success of the attack been exploited then a major dislocation of the enemy lines could have resulted. El Mughar was the last great cavalry charge of the British Army.

Cheers Andy.

#3 ddycher

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Posted 04 April 2009 - 06:29 AM

Thanks Andy

Its details on their "dreary job" with the Western Frontier Force I am trying to find more about. Ref's I have from the 1/1st Lincs Yeomanry showing them at Fayum and Deir el Azab also cite a less than exciting time.

Thanks again

Regards
Dave

#4 stevebecker

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Posted 04 April 2009 - 10:38 PM

Mate,

I did placed an articale I wrote on this site thats deals with the WFF during that period but my major focus was the Australian Light Horse Compositie Regt. (check under Compositie Light horse regiment) if not I can still post it?

And it does comtain the names of the major players in the Yeomanry at that time?

I can't recall the mention of the Lincolnshire Yeomanry off hand?

But I'll check some of my sourses I used to see what they have/

S.B

#5 ddycher

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Posted 05 April 2009 - 02:05 AM

Thanks Steve

Would appreciate it.

Regards
Dave

#6 Thomas R

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Posted 07 December 2011 - 01:12 PM

Its details on their "dreary job" with the Western Frontier Force I am trying to find more about. Ref's I have from the 1/1st Lincs Yeomanry showing them at Fayum and Deir el Azab also cite a less than exciting time.


One of the most dreary jobs, according to my grandfather's letters was wiring, tedious and heavy work in the heat. I recall he also mentioned being sent out to lay telegraph cables to various outposts or oasis. To counter the boredom he talks about arranging a hunt in the desert, however they could only get hold of two dogs!
He was a Captain in the East Riding Yeomanary and was the officer o/c A squadron who took the village of Akir as part of the El Mughar charge.

Tom

#7 Thomas R

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Posted 07 December 2011 - 01:32 PM

El Mughar, supported a charge by 6th Mounted Brigade. A Squadron led 22nd Mounted Brigade, having captured their objective they pressed on to Akir and established a position on the far side of the village square, however they had to withdraw as they were unsupported by the rest of the Brigade. Sadly it transpired that the village was the location of a Turkish Corps Headquarters, and had the success of the attack been exploited then a major dislocation of the enemy lines could have resulted.


In this Wikipedia article it does not make it clear about Akir. From my grandfather's notes and letters he states that he took half of 'A' Squadron ERY, 15 men, beyond the ridge his initial objective, forward to "Old" Akir village, with the purpose of denying it to the withdrawing troops. Major J.F.M. Robinson went though the village regrouping on the far side, where he set up a heliograph and tried without success to contact Brigade HQ. As their position was too exposed and extended without brigade support , he had to withdraw.


However the Turkish HQ was not located in Old Akir but was in the nearby village of New Akir.

Tom

#8 NeilH

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Posted 09 December 2011 - 12:12 PM

Dear Tom,

As you can't yet use the PM system I will post this here.

I am researching the history of the East Riding Yeomanry generally, but specifically their role in WW1 with the intention (hope? fantasy?) of publishing a book on the subject. I would be fascinated to discuss your fathers experiences further with a view to incorporating them if at all possible into my research. If you would be prepared to discuss them please let me know.

Regards,

Neil.

#9 NeilH

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Posted 09 December 2011 - 12:30 PM

All

Anybody have any interest or details on the movement of the 1/1st North Midland Mounted Brigade whilst in Egypt ? Am particularly interested in Dec 1915 - Jun 1916.

Would appreciate any advise.

Regards
Dave


Dave,

As far as I can tell the brigade was head-quartered at Deir El Azab for that period with its constituent units spread around the Fayoum. In the case of the East Riding Yeomanry:

Nov 29 - Dec 18 1915 - Deir El Azab

Dec 18 1915 - Jan 10 1916 - Abu Gandir

Jan 10 - Feb 24, Deir El Azab

Feb 24 - Mar 7 - Sabwani Abu Galil (Gharack South)

Mar 7 - May 9 - Abu Gandir

May 9 - Aug 12 - Medinet Madi

Regards,

Neil.

#10 ddycher

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Posted 10 December 2011 - 10:04 AM

Neil

Thanks for this. Been a while since I looked at this. Was at the time trying to understand more about Southern Force and more specifically movements of the 2/5th Devons. Will go back to my notes of the time and see if the opens up anything new for me.

Thanks again.

Dave

#11 NeilH

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Posted 12 December 2011 - 07:23 AM

Hi Neil
When I get to magic figure, we can message, this restriction seems a bit limiting and probably encourages people to write complete drivel messages just to get up to the quota. The letters and notes are at another house so can't quote much at the moment.
Cheers


No worries Tom, you'll get there in the end! I have copies of a couple of Yeomen's correspondence which I am working my way through but they are not from "fighting" yeomen (not so far, anyway) so I am interested in personal recollections of any of the Yeomen who actually saw combat and also my resources are (quite naturally) concentrated on Egypt and Palestine; there is scant information with regards their service in France so anything from that period would be very exciting.

Cheers,

Neil.

#12 NeilH

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Posted 12 December 2011 - 07:47 AM

Neil

Thanks for this. Been a while since I looked at this. Was at the time trying to understand more about Southern Force and more specifically movements of the 2/5th Devons. Will go back to my notes of the time and see if the opens up anything new for me.

Thanks again.

Dave


Dave,

I assume the Lincolnshire Yeomanry ref you mentioned is Winteringham, "With the Lincolnshire Yeomanry in Egypt and Palestine"? There is also another relevant book "A Yeoman's Story" by Trooper Brown of the Staffordshire Yeomanry which gives details of a similar set of movements and also contains a couple of sketch maps which might of interest.

Cheers,

Neil.

#13 Thomas R

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Posted 16 February 2012 - 06:45 PM

On the theme of mundane dreary times with the Western frontier Force.

A letter from Capt J.F.M.Robinson ERY to his sister, 11 Feb 1916

I have not written home for sometime as I have been to Cairo for 3 days leave and there was nothing much to say.

Met Carus-Wilson just recovered from dysentery & looking quite well, he had been to Sulva with the Middlesex Yeomanry, he is there (sic) machine gun officer.

Heard of P.H.Marshall of the Inns of Court, he was in hospital with frostbite and dysentery.

Everyone fearfully cheery tonight as we have just heard that possibly some of the Arabs are coming our way at last.

We are trying to get a good terrier here to try & dig the foxes when they go to ground but cannot get one, we went too the dogs home @ Cairo which was the RSPCA place full of horses dog donkeys & a few camels, they really are doing good work, the sores were awful, the natives are such brutes.

All our xmas puddings & pickles & tinned sausages have just arrived so we are going to give the men tremendous feeds for the next day or two

We are still trying to buy guns and cartridges to shoot duck & snipe with.

It would be rather fun if you came out here, but I expect there are plenty of nurses here just now as there is not much fighting & the men are mostly fit as it is a tophole climate at this time of year.

I tried to see Nick in Cairo (his cousin, signal officer with the 4th ELR) but they have gone near the Suez somewhere.

P.S. Please ask mother to pay the enclosed a/c for me.

#14 rmcguirk

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 04:20 PM

On the theme of mundane dreary times with the Western frontier Force.

A letter from Capt J.F.M.Robinson ERY to his sister, 11 Feb 1916

Everyone fearfully cheery tonight as we have just heard that possibly some of the Arabs are coming our way at last.


This is an interesting letter because of the date and the rumour that the Arabs were coming at last. In fact, 11 Feb 1916 was the very day (so far as I can tell) that the British learned that much of the Sanusi army had left NW Egypt. Two weeks later those Sanusi who remained were defeated at 'Aqaqir; and thereafter the remnants retreated back to Siwa, some returning to Libya. But those who disappeared on 11 February (I think a camel mounted force of 600) went south and east to Egypt's central oases, creating quite a headache for British generals who had thought the Sanusi trouble was virtually over. In the event, the Sanusi were able to hang on in Egypt for another year.


I don't think the ERY were part of the Western Frontier Force until April 1916. They were most likely in a holding camp (eg Wardan, near Cairo) until then. Perhaps someone who has seen their War Diary could confirm...

Russell

#15 NeilH

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 04:45 PM

Hi Russell,

See my post #9 - the East Riding Yeomanry and the rest of the 1/1st North Midland Mounted Brigade arrived in the Fayoum on the 29th November 1915, having arrived in Egypt on the 'Victorian' at Alexandria in the 10th (well, they arrived on the 9th and the horses disembarked but the men had to wait until the following day). They spent approx two weeks at Chatby-les-Bains camp at Alexandria before moving to Mena Camp at Cairo on the 22 Nov from whence they left for Fayoum on the 29th.

For 11th Feb the war diary states:

Deir El Azab, Fayoum - B Sqdn scheme (convoy). A Sqdn, troop and individual training. 2nd draft riding school

Peter Thornton, the RQMS in ERY RHQ also wrote home that day. He reported:
"Talking of campaigns it looks as if this isnít going to be such a bloodless one as we thought up till lately. According to aerial reports just to hand tremendous numbers of the beggars have appeared within no great distance from our camp so that we shall almost certainly be amongst it in the near future"

Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on your point of view) nothing much ever came of it.

Cheers,

Neil.

#16 rmcguirk

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Posted 22 February 2012 - 06:45 AM

Hi Neil,

Thank you -- in skimming the thread I saw place names which meant nothing to me but managed to miss the mention of Fayoum.

Good luck with the ERY project.

Russell



#17 Thomas R

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Posted 22 February 2012 - 02:31 PM

Another letter home by Capt J.F.M.Robinson, a few weeks before the last post. Boxing day 1915. The letter lacks a lot of punctuation which makes it a bit hard to read.

Note he mentions the change of name from B. Med Force to N.M.M Bde Forces in Egypt.



Abu-Gandir

Sunday 26th December 1915

My dear Mother,

We (the regiment) came to this place about a week ago. It is another point on the edge of this oasis about 15 miles further out than our last camp, and we go on all (my squadron) to a further place on Tuesday. We have had one or two little excitements in this way, we are always on the look out for the advanced guard of a reported raiding army of Arabs so if we see anything such as a convoy of camels coming in, we rush out & hold them up until we are certain who they are. We can only stop them & wait until an interpreter comes to ask questions, so far we have not seen anyone who looks at all warlike.
I am answering your letter of December 2nd which is that last I have, but we hear there is a heavy mail due to arrive tonight, there is always a cheer from the regiment now when the letter call is blown as we get practically no news not even an Egyptian Daily Mail. The church that I spoke of at Cairo was made on purpose I should think it only had a removable dome. I should imagine Dumps' lot are only digging trenches for amusement and exercise. I hope the Oldrey's don't go altogether it will be rotten for them in town & I should think more expensive. The weather is topping just now just like early June very hot sun but a cool breeze and this camp is pitched on what has been cultivated lands & not on the sand but the horses are just on the sand. The result is we have made the officers' lines a hollow square with a patch of grass in the centre so we are very comfortable especially as we have given up the Greek mess contractor & our servants do our own cooking & we have found an excellent cook out of the squadron we have a small portable oven on our oil stove (called perfection) very useful & good we have had a very good Xmas indeed (we get up in the dark every day at 5 AM & "stand to arms" that is parade armed in case by any chance anyone got near enough in the night & tried to rush us at daylight). After that we had breakfast & went out at 9:30 AM hunting & found a desert wolf within 1/2 mile of camp. This went away straight across the desert as hard as it could pelt after about 6 miles the two hounds gave up they were so blown but we hunted on (by sight of course) for about 4 miles until the leading man Eustace Smith (2nd lieutenant of my squadron) got close up to it & shot it with his revolver. I was about 100 yards behind with another officer & a trooper. So I was the given brush quite a nice one. The wolf stood as big as an Airedale & weighed about 60 70 lbs. Practically all the officers were out & 10 men from each squadron so it really was a long distance race. It was riding Major Morrel's best horse (which was one of the Colonel's is best hunters in private life) & could have gone on & beaten the leading horse easily in another mile or so only I wanted to save him as I had no idea how are the wolf would go. The time was 47 minutes & practically straight of course no jumping but some rough patches & rocky in places. The desert is by no means level it is a succession of ridges & in the distance mountains. Then we came back, chased a fox for a bit on the way but gave it up after half mile as it was going away from home then had lunch slept all afternoon in the evening the Lincoln Yeo Chaplin came over & we had a large bonfire of mealie storks & had a service by the light as he produced hymn books and afterwards had a very good dinner & a sing song. As turkeys are so cheap here we bought plenty, in the end the puddings failed us but we still live in hopes of their arrival so that men did very well & are very cheerful & pleased with life it is very healthy here at this time of year and we have very few in hospital. The parson (Holmes by name) who is a very good man for the job being a good rider & having been in Australia on mission work road 15 miles to us yesterday after doing two services, he brought his surplice & wine & bread & everything on his saddle so we had H.C. in a tent this morning & he has now gone on again to another service. It looks awfully funny to see his top boots & spurs coming from under his surplice. We have decorated our mess tent with date palm not having any holly. The next time you are in London, will you go to the stores or somewhere & buy a really good ham not too big & have packed there & sent out to "The Mess President" "A" squadron 1/1 ERY 1/1 NMM Bde. Forces in Egypt. The last part is our address not B Med Force. I will pay for it if you will take it off my rents or something, by the way has Mr Heaton sent any rents if so how much have you paid in for me and has the Bus Co. paid yet. We cannot get ham and very little bacon in Egypt as there are so many troops here & it is needed elsewhere luckily there is any amount of beef & mutton also poultry. I have just had my hair cut by a shoeing Smith he has done it quite well. One gets so full of sand & dirt here. My best horse got twisted up in a rope & is lame in the hip which is a nuisance. Some of the other men have had parcels sent off of cakes (sealed in tins) &c but a good many have not arrived and we have so much of all sorts that I do not want anything except the ham so do not bother to send anything else as they want awfully good packing in sacking &c. I also want a pair of small sharp nail scissors if you can get me some.

Later

The mail has arrived it was a parcel one however so I have not received any further letters from you but expect they are on the way. We have plenty of filters here so get more baths . There is nothing more to say that I can think of & I must go to bed.

Your loving son

Martyn

PS Please tell the kids that is letters are for them also but it is impossible to write more than one letter at a time.

#18 Thomas R

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Posted 29 February 2012 - 02:39 PM

Last letter of the period in the Western Desert. Letter from Capt J.F.M.Robinson to his cousin and future wife.

Gharak South 14 April 1916

We have been busy, we have had a time of "Khamsene" or sand storm. I have been transferred to another squadron for duty .
First of all about two weeks ago we got information that Arabs here in Fayoumn were sending food etc out to the Senussi so forthwith we prowled about the desert in a large ring about 10 miles out, at night we used to go out after dark try & find our appointed places then I used to trek up & down the line to visit posts, of course that week there was no moon so we went out by the stars & compass & stumbled over rocks & sandhills sometimes after to climb up the latter on foot & drag ones horse after one. I only got to bed 11 to 4am one night out of 5 but it was very good fun in spite of our catching nothing or even finding any tracks at daylight. I believe the blighters got word & did not go there.

I had to do one really nice trip though, about 23 miles out from us is a real desert oasis with a well. So I was ordered there @ 8pm one night with 50 men luckily we had sent camels with a field telephone wire laid on the sand to that place some days before, so we went by that until we got to some awful sand dunes about 3am over which my horse fell with others on top of us. soft falling, so lay down until dawn & arrived about 7am, nothing there of course. For 15 miles we had crossed the sand & rocks no vegetation, all the time going down a long wide valley with big cliffs either side, then when it was light we came to patches of a sort of shrub called camel brush, & saw in the distance 2 date palms with a spring bubbling up underneath one, the water coming up was about as quick as one fills a bath, running over the sand for 20 yards & then disappearing again in the sand, we dug a pool to bathe in & water our horses, the water was salty but good, had breakfast & slept in the shade, we stayed all night keeping a good look out & came back in daylight the next day.
Possibly there is another similar sort of show on soon when we hope better results.
Now is the sand storm season, they are rotten a hot wind driving sand & one can only see a few yards some of our tents were blown down & the fires all swamped with sand which was perhaps lucky, the horses had a rotten time but did not seem to mind much especially as all the flies were blown away, we have an awfully lot of digging in the sand to do to entrench our camp, very hard work as everything has to be sandbagged up & then the sand storms come & shift the whole bag of tricks. We have given up hunting as there are a lot of cubs about we have 1/2 dozen among the men as pets, I hope they have to let them loose soon as we cannot keep them all. Besides I am frightened of anyone getting bitten with rabies to follow. Charles Lyon (Mrs Peter Ormerod's brother) who was Capt. of B squadron has gone home to make munitions & as their Major is not very good & the squadron has always been the worst in some ways, we "A" were the best (of cousrse) for various reasons & had the best Lieut's, so I have been pushed on to here to try & buck things up, I am told by the Col. it is a complement but I do not know. We had just previously sent one of our sergt's to be squad Sergt Major so I expect to get on alright as they are good fellows mostly clerks from Hull whereas "A" sqn were mostly country men & farmers. I think I can tell you why Nick is ???? but it is possibly a state secret, altho everyone knows we are entrenching all along the East bank of the Suez canal a distance out in the desert & the General's here are mad on telephones nowadays so I expect he is up to his neck in it. We found telephone laying a rotten job in the sun as one has to bed down so much. It knocked out one or two of our men for a bit.
Family news.
Did you come in for any 2 ep's or not when at Harlow you do not say. This mess has a gramophone of sorts which gives us a little music of sorts. I liked "The man who stayed at home" when I saw it & everyone raves about the other piece according to the papers. If you go south again go to "tonights the night" @ the Gaiety it is only musical comedy but 2 or 3 very good songs. I loved it.
More chit chat.
I must go to bed now as we always have to rise with the lark these days when it nice & not to hot. (sic)

P.S. This "B" squadron is also on outpost is facing south instead of west about 5 miles from "A" but a very nice camp on a sort of old clover field which is pleasanter & less glaring to look at than the desert.

#19 NeilH

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Posted 29 February 2012 - 05:16 PM

Notes:

According to the War Diary Captain C. G. Lyon left the regiment for 2 months special leave for munitions work on 7th April.

B Squadron was at Gharak South from Feb 24th till relieved April 27th by C Squadron

Cheers,

Neil.



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