iain mchenry, on 26 October 2010 - 09:44 AM, said:
I am after locating on the map the two points 720 and 630 held by the 1st County of London (Middx) Yeomanry when they were attacked by the Turkish on 27th October 1917. The 8th Mounted Brigade held a 12 mile line from El Buggar - 720 - 630 - 510.
Major Lafone who was OC B Sqn, Middlesex Yeomanry, was KIA during the attack, later awarded a posthumous VC for his actions in the face of the Turkish attack.
I was in Beersheba last week visiting a few sites in and around the city in relation to its capture during 3rd battle of Gaza. I visited Major Lafones grave at Beersheba Commonwealth War Cemetery, but unfortunatley didnt have the time or the maps to go a bit further out to look at where the action resulting in his death, took place.
I have the N and MP Map disc for Other Theatres 1914-18 and can find El Buggar, west of Beersheba. I just cant find the points held by the 8th Mounted Bde.
Could anyone help with map extracts old or new or other info please?
Ian good day
As mentioned above, there had been already a detailed discussion here which asked the same questions, and let to the same answer, or parts of answers. To the best of my understanding, and I had searched for this point specifically at least twice (spending several hours in each occasion), “point 720” is to be found somewhere right on the border, or even inside the fenced area, of the “Hatzerim” IAF base. Several problems will prevent, to my opinion, the identification of that very specific spot, unless new maps will emerge OR I will have the time to look into the old RAF aerials from 1944-5 (or German aerials from 1917, which is less likely):
The El Buqqar ridge is not a sharp topographical element, as you may imagine. It is an elevated height, separating between a flat area to its west (Where Kh. “Khasif” is to found, for instance) and the maze of Wadi’s and their tributaries gradually making their way generally to the east. The “Ridge” is not much more then an imaginary line connecting many points from where moderate slopes run to the west and east. I never clearly understood point 720 was the highest in its vicinity (actually some details point it wasn’t) so it would be hard to determine which point was the actual “Point 720”.
There was a ruined stone house on top of point 720 – that we know. It was not well built, but rather looks like some old ruin. I was not able to find any clear trace of this house (there are 2 pictures showing small details of this structure) at any suspected point. A house being totally vanished is not a rare case, as building stones were often re used, but it might be that the 1944-5 aerials will reveal the location of this ruin. One suspected point (at least) suffered from later development so only old aerials will help here.
Point 720 should have been re occupied by element of the EEF later that week, as well as many other points. This time the trenches should have been better dug (The trenched that the MS Yeomanry inherited are described as poorly dug and short). Even these late Oct. trenches are mostly vanished, or hardly noticed, but they mislead several people who tried to locate “point 720”.
I believe that some work, not even thanks to miracles, will uncover the “true” location. This can be thanks to the mentioned 1944-5 aerials, pictures taken in hill 720 after the battle, or pictures of the MS Yeomenary’s men’s graves, in their original location that might have been near the hill. I am pretty sure the answer is somewhere out there…