COMMANDERS AND LEADERS
XXI Corps Desert Mounted Corps Prince Feisal's Sherifial Force Remnants of the Fourth Army Seventh Army Eighth Army Asia Corps
* v * t * e
* Suez Canal * Jifjafa * Katia * Romani * Bir el Abd * Magdhaba * Nekhl * Bir el Hassana
* Rafa * 1st Gaza * 2nd Gaza
* 1st Southern Palestine
* Buggar Ridge
* 2nd Southern Palestine
* Beersheba * Khuweilfe * 3rd Gaza * Hareira & Sheria * Wadi el Hesi * Huj * Mughar Ridge * Junction Station * Ayun Kara
* Nebi Samwil * Jaffa * El Burj
* Tell \'Asur * Berukin & 1st Arara
* Jericho * Jordan Valley
* 1st Transjordan
* Hijla * 1st Amman
* 2nd Transjordan * Abu Tellul
* 3rd Transjordan
* Jisr ed Damieh * 2nd Amman
* Arsuf * Megiddo
* Tulkarm * Tabsor * 2nd Arara * Nazareth * Afulah float:right;clear:right;width:315px;margin-bottom:0.5em;margin-left:1em;;padding:3px">
* v * t * e
* Mecca * Medina * Taif * Yanbu * Aqaba * Wadi Musa * al-Samna * Megiddo * Damascus * Aleppo
The CAPTURE OF DAMASCUS occurred on 1 October 1918 after the capture
of Haifa and the victory at the
Battle of Samakh which opened the way
for the pursuit north from the
Sea of Galilee
Following the victories at the Battle of Sharon and Battle of Nablus during the Battle of Megiddo, on 25 September, the combined attacks by the XXI Corps , Desert Mounted Corps, the XX Corps supported by extensive aerial bombing attacks , gained all objectives. The Seventh and Eighth Armies in the Judean Hills were forced by the attacks at Tulkarm , and Tabsor to disengage and retreat, in turn forcing the Fourth Army, east of the Jordan River to avoid outflanking by retreating from Amman when they were attacked by Chaytor's Force. As a consequence of these withdrawals large numbers of prisoners were captured at Jenin while the surviving columns retreated behind a strong rearguard at Samakh .
The commander of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force, General Edmund
Allenby ordered Lieutenant General
Harry Chauvel 's Desert Mounted
Corps to pursue the remnants of the three Ottoman armies and capture
Damascus. The 4th Cavalry Division began the pursuit, attacking
rearguards along the inland road at Irbid on 26 September, at Er Remta
and Prince Feisal's Sherifial Army captured
Deraa on 27 September. The
Australian Mounted Division attacked rearguards along the main road,
at Jisr Benat Yakub on 27 September, occupying
* 1 Background
* 2 Prelude
* 2.1 Liman von Sanders withdraws
* 2.1.1 Yildirim Army Group retreats
* 2.2 Allenby\'s plans and preparations
* 3 Pursuit
* 3.1 Sherifial Army capture of Deraa
* 3.2 4th Cavalry Division
* 3.2.1 Irbid 26 September * 3.2.2 Er Remta 27 September * 3.2.3 Deraa 28 September * 3.2.4 Dilli 29 September * 3.2.5 Zeraqiye 30 September
* 3.3 5th Mounted and Australian Mounted Divisions
* 3.3.1 Kefr Kenna/
* 3.4.1 Jisr Benat Yakub 27 September
* 3.4.2 Deir es Saras 27/28 September
* 3.5 5th Cavalry Division
* 3.5.1 Kiswe 30 September
* 3.6 Summation of cavalry advances
* 3.6.1 Chetwode congratulates Chauvel
* 4.1 Defence
* 4.2 Encirclement
* 4.2.1 Bulgarian armistice
* 4.3.1 Surrender * 4.3.2 Administration * 4.3.3 Occupation
* 4.6.1 German Government resigns
* 4.7 Occupation continues * 4.8 Supply problems * 4.9 Requisitioning * 4.10 Medical situation
* 4.11.1 12th Light Horse Regiment
* 4.12 State of the horses * 4.13 Impact of sickness on EEF effectiveness
* 5 Aftermath * 6 Notes * 7 Citations * 8 References
Battle of Samakh (1918) ,
Capture of Tiberias (1918) ,
Battle of Megiddo (1918) ,
Battle of Sharon (1918) , Battle of Nablus
Third Transjordan attack (1918) , Sinai and Palestine
First Transjordan attack on Amman , Second Transjordan
attack on Shunet Nimrin and Es Salt , and
Third Transjordan attack
Falls Map 21 Cavalry advances 19 to 25 September 1918. Detail shows
5th Cavalry Division advance to Nazareth, 4th Cavalry Division advance
to Afulah and Beisan,
Australian Mounted Division advance to Lajjun,
3rd Light Horse Brigade
At Lajjun on 22 September, before Haifa and a "new landing-place for supplies" had been captured, while the Fourth Army still held Amman and the rearguard was still in place at Samakh, Allenby, "for the first time" outlined to Chauvel his plans for an advance to Damascus.
On 26 September the Inspector General,
Lines of communication
LIMAN VON SANDERS WITHDRAWS
Gullett's Map 43 shows the Jordan River from the Dead Sea and Jericho to Semakh and the Pilgrims Road from Ziza to Deraa with the 4th Light Horse Brigade at Samakh, retiring Ottoman columns, the Ottoman Fourth Army headquarters at Deraa and Chaytor's Force at Amman on 25 September
Otto Liman von Sanders
Liman von Sanders had found Deraa "fairly secure" due to the actions of its commandant, Major Willmer whom he placed in temporary command of the new front line from Deraa to Samakh. While at Deraa during the evening of 21 September, Liman von Sanders met leaders of several thousand Druses, who agreed to remain neutral. He arrived at Damascus on the evening of 23 September, his staff having already arrived. Here, he requested the Second Army which was garrisoning Northern Syria to advance to the defence of Damascus. Two days later; on 25 September Liman von Sanders ordered his staff back to Aleppo.
Yildirim Army Group Retreats
Between 6,000 and 7,000 German and Ottoman soldiers remaining from the Ottoman Fourth, Seventh and Eighth Armies had managed to retreat via Tiberias or Deraa towards Damascus, before these places were captured on 25 and 27 September, respectively and were at or north of Muzeirib.
On 26 September Colonel von Oppen, commander of the Asia Corps (formerly part of the Eighth Army) reached Deraa with 700 men including the 205th Pioniere Company. Liman von Sanders ordered von Oppen to withdraw by train; Asia Corps left Deraa at 05:30 on 27 September hours before Sherifial irregulars captured the town. Von Oppen's train was delayed nine hours by a break in the line 500 yards (460 m) long 30 miles (48 km) north of Deraa, to arrive at Damascus the following morning 28 September. Asia Corps was ordered to continue on by train to Rayak where von Oppen's corps was to strengthen a defensive line.
ALLENBY\'S PLANS AND PREPARATIONS
After his initial meeting with Chauvel at Lajjun on 22 September regarding the proposed pursuit, Allenby replied on 25 September to Wilson regarding pressure for an advance to Aleppo. "I am firmly of the opinion that the only sound policy is to advance by stages as in the past, unless and until the War Cabinet is prepared to undertake a combined Naval and Military operation on a large scale at Alexandretta, and to maintain by sea the military forces employed in it."
A conference at Jenin on 25 September with GHQ and Desert Mounted
Corps staffs, was followed the next day by a corps commanders' meeting
chaired by Allenby and orders for the pursuit were issued on 27
September. Allenby outlined his planned advance to
With Major General H. J. Macandrew's 5th Cavalry Division following,
Major General H. W. Hodgson's
Australian Mounted Division was ordered
to advance to
Major General G. de S. Barrow 's 4th Cavalry Division was ordered to
ride north from Beisan and cross the Jordan River at Jisr el Mejamie
before advancing eastwards via Irbid to
Deraa in the hope of capturing
retreating remnants of the Ottoman Fourth Army. If they failed to
capture the retreating columns they were to pursue them north along
the ancient Pilgrims' Road and the
Hejaz Railway to
The XXI Corps' 3rd (Lahore) and 7th (Meerut) Divisions moved to garrison Haifa, Nazareth and Samakh; the 2nd Battalion Leicestershire Regiment, 28th Brigade (7th (Meerut) Division) was transported forward to Haifa in lorries with six days' supplies to relieve the 5th Cavalry Division on the morning of 25 September, the 21st Brigade (7th (Meerut) Division) marched up the coast to arrive at Haifa on 27 September, the 7th Brigade (3rd (Lahore) Division) marched north to Jenin and on to Nazareth where they detached one battalion before continuing on to garrison Samakh on 28 September.
SHERIFIAL ARMY CAPTURE OF DERAA
Falls Sketch Map 38 shows Arab raids on the Hejaz railway between 17 and 27 September, the advance of the Sherifial Army and the 4th Cavalry Division in the Deraa region
The limited participation of Prince Feisal's force had been invited on 21 September, when an RAF aircraft delivered news of Allenby's successful offensive and the destruction of the Ottoman Seventh and Eighth Armies, to its forward base at Azrak. The aircraft also carried instructions from Lieutenant Colonel Alan Dawnay, responsible for liaison between the EEF and the Arabs, informing Prince Feisal "that every escape route had been ‘closed except, possibly, that east of the Jordan by way of the Yarmuk Valley. If the Arabs can close this, too – and close it in time – then, not a man, or gun, or wagon ought to escape – some victory!" It was made clear to Prince Feisal that his force was not to "embark on any enterprise to the north, such as an advance on Damascus, without first obtaining the consent of the commander–in–chief."
Allenby wrote to Prince Feisal:
There is no objection to Your Highness entering
As the remnants of the Ottoman Fourth Army retreated northward via
Deraa they were pursued over "many waterless miles", by Arab forces
which "joined Feisal's force, with horrific consequences." Three
quarters of Prince Feisal's 4,000 strong force including Nuri esh
Shalaan's camel force, were irregulars. They had made a forced march
overnight on 26/27 September, crossing the railway north of
tearing up rails to arrive at Sheikh Sa'd 15 miles (24 km) north
northwest of Deraa, at dawn on 27 September.
Auda abu Tayi
At Deraa Lieutenant Colonel T. E. Lawrence and Colonel Nuri Bey met Barrow when the 4th Cavalry Division entered the town on 28 September, agreeing to cover the division's right flank during their pursuit north to Damascus.
4TH CAVALRY DIVISION
Transport crossing the Wadi el Bireh near Jisr el Mejamie on 27 September – it took two days to get 30 lorries across. Here 14 German lorries were bogged and abandoned.
The 4th Cavalry Division began the pursuit by Desert Mounted Corps
via Deraa, the day before the
Australian Mounted Division with the 5th
Cavalry Division in reserve, began their pursuit to
The 4th Cavalry Division's the Central India Horse , (10th Cavalry Brigade ) which had been garrisoning Jisr el Mejamie since 23 September, was joined there on 25 September by the remainder of the 10th Cavalry Brigade, from Beisan. They were ordered to advance as quickly as possible to Irbid and Deraa, and to contact Prince Feisal's Arab force. The brigade left Jisr el Mejamie and crossed the Jordan River on 26 September, as the remainder of the 4th Cavalry Division left Beisan for Jisr el Mejamie; the 11th Cavalry Brigade in the rear of the division, arriving at Jisr el Mejamie at 18:30 that day.
Irbid 26 September
Main article: Charge at Irbid Falls Sketch Map 40 10th Cavalry Brigade attack on Irbid
Late in the afternoon of 26 September the 10th Cavalry Brigade was attacked by the Fourth Army's flank guard which held the country round Irbid in force. Consisting of the Fourth Army's Amman garrison (less their rearguard captured at Amman), according to Archibald Wavell these troops had not been "heavily engaged," and Anthony Bruce argues that they were "still intact as a fighting force even though ......in rapid retreat."
The 2nd Lancers attempted a mounted attack without reconnaissance and without knowing the size of the defending force; the charge failed suffering severe losses, before the artillery could get into position.
Er Remta 27 September
At Er Remte another strong rearguard position was captured by the 10th Brigade after "considerable fighting." The 146th Regiment, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Freiherr von Hammerstein-Gesmold, had arrived at Er Remta the day before the attack. This regiment, together with the 3rd Cavalry Division and 63rd Regiment etc., had made up the Fourth Army's Army Troops.
The 10th Cavalry Brigade's 1/1st Dorset Yeomanry, with a subsection of machine gun squadron, rode from the Irbid area at 07:15 on 27 September in the vanguard. A British aircraft dropped a message 2 miles (3.2 km) beyond the Wadi Shelale which reported that Er Remta was clear of Ottoman force; however, as two troops approached the village, they were fired on at a range of 1,000 yards (910 m) and 300 Ottoman and or German troops advanced out of the village to the attack with an advanced force of 100 deployed for the attack while two hundred with four machine guns advanced in support. Three troops of the Dorset Yeomanry charged and captured a group of 50 which had crossed a wadi, while the remainder of the defenders retreated back into the village, where hand-to-hand fighting ensued among the houses.
The Central India Horse (10th Cavalry Brigade) was ordered forward in support, moving "in column of squadrons in extended order" across the Wadi Ratam, when they sighted 150 retreating defenders. Two squadrons formed a line on a wide front and charged the scattering Ottoman soldiers who got two machine guns into action, before being attacked with the lance. Four machine guns and 60 prisoners were captured, while another four machine guns and 90 prisoners were captured not far away.
The action was over by noon, when the 4th Cavalry Division headquarters and the 11th Cavalry Brigade which had camped for the night of 26/27 September at Jisr el Mejamie with the 12th Cavalry Brigade bivouacked 2.5 miles (4.0 km) east of the Jordan River, with orders to advance at 06:00 to Er Remta to join the 10th Cavalry Brigade, arrived.
Ahead of the cavalry Australian aircraft reconnoitred
Deraa 28 September
After halting for the night at Er Remte, Barrow commanding the 4th Cavalry Division ordered patrols by the 10th Brigade, to establish whether Deraa was defended. The brigade covered the assembly of the division at 04:30 on 28 September east of Er Remta before advancing at 07:00 towards Deraa. They reached Deraa during the early morning to find it occupied by Prince Feisal's Sherifial force. Contact was made with Lawrence, who informed them that Sherifial irregulars had captured Deraa the previous afternoon, and the 4th Cavalry Division entered the town. Road from Jisr el Majamie to Irbid at the Wadi Ghafur on 29 September when 30 lorries which supplied the 4th Cavalry Division passed by; the bridge breaking under the pressure so the lorries crossed the stream bed on the right
Deraa a captured British airman who had been a prisoner of the
Dilli 29 September
The 10th Cavalry Brigade remained in Deraa to piquet the railway station, collect and care for the Ottoman wounded and bury their dead. They bivouacked for the night of 28/29 September in the station building while the 11th and 12th Cavalry Brigades moved out to Muzeirib to water. Barrow arranged with Prince Feisal's Chief Staff officer Colonel Nuri es-Said , for his Arab force to cover the 4th Cavalry Division's right flank during their pursuit to Damascus, which was to begin the next day.
The 4th Cavalry Division's 70 miles (110 km) pursuit from
However, the division rode west to Sheikh Miskin 13 miles (21 km) north east of Muzeirib at 14:00 where it was joined by the 10th Cavalry Brigade from Deraa, (see Falls Sketch Map 38) less a squadron left to protect the wounded. The division, running short of supplies moved 5 miles (8.0 km) north to bivouac at Dilli (see Falls Sketch Map 38) for the night of 29/30 September. Rations carried by their Divisional Train had been issued at Muzeirib leaving 13 G.S. wagons carrying the last rations. Nine tons of barley and "a small herd of cattle, sheep and goats" were captured at Irbid and more goats had been requisitioned at Deraa.
Allenby describes the scale of his victory:
My prisoners mount up. I hear, today, that 10,000, trying to break
N., have surrendered to General Chaytor at Amman . This is probably
true; but not yet verified. If true, it brings the total of prisoners
to well over 60,000. I hope that my cavalry will reach Damascus
tomorrow. Things are going swimmingly, too, in
Zeraqiye 30 September
The Sharif of Mecca 's Sherifial Army had seen two columns of German and Ottoman soldiers; one consisting of 5,000 retreating north of Deraa and the other 2,000 strong was north of Muzeirib on the Pilgrims' Road. As the smaller column passed through Tafas they were attacked by Auda Abu Tayi's Arab regular horsemen with irregulars; splitting up this column to be eventually "engulfed by their pursuers." By 29 September the Sherifial Army was attacking the larger column, and requesting assistance from the 11th Cavalry Brigade (4th Cavalry Division).
The 4th Cavalry Division rode out of Dilli on 30 September towards
Kiswe 30 miles (48 km) away. The bulk of the remnant Fourth Army was
much closer to
Most of the division bivouaced at Zeraqiye at 16:30 while the 11th
Cavalry Brigade reached Khiara 6 miles (9.7 km), further north where
they saw the rearguard of the Fourth Army. Arab forces requested the
support from the 11th Cavalry Division in an attack on this rearguard.
Attempts by the 29th Lancers (11th Cavalry Brigade) to "head off" the
Ottoman column were unsuccessful, while the Hants Battery which had
been sent forward in support "over very bad ground", despite being
"outranged by their screw-guns," continued firing until dark. During
the night continuing attacks by Auda Abu Tayi's force "practically
destroyed" the larger column. Only one German battalion reached
By the evening of 30 September the 4th Cavalry Division was still 34 miles (55 km) from Damascus.
5TH MOUNTED AND AUSTRALIAN MOUNTED DIVISIONS
The 5th Cavalry Division was relieved by the infantry on the morning of 25 September; they "left that place at once" to reach Kefr Kenna about 17:00 on 26 September where they concentrated.
Australian Mounted Division (less the 3rd and 4th Light Horse
Brigades at Tiberias and Samakh respectively) left Kefr\' Kenna also
At Tiberias the Australian Mounted Division waited for the 5th Cavalry Division to close up and for the 4th Light Horse Brigade to rejoin from Semakh, bivouacking there for the night of 26 September. While most of the division spent the afternoon resting and bathing in the Sea of Galilee, after the previous night's all night ride, patrols were sent forward as far as Jisr Benat Yakub.
AUSTRALIAN MOUNTED DIVISION
Jisr Benat Yakub 27 September
Main article: Battle of Jisr Benat Yakub
The Australian Mounted Division followed by the 5th Cavalry Division and Desert Mounted Corps headquarters left Tiberias on 27 September to begin the pursuit to Damascus. They were held up for some hours at Jisr Benat Yakub (Bridge of the Daughters of Jacob) on the upper Jordan, north of Lake Tiberias. Here, Liman had ordered the Tiberias Group, consisting of the survivors from the garrisons at Samakh and Tiberias, to "resist vigorously" the EEF pursuit by establishing rearguards south of Lake Hule. The Ottoman rearguard blew up the bridge and established strong defences with machine guns on commanding positions on the east bank, overlooking the fords. At Jisr Benat Yakub the river was deep and fast flowing with steep banks making it difficult to cross without the additional problem posed by machine gun fire. George Lambert's painting of the repaired bridge at Jisr Benat Yakub showing the buildings at the western end in 1919
The 5th Light Horse Brigade's Régiment Mixte de Marche de Cavalerie rode across open ground to dismount and attack a section of the rearguard in buildings at the western end of the damaged bridge. During this frontal attack the French troopers suffered "some loss" as no artillery support was available. The remainder of the 5th Light Horse Brigade searched for a ford to the south of the bridge, eventually swimming the river in the late afternoon but were caught in rocky ground on the opposite bank where they remained until first light.
Meanwhile, the 4th Light Horse Regiment (4th Light Horse Brigade), successfully attacked the rearguard position overlooking the ford at El Min 1.5 miles (2.4 km) south of Jisr Benat Yakub. During the night patrols crossed the river and the 4th Light Horse Regiment continued its advance to Ed Dora.
3rd Light Horse Brigade
Desert Mounted Corps Bridging Train arrived during the night in
lorries and in five hours the sappers constructed a high trestle, to
bridge the destroyed span. By daylight on 28 September the Australian
Mounted Division was advancing up the road towards
Deir Es Saras 27/28 September
3rd Light Horse Brigade
The first Ottoman or German aircraft, seen by the 3rd Light Horse Brigade since operations began on 19 September, passed overhead at 06:00 on 28 September. An hour later three aircraft bombed the 8th Light Horse Regiment 's (3rd Light Horse Brigade) bivouac but they were chased away by four British planes. On their way to Deir es Saras, the 11th Light Horse Regiment (4th Light Horse Brigade) was bombed at 08:00 by two aircraft and machine gunned from the air, resulting in a few casualties.
The 12th Light Horse Regiment and four machine guns were ordered to march from Jisr Benat Yakub to Deir es Saras at 00:30 on 28 September. They crossed the Jordan River at 02:15 with the Régiment Mixte de Marche de Cavalerie, to capture 22 prisoners, three field guns and one machine gun. At Deir es Saras the Régiment Mixte de Marche de Cavalerie which had been attached to the 4th Light Horse Brigade reverted to the 5th Light Horse Brigade and the 4th Light Horse Regiment which had been attached to the 5th Light Horse Brigade since Lejjun returned to the 4th Light Horse Brigade at 09:00 on 28 September. The 4th Light Horse Brigade subsequently followed the 5th Light Horse Brigade to Abu Rumet scouting wide on both flanks while one squadron of 12th Light Horse Regiment escorted Divisional Transport from Jisr Benat Yakub.
Relief map shows Haifa, Nazareth, Mount Hermon, Sea of Galilee, Irbid, Daraa, Quneitra, Damascus, Duma, Zahle, Beirut and region in 2011. Note Lake Huleh has been drained
The Tiberias Group which had provided the rearguards defending the
Jordan River south of Lake Huleh, was reinforced at
Having been sent to reconnoitre a pass, at 13:00 the leading troops encountered a rearguard of 20 Circassian Cavalry which charged the Light Horsemen, and called on them to surrender. Sergeant Fitzmaurice and his troop then charged with swords drawn, into the Circassians killing and wounding some and taking the remainder prisoner.
No further attacks occurred before the Australian Mounted Division
arrived at Quneitra, with the 5th Cavalry Division arriving five hours
later, having crossed the Jordan River. Both divisions bivouacked to
the east and to the west of the village. The 4th Light Horse Brigade
At the top of the watershed,
The whole area was very disturbed with groups of Arab and Druse
patrolling the Hauran, ready to capture any weakly–guarded convoy.
As the nearest infantry were at Nazareth, 60 miles (97 km) away,
Chauvel appointed Brigadier General Grant commanding the 4th Light
Horse Brigade, GOC Lines of Communication to keep order around
Grant commanded a strong force of four cavalry regiments to maintain order among the hostile Circassians. The 4th Light Horse Brigade Headquarters and the 11th Light Horse Regiment remained at Quneitra with the Sherwood Rangers (5th Cavalry Division). These troops garrisoned the town and organised the lines of communication north to Damascus. The Hyderabad Lancers at Jisr Benat Yakub patrolled the region from Safed , 9 miles (14 km) south of Jisr Benat Yakub, while at Deir es Saras the 15th Light Horse Regiment (5th Light Horse Brigade) patrolled that region.
During the afternoon four Bristol Fighters raided
On 29 September, grain requisitioned at Tiberias was distributed to
units, when wheeled transport arrived. By then all the fresh meat
requisitioned for the men had been consumed. In order to feed the men
and horses as well as 400 prisoners, "vigorous requisitioning" was
carried out in the occupied region. Plenty of fresh meat for the men
and good clover hay for the horses was supplied daily, but very little
grain was found. After requisitioning ten sheep from the inhabitants
of el Mansura village, at 09:30 the 11th Light Horse Regiment relieved
the 4th Light Horse Regiment day patrols on 29 September guarding the
roads from Summaka and Hor later the Shek and
Between 19 and 30 September the 4th Light Horse Brigade had suffered 73 horses killed (61 by the 11th LHR – probably at Samakh) three light draught horses, 12 rides and two camels destroyed, 14 rides two light draught horses wounded and eight evacuated animal casualties. They captured 24 officers and 421 other ranks at Quneitra.
Advance Continues 29/30 September
The force which continued the advance from
During the morning of 29 September retreating columns of German and
Ottoman soldiers were seen by aerial reconnaissance in several groups
with about 150 horse transports and 300 camels about 20 miles (32 km)
south of Damascus. About 100 more infantry and pack camels were seen
on the outskirts of Damascus. Also during the morning a
reconnaissance by the 11th Light Armoured Motor Battery (LAMB) had
been attacked by a "force of all arms" estimated at 300 strong with
machine guns and at least two guns, holding a rearguard position 20
miles (32 km) from
The Sa'sa rearguard force appeared to be divided in two; the left consisting of 50 German, 70 Ottoman soldiers, six machine guns and four guns.
Action At Sa\'sa
Falls Sketch Map 39 detail Sasa
The advance to
At 15:00 the
3rd Light Horse Brigade
While the 9th and 10th Light Horse Regiments slowly continued their
advance, at 02:00 on 30 September the 8th Light Horse Regiment (less
one squadron) moving dismounted along the road, made a frontal attack
on the rearguard position. With the cooperation of the 9th and 10th
Light Horse Regiments the position had been captured by 03:00 along
with five machine guns and some German prisoners. Some managed to
withdraw but they were pursued by the 10th Light Horse Regiment which
captured two 77mm field guns, two machine guns and about 20 prisoners.
Sergeant M. Kirkpatrick of the 2nd
During the attack on Sa'sa two members of the 4th Light Horse Regiment earned Distinguished Conduct Medals when they led charges at a German rearguard at Sa'sa. These two flank patrols of three men each attacked 122 Germans with four machine guns preparing to enfilade the Australian Mounted Division's flank, scattering them and eventually forcing their surrender.
Kaukab 30 September
Main article: Charge at Kaukab Falls Sketch Map 39 detail Actions at Kaukab and Kiswe
The 3rd and 5th Light Horse Brigades and Bourchier's Force (4th and
12th Light Horse Regiments) were ordered to continue the advance to
the west of
At dawn Lieutenant Colonel M. W. J. Bourchier's two regiments of the
4th Light Horse Brigade; the 4th Light Horse Brigade took over as the
Australian Mounted Division's advanced guard towards
The advance attacked a column .5 miles (0.80 km) from Kaukab capturing 350 prisoners, a field gun and eight machine guns and 400 rifles.
The regiment saw a strong column about 2 miles (3.2 km) long take up a position on all the commanding places on Kaukab ridge/Jebel el Aswad; from the western edge of a volcanic ridge stretching eastwards along the high ground. Patrols estimated the force to be 2,500 strong but there were no apparent signs of troops to protect their right flank.
The 4th and 12th Light Horse Regiments were deployed on the right, while the 14th Light Horse and the Régiment Mixte de Marche de Cavalerie (RMMC) took up a position on the left with the 3rd Light Horse Brigade in the rear.
The unprotected right flank was quickly outflanked by the Régiment Mixte de Marche de Cavalerie advance. As two batteries opened effective fire from a hillock, at 11:15 the 4th and 12th Light Horse Regiments charged mounted "with the sword." When the 4th Light Horse Regiment on the left and the 12th Light Horse Regiment on the right, charged up the slope the Ottoman defenders broke and ran . About 72 prisoners were captured along with 12 machine guns while large numbers retreated into woods towards Daraya and the Ottoman cavalry rode back to Damascus.
The Régiment Mixte de Marche de Cavalerie continued their advance
riding 5 miles (8.0 km) to the Baniyas to
5TH CAVALRY DIVISION
Kiswe 30 September
Main article: Charge at Kiswe
On 29 September Mustafa Kemal Pasha, commander of the Seventh Army arrived at Kiswe, with his army's leading troops. Liman von Sanders ordered him to continue on to Rayak, north of Damascus.
By the morning of 30 September, the leading column of the remnant Fourth Army consisting of an Ottoman cavalry division and some infantry, was approaching Kiswe 10 miles (16 km) south of Damascus, followed along the Pilgrims' Road by the 4th Cavalry Division 30 miles (48 km) behind.
The 5th Cavalry Division, with the Essex Battery RHA in support, was ordered to attack a 2,000-strong Ottoman column retreating along the Pilgrim's Road 9 miles (14 km) to the east. Two regiments of the 14th Cavalry Brigade bypassed the 2,000 strong garrison in Kiswe in order to attack on another Ottoman rearguard 3 miles (4.8 km) closer to Damascus.
As the British Indian Army 20th Deccan Horse and the 34th Poona Horse (14th Cavalry Brigade) approached the road, with the hills of El Jebel el Aswad on the left, to the east of Kaukab, they were stopped by rearguards, while "the road was packed with troops and transport." Large numbers of retreating Ottoman soldiers, could also be seen further to the north, approaching Damascus.
Two squadrons of Deccan Horse attacked and captured the nearest point on the hills overlooking the pass, while on their left a squadron of the 34th Poona Horse supported by the Essex Battery RHA charged into the German and or Ottoman force, mounted splitting it in two and scattering the column. Here they captured 40 officers and 150 men. The 14th Brigade eventually bivouacked on the El Jebel el Aswad ridge with a total of 594 prisoners having suffered 5 killed and 4 wounded.
SUMMATION OF CAVALRY ADVANCES
Four days after leaving Tiberias, in spite of delays caused by the difficulty of the terrain and a series of cavalry actions in which the German and Turkish rearguards were either overrun or harried into surrender, the Australian Mounted and 5th Cavalry Divisions arrived at Damascus. They had left a day after the 4th Cavalry Division but arrived "within an hour of each other."
In the 12 days from 19 to 30 September, Desert Mounted Corps' three cavalry divisions marched over 200 miles (320 km)/400 kilometres (250 mi) many riding nearly 650 kilometres (400 mi), fought a number actions, and captured over 60,000 prisoners, 140 guns and 500 machine guns.
Chetwode Congratulates Chauvel
My dear Chauvel, I do congratulate you on your ably conducted and historic ride to Damascus, and on all the rest of the performances of the Cavalry in this epoch–making victory.
As an old cavalryman I could find it in my heart to envy my own brother the splendid command you have had, and put to such fine use – but if there is anyone in the Service who I would grudge it to least it is you – for I shall always be in debt to you for the most loyal and whole–hearted co–operation on many difficult occasions.
You have made history with a vengeance and your performance will be talked about and quoted long after many more bloody battles in France will have been almost forgotten.
I knew it would be a big success but I must say I never thought the result would be so absolutely decisive or over so quickly.
We did our part with the Infantry but it was the Cavalry who put the lid on the Turks' aspirations forever.
Heaven send that now the Germans are talking about peace we shall show then no mercy – or insist on a dictated peace. With renewed congratulations from your very sincere friend. — Phillip W. Chetwode commanding XX Corps, letter to Chauvel dated 5 October 1918
The most ancient of cities, fed and purified by the rushing Adana
through which only its noblest features are seen by the distant
spectator, waited that night with its twelve thousand soldiers for
surrender on the morrow. Watching by the guns that night, I thought,
what many others must have been thinking, that the blighting rule of
the Turk was broken forever, that soon the soft flesh of verdure would
cover the skeleton lands through which we had passed, restoring them
to their former loveliness and glory, and that a smiling future would
look back in admiration of this turbulent present when it recalled the
Tenth Crusaders and their last great ride. — Sergeant M.
Lieutenant Hector W. Dinning from the Australian War Records in Cairo
According to the 1918 Army Handbook, Damascus, the largest urban
settlement in Syria is also a Bedouin Arab city located in an oasis
most of which lies east of the city. The Arab villagers and tenting
nomads "make the environs of
"One sees a great diversity of races in the streets ... with the
tarbush-wearing Syrian is the most common." Both Christian and Muslim
services were held in the Great Mosque, "one–half of the building
being reserved for the Christians and the other for the Mohammedans."
Liman von Sanders ordered the 24th, 26th and 53rd Infantry Divisions,
XX Corps Seventh Army and the 3rd Cavalry Division, Army Troops Fourth
Army, under the command of Colonel Ismet Bey (commander of the III
Corps Seventh Army) to defend Damascus, while the remaining Ottoman
formations were ordered to retreat northwards. The Tiberias Group
commanded by Jemal Pasha, commander of the Fourth Army was also
ordered to defend Damascus. Liman von Sanders realised he could not
defend the city and withdrew his
Yildirim Army Group headquarters
north to Aleppo. During 30 September, retreating units passed through
the outposts organised by Colonel von Oppen (commander of the Asia
Corps) at Rayak . The 146th Regiment was the last formation to leave
Falls Sketch Map 39 detail Capture of
Australian aircraft had reconnoitred
By midnight on 30 September, the
Australian Mounted Division was at
El Mezze 2 miles (3.2 km) to the west, the 5th Cavalry Division was at
Kaukab and the 4th Cavalry Division was at Zeraqiye 34 miles (55 km)
The Australian Mounted Division moved west of the city to block the road to Beirut and the road north to Homs, Hama and Aleppo and occupy the city, while the 5th Cavalry Division moved to the south of the city to cut the road from Deraa. Macandrew's 14th Brigade, 5th Cavalry Division held the Kaukab ridge captured by the 4th and 12th Light Horse Regiments. Barrow's 4th Cavalry Division and an Arab force were in action against the remnant Fourth Army around Khan Deinun. Arabs were reported camped at Kiswe, a few miles to the south of the city.
German machine gunners, defending the suburbs, were quickly rooted
out by our active horse artillery, while we galloped between the
cultivation and the arid hills. Suddenly encountering a sharp and
well–directed fire, we swerved abruptly into these hills, where the
enemy, picketing the heights, were as quickly dispersed. From these
hills we obtained a magnificent view of the city which 'The Prophet'
thought 'A Paradise,' fortunately for his belief, he went not down,
neither did the wind blow his way. Away to the south–east we could
see a great converging column of the enemy struggling on to reach the
city. They were the 20,000 Turks from the
Deraa Base. Most of the
fugitives were bagged by our Division ere they reached what they had
fondly hoped was their haven of refuge. — Sergeant M. Kirkpatrick
At 02:00 on 1 October a troop of the Gloucester Hussars (13th Cavalry Brigade ) with a Hotchkiss rifle section was ordered to capture the wireless station at Kadem. They were unable to capture it before it was destroyed. From the west of Kadem the troop witnessed the destruction of the wireless station and the railway station before arriving at the headquarters of the Australian Mounted Division.
A half hour after the troop had set out, the remainder of the 13th
Cavalry Brigade (5th Cavalry Division) at Kaukab, advanced to Kiswe
arriving just before 04:30 at Deir Ghabiye mistaking it for Kiswe. One
squadron of Hodson's Horse in the vanguard pursued and captured about
300 Ottoman soldiers before riding on into Kiswe to capture another
300 prisoners. After the brigade arrived at Kiswe they were ordered
back to Kaukab. Having sent back 700 prisoners under escort the
Hodson's Horse squadron advanced with machine guns and Hotchkiss
rifles at the gallop, towards a 1,500 strong Ottoman column moving
After the Allied army in Salonika destroyed the Bulgarian Army, on 30 September the Bulgarian Government accepted the Allies' armistice terms, leaving Constantinople only lightly defended.
DAMASCUS 1 OCTOBER
The independence of Syria was proclaimed and the Hejaz flag raised over the Governor's palace by the Emir Said Abd el Kader, who formed a provisional council to rule the city until Prince Feisal took command. "GHQ instructed troops to allow Prince Feisal's force into the city 'first', even though the EEF had won the battle and reached Damascus before the Arabs."
3rd Light Horse Brigade
The 10th Light Horse Regiment as
3rd Light Horse Brigade
At the Serai, Hall of Government or Town Hall Major or
Lieutenant–Colonel A.C.N. Olden, commanding the 10th Light Horse
Regiment accepted the surrender of the city from Emir Said Abd el
Kader. " large gathering, clad in the glittering garb of eastern
officialdom, stood, formed up in rows." Emir Said told Olden he had
been installed as Governor the previous day and he now surrendered
Independence was declared while about 15,000 Ottoman and German soldiers were still in Damascus, including Jemal Pasha, the commander of the Fourth Army. Allenby reported to King Hussein, Prince Feisal's father on 1 October:
I am glad to inform Your Highness that our combined forces entered
the City of
The Arab army arrived in
Shukri Pasha was subsequently appointed Military Governor of
Damascus. French and Arab claims which would take up a great deal of
Allenby's time, were complicated by this Arab action and caused the
French to distrust Prince Feisal. This first Arab Administration
ceased within days and Ali Riza Pasha el Rikabi took over. Also in
Allenby reported to the War Office by telegram on 1 October, "Last
Australian Mounted Division entered the outskirts of
At 06:40 on 1 October Hodgson, commanding Australian Mounted Division
ordered Bourchier's Force; the 4th and 12th Light Horse Regiments to
patrol the western outskirts of
Desert Mounted Corps had captured a total of 47,000 prisoners since
operations commenced on 19 September. Between 26 September and 1
October, the corps captured 662 officers and 19,205 other ranks.
About 20,000 sick, exhausted and disorganized Ottoman troops were
taken prisoner in and around the Damascus. Nearly 12,000 prisoners
were captured in
Allenby estimated that 40,000 Ottoman soldiers had been retreating
The official Australian historian describes the scale of the victory:
"A fortnight after General Allenby flung his artillery bombardment at
the enemy lines, the great Turkish and German force in Western and
Eastern Palestine had been destroyed, and our prisoners numbered
75,000. Of the 4th, 7th and 8th Turkish Armies south of
3RD LIGHT HORSE BRIGADE CONTINUE PURSUIT
Main article: Charge at Khan Ayash
After taking the surrender of Damascus, the 3rd Light Horse Brigade
moved north along the
Meanwhile, the 13th Cavalry Brigade (5th Cavalry Division) advanced
to the east of the city to the
The next day, at 06:15 on 2 October 1918 a long column was reported attempting to escape northwards. The 9th Light Horse Regiment trotted out at 06:45 and quickly got level with the main body of the column, two squadrons were ordered forward to Khan Ayash before the entrance to a pass. As soon as they had cut the road ahead a third squadron rode to attack the flank of the column but before it could engage the column surrendered. They had captured over 2,000 prisoners including a divisional commander and the 146th Regimental standard, the only Ottoman colour taken by Australians in the First World War. The 146th Regiment had only recently been one of two "disciplined formations."
CHAUVEL\'S MARCH THROUGH DAMASCUS ON 2 OCTOBER
When Chauvel arrived in Damascus, he told his staff "to pitch my camp
in a clean orchard just out of the city, which I thought would suit me
better after what I had seen of the place. I then went back to my
camp, had lunch, and became immersed in problems of supply, collection
of prisoners, orders for the morrow, etc., sending off first of all an
aeroplane message to Lord Allenby, telling him what I had done." He
also sent for the British Supply Officer of the Hejaz Forces. "Before
discussing supply matters, however, he ... said 'they are out to make
as little as possible of the British and make the populace think that
it is the Arabs who have driven out the Turk. This is why Lawrence
asked you to keep your men out of the city and they have no intention
of asking you for any police.' He also said 'They are getting the
British Consulate ready for you. If you go there you are not defining
yourself as the Conqueror of this country, but rather as a
contributory ally. You should take possession of Djemal Pasha's house,
which is the best one in the place, and which they are reserving for
Feisal.' He said there was absolute chaos in the city, the Bazaars
were closed and all the better class of people were terrified at the
idea of the Hejaz crowd being in charge." As a result, Chauvel decided
to march through the city the following day, with "practically every
unit being represented; guns, armoured cars, everything, and I also
took possession of Djemal's house." Gloucester Yeomanry in
General Chauvel's march through
Allenby had instructed Chauvel to work through Lawrence until he
arrived, but Lawrence was concerned to see Prince Feisal rule Syria,
and he opposed a show of strength. 9th Hodson's Horse in General
Chauvel's march through
Chauvel ordered a "display of force to overawe the turbulent elements
in the town." Detachments from each brigade of Desert Mounted Corps
and guns marched through
The march through
DAMASCUS MEETING 3 OCTOBER
On 25 September Chauvel had asked Allenby: "What about these Arabs?
There is a rumour that they are to have the administration of Syria."
Allenby replied, "Yes, I believe so." Britain wanted Prince Feisal to
rule Syria from
In a telegram to the War Office on 30 September Allenby stated: "It
is not my intention to extend the jurisdiction of the Occupied Enemy
Territory Administration under General Mone into the area of French
influence. I shall appoint French military officers wherever
administration may be necessary in the French "Blue" area. They will
be under my orders as Commander–in–Chief of the Allied
Expeditionary Force, and shall communicate my orders to them through
my Chief Political Officer. I am not extending the existing Occupied
Enemy Territory Administration to places east of Jordan in the "B"
area, such as Es Salt and Amman, but until such time as an Arab
administration be formed later, I am merely appointing a British
officer to safeguard the interests of the inhabitants. As regards the
"A" area, notably the city of Damascus, I shall recognize the local
Arab administration which I expect to find in existence, and shall
appoint French liaison officers as required. My communication with the
French Political Mission will continue to be through my Chief
Political Officer. I hope by the above procedure to safeguard French
and Arab interests, while ensuring that supreme control remains in my
own hands as Commander–in–Chief." Prince Feisal leaving
Desert Mounted Corps Headquarters in
Allenby arrived in
Prince Feisal claimed Lawrence had assured him Arabs would administer the whole of Syria, including access to the Mediterranean Sea through Lebanon so long as his forces reached northern Syria by the end of the war. He claimed to know nothing about France's claim to Lebanon.
I got a message on the afternoon of the 2nd October, from the Chief
of Staff to say that the Commander in Chief would visit me on the
following day (October 3rd), would arrive at
On the early morning of October 3, Lawrence informed me that the Emir
Feisal would arrive at
Later on, on the morning of the 3rd, I got a further message from the
Chief of Staff to say that Sir Edmund Allenby would not stay the night
Accompanied by my BGGS Brigadier–General C.A.C. Godwin , I motored to Kaukab to meet Sir Edmund. On meeting him I asked him if I had done right in agreeing to Shukri Pasha being Governor of Damascus. Sir Edmund told me I had done quite right but that there were some complications in that the French were to have the Mandatory power over Syria and that he wanted to see Feisal at once. I told him that Feisal would not be in until 3 p.m. when he was to have a triumphal entry. The Chief said "I cannot wait till 3. You must send a car out for him and request him to come in and see me at once. He can go out again for his triumphal entry."
Accordingly, on arrival at Damascus, I despatched my ADC, Captain W.G. Lyons, in my own car to meet Feisal, with a note explaining the circumstances and asking him to come in the car. He did so. Arriving at the Hotel Victoria about 2.30 p.m. and there was a conference at once at which the following were present:– Sir Edmund Allenby, General Bols, myself, General Godwin, the Emir Feisal, Lt–Colonel Lawrence, the Sherif Nasir and Nuir Bey . *There were others present i.e., Stirling and, I think, Cornwallis, but I did not record them.
The Chief explained to Feisal:– (a) That
Feisal objected very strongly. He said that he knew nothing of France in the matter; that he was prepared to have British assistance; that he understood from the adviser that Sir Edmund Allenby had sent him that the Arabs were to have the whole of Syria including the Lebanon but excluding Palestine; that a Country without a Port was no good to him; and that he declined to have a French Liaison Officer or to recognise French guidance in any way.
The Chief turned to Lawrence and said: "But did you not tell him that the French were to have the Protectorate over Syria?" Lawrence said: "No Sir, I know nothing about it." The Chief said: "But you knew definitely that he, Feisal, was to have nothing to do with the Lebanon". Lawrence said: "No Sir, I did not."
After some further discussion the Chief told Feisal that he, Sir Edmund Allenby, was Commander in Chief and that he, Feisal, was at the moment a Lieut–General under his Command and that he would have to obey orders. That he must accept the situation as it was and that the whole matter would be settled at the conclusion of the War. Feisal accepted this decision and left with his entourage (less Lawrence) and went out of the City again to take on his triumphal entry which I am afraid fell rather flat as the greater bulk of the people had seen him come in and out already!
After Feisal had gone, Lawrence told the Chief that he would not work with a French Liaison Officer and that he was due for leave and thought he had better take it now and go off to England. The Chief said: "Yes! I think you had!", and Lawrence left the room.
The Chief afterwards relented about Lawrence and told me to tell him that he would write to Clive Wigram about him and arrange for an audience with the King, also, that he would give him a letter to the Foreign Office in order that he might explain the Arab point of view.
Sir Edmund Alleby left shortly afterwards for Tiberias. Lawrence left
German Government Resigns
The German Government resigned on 3 October with their armies in retreat following a series of defeats.
The 12th Light Horse Regiment bivouacked 1,000 yards (910 m) north
east of Kefrsuse from 1 October while "A" Squadron remained 8 miles
(13 km) south of Damascus, "C" Squadron reported to Colonel Lawrence
for guard duty in the city and "B" Squadron guarded the Divisional
Train. On 4 October the regiment took over guard duties from the 5th
Cavalry Division and moved bivouac to south west of El Mezzo. At 07:00
on 7 October a Taub aircraft dropped three bombs about 400 yards (370
m) from regimental headquarters without causing any casualties. At
08:30 regimental headquarters and "A" and "B" Squadrons moved to
Allenby reported to the War Office:
The total of prisoners captured by the EEF now exceeds 75,000, and it
is estimated that of the 4th, 7th and 8th Armies and L. of C. troops
not more than 17,000 have escaped, and that only 4,000 of these are
effective rifles. We still have at
At Kaukab 10,000 prisoners in a compound were joined by 7,000 more moved from a compound at El Mezze, "in deplorable condition." They died at first at 70 per day which slowed to fifteen a day, under the command of Lieutenant Colonel T. J. Todd, 10th Light Horse Regiment which took over guard on 7 October from two squadrons of 4th Light Horse Regiment and one squadron of 11th Light Horse Regiment commanded by Major Bailey. Todd found "ations poor and no provision made for cooking. No drugs, or bandages for sick and wounded of whom about 3000 urgently required medical attention." Part of the hospital attached to the Ottoman prisoner of war camp at Kaukab
Todd had the weakest men transferred to houses in the village,
supplied blankets and Syrian doctors to treat the sick, organised the
prisoners into companies under their own officers, and sanitary
arrangements were developed. Four doctors among the officer prisoners
began working in the compound but none spoke English. On the first day
69 dead were buried; the next day 170. On 8 October five Ottoman
mobile cookers were received and soup cooked for the sick. Four water
troughs and four pumps were erected along the stream for the prisoners
of war. Daily reports sent in urgently called for blankets, drugs and
disinfectant. On 9 October 762 Ottoman officers and 598 other ranks
were sent to the compound while there were no evacuations to the
Jordan. Two interpreters arrived on 10 October and Lieutenant Colonel
Todd appointed Commandant of Prisoners of War
Damascus, November 1918. Drivers who served with Major Wilfrid Kent Hughes; left to right, back row; M.B. McCulloch, Jock Don, R. McLeod, C.E. Bell, G.A.G. Herbert; front row; H. Bellamy, A.E. Tom, M.R. McCulloch. Absent; W.A. Erickson, A.W. Pryor, E.P. Yeatman.
Captured ports were quickly organised as advanced bases, for
supplying both Bulfin's XXI Corps and Chauvel's Desert Mounted Corps,
advances. Supplies began to be landed at Haifa on 27 September with
1,000 tons landed each day during the first week of October, but the
infrastructure was lacking for moving the supplies the 85 miles (137
km) from Haifa to
At the beginning of the pursuit, the supply route ran from Haifa, to
Nazareth and on to Tiberias and Samakh, but by the time Desert Mounted
On 4 October 1918 the ration convoy broke down leaving the 12th Light
Horse Regiment short two meals. From 19 October supplies and rations
of tea, milk and sugar were landed at Beirut and carried on lorries to
On 22 October Allenby reported:
I am at work on the broken bridges in the Yarmuk Valley; and,
meanwhile, bridging the gap by camels and motor lorries. As for roads,
I propose to concentrate on the coast road from Haifa northwards, then
Desert Mounted Corps' nearly 20,000 men and horses relied heavily on local supplies from 25 September onwards until the French took over the area in 1919. Between 25 September and 14 October Desert Mounted Corps was dependent for forage on what they could requisition, fortunately, except on one or two occasions, water was plentiful.
Food supplies for the troops and the 20,000 prisoners depended on
requisitioning; "a business demanding patience and an admixture of
firmness and tact." This business was carried out "without extreme
difficulty, and without in any way depriving the inhabitants of
essential food." Bread and meat for the men was to a large extent
also supplied from local sources. Grain concealed in
After thirteen days on bully and biscuit, it was good to know fresh
meat and bread again; the mutton was of the best, and the bread, if
dark and coarse and heavy, was still a long way ahead of biscuit. We
were too late for the famous
At first no medical units could enter Damascus, a town of some 250,000 inhabitants, due to the turmoil and uncertain political situation. They began coming in the next day.
Many of the 3,000 Ottoman sick and wounded were found in six groups of hospitals. One group of hospitals at Babtuma housed 600 patients, another group housed 400 patients, 650 seriously wounded Ottoman soldiers were found in the Merkas hospital, about 900 were found in the Beramhe Barrack. In a building near the Kadem railway station 1,137 cases were found. On "the order of the corps commander (Lieutenant-General Sir H. G. Chauvel)", they were made the first duty of the medical service.
Although a few cholera cases were found at Tiberias and quickly
eradicated there was none at Damascus, but typhus, enteric, relapsing
fever, ophthalmia, pellagra, syphilis, malaria and influenza were
found in the prisoners.
Desert Mounted Corps field ambulances treated
over 2,000 cases with 8,250 patients admitted to hospitals in
Damascus. Evacuations were mainly by motor convoys to the nearest
ports and then by hospital ships. At first all seriously ill British
and Ottoman sick were held in
The journey to Haifa began in motor lorries from
The supply of motor lorries was insufficient for the evacuation of
sick and wounded as well as the evacuation of prisoners. There were
over 10,000 prisoners in the
Along the pursuit by the
Australian Mounted Division and 5th Cavalry
Division, and the 4th Cavalry Division, wounded and increasing numbers
of sick were held in collecting stations. They waited evacuation by
returning supply motor lorries. At a monastery above the shore of the
Sea of Galilee
The 4th and 5th Cavalry Divisions in the Rayak-Moallaka area were
ordered to stop evacuations to
SPANISH FLU AND MALARIA
Studio portrait of Driver Joseph Albert Murphy 1030 4th Light
Horse Regiment embarked Sydney on 25 June 1915 died of malaria in
During the pursuit, the
Desert Mounted Corps had travelled around the
malarial shores of the
Sea of Galilee
The epidemic spread quickly, assuming startling proportions in Damascus, along the lines of communication south of the city, and also to the north. Virtually all sick in the early stages were serious cases. Medical supplies quickly became short, while supplies of suitable food for a light diet were inadequate and blankets and mattresses ran short as there were no facilities to disinfect them so they had to be destroyed in many instances.
The Australian Medical Corps, commanded by Colonel Rupert Downes,
became responsible for the care of the sick in Damascus. Major W.
Evans, the DADMS of the Australian Mounted Division, was appointed
Principal Medical Officer of
Cases of malignant malaria contracted in the Jordan Valley south of
Jisr ed Damieh before the offensive, were increased by those
contracted in the Jordan Valley north of
Jisr ed Damieh and around
Beisan. In the week ending 5 October more than 1,246 troopers of the
Desert Mounted Corps had reported sick to hospital and another 3,109
cases were reported the following week. Many who had contracted
previously suffered malaria in the Jordan Valley were now in a
different climate, tired and worn out from two weeks of almost
constant operations, and they relapsed and or contracted
It will be recalled that during the first week in
Due to a breakdown in evacuations on 10 October, the only divisional
receiving station in Damascus, the 5th Cavalry Division receiving
station, had on 11 October between 800 and 900 seriously ill patients
mostly suffering from broncho-pneumonia and malignant malaria. "Deaths
were numerous." Some cases of malarial diarrhoea were diagnosed as
cholera; the malarial diagnosis station arrived the next day. The
staff was exhausted and severely reduced; medical supplies and
blankets ran low. One hundred Australian light horsemen were
reassigned to medical orderly duties, a large convoy of sick was
evacuated by motor lorries the next day and the arrival of supplies of
milk relieved the situation. The
Australian Mounted Division receiving
station also arrived and relieved the 5th Cavalry Division receiving
station which had admitted 1,560 British and Australian sick out of a
total of 3,150 admitted to all the medical units that week. At Babtuma
hospital the Ottoman sick rose from 900 to 2,000. Sick prisoners of
war were retained in
Medical service personnel became ill at a higher rate than cases from the combat units and no reinforcements were arriving. The loss of administrative officers was crippling. The 4th Cavalry Division receiving station was unable to move for eight days owing to illness; only two motor ambulances had drivers. Many doctors became ill during the period including corps staff members; the DDMS Colonel Rupert Downes, included. Of the 99 medical officers in the three mounted divisions of the Desert Mounted Corps, 23 were sick and the DDMS of the corps was ill from 6 October; DMS, EEF had no officer available to replace him. He, along with the ADMS and DADMS Australian Mounted Division, did what they could from their beds; the ADMS 5th Cavalry Division remained well but was with his division advancing towards Aleppo .
By 14 October the position in
Three weeks after
Sickness is troubling us. I had the mosquitos well in hand; and soon the Jordan Valley had become almost a summer health resort. Now I'm in Turkish territory, and malignant malaria is laying a lot of people by the heels. I've a good acting DMS now; one Luce, and he is doing all he can, but his beds are all full. I want to send some thousands of sick to Malta; but Salonika appears to have filled up most of the beds there. My Turkish prisoners are improving in health, to some extent, and their death–rate is diminishing. Thousands are still at Damascus, awaiting removal to Egypt, but transport is not sufficient. — Allenby to Wilson 22 October 1918
Of the total of 330,000 members of the Australian Imperial Force
(AIF) which left
12th Light Horse Regiment
The men of the 12th Light Horse Regiment were reported in the War Diary of 8 October, to be "far from well and require a good rest otherwise the ranks will be greatly depleted." By 12 October they were "...in a very poor way, more and more going sick daily." On 14 October, the troops were "...still having a bad time with fever. 50 prisoners daily......employed to look after horses and clean up the lines so that sufficient men......be made available to furnish the usual posts." By 17 October, the regiment was understrength by one officer and 144 other ranks, eight reinforcements arrived the next day and by 19 October the worst was over, after which it was reported that the troops were "...improving daily."
STATE OF THE HORSES
Those horses which had been in the field, even with light condition, survived the long marches carrying about 20 stone (130 kg) and rapidly picked up afterwards while those which had recently arrived did not do so well.
During the Battle of Megiddo and Capture of Damascus; from 15 September to 5 October, 1,021 horses were killed in action, died or were destroyed. Out of a total of 25,618 animals involved in the campaigns, 3,245 animals were admitted to veterinary hospitals and mobile veterinary sections. They mainly suffered galls, debility, fever and colic or diarrhoea. After they were cured 904 were reissued.
IMPACT OF SICKNESS ON EEF EFFECTIVENESS
The losses to the two infantry corps were high but these divisions, being mainly located back in malaria free areas near to railheads and hospitals, were not required for military operations, except for the 7th (Meerut) Division which advanced to occupy Beirut and Tiberias. The losses to Desert Mounted Corps were alarming because any further advance would be heavily dependent on its ability to fight.
Average weekly sick rate per cent
ANZAC MOUNTED DIVISION
AUSTRALIAN MOUNTED DIVISION
1918 ADM TO F.AMBS EVAC FROM F.AMBS ADM TO F.AMBS EVAC FROM F.AMBS
15–30 Sept 5.49 4.97 3.27 3.04
October 7.79 6.30 6.16 4.86
November 2.79 2.47 4.20 3.35
December 1.68 1.52 1.53 1.20
The numbers of sick due to malaria; mainly malignant malaria, doubled
from 1 September to 1 October; from 2.85 to 5.51 percent, with Indian
and European soldiers being almost equally affected. Desert Mounted
Corps sick for the week ending 5 October of 1,246 rose to 3,109 for
the week ending 12 October. Although the death rate was not high, four
times as many deaths occurred at
The capture of
The resources of the
The advance along the Mediterranean coast by the 7th (Meerut) Division occupied Beirut on 7 October and Tripoli on 13 October when two important ports were captured, from which support for the inland pursuit northwards could be provided.
This inland pursuit by the 5th Cavalry Division reached Baalbek on 10
Aleppo was captured by Prince Feisal's Sherifian army with support from the armoured cars and the 15th (Imperial Service) Cavalry Brigade on 25 October. The following day the 15th (Imperial Service) Cavalry Brigade were attacking strong rearguards at Haritan 8 miles (13 km) north west of Aleppo and on 27 October, the Australian Mounted Division was ordered to move north in support of the 5th Cavalry Division.
* ^ These advances have been characterised as a "race for Damascus". * ^ This is the 38th King George's Own Central India Horse not to be confused with the 39th King George's Own Central India Horse which had remained in India ] * ^ The 1/1st Dorset Yeomanry was serving in the EEF in April 1917 when they formed part of the 6th Mounted Brigade, Imperial Mounted Division by October 1917 they had been transferred to the Yeomanry Mounted Division. * ^ The barrel and breech were carried separately, and screwed together for action. See the British example RML 2.5 inch Mountain Gun
* ^ They were Trooper Charles William Heywood, Regimental No. 32
(temporary corporal) and Lance Corporal James Alfoncis Moodie,
Regimental No. 1104 (temporary sergeant). (G. Massey 2007 pp. 55, 75.
See also Australian War Memorial Recommendation AWM28-2-128-0098)
* ^ Dinning reported sick to hospital with Pyrexia on 27 September.
He rejoined his unit on 5 October 1918. (National Archives of
* ^ The diary states that although it was expected that all units would be represented, the 12th Light Horse Regiment and between "20 and 30 O/Ranks from 4th LH Regt were the only Australian Regts represented."
* ^ Falls 1930 Vol. 2 p. 560
* ^ A B Falls 1930 Vol. 2 pp. 560–1
* ^ A B C D Falls 1930 Vol. 2 p. 561
* ^ Falls 1930 Vol. 2 pp. 511, 545
* ^ Keogh 1955 p. 251
* ^ Wavell 1968 p. 223
* ^ Falls 1930 Vol. 2 p. 545
* ^ Falls 1930 Vol. 2 pp. 545–6
* ^ A B C D E Falls 1930 Vol. 2 p. 594
* ^ Cutlack 1941 pp. 167–8
* ^ Falls 1930 Vol. 2 p. 567
* ^ Falls p. 594
* ^ Falls 1930 Vol. 2 pp. 582–3, 595
* ^ A B Hughes 2004 p. 188
* ^ Falls 1930 Vol. 2 p. 603
* ^ Wavell 1968 p. 222
* ^ A B C D E Bruce 2002 p. 241
* ^ A B Preston 1921 pp. 247–8
* ^ Bou 2009 pp. 195–6
* ^ Wavell 1968 p. 224
* ^ A B Keogh 1955 pp. 252–3
* ^ Bruce 2002 p. 238
* ^ Hughes 2004 p. 187
* ^ Wavell 1968 p. 221
* ^ Woodward 2006 p. 201
* ^ Falls 1930 Vol. 2 pp. 566–7
* ^ A B Falls 1930 Vol. 2 pp. 582–3
* ^ Maunsell 1926 p. 231
* ^ A B C D Preston 1921 p. 252
* ^ Gullett 1919 p. 39
* ^ A B C D Wavell 1968 pp. 224–5
* ^ Falls 1930 Vol. 2 pp. 579–80
* ^ Falls pp. 594, 674
* ^ Falls 1930 Vol. 2 p. 581
* ^ Falls 1930 Vol. 2 pp. 581–2
* ^ Falls 1930 Vol. 2 pp. 580–2
* ^ A B C D E F Cutlack 1941 p. 167
* ^ Falls 1930 Vol. 2 p. 583
* ^ A B Wavell 1968 p. 225
* ^ Bruce 2002 p. 242
* ^ A B C Hill 1978 p. 176
* ^ Falls 1930 Vol. 2 pp. 583–4
* ^ A B Falls 1930 Vol. 2 p. 584
* ^ Hughes 2004 p. 190
* ^ A B Falls 1930 Vol. 2 p. 585
* ^ A B C D E F G Wavell 1968 p. 227
* ^ A B Bruce 2002 p. 244
* ^ A B Falls 1930 Vol. 2 p. 586
* ^ Preston 1921 p. 249
* ^ Falls 1930 Vol. 2 pp. 561, 567
* ^ A B C D Bou 2009 p. 196
* ^ A B C D Hill 1978 p. 175
* ^ Falls 1930 p. 567
* ^ Falls 1930 Vol. 2 pp. 594–5
* ^ A B Carver 2003 p. 242
* ^ A B C D Bruce 2002 p. 243
* ^ Preston 1921 pp. 258–60, 335
* ^ A B Wavell 1968 pp. 225 & 227
* ^ 4th Light Horse Brigade War Diary 27 September 1918
* ^ A B C D E Falls 1930 Vol. 2 p. 568
* ^ Preston 1921 p. 262
* ^ A B C
3rd Light Horse Brigade
* "4th Light Horse Regiment War Diary".
First World War
* v * t * e
* Home fronts
* Balkans * Western Front * Eastern Front * Italian Front
* Gallipoli * Sinai and Palestine * Caucasus * Persia * Mesopotamia * South Arabia
* South-West * East * Kamerun * Togoland * North
ASIAN AND PACIFIC
* Tsingtao * German New Guinea and Samoa
* North Atlantic U-boat campaign * Mediterranean * North Sea * Baltic
* Indian, Pacific and South Atlantic Oceans
* Papeete * Madras * Penang * Cocos * Coronel * Falkland Islands * Más a Tierra
Principal participants (people )
* French Empire
* Russian Empire
* Serbia * United States * Brazil
* Scramble for Africa (1880–1914) * Russo-Japanese War (1905) * First Moroccan (Tangier) Crisis (1905–06) * Agadir Crisis (1911) * Italo-Turkish War (1911–12) * French conquest of Morocco (1911–12) * First Balkan War (1912–13) * Second Balkan War (1913)
Battle of the Frontiers
Battle of Cer
Second Battle of the Masurian Lakes
Second Battle of Ypres
* Battle of Gallipoli
Second Battle of Artois
Battles of the Isonzo
* first day
* Capture of Baghdad
First Battle of Gaza
Treaty of Brest-Litovsk
Second Battle of the Marne
Battle of Baku
* Mexican Revolution (1910–20) * Somaliland Campaign (1910–20) * Libyan resistance movement (1911–43) * Maritz Rebellion (1914–15) * Zaian War (1914–21) * Indo-German Conspiracy (1914–19) * Senussi Campaign (1915–16) * Volta-Bani War (1915–17) * Easter Rising (1916) * Anglo-Egyptian Darfur Expedition (1916) * Kaocen Revolt (1916–17) * Russian Revolution (1917) * Finnish Civil War (1918)
Russian Civil War (1917–21)
* Greco-Turkish War (1919–23) * Turkish–Armenian War (1920)
* Pacifism * Anti-war movement
* Military engagements * Naval warfare * Convoy system * Air warfare
* Room 40
Civilian impact Atrocities Prisoners
* Economic history
1918 flu pandemic
Destruction of Kalisz
Rape of Belgium
* German occupation of Belgium
* German occupation of Luxembourg
* German occupation of northeastern
* Partitioning of the
World War I
* v * t * e
Ottoman battles in the 20th century
ITALO-TURKISH WAR (1911–12)
* Preveza * Tobruk * Kywayfia * Kunfuda Bay * Derna * Beirut * Rhodes * Zanzur
BALKAN WARS (1912–13)
* Sarantaporo * Kırcalı (Kardzhali) * Beşpınar (Pente Pigadia) * Sorovich * Kumanovo * Kirk Kilise * İşkodra (Scutari) * Lüleburgaz * Edirne (Adrianople) * Prilep * Himara * Monastir * First Çatalca * Varna (Kaliakra) * Merhamli * İmroz (Elli) * Korytsa * Lemnos * Bolayır * Şarköy * Bizani * Second Çatalca * Edirne (Adrianople)
FIRST WORLD WAR (1914–18)
* Köprüköy (Bergmann) * Sarikamish * Ardahan * Suez Canal * Naval operations * Katya * Seddülbayır (Cape Helles) * Kumkale * 1st Arıburnu (Anzac Cove) * Baby 700 * 1st Kirte * Battle of Dilman * 2nd Arıburnu (2nd Anzac Cove) * 2nd Kirte * No.3 Post * 3rd Arıburnu (3rd Anzac Cove) * 3rd Kirte * Zığındere * Manzikert * Kara Killisse * Kirte Bağları (Krithia Vineyard) * Kanlısırt (Lone Pine) * Anafartalar * Conkbayır * Sarıbayır * Kılıçbayır (The Nek) * Hill 60 * Yusufçuktepe (Scimitar Hill) * Selman’ı Pak (Ctesiphon) * 1st Kut * Sağ Sahil * Erzurum Offensive * Wadi * Felahiye (Hanna) * Sabis * Trebizond * Mecca * Erzincan * Aqaba * Bitlis * Romani * Bir el Abd * Yanbu * Magdhaba * Rafa * Nekhl * Bir el Hassana * 2nd Kut * Samarrah * Jebel Hamlin * 1st Gaza * 2nd Gaza * Istabulat * Aqaba * Ramadi * Wadi Musa * Beersheba * Khuweilfe * 3rd Gaza * Baghdad * Hareira and Sheria * Wadi el Hesi * Huj * Mughar Ridge * Ayun Kara * Jerusalem * Jaffa * Jericho * Tell \'Asur * Khan Baghdadi * Hijla * 1st Amman * Berukin and 1st Arara * 2nd Transjordan * Abaran * Sardarabad * Karakilisa * Baku * Arsuf * German Expedition * Abu Tellul * 2nd Arara * Megiddo * Tabsor * Tulkarm * Afulah and Beisan * Nazareth * Jenin * Haifa * Samakh * Tiberias * Irbid * Jisr Benat Yakub * Kaukab * Damascus * Kiswe * Jisr ed Damieh * Sharqat * Aleppo * Khan Ayash * 2nd Amman * Haritan
* For the battles before 1900 see List of battles involving the
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