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stevebecker

2nd Battalion Camel Corps

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stevebecker

I am writing a history of the Camel Battalions of the ICC.

Along with this I have a nominal roll I have worked on for many years.

My problem is the British soldiers of this roll.

All enquiries have so far not turned up one of them (the same for both Australian and NZ soldiers). Most of the names I have came from their War Diary or other sourses which have been slowly put together.

Right now I have only about Two Hundred names from the six company Bn (each company around 175 men) and Brigade HQ with MG Company and support units.

Now there must be someone who has something or know of some place it may be found?

I am reluctant to begin publication untill the UK side is fleshed out as they provided an Important part of this Brigade.

As an example I have over Four Thousand Names of Australian members who made up Ten companies of this force.

S.B

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Drummy

Ste,

Here is an extract of an entry of a roll I am working on for publication regarding men of my Home town area (Irlam & Cadishead districts, near Eccles, Lancashire)who lost their lives in WW1, one of these died with the ICC. Hope you find it of interest, please correct my entry if I have incorrectly mentioned details about the ICC. Also the initial WG stands for a local paper 'Warrington Guardian'.

Best wishes Neil:

FINDLATER, Norman

Private 51324 8th Company, 2nd Imperial Battalion, Imperial Camel Corps.

Born in Macclesfield, Cheshire, he was the son of Andrew and Marion Findlater, of 17, Astley Road, Irlam, with whom he resided. Norman was employed as a booking clerk at Irlam railway station. Enlisted at Manchester into the King's (Liverpool Regiment) as Private 49119. Later transferred to the Imperial Camel Corps as Private 51324. His medal index card also shows that Norman had served in the Corps of Hussars, his number still being 51324. It is believed he was wounded during the fighting at Es Salt, Palestine. Norman died of wounds Monday 6th May 1918, aged 23. He lies buried at Jerusalem war Cemetery, then in Palestine, now Israel. Row O, Grave 78. His parents received the official notification of their son's death on Thursday 16th May 1918. An article regarding Norman's death appeared in the WG dated 18 /05/18. He was awarded the 'pair'. The Imperial Camel Corps was formed by General Murray to be used in the desert fighting the Turkish. It was thought that camels would be able to travel on fewer provisions than the cavalry or light horse. The following is information taken from the Australian official history: "The Companies of the Imperial Camel Corps were gathered into a brigade on Dec 16th 1916 under command of General Smith VC, who had led the composite horse and camel column with so much energy on the extreme flank during the Romani operations. The new force was called Imperial. It was made up of 18 companies, each of six officers and 169 other ranks of which ten were Australian, six British and two from New Zealand. The Artillery was the Hong Kong and Singapore battery while British personnel manned its machine gun squadron of eight Vickers, and each company was stiffened with a Lewis Gun section of three guns. Complete with details the brigade included 1,210 Australians, 981 British and 370 New Zealanders."

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stevebecker

Mate,

Yes those are details are close enough about the Camel Corps.

The First four companies were raised in Egypt around the end of January 1916 from the AIF for the revolt by the Senissi tribes in the western desert.

The British then raised six companies following the succses of these.

They began formation in April and May 1916.

The Commander of the 8th Company Lt Geoffrey Inchbald wrote two books on his expirences with the Camel Corps. They were called "Imperial Camel Corps" and Camels and Others".

They give a lot of detail on the Corps and the 8th Company.

S.B

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John_Hartley

Dear Pals

One of my memorial men is 2nd Lt James Kirk VC. The website at victoriacross.co.uk notes that James served with 1st Camel Corps throughout 1916, following his hospitalisation in Cairo with frostbite gained at Gallipoli. the notes continue that in January 1917, he transferred to the 10th Manchesters (having met them during a trek across the desert). My other notes, coming in a roundabout way from the Regimental archive, suggest that he went straight into the 10th Bn from hospital.

Either seems possible and my inclination is to believe the VC Society rather than the Regiment. I know its a long shot, but anyone out there know the situation for definate.

John

B)

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stevebecker

John,

Because of the Limited Nominal roll I have on British soldiers in the Camel Corps I can not confirm if James served in one of the companies of the ICC.

But from the dates (and rank) you mention I beleive he was with the CTC (Camel Transport Corps). This unit was rasied early January 1916 from all units both AIF and UK in Egypt.

These men were grouped into companies which were lettered (A to Z) of which a company had four to five officers and SNCO's and a number of natives as a CTC company had around 500 camels to carry stores on.

These men or companies were the vital supply lines in the early years of the war in the desert and were in no way like the ICC which you mite say were the fighting troops.

Thanks for your inquiry if I hear anymore I'll pass it on.

S.B

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John_Hartley

Thanks, Steve.

That'll do for me. It was just one of the little loose ends to tie up before I "put up" James's story on the website.

John

:)

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Andrew Hesketh

Steve,

I've got quite a lot on 2nd Lt. Thomas Rowland Smith, 9th Coy, 2nd Bn, d.o.w (officially - but I suspect k.i.a) on 30 March 1918 at Amman. Would be very interested in sharing/swopping information on this.

All the best,

Andrew

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stevebecker

Thanks mate,

I would gladly swap or give anything I have.

I quickly looked at Tom Smith and have him mortally wounded in front of Amman on the 30th March 1918.

His company was part of a mixed force of aussie and british camel soldiers and made a charge on the turkish trenchers during the early morning of the 30th.

They over ran two lines of defences and captured a number of prisoners.

They then prepared these positions for defence while a small mixed force of aussies under Lt Matthews entered Amman.

Come morning the Turks and Germans put in a number of counter attacks testing our defences during the day.

Lt Smith is shown as being hit during the major attack and dieing from these wounds later that day. They (the wounded) could not be evac because of enemy fire so he died in the trenchers.

Try my EMail address I wasn't sure if I should have put an "au" at the end of the address or not since I live in Australia.

Look forward to hearing from you.

S.B

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Andrew Hesketh

Steve,

Good info - cheers. Apart from a lot of personal details about him, I have photo's of him (inc. one on a camel!), and letters from colleagues (inc. the company veterinarian) to family describing his death. These two letters are surprisingly contradictory (one even gets the month wrong!) but full of fascinating stuff. I also have the War Diary, but I suppose you've got that already, and I've made an attempt at writing his story up properly. I'll get all of this together and e-mail it. However I'll be in France for a week (from Wednesday) with a school party so I doubt I will be able to get organised enough to send it before I go. So....watch this space!

All the best,

Andrew :D

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silkman3811

Hi Andrew

I realise that this is an old post but could I ask you a huge favour re NORMAN FINDLATER... Would it be possible to send me what you've got on him (incl. your picture of him on a camel!)?

I'm trying to put together a (free) website of my home town Macclesfield's Fallen in time for the centennial anniversary in 2014. I want to personalise/humanise it as much as possible but I don't want to burn time researching a soldier if someone else has already done it. Any assistance would of course be acknowledged.

ANY help you can give would be grealty appreciated.

kind regards

Steve

Steve,

Good info - cheers. Apart from a lot of personal details about him, I have photo's of him (inc. one on a camel!), and letters from colleagues (inc. the company veterinarian) to family describing his death. These two letters are surprisingly contradictory (one even gets the month wrong!) but full of fascinating stuff. I also have the War Diary, but I suppose you've got that already, and I've made an attempt at writing his story up properly. I'll get all of this together and e-mail it. However I'll be in France for a week (from Wednesday) with a school party so I doubt I will be able to get organised enough to send it before I go. So....watch this space!

All the best,

Andrew biggrin.gif

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stevebecker

Mate,

Your right this is a long time ago, my lists have now fuller with around 1600 British Camel Coprs Soldiers in it.

S.B

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Elsie44

I appreciate that this adds to a very old post but I can provide some details of 1 more British soldier:

Alfred Lewis Whittaker (Private, Herefordshire regiment 235753) - 5th company 2nd battalion ICC - captured as part of night time raiding party Oct/Nov 1917 - POW at Kelebek (that may not be the correct spelling) and worked as forced labour on the Berlin Baghdad railway. Repatriated by Red Cross 1918 - en route in Australian hospital ship when war ended.

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stevebecker

Mate,

Yes I record very little details on Alfred Whittaker

Whittaker Alfred Pte 5Co PoW 3-11-17

Thanks for the extra details.

He was one of a number of hand picked 5Co men along with others who formed part of Newcombes force and were captured or killed following Beersheba.

Others I record are;

Thorogood Frederick John 13316 Pte att 5Co 7-17 Newcombes Force Ex 1 Gar Bn Royal Warwickshire Regt to 1/4 Cheshire Regt (62979) Pow 2-11-17

Painter Reginald Walter Richard 13578 Pte att 5Co 7-17 Newcombes Force Ex 1Bn Gloucestershire Regt (9814) WIA 4-11-14 F&B to 1 Gar Bn Royal Warwickshire Regt (13578) to Cheshire Regt (62978) Pow 2-11-17

Miller William 2/Lt 5Co 4-17 to T/Adjt 2Bn HQ 5-17 Ex CSM Rifle Brigade (7568) PoW 2-11-17 (TBC?)

Can you give any more details on Aflred?

Other Hereford men I have on record but little details on them also;

Mann Ernest 50937 Sgt 5Co? Ex Hereford Regt (1887) and Hussars

Allen Edward 50938 Pte 5Co? Ex Hereford Regt (3747) and Hussars

Birch Charles 50939 Pte 5Co? Ex Hereford Regt (3635) and Hussars

Cole Ernest 50940 Pte 5Co? Ex Hereford Regt (2320) and Hussars

Clark John J. 50941 Pte 5Co? Ex Hereford Yeo (1742) to Glouster Regt (40646)

Davies Joseph 50942 Pte 5Co? Ex Hereford Regt (3870) and Hussars

Deakins Albert G. 50943 Pte 5Co? Ex Hereford Regt (1108) and Glouster Regt (40371) to Glouster Regt (5172859)

George William J. 50944 Pte 5Co? Ex Hereford Regt (2917) and Hussars

Harmer William 50945 Pte 5Co? Ex Hereford Regt (3279) and Hussars

Hill Leonard 50946 Pte 5Co? Ex Hereford Regt (2322) and Hussars

Hodges Henry 50947 Pte 5Co? Ex Hereford Regt (3158) and Hussars

Martin Walter 50949 Pte 5Co? Ex Hereford Regt (2023) and Hussars

Morris John 50950 Pte 5Co? Ex Hereford Regt (3564) and Hussars

Oakley Herbert 50951 Pte 5Co? Ex Hereford Regt (3153) and Hussars

Price Leonard JW 50952 Pte 5Co? Ex Hereford Regt (3328) and Hussars

Price Benjamin 50953 Pte 5Co? Ex Hereford Regt (8249) and Hussars

Udill William F. 50954 Pte 5Co? Ex Hereford Regt (2807) and Hussars

Wadeley Albert 50955 Pte 5Co? Ex Hereford Regt (1946) and Hussars

Evans Frederick 50956 Cpl 5Co? Ex Hereford Regt (1309) and Hussars

Holmes Albert 50958 Pte 5Co? Ex Hereford Regt (3360) and Hussars

Jones Jack N. 50959 Pte 5Co? ICC Ex Hereford Regt (925) and Hussars

Stocker Thomas G. 51102 Pte 5Co? Ex Hereford Regt (2949) and Hussars

Leake William J. 51107 Pte 5Co? Ex Hereford Regt (3671) and Hussars

The 5th Company was raised from untis of the 53rd Welsh Div of which the 1/1 Herefordshire Bn form part.

Cheers

S.B

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kenbar

Hi Steve.

I looks like Lt Kenneth Vernon Dodgson 10 Co ICC could have been listed on two occasions,

As the same name was listed as - died 28-09-1915 in France

Can you help me clarify this,

Please help me on this one Steve.

Thank you for all of your help Kenbar.

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stevebecker

Mate,

Your right on checking the CWG site he is listed on the LOOS MEMORIAL?

I can't find my refer to him at first look but he was mentioned as Lt Dodgson (my fault for drawing the conclusion that it was Ken Dodgson (I think) when the 10th Company under Capt Wilkinson was transfered to the 2Bn ICC from Sollum in Sept 1917 replacing the 6th Company.

Sorry But I can't see how I made the leap from Lt Dodgson to Ken Veron Dodgson off hand, but further checking may find a reason.

S.B

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kenbar

# HI Steve.

Can you give me any imformation on the battles of IO Coy, ICC.

Thanks Mate.

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stevebecker

Mate,

the 10th Company under Capt Wilkinson was transfered to the 2Bn ICC from Sollum in Sept 1917 replacing the 6th Company.

The 10th Company was in the following actions.

Minor actions in the Western desert against the Senissi tribes 1916-1917

It took part in the fighting after Beersheba in the area of Ras el Nagh (near Khuweilfe) 3 to 8 Nov 1917

At Bald Hill (27 Nov to 5 Dec 1917,

At Amman 27 to 30 March 1918

At Mussallabah 11 April 1918

At Mudawarra 8 Aug 1918

Cheers

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kenbar

Hi Steve.Was the ICC formed in Moascar ?,As I served in Moascar garrison in 1953-54,In Egypt.

I thought there may be a connection between them can you help me.

Thanks mate Kenbar.

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stevebecker

Mate,

The Camel Training school was at Abbassia in Cairo, I believe an ex Egyptian Army camel depot.

The school became operational 1st Jan 1916 under Lt J Barber RWR as Adjt and Capt GR Brading DSO Worcester Regt as T/CO, untill Maj CL Smith VC DCLI arrived 28th Jan 1916.

The first camel companies arrived 24 Jan 1916 (being No 1 Company ex AIF).

Cheers

S.B

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kenbar

Hi Steve.

Have you compleated your research on the ICC.

Have you published any of your findings if so can I get them .

Thanks mate Kenbar.

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Guest turnip66

I'd be very interested in any info regarding 2nd Lt. Thomas Rowland Smith. He was my 2xGreat Uncle and I only recently learned that he was attached to the Camel Corps D.o.w 30/3/18

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stevebecker

Mate,

I record this on Lt Smith;

Smith Thomas Rowland 2/Lt 9Co Ex Nottingham Yeo (1172) and 2/Lt Sherwood Foresters WIA 30-3-18 DoW 30-3-18

I wrote a long articale on this battle which should be some where on this site but I include only the details of the fighting on the 30 March 1918 by the Camel Bde in front of Amman.

Battle of Amman by Steve Becker

"

During the night the 179th Infantry Brigade and the remainder of the IX Mountain Artillery Brigade had been ordered by General Shea to Amman and were due from Es Salt during the day and while these new troops rested Turkish reinforcements were seen arriving by train from the north.

These fresh Turkish troops included two battalions of the 23rd Turkish Infantry Regiment 8th Division, those units were all weak in strength, about 300 plus men, these quickly replaced the casualties and extended the defences to the north and south. The British reinforcements which had arrived (it was hoped) offset any Turkish build up, this and the intercepted wireless messages which said that the Turks would evacuate the city (although it proved to be false), had convinced General Chaytor to continue the contest.

During the night of the 29 March the soldiers continued preparations till 10 pm when the attacking troops worked there way forward from the 7th companies old position keeping low and moving in line, the men managed to crawl to within 50 yards of the Turkish trench without being discovered. At midnight the sky was suddenly lit by flares and a heavy fusillade was sent at the old trenches however keeping low the exposed troops made no reply to this fire and it presently died down without any casualties. It was a cold and dark night as the rain fell and a slight wind was blowing the rain into the faces of the Turks while the men tried to rest soaked through with the Turks only a short distance away and waited apprehensively for the word to go.

During this time the fatigued troops 4th Anzac Battalion, were also moving into positions when a High Explosive shell exploded among the men wounding Lieutenant Leslie Williamson in the wrist and Lieutenant Aubrey Reynolds in the leg and killing Sergeant Harry Robinson.

The morning of the 30 March did not brood well for the Allied cause as rain fell heavily over the battlefield and as preparations continued the Camel brigade had moved into position in the dark. General Smith had ordered the assault to be carried out by a mixed force from the Brigade under command of Major Day, he assembled two sections from each of the 4th, 7th, 9th and 18th companies in the first wave under Captain Newsam while the remainder of the companies under Captain Deas formed the second wave in all about 200 men. The first lines in both waves were Cameleers while the two companies of the 2/18 London Battalion under Captain Crossby formed the second lines in both 1st and 2nd waves they also had about 200 men, the 8th and 10th company under Captain Tredinnick were in support with 120 men and the 2nd company and the Machine Gun Squadron were held in reserve to provide fire support. On the Brigades left flank the 2/18th London Battalion (less the two companies detached to the Camel Brigade) were to attack along the ridge towards Pt 2828 to pin down Turkish fire while the New Zealand Brigade with the 4th Anzac Battalion would attack Hill 3039.

Promptly at 2 am the limited artillery fire fell on Amman and the surrounding area, this time the advance would not start till news came that the attacks on both flanks had been successful and were now clear, as the troops waited in their exposed position the limbs of the men cramped as they waited in the cold till the word came at 3.30 am and the signal was given by Captain Newsam with a blast on his whistle.

The troops rose quickly (shaking out their cramps) into the assault and at once gained the first line of Turkish trenches on hill 400 showering the confused and surprised Turks with bombs, the fighting was short and deadly as the Turks fought hand to hand, some stayed to fight, more raised their hands while others ran taking pot shots as they disappeared into the darkness yet thankfully the fighting lasted only a few minutes before taking between 28 and 60 prisoners including two officers of the 126th Turkish Regiment and killing the remainder. Captain Arthur Newsam was killed shot in the back by a Turkish soldier who it was said had surrendered and a machine gun was captured by a soldier in the 7th company who having lost his rifle was armed only with two tins of bully beef while Private Archie Searle shot down five Turks with five rapid shots.

The men having secured the first trench now pushed on to capture the second line acquiring it as the Turks broke and ran back into the city, Lieutenant Fred Matthews of the 4th company rushed after them with a collection of men and entered the city. There in the dark and rain they hid in the outer buildings however the hail of fire from the Citadel stopped any further advance and Privates Carl Pearce in the 4th and Bill Thornton from the 18th company was killed during the fighting.

On the left flank the attack by the 2/18th London along the 2828 ridge had at first succeeded yet had broken down under heavy fire and the lack of pressure from this battalion allowed a number of Turkish guns to be turned on the exposed Camel Brigade these inflicting many causalities with their enfilade fire which soon forced the abandonment of the city by Lieutenant Matthews whose men could not be reinforced because of this fire, he ordered the men back to the positions won during the night where the remainder of the troops had consolidated in the enemies trenches and waited until the dawn. While taking a message back to HQ Private Gus Jennison was shot in the head and killed

At 2 am the 4th Anzac Battalion was to advance with the New Zealand Brigade to attack Pt 3039 which required them to advance over 1500 yards of exposed ground, along the way the troops had to bypass a strong Turkish position on the route before assaulting the first Turkish trench. The men of the Battalion were all fatigued most not having rested for the last few days yet despite the bitterly cold and wet night all were ready for the attack.

The attacking force deployed along the form up point on the Quseir track with the Auckland Mounted Rifles and 4th Anzac Battalion in the front wave and the Canterbury and Wellington Mounted Rifles in the second wave. The 4th Battalion had the 16th New Zealand Company under Captain George Yerex in front for the attack with the 17th company under Captain John Hampton in support both deployed in two lines while two sections of the 13th company was held in reserve, with the remainder of the company with the demo party watching the breaks in the Hejaz Railway.

The advance went well from the start General Meldrum had planned his attack skilfully and the wind and rain helped by blowing into the faces of the Turks. Two troops of the Auckland Mounted Rifles secured the strong point in front of Pt 3039 allowing the remainder of the force with the 16th company to assault the foremost trenches which were captured at the rush with the bayonet taking the Turks by surprise, the garrison (who stayed) were all killed while the others ran away in the dark and 23 prisoners of the 126th Turkish Regiment and five Machine guns taken. Lieutenant George Sanderson the Battalion Intelligence officer, who had been ill and advised to remain behind, however had insisted on joining in the attack was killed during the assault. Veterinary Sergeant Matthew Kirkpatrick of the 16th company who in the last days had been busy caring for the many injured animals took part in the assault doing excellent work with the bayonet and clearing a section of trench allowing the objective to be gained by 2.40 am. Private Eric Tapfield of the 13th company had the misfortune to be accidentally killed during the advance when he progressed too far in front of the line and was mistakenly shot in the dark; he was found dead when the line reached him.

As the men consolidated the captured position shooting came from the second line of Turkish trenches 300 yards ahead and the second wave of the Canterbury and Wellington Mounted Rifles moved up and captured them with 14 prisoners and a machine gun, more machine guns and prisoners were taken as the New Zealand troops concentrated while others moved around the hill to clear it of all the Turks. The 16th company as per orders was moved up to join the second wave and with troops of the Canterbury Mounted Rifles attacked the third trench, the Turkish fire was heavy yet mostly high and as the troops secured this last trench on top of hill 3039 the Turks fled towards Amman, the casualties thankfully during the assault were light.

The warming rays of dawn showed to General Chaytor that the only success during the night had been limited to Hill 3039, a number of trenches captured by the Camel Corps in front of Amman and 181st Infantry Brigade to the north of the city and all were in danger of destruction as the Turks quickly organized a number of counterattacks against the ground lost during the night, the first of which came in on both sides of Hill 3039.

The defence of the Hill had placed the 4th Anzac Battalion on the far right or eastern flank of the NZ Mounted Brigade with the Wellington Mounted Rifles on the Battalions left flank. All the Battalion worked on stone sangers during the night, these were built for protection as the rocky ground allowing the shallowest of holes to be dug as the troops had no entrenching tools and once daylight came it was found that the soldiers were too exposed on the top of hill so most were withdrawn to the rear trenches leaving only one section of 10 men and two Lewis guns of the 16th company to hold it.

At 5 am the first attack came in supported by shell fire which smashed the stone Sangers the men had built for protection as shell and rock fragments sprayed the area. The shelling lasted an hour at which point the exposed section of Cameleers were withdrawn. By 9 am 500 Turks were seen massing to the north and at 9.30 they attacked yet despite their bravery the attack was beaten off by New Zealand troops with the help of captured machine guns. The Hong Kong and Singapore Battery had attached a section of guns to support the New Zealand Brigade in its attack however counter battery fire had smashed one of the guns sights and ammunition now ran out and the section was forced to retire to the main position.

Despite this setback the Turks tried again and during this attack someone was heard to order a retirement this allowed the front trenches to be abandoned and the New Zealand trenches were lost as the troops fell back to their second line. This order was reported by the New Zealand Mounted to have come from the Camel Brigade however it was more probity a German or Turkish officer who spoke English which fooled the fatigued troops.

This mix up was soon sorted out by the officers and a counterattack by the New Zealanders drove the Turks out of there ill gotten gains and down the hill at the point of the bayonet and the use of the bomb, the Adjutant Captain Alex Watt and the Regimental Sergeant Major Bob MacLean were wounded in the counterattack and Lieutenants Charles Thorby and Arthur Crawford of the 16th company inspired their men in the charge who with Sergeant Harold Jones as they coolly rallied their men and led them back into the Turkish trenches. Captain Stan Howard advanced with elements of the 13th company as the Turks made a fight of it however the men would not hold back and soon the Turks was driven off and despite the casualties the men stood on top of the hill shooting down at the panicked Turkish survivors as they fled back to Amman, the 16th company lost Sergeant Colin Campbell and Privates Carl Bailey, Roland Wilkie killed during the fighting. In the 17th Company Lance Corporal Stan Campbell was manning a Lewis gun when he was shot down, his brother Norm was the No 2 on the gun and quickly took his place only to be killed soon after, the Campbell brothers had enlisted in the 6th Light Horse Regiment in 1915 from Scone NSW before transferring to the Camel Corps, they died together on the barren heights of hill 3039.

The Turkish troops used in these counter attacks were largely from the 23rd Regiment 8th Division and the 46th Storm Company. Who had not long arrived and took time to sort out where the allied line was and the bravery of these men advancing in the open was acknowledged by the New Zealand troops who fought them. The veteran 23rd Regiment (8th Division) had been fighting in the Caucasus against the Russians for some years only with the revolution had moved down to the Syrian Front, to be detached and sent to Amman the day before.

While the New Zealand Brigade fought gallantly for there hard won gains on Hill 3039 the Camel companies under Major Day in front of Amman were subjected to attacks in force as the Turks was only 200 yards away, Major Julian Day was severely wounded in the arm and shoulder as the men sheltered from enfilade fire from artillery and machine guns under which a force of over 100 Turks attempted to recapture their trenches and reached within 30 yards before our fire cut them down and repulsed the attack with substantial loss, this assault was repeated again during the day as attacks continued without respite, the 10th company lost Sergeant Stuart Craggy (reported MIA) and Lance Corporal Wilfred Lyth killed during this attack.

Meanwhile Lieutenant Leonard Brothers of the 9th company help organize the defence after Captain Newsams death as the Turkish fire increased killing Privates Stan Stanfield and Herb Thoday and under this intense fire Private Bob Robertson carried messages from company HQ to Captain Deas however despite the courage of the men they were ordered to hold the captured trenches as the supporting artillery ran short of shells while some batteries had ran out. The Hong Kong and Singapore battery was now down to only three guns as one had been put out off action with shell splinters and with no ammunition left little could be done to support the men.

At 2 pm General Chaytor had ordered one last attack be made by the Infantry in the north yet it had little hope of success and with its failure the exhausted troops could do no more yet hold on. Lieutenant Herbert Denley was killed and Lieutenant Thomas Smith mortally wounded while attending to the defences, Private Arthur Mills of the 7th company found him self cut off with a number of wounded men as Turkish counterattacks came in, he held the line encouraging the men around him and providing first aid to the wounded. At 4 pm the troops were ordered to retire back to the original positions abandoning the captured works however because of the danger this was not attempted till dusk. Once it became dark the troops departed under Captain Deas direction back to the lines having buried the dead and carrying back the many wounded. This was accomplished without the enemies knowledge even though they were only a few hundred yards away with Lieutenant Matthews commanding the rear guard with the 4th company, as the worn out troops moved back in the darkness all the wounded were recovered however a few may have been left behind as some were reported missing later. The total Cameleers casualties in the attack were four officers and 40 men in the 2nd Battalion killed or wounded with about 20 Australian casualties.

The 2/18th London battalion reported the lost of five men killed and two officers and four men died of wounds with the wounded unknown while supporting the action on the 30 March.

Meanwhile on Hill 3039 the Battle still went on as the enemy kept throwing attack after attack at the New Zealanders. The next came at 4 pm and fell on the Camel Battalion where the Turks of the 46th Storm company out flanked the Cameleers line on the right and managed to gained a lodgement, Lieutenant Charles Thorby a butcher from Dannevirke NZ gathered a few men about him and led a counterattack to drive the Turks out yet was killed in the valiant attempt, while Corporal John McMillan carrying a Lewis gun advanced on the Turks firing his gun from the hip however he was soon killed, then Private Dave McConnell who had joined the attack by garbing a sack full of bombs, threw them with deadly effect until shot down, as Private Len Pask went out rescuing the wounded however thanks to the support of New Zealand reserves which in turn out flanked the Turks the attack was driven off. The casualties continued to mount in the battalion and the 17th company lost Corporal Bert Lincoln (reported MIA), Lance Corporals Bill Brown, Eric Cheney (reported MIA), Privates Cliff Jenkins (reported MIA) and Percy Collins killed, while the 13th company lost Corporal George Haag (reported MIA), Lance Corporal Les Delaney (reported MIA), Privates Bill Temple and Will Trenaman (reported MIA) killed, the 16th company lost Sergeant Charles Lovett, Privates Gilbert Alexander, Tom Bowman, John Craig, Rupert McKenzie, Sid Mills and Doug Walker killed.

During the day communication between Battalion HQ and the forward companies was constantly broken by shell fire which fell regularly over the exposed hill, Sergeant Albert Hooper was kept out continually repairing broken telephone lines at great risk to himself. Communications were accentual to the defence which enabled reinforcements to be switched from one threaten point to the next and under the able command of Lieutenant Reg Jephcott never failed. At 5 p.m. another attack came on with the support of three Turks batteries yet again it was stopped with assistance of the recently arrived Somerset battery using the last of its available ammunition.

As the long day wore on General Shea on hearing of the progress of the Battle asked General Chaytor his chances of success if he could take the city which he replied little to none and only if reinforced with more guns and troops these were now not available to Shea and he knew the battle was lost. The word was sent out at 5.45pm that the contest was over and all troops were ordered to be prepared to retire back across the Jordan.

In the late afternoon a supply column had arrived bring a little food and ammunition and a soldier was dispatched up the hill with a camel carrying a bag of rations and two fantasies of hot tea, he also carried the battalions withdrawal order which was gladly received as well as the tea.

That night the Army began to move back as the New Zealanders and 4th Anzac Battalion received their orders around 6 p.m, they began moving down from Hill 3039 at midnight with the many wounded carried in blankets as the rear guard covered the withdrawal however the Turks did not bother them.

The Camel Brigade began its return movement at 4.30 am Lieutenant Bob Love commanded the rear guard and once the troops began to move he was informed that a man was missing, he retraced his steeps in the dark to search for the missing man who in the meanwhile had returned and found instead a four man post over looked in the darkness.

The Brigade reached Ain es Sir by 7.15 am on the 31 March and although the Turks pressed the rear guard causally, the Camel Brigade was ordered to get clear acting as escort to the supply train and the wounded who were suffering terribly. The column moved slowly as there were not enough cachalots for all the wounded and some had to be strapped to the backs of horses until they could be placed in ambulances. At 10 am the troops continued threw rain and mud some men of the 1st Battalion picked up refugees struggling along the track helping the many local women and children, many Armenian Christians fleeing Turkish oppression, while Lieutenant Colonel Mills told how he carried a four years old girl sleeping in his arms. The Brigade finally crossing the Jordan on the 2 April after eleven days from the commencement of the raid, the camels had not had the saddles off their backs for eight of those days and when they did their flesh came away with them.

The Raid on Amman was tactically a defeat in which the main objectives of the raid were not all achieved although it was claimed as a victory by General Allenby. There were many reasons for the failure of the Amman Raid these included the delayed crossing of the Jordan River, the foul weather and the unexpected strong defence of Amman all had contributed to the result, the men as always fought well yet had suffered from the conditions with the march up to Amman and the battle, all the animals and men had suffered much and were worn out by fatigue and heavy losses. One of the success of the raid was that the enemies reserves had been drawn to Amman, enough troops had been moved north from the Tafila Force to help the Emir Feisal in his campaign against the Maan garrison and attention was drawn east away from Allenbys future planned offensive.

However the Turkish resistance at Amman had restored their confidence in its troops which had been low following their defeats in November and December 1917 and allowed the Turks to plan a major offensive aimed at the reorganizing British Army in April.

The Casualties for the Camel Brigade were reported in the War Diary as five officers and 56 men killed and 17 officers and 232 men wounded while 11 men were reported missing total 321.

The casualties by Battalion were the Australians of the 1st Battalion with two other ranks killed and one officer (Lieutenant Colonel Langley) and nine men wounded.

The 2nd (British) Battalion reported losses as three officers (Captain Newsam, Lieutenant s. Denley and Smith) and 24 other ranks killed and seven officers, 112 men wounded of which nine other ranks died from wounds and one man was reported wounded and missing.

The Anzacs of the 4th Battalion had two officers (Lieutenants Thorby (NZ) and Sanderson) and 29 other ranks killed with five officers and 117 other ranks wounded of which one officer (Lieutenant Adolph (NZ) and five other ranks died of wounds while 10 men were reported missing. Of this total the New Zealanders of the 16th company had lost one officer and 12 other ranks killed with one officer, two other ranks died of wounds while the wounded were not recorded whereas the Australians lost one officer and 17 men killed with five officers and 99 men wounded which six men died of wounds.

The Hong Kong and Singapore Battery had one other rank killed and one officer and five men wounded, the Brigade Machine Gun Squadron had one man killed and two wounded.

No soldier in the Camel Brigade was known to be captured during the four day Battle in front of Amman and the missing were all believed to have been killed or wounded and or later accounted for. The large number of missing came from the loss of the grave sites after this battle which had been lost or destroyed by time or human hand when they couldnt be found post war. "

Hope this helps

Cheers

S.B

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David Miller

Hi Steve, Wondering what info you have on individual Camel Corps members specifically my grandfather James Barclay Chalmers. Collating information from his Military Record plus the research people at the Gordon Highlanders Museum I have the following although it does not seem complete and sometimes contradictory.

He enlisted in the Gordon Highlanders in Banff on 26 August 1908 and received training in Aberdeen and then posted to 1st Battalion at Aldershot. Next he was posted to 2nd Battalion on 2 February 1910 and went with them to Cawnpore, India. The 2nd Battalion were then redeployed to Egypt in December 1912 where on 20 February 2014 he joined the Camel Corps - this I understand was a voluntary move. He remained in the Camel Corps through its various guises for the next 8 years with postings to No 8 Company, HQ and Signal Company. During this time he progressed through the ranks to Corporal, acting Sergeant, Sergeant and finally Sergeant (instructor). His records show his Gordon Highlanders regimental number as 2865120 but there is also a number 81 that is crossed out on a few pages that I wondering may have been his Camel Corps number.

His Military History Sheet shows his service in Egypt as finishing on 22 July 1920 but those same records, and confirmed by separate evidence, show him marrying my grandmother Nora Mercia Goodfellow in Abbassia Barracks on 29 September 1920 so I am confused as to when he actually left Egypt. I am also still seeking as to when , how and with whom my grandmother got to Egypt - the Marriage Certificate says she was a nurse but I suspect she was a nanny or governess of some sort. After returning to Scotland my grandfather rejoined the 2nd Battalion Gordon Highlanders before being posted to the 14th Battalion London Regiment (London Scottish) on 4 November 1926 before retiring after 22 years service on 25 August 1930.

Any other information available? Cheers,

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stevebecker

Dave,

Sorry mate I had no record of your relation in the ICC.

That dosn't mean he wasn't in the ICC, only I had no record of him.

First can I say his service number (81) refer to his service in the Gordons (possibly a pre war number) not the ICC.

His second number (51157) is shown for the Corps of Hussars, which like many ICC members was there ICC number, or in the right range of numbers.

But having checked my sourses I found a soldier already had that number

He is;

Cass Richard Charles 51157 Pte 7Co ICC? Ex 1/10Bn London Regt (3571) and Hussars

But as he was one of a number of London Regt (infantry men) who after a few weeks training in the ICC were found to be poor mounted soliers and returned to their units when the 7th Company was disbanded and reformed with Yeomanry men.

So his number could have been reissued to a new soldier?

But I am still not sure he served in the ICC, thats because of the dates you give for his service?

I am thinking he may have been one of the few who were seconded to the Egyptian Army and attached to the Egyptian Camel Corps.

They had a number of Camel Companies and the 8th Egyptian Camel Co was one of them.

Service with the Egyptian Army would have given him SNCO rank

UNits of the Egyptian Army, under British command, took part in operations in Egypt and Sudan against native upraisings during the war.

There are many sourses for these operations which you should check out?

Then again I could be wrong?

Good luck

S.B

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David Miller

Hi Steve and thanks for the response.

I have been scrutinising the Gordon Highlanders Museum information as well as his Military Records again. His Gordon Highlanders regimental number was definitely 2865120 and in addition to 81 crossed out there is also 51137 or 51157 (New Series) that is crossed out on one document. Been trying to decipher the marks and wondering if you might have an indication as to what some of them may mean as follows:-

  • Corps Camel Corps Battalion P.S Posted to PS Camel Corps School 20 Feb 1914
  • Camel Corps Battalion Q.S Promoted Corporal 26 Jan 1916 (Quartermasters store?)
  • Camel Corps Battalion Q.S Acting unpaid Sergeant 13 May 1916
  • Camel Corps Battalion Q.S Appointed A/Sergeant 14 May 1916
  • Camel Corps Transferred and posted to Administration Centre 26 June 1917
  • Corps H2 AC Promoted Sergeant Instructor 26 June 1917
  • Corps Training Depot Battalion I.C.C Sergeant 10 Sept 1918
  • Corps Headquarters Battalion I.C.C 28 June 1919
  • Corps Camel Corps Battalion School 1 July 1919

The only other snippets I have is the signature of a Captain Adjutant Mitchell of the Camel Corps School on a "severe reprimand" in 1919 and on another piece of paper is a recording stamp on 12 April 1918 of the "Calvary Records Hussars". And I guess all the Egyptian Camel Corps operated out of the same barracks in Abbassia as the British Camel Corps.

Cheers

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