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T8HANTS

2nd Battle for Gaza - 100

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T8HANTS

Remembering all those who fought or fell in the 2nd Battle for Gaza.

To those who came home with their scars and memories, and those that remain in that unfortunate land.

Especially for the lads of 163 Brigade and the heroes of Tank Redoubt.

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Gareth Davies

Those at tank redoubt include the crew of HMLS Nutty.  Their commander, 2Lt Frank Carr, was badly injured, was taken prisoner, and died of his wounds later that day.  The remaining 7 men were moved to POW camps in Anatolia.  Three of them died in captivity and are buried in Baghdad.  

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Pat Atkins

Thanks for this timely reminder - remembering all who took part, and for my part especially the KOSBs and my mother's grandfather Pte John Palmer of Kirkandrews, who was wounded (aged 41 and the father of seven children - one of whom also served in the EEF, with the Cameronians).

 

Cheers, Pat.

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Ron Abbott

My great-great uncle, PTE 300845 Thomas Smith Abbott of the 1/7th Bn. Royal Scots who died therein, 100 years ago today.

 

His army records reveal that he reported the birth of a daughter five months prior to his death, yet he was not married and the army did not record the name of the daughter nor the mother.  All attempts to identify her via Scotland's People, by myself and by others; have so far failed.  Soldier's Will was penned too early and personal effects were sent to his mother.  Nobody I've contacted in the family, had ever heard of her until I surfaced the entry in his army records.  Furthermore, a few weeks prior to her purported date of birth he had been granted five days leave and a few months prior to that he had gone absent without leave for two days.  Although pure speculation, maybe it pertained to his 'amor', whoever she was.  All very sad.         

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caulkheader
7 hours ago, Gareth Davies said:

Those at tank redoubt include the crew of HMLS Nutty.  Their commander, 2Lt Frank Carr, was badly injured, was taken prisoner, and died of his wounds later that day.  The remaining 7 men were moved to POW camps in Anatolia.  Three of them died in captivity and are buried in Baghdad.  

 

His medals came up for sale a couple of years ago.  I put aside £1000.00 to buy them. . . 

. . . I didn't come close!

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fwwjournal

My grandfather Thomas Minshall was serving with the 10th (Shropshire & Cheshire Yeomanry) Bn. King’s Shropshire Light Infantry, in reserve, at the Second Battle of Gaza.  Writing in his ‘Notes on Palestine’ he describes the harrowing scenes of battle he witnessed and his mixed emotions on the Battalion being ordered to stand to, only for the order to be cancelled. Formed in Egypt on 2 March 1917, with the amalgamation of Shropshire Yeomanry and Cheshire Yeomanry, here to the 10th Bn KSLI was to suffer its first casualties: Private Henry Griffiths (No. 230397) was killed in action 19 April 1917 and Private Thomas Beeby (No. 230245) died of wounds 20 April 1917 - both as a result of their position being bombed by a Turkish aeroplane. See: "Earth Shook" - 10th KSLI & the Second Battle of Gaza

 

David

Edited by fwwjournal

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clive_hughes

In Memoriam: the men of 160th Brigade 53rd (Welsh) Division at Samson Ridge, including Londoner Private William Briggs of 2/10th Middlesex Regiment, whose pair and plaque once graced my medal collection, killed aged 23.

 

Clive

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PRC

Remembering the men of the 1st/4th and 1st/5th Battalion Norfolk Battalion, and  the 163rd Machine Gun Company who lost their lives on this day and devastated so many Norfolk villages.

 

Men like Captain William Vanstone Morgan, 4th Battalion, from Norwich.

33315125363_528d9136a8_n.jpgCaptain W V Morgan Norfolks - Killed in Action, 2nd Gaza 1917 by Moominpappa06, on Flickr

 

Private William Youngman, 4th Battalion, from Shotesham.

33316579963_400cc6353a_n.jpgPrivate William Youngman, Norfolk Regiment, missing 2nd Gaza 1917 by Moominpappa06, on Flickr

 

Private Albert Barnard, 4th Battalion, from Oulton, near Aylsham.

33323774373_87aba8456b_n.jpgPrivate A Barnard Norfolks Killed in Action 2nd Gaza April 1917 by Moominpappa06, on Flickr

 

Private George Wicks, 5th Battalion, from Ickburgh.

34140690605_248457e3c0_n.jpgPrivate George Wicks, Norfolk Regiment Died of Wounds from 2nd Gaza 1917 by Moominpappa06, on Flickr

 

Corporal Donald James Hadingham, 163 Company MGC, from Carleton Forehoe, near Wymondham

34145100075_73e8aa4143_n.jpgCorporal J Hadingham 163 Coy MGC Killed in Action 2nd Gaza 1917 by Moominpappa06, on Flickr

 

Private George Albert Payne, "D" Company, 4th Battalion, from Feltwell.

33303883664_4fab4f89b2_n.jpgPrivate G A Payne Norfolks Killed in Action 2nd Gaza by Moominpappa06, on Flickr

 

A significant number were survivors of Gallipoli. Many were pre-war Saturday soldiers, their Soldiers Died in the Great War entry bearing no place of birth or residence, but showing them as enlisted East Dereham,  the local depot where they waived their right to home service only. A few may even have survived the bombing of that depot by a Zeppelin in 1915.

 

The official regimental history shows the following casualty figures. (I’ve converted the table and notes to text).

 

<i>1/4th Norfolks

 

Killed…….6 Officers (Major W.H.T. Jewson; Captains W.V. Morgan, S.D. Page, R.W. Thurgar; Lieutenant F.J. Cole; Second Lieutenant J. Levy.) and 49 other ranks.

 

Wounded….11 Officers and 312 other ranks.

Missing……1 Officer and 99 other ranks.

 

Totals…….18 Officers and 460 other ranks.

 

1/5th Norfolks

 

Killed…….6 Officers  (Captains A.E. Beck, G.W. Birkbeck, E.H. Cubitt; Lieutenants E.J. Gardiner, R.R. Plaistowe;  Lieutenant-Colonel Grissell.) and 13 other ranks.

 

Wounded….9 Officers and 401 other ranks.

Missing……4 Officers and 229 other ranks.

 

Totals…….19 Officers and 643 other ranks.

 

The 8th Hants had lost twenty-two officers and 546 other ranks. Every company commander of all three battalions had been killed or wounded.

http://lib.militaryarchive.co.uk/library/infantry-histories/library/The-Norfolk-Regiment-1685-1918-Vol-2/HTML/index.asp#/176/

 

On a slightly different note, the Australian National Archive has a picture of the 'tank' of Tank Redoubt, taken after the area was captured in November 1917. Presumably this is "Nutty" rather than the tank that was assisting the 1st/4th and was disabled early in the battle by the Turkish Artillery.

https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/A00226/

 

Peter

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michaeldr
1 hour ago, PRC said:

On a slightly different note, the Australian National Archive has a picture of the 'tank' of Tank Redoubt, taken after the area was captured in November 1917. Presumably this is "Nutty" rather than the tank that was assisting the 1st/4th and was disabled early in the battle by the Turkish Artillery.

https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/A00226/

 

Another tank, just to the west of Tank Redoubt between Blazed Hill and Outpost Hill, is indicated on the map from the 52nd divisional history as a Burnt Tank.

 

58f897c43f871_MapGazaBurntTankcrop.thumb.jpg.5cc1cffee21f97300aec6e52daa128c1.jpg

 

Gareth kindly enlightened me on this one yesterday

quote -

At 0730 Tank HMLS “WAR-BABY” (2 Lt Braime) preceded the infantry, its objective being Green Hill. On proceeding a short distance, an officer of the infantry requested 2 Lt Braime to go to ‘Outpost Hill’ instead, owing to HMLS OTAZEL being out of action; this 2 Lt Braime did, and took the hill inflicting heavy casualties on the enemy. Owing to the heavy shelling on the Hill, the infantry were unable to reach this point. After destroying the wire defences he returned to the infantry & informed them there was no-one on the Hill. They replied they could not hold the position owing to shell fire. He then proceeded over the Hill again towards enemy machine-gun positions, where his track broke, and the Tank was hit by a shell, thus being disabled. 2 Lt Braime led his men from the Tank, making a dash through the enemy machine-gun fire and eventually succeeded in getting all his men back to safety – the initiative and pluck shown by this young officer in attacking these positions, with no support, was very highly commendable. His action undoubtedly saved a great many casualties amongst the infantry. 

 

War Baby [pre battle] is also to be seen in the AWM's photographic collection

 

P05140.016.JPG

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PRC

Bear with me - Just trying to make sense of the map and relating it back to the Norfolk Regimental History. I assume its aligned with north to the top.

 

"The 163rd Brigade was to attack about Khirbet-el-Bir with the 52nd Division on its left. In the front line were the 1/5th Norfolk on the right, the 1/4th Norfolk on the left, and the 8th Hants in support, with the 5th Suffolks in reserve."

 

As the troops that assisted the 1st/5th in seizing and taking Tank Redoubt, on the back of the sterling work done by HMLS Nutty, was the men of the Camel Corps, I assume that was the unit to the right, (east) of the 54th Division. So if HMLS War Baby was bound for Green Hill but was diverted (westwards) to Outpost Hill, which unit was it originally intended to support. If its the Camel Corps, then moving westwards takes it into the 5th Norfolks. If its the 4th or 5th Norfolks then did they have more than one tank each assigned. If the move was to support units of the 52nd Division then presumably the point is that there was more than one burnt out tank left on the field of battle. At which point we'd have to consider the description of the picture in the Australian Archive -

 

"Australian soldiers standing on and around a wrecked British Mark IV tank which was put out of action on 19 April 1917 by Turkish forces during the second battle of Gaza. It was captured by the Turks and was converted into a strong post, which became known to the Australians as the 'Tank Redoubt'. It was subjected to intense British artillery fire."

 

I guess the grey area in that is "known to the Australians".

 

My particular interest in nailing this is that many of the Norfolk men, as shown in the Regimental figures above, were recorded as missing. For the few for whom service records survive that I have seen, after a period of time they were assumed Killed in Action. However if you go on the Commonwealth War Graves site a significant minority are now buried at Gaza. None have concentration reports attached, so I have no clue as to where their bodies were found but it must have been after spring 1918 when they were assumed KiA. However when checking the CWGC burial register for one of the men I was researching a few months back, I found a report that he and at least six others were found in a grave at Tank Redoubt and were buried at Gaza late in 1918. Presumably they were originally buried by the Turks. I had been working on the basis that this was a picture of "Nutty", and so this picture was a near contemporary image of the area where some of the men were buried and the landscape in which all of them were attacking. Happy to be put right on that.

 

The only other location reference made in the Norfolk Regimental History is that:-

"About 2 p.m. the divisional commander had ordered the 161st brigade, less one battalion, to reinforce the 163rd, and the commander of the former at once placed two battalions at the disposal of the commander of the 163rd. At 2.23 pm, a counter-attack was launched, with the 5th Suffolks on the right, the 6th Essex on the left, and all the artillery firing on the trenches. When this could make no progress, the 6th Essex were withdrawn behind the Sheikh Abbas ridge, whilst the remains of the Norfolk battalions and the 8th Hants dug themselves in in the positions they then occupied, and held on until daybreak on the 20th. By 5.30 a.m. on that day they had retired to reserve, in left rear of the 5th Suffolks."

(My emphasis).

 

I assume that's the Abbas Ridge shown in the bottom right hand corner of the map.

 

Regards,

Peter

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Gareth Davies

War Baby was supporting 52nd Div.  Green Hill, its original objective, is north of Middlesex Hill on the map above.  It was to the west of 54th Division throughout.  

 

Three tanks were destroyed.  War Baby (a Mk I female) which was hit in the vicinity of Outpost Hill, Nutty (a Mk I female) which was hit in the vicinity of Tank Redoubt (which of course wasn't called Tank redoubt until after Nutty was hit), and Sir Archibald (a Mk I male) which was hit in the vicinity of Sheikh Abbas ridge.  As already stated, War Baby was supporting 52nd Div who were the centre assaulting division.  Sir Archibald and Nutty were supporting 54th Div who were on the right flank (with the camel gang and such like on their right as flank protection).  The burnt tank shown on the map above is definitely War Baby.  The tank that worked with the Norfolks was Nutty.  

 

The quote that Peter uses above must be wrong - there were no Mk IVs in theatre until the autumn of 1917.  

 

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PRC
28 minutes ago, Gareth Davies said:

 

The quote that Peter uses above must be wrong - there were no Mk IVs in theatre until the autumn of 1917.  

 

 

Don't shoot the messenger :-)

 

You're quite right, which calls into validity the rest of the description about it being the tank at Tank Redoubt, (although it probably is).

 

To quote from the Regimental History again:-

 

"At 7.30 the two Norfolk battalions advanced. Watching the first stages from brigade head-quarters, Captain Buxton writes that “it was a magnificent sight to see them going in extended order as if on a field day.” Each battalion covered a front of about 900 yards. The right of the 1/5th Norfolk was directed on a Turkish redoubt which soon began to give trouble. The first low ridge was crossed by 8.30 and the second, about 500 yards further on, was reached. The 8th Hants now moved with one tank against the redoubt on the right of the 1/5th Norfolk.

 

On the opposite flank, the left of the 1/4th Norfolk, the other tank advanced on another Turkish redoubt, but unfortunately was hit by a shell and put out of action. The 1/5th Norfolk battalion disappeared over the second ridge and communication between the battalions became very difficult.

 

The tank with the 1/5th and the 8th Hants was presently set on fire, but not before it had inflicted heavy damage on the enemy and sent back twenty prisoners taken in the capture of the redoubt, which was held by a party of the 1/5th Norfolk men and some of the Camel Corps. All this time the British had been suffering very heavy loss from the Turkish artillery, machine-gun, and rifle fire which the British artillery, at a range of 6,000 yards, was unable to keep down."

 

So reading your response we all agree it Nutty with the 5th Norfolks (& 8th Hants & Camel Corps), and therefore has to be Sir Archibald with the 4th Norfolks.

 

Is there anything in that picture at the Australian Archive to make you think it isn't a picture of a burnt out "Nutty" - apologies if that's a subject that has been done to death elsewhere.

 

Thanks,

Peter

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Gareth Davies

Is that extract from the Regimental History describing 17 Apr or 19 Apr?  Sir Archibald was hit on 17 April.  Nutty was hit on 19 Apr as was War Baby.  

 

Can you post a link to the photo you are talking about please?

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PRC

As per post 10 - https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/A00226/

 

Just checking through there is also what looks to be a picture of the same tank, giving the angle of the tank and foreground but without it covered with Australian Soldiers.

https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/B02002/

 

The quote from the Regimental History specifically relates to the 19th. The assumption on my part that Sir Archibald was in action with the 4th Norfolks is based on your statement that it was assigned to support the 54th Division and if Nutty was with the 5th Battalion then by default Sir Archibald must have been with the 4th - they were the attacking troops of that Division on the 19th. Apologies if there is a flaw in my logic.

 

Cheers,

Peter

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T8HANTS

This is "Sir Archibald"

 

 

Sir Archibauld 2.JPG

This on the other hand is the remains of "Nutty" sliding into the decaying trench of Tank Redoubt.

B02001 nutty.jpg

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T8HANTS

Sir Archibald was knocked out at about 6:30am on the 17th, 2Lt Living was blinded, Gunners Ferguson and Jones died of their wounds, Gunner Oldknow wounded, whilst L/Cpl Hatherall, &  Pte Janes escaped but assisted in getting the wounded out.  Oldknow, Hatherall, and Janes were awarded DCM's for the rescue.  Rfn Jack Glover of the 8th Hants also assisted as did my Gt Uncle Sgt Albert Dimmer.  2Lt Living gave his pistol to Jack Glover saying "One of you had better take this I don't think I shall be needing it anymore".

 

The destruction of Sir Archibald was one of the things that haunted Albert and he had its photo all his life, and it is his photo I have posted, white spot and all.

Edited by T8HANTS
correction

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Gareth Davies

I hadn't heard the pistol story before Gareth, thank you for sharing it.  

 

The Tank Detachment War Diary has Sir Archibald being hit on 17 April not 18 April. The IOW Rifles War Diary says the same. 

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T8HANTS

My memory ain't what it was

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T8HANTS

Just to complete the tragic picture, because we lost the battle and the dead were not collected until after the 3rd Battle for Gaza.

They were not given even temporary burial until the 2nd week of November 1917.

When contemplating the scene below an officer, I think of the Norfolk's said,

"The best of our grand old territorial Brigade lie here" 

 

163 Dead.jpg

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rob carman

Remembering,

 

Rob.

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Slingo

Dear Sirs,

The written stories of the PTD often are not very precise regarding 2nd Gaza.

The official chronological report on the k.u.k. Gebirgshaubitzdivision in der Türkei ( started in early 1916 as the GHD von Marno , comprising two mountain howitzer batteries No 1/4

and 2/6 of the 4th and 6th Mountain Artillery Regiment ; with reserve guns = 10x Skoda 100mm M10, effective range 7000 m, max range 8000m )

states that on th 17th 2/6 disabled a tank and on the 19th another one.

Nutty was disabled by a point blank shot at Tank Redoubt. Given the close proximity of the Turkish battery there this sounds credible.

Sir Archibald and War Baby surely were hit by battery salvos directed from the command post regarding the distances guns/tanks and the k.u.k report.

The unique thing about this encounter is the fact that the PTD was the first and one and only deployment of tanks to Asia in WW 1 and the sole

encounter between Austrian forces and British tanks in WW 1. Two tiny units met at Gaza.

1/4 and 2/6 had their positions not far from Gaza town and close to Djebel el Muntar/Ali Muntar. Postions were changed during the events.

 

kind regards,

Gunther

 

 

 

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Stuart24

Thanks Gunther!  Very interesting.

 

Cheers

Stuart

 

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Slingo

Dear Sirs,

In the secret reports there is a description on the Austrian batterie's positions but only a very rough sketch on  a bleached tiny map.

I'll translate it soon; the one thing that I already see is that War Baby and Sir Archibald were within  the  optimal firing range of

2/6 battery but not at point blank range. The tanks only could have been damaged or hit by directed fire from the command post.

I do not know whether the gunners were able to see the tanks; I'll check the report again if here is any indication to eye contact.

 

kind regards, Gunther

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