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Guest Olivier

French cavalry regiment in Palestine

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Guest olivier

Hi everybody,

On December 5th 2003, Thomas posted a message asking about the French unit in Palestine. There was an info mentionning the 1st RMMC as being involved. Actually there was only one such regiment and the real name is Regiment Mixte de Marche de Cavalerie du Levant !!!! or RMMCL. He was known as the RMMCL and not the 1st or 2nd RMMCL.

This regiment wrote its glory page on september 21st 1918 in Naplouse. Indeed, it was included in the 5th Light Horse Brigade (with the 14th and 15th ALHR). The RMMCL comprised one Algerian Spahi squadron and 2 Chasseurs d'Afrique. A fourth squadron was due to participate (the second Spahi squadron) but was torpedoed in front of Port-Saïd losing 23 men and all horses. The regiment was commanded by lieutenant-colonel Lebon who received orders from general Onslow.

Best regards,

Olivier

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Guest olivier

Hi,

thanks for your message :D

actually I have a 12-page document about the Naplouse fight of september 21st 1918. But I don't have the diary of the RMMCL or "historique du régiment". :(

Best regards,

Olivier

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Guest stevenbec

Olivier,

I have a little on this unit and a number of soldiers in it.

I am at present writting the unit history of the Imperial Camel Corps and since the two ALHR who formed this LH Bde were Camel Corps units i have many documents on these units.

I would like anything you may have on the RMMC (Regt Mixte de Marche de Cavarlerie) as it is shown in our documents.

I have few that give but the smallest out line of the Regt's movement and I would like to give more aknowalgment to this regt.

If you could EMail the 12 page document I would be most interested and if I can do anything please let me know.

stevenbecker@bigpond.com.au

cheers

S.B

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Thomas

Thanks Olivier! Very interesting information.

From,

Thomas McCall

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Guest stevenbec

Olivier,

I sorry I hear you are unable to access the document.

The action of the RMMC gets only a breif mention in most histories during the 5th ALH Bde movement to Nablus 20th to 21st Sept 1918.

Is there anyway you can condence the 12 page document to show what this regt did during these days?

I have the names of a small number of men with the regt including these officers Comandant Emile Labon, Lt Andre Bigault, Capt jean Pichon, Capt Francouis Widolff and Lt Goerges Neret. Does the book mention any of these men?

Mate If you have only info of this regt during 21st Sept 1918 then that is great anything solid on this unit is of great interest to many of those who are interested in this period.

S.B

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Guest Olivier G

Hi Steve,

strangely enough, I've received private messages for this document !!!!

yes the book does mention some of these soldiers, but you seem to know more than I as I don't even their first names !!!! :D

I'll check what I can do for you.

Best regards,

Olivier

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GrenPen
stevebecker

Mate,

 

Thank you 2004 i knew it was some time ago but thats a long time.

 

S.B

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GrenPen

There's two pics I came across on the AWM site, with some questionable captions.

One picture has French cavalry wearing Adrian helmets, but is dated as 1916, which seems too early.

 

There is a second picture, and unfortunately the quality is not so good. There are two cavalrymen with helmets, and a third person, presumably a Spahi, wearing a cloth hat. The caption states they were associated with the ANZAC Mounted Division, whereas it's my understanding they were with the Australian Mounted Division.

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Eran Tearosh

GrenPen,

 

In short – you’re right! The units that fought under the French flag were a part of the 1918 version of the Australian Mounted Division, not the ANZAC Mounted Division.

 

Too many people relate to the Australians (In the Palestine Campaign) in general as ANZAC. Very common mistake. A bit complicated, but….  

 

The Australians were under AIF, Australian Imperial Force - Infantry mostly under the 1st Division (Australia), and mounted forces under the name ALH, Australian Light Horse. To make things confusing, all these were part of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) that fought in Gallipoli Campaign. After Gallipoli, the infantry moved to the Western Front, and the mounted forces returned to Egypt. 

 

The mounted forces (Australian Light Horse and New Zealand Mounted Rifles) will become a part of the EEF, Egyptian Expeditionary Force, together with many British Yeomanry regiments and several Indian mounted units. Later, these will be organized into the DCM, Desert Mounted Corps.

 

The ALH regiments were divided (1917) into two mounted divisions: The AMD, Australian Mounted Division (2 Australian brigades and one British Yeomanry) and ANZAC Mounted Division (Why make life simple when you can complicate things?), which had 2 Australian brigades and 1 New Zealand brigade. On the eve of the Megiddo offensive (1918) there were some changes and additions, including the arrival of many Indian cavalry/mounted units (That replaced many Yeomanry regiments), and also the North African units.  

 

However, the Australian mounted forces were only a part of the AIF within the EEF, during the Palestine Campaign. In addition, there were in the EEF many other Australian units, including AFC (Australian Flying Corps), engineers, medical staff and others. Of course, there was a substantial other AIF, on the Western Front.  

 

I believe that only between the World Wars, the name ANZAC become the common term used.

 

Eran  

Edited by Eran Tearosh

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stevebecker

Mate,

 

While steel helmets had been issued that were not worn on operations as the men didn't like them. Most Australians left them behind or left them on the saddle, incase someone got upset (General officers) .

 

From my readings from ICC men, the French didn't wear there helmets and all photos I've seen don't show them being worn

 

LEBON    Emile        Chief de Sqn     French Army    Regiment Mixte de Marche de Cavalerie CO RHQ to Commandant DSO - for his actions Tul Kekam 19-9-18 at Nablus 21-9-18 and Damascus 30-9-18 to LtCol 11-18 The Regt att 5 LH Bde from 21-8-18 to 21-10-18 

 

PICHON    Jean        Capt/Adjt    French Army    Regiment Mixte de Marche de Cavalerie RHQ MC - for his actions at Tul Kekam 19-9-18 
DAZ    G.        Lt / Chaplain    French Army    Regiment Mixte de Marche de Cavalerie RHQ possibly Chaplain mention in burial records 

GUICHARD    Charles        Capt    French Army    Regiment Mixte de Marche de Cavalerie OC 1st Sqn (15th Sqn of the 4th of Chasseurs d'Afrique) recom MC - for his actions at Damas 21-9-18 
FRANCOU    N/R        Capt    French Army    Regiment Mixte de Marche de Cavalerie OC 2Sqn (16th Sqn of the 4th of Chasseurs d'Afrique)

WIDOLFF    Francois Joseph        Capt    French Army    Regiment Mixte de Marche de Cavalerie OC 3Sqn (3rd Sqn of the 1st of Algerian Spahis) MC - for his actions near Nablus around El Mezze 30-9-18 
KERVERSAU    N/R        Capt    French Army    Regiment Mixte de Marche de Cavalerie OC 4Sqn (8th Sqn of the 4th Tunisian Spahis)
DELAHAIE    N/R        Lt    French Army    Regiment Mixte de Marche de Cavalerie OC MG Sect (machine guns of the 4th of Chasseurs d'Afrique)
 

BIGAULT    Andre        Lt    French Army    Regiment Mixte de Marche de Cavalerie 3Sqn MC - for his actions crossing the Jordan at Hayarden 27-9-18 and Damascus 30-9-18
CROCHARD    N/R        Lt    French Army    Regiment Mixte de Marche de Cavalerie to hosp 5-9-18 
FRAUDET    N/R        Lt    French Army    Regiment Mixte de Marche de Cavalerie 
NERET    Georges        Lt    French Army    Regiment Mixte de Marche de Cavalerie 3Sqn (shown Laison officer 5 LH Bde) recom MC - for his actions at Nablus 21-9-18 
VENDEUVRE    Adrien de        Lt    French Army    Regiment Mixte de Marche de Cavalerie recom MC - for his actions Tul Kekam 19-9-18 
VIEUMET    N/R        Lt    French Army    Regiment Mixte de Marche de Cavalerie 2Sqn
ZAMIT    Laurent        Lt    French Army    Regiment Mixte de Marche de Cavalerie 1Sqn recom MC - for his actions at Nablus 21-9-18 
 

The 4Sqn and MG Sect were detached from RMMC

 

S.B

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GrenPen
On 04/10/2018 at 10:07, GrenPen said:

There's two pics I came across on the AWM site, with some questionable captions.

One picture has French cavalry wearing Adrian helmets, but is dated as 1916, which seems too early.

 

There is a second picture, and unfortunately the quality is not so good. There are two cavalrymen with helmets, and a third person, presumably a Spahi, wearing a cloth hat. The caption states they were associated with the ANZAC Mounted Division, whereas it's my understanding they were with the Australian Mounted Division.

 

Link to AWM photos:

 

First photo. I am unaware of any evidence that French cavalry were present in the region until 1918, so think the date of 1916 is questionable.

https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/C302807?image=2

 

Second photo, Two cavalrymen wearing Adrian helmets, the third man with a cloth hat:

https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/C2269

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GrenPen

I came across the following from the IWM, whose collection is not as well indexed as that of the AWM:

"Battle of Nablus. Men of the Chasseurs d'Afrique in the streets of Nablus, 21st September 1918."

Some rather interesting sets of webbing

IWM Catalogue number: Q 12333.

https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205247852

 

An interesting pic of both Australians and French of the 5th Light Horse Brigade

"Battle of Sharon. Men of the 4th Regiment Chasseurs d'Afrique and 5th Australian Light Horse, in the village of Anebta, which they entered on 19th September 1918."

IWM Catalogue number: Q 12324.

https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205195235

 

 

 

 

On 04/10/2018 at 23:13, stevebecker said:

Mate,

 

While steel helmets had been issued that were not worn on operations as the men didn't like them. Most Australians left them behind or left them on the saddle, incase someone got upset (General officers) .

 

From my readings from ICC men, the French didn't wear there helmets and all photos I've seen don't show them being worn

 

LEBON    Emile        Chief de Sqn     French Army    Regiment Mixte de Marche de Cavalerie CO RHQ to Commandant DSO - for his actions Tul Kekam 19-9-18 at Nablus 21-9-18 and Damascus 30-9-18 to LtCol 11-18 The Regt att 5 LH Bde from 21-8-18 to 21-10-18 

 

PICHON    Jean        Capt/Adjt    French Army    Regiment Mixte de Marche de Cavalerie RHQ MC - for his actions at Tul Kekam 19-9-18 
DAZ    G.        Lt / Chaplain    French Army    Regiment Mixte de Marche de Cavalerie RHQ possibly Chaplain mention in burial records 

GUICHARD    Charles        Capt    French Army    Regiment Mixte de Marche de Cavalerie OC 1st Sqn (15th Sqn of the 4th of Chasseurs d'Afrique) recom MC - for his actions at Damas 21-9-18 
FRANCOU    N/R        Capt    French Army    Regiment Mixte de Marche de Cavalerie OC 2Sqn (16th Sqn of the 4th of Chasseurs d'Afrique)

WIDOLFF    Francois Joseph        Capt    French Army    Regiment Mixte de Marche de Cavalerie OC 3Sqn (3rd Sqn of the 1st of Algerian Spahis) MC - for his actions near Nablus around El Mezze 30-9-18 
KERVERSAU    N/R        Capt    French Army    Regiment Mixte de Marche de Cavalerie OC 4Sqn (8th Sqn of the 4th Tunisian Spahis)
DELAHAIE    N/R        Lt    French Army    Regiment Mixte de Marche de Cavalerie OC MG Sect (machine guns of the 4th of Chasseurs d'Afrique)
 

BIGAULT    Andre        Lt    French Army    Regiment Mixte de Marche de Cavalerie 3Sqn MC - for his actions crossing the Jordan at Hayarden 27-9-18 and Damascus 30-9-18
CROCHARD    N/R        Lt    French Army    Regiment Mixte de Marche de Cavalerie to hosp 5-9-18 
FRAUDET    N/R        Lt    French Army    Regiment Mixte de Marche de Cavalerie 
NERET    Georges        Lt    French Army    Regiment Mixte de Marche de Cavalerie 3Sqn (shown Laison officer 5 LH Bde) recom MC - for his actions at Nablus 21-9-18 
VENDEUVRE    Adrien de        Lt    French Army    Regiment Mixte de Marche de Cavalerie recom MC - for his actions Tul Kekam 19-9-18 
VIEUMET    N/R        Lt    French Army    Regiment Mixte de Marche de Cavalerie 2Sqn
ZAMIT    Laurent        Lt    French Army    Regiment Mixte de Marche de Cavalerie 1Sqn recom MC - for his actions at Nablus 21-9-18 
 

The 4Sqn and MG Sect were detached from RMMC

 

S.B

 

Hi Steve,

What does ICC stand for?

Thanks, 

GP

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stevebecker

Mate,

 

It looks like the French Cavalry used their helmets in operations in Palestine.

 

ICC is the former men of the 14th & 15th ALHR, who were formed for the Imperial Camel Corps (ICC) .

 

The discription I gave was for ALH, but helmets are not mentioned as worn by the RMMC in our documents.

 

Sorry

 

S.B

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GrenPen

Hi Steve,
Imperial Camel Corps (ICC) - why did I not think of this!

I did find it interesting that the French were wearing Adrian helmets, and did wonder if in other photos, they could have worn the French pith helmet instead? Perhaps this was done to differentiate the Chasseurs D'Afrique from the Spahi element?

You raise an interesting question about tin helmets - were these being issued to EEF personnel in general? I had assumed the British would have continued to wear their pith helmets, and the Aussie contingent continuing to wear the slouch hat, synonymous with the Diggers. I had never before thought of Brodie helmets being in use in Palestine, although my knowledge of this theatre of war is lacking.

Cheers
GP

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stevebecker

Mate,

 

Helmets were issued to a number of ALH Bdes in Palestine during this time (mostly in the Aust Mounted Div - 3 LH Bde 4 LH Bde and 5 LH Bde), but as stated they found them to unsuited to the work in this hot country and prefered to wear there own issued slouch hats.

 

Most were left in camp or if carried them on their saddles 

 

While all comments on the French say they wore the native dress, like the soft hats of the African Troops (spahi & chasseurs) .

 

But as the 4 Sqn and MG Sections were with the French Group, then these look like wore their helmets.

 

But there of cause veriations of these and it looks like the RMMC wore them more often then not, possibly on operations, then in camp were the ALH saw them more often.

 

During the fighting the RMMC operated away from the 5 LH Bde on tasks, and not with the main Bde all the time, and only to support the Bdes objectives. Regts of the 5 LH Bde were detattached most times chasing the Turks.

 

Cheers

 

S.B

 

 

Edited by stevebecker

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GrenPen

Hi Steve,

I am not au fait with the Palestine campaign, so it is really interesting to read your comments. My experience with photos is that I am used to seeing troops at Gallipoli in particular, which pre-dates the distribution of Brodie helmets on the Western Front, so the use of helmets came as an initial surprise to me, as did the participation of Italian and French contingents in the campaign. Whilst I can see the potential for protection that a helmet can offer to a cavalryman, there is also the impracticality of it, in terms of its weight and becoming hot, in everyday use. I can well imagine that if most French cavalrymen were not about to be seen by a senior officer or an official photographer, then a cloth bonnet de police would be the most practical headdress in camp and in other informal settings.

It's very interesting to read that the 14th & 15th ALHR were formed from the Australian contingent of the Imperial Camel Corps. (I've a distant relative in the British Army who served in the ICC.)

Thank you for the extra info provided on this topic.

Regards

GP

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stevebecker

Mate,

 

The idea of the ALH Bdes on this front was to make them more like British yeomanry, as they issued Swords, rifle buckets and Helmets.

 

But most ALH regts refused them or didn't carry them on operations. I think only one ALH did carry swords (10 ALHR) and they used them a number of times.

 

I only looked at the RMMC as it was part of the 5 LH Bde (ex Camel Corps) which is an area I am interested in.

 

But little is known about this Regt and its part in the last Battles.

 

As to your relation in the ICC do you know his name I may have some details on him.

 

Cheers


S.B

Edited by stevebecker

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GrenPen

Hi Steve,

I was inspired to go off and try and find some info, yet failed. I have a relative with the surname Fosh. I was under the misapprehension that after time with the Middlesex Regiment in Egypt, that he then served with the ICC, but I cannot find anything to support this, so goodness knows why I had this assertion. Perhaps it was someone else with a similar service number. The ICC monument by the Thames embankment in London is an impressive structure. I randomly came across it on a stroll one day.

A recent post on the forum showed a Brodie helmet with a cover, from about November 1917, which was something I hadn't seen before, and certainly wasn't continued in the Western Desert in 1941.

Cheers,

GP

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stevebecker

Mate,

 

While I have no record of any Fosh's in the ICC, soldiers of the Middlesex Regt did serve in the ICC.

 

These men from the 10Bn served

 

Wingfeild    Alfred Henry    2812    Pte    Tos 5Co ICC Ex 2/10Bn Middlesex Regt (9703) to 1/7Bn Middlesex Regt (204089)
Kenny    John    3014    Pte    Tos 5Co ICC att HQ/1Bn Ex 10Bn Middlesex Regt (293519)
Parkin    Frederick J    3259    Pte    shown 5Co ICC Ex 2/10Bn Middlesex Regt (3259) and (291081) to Essex Regt (302594)
Blunt    George    50978    Pte    Tos possibly 5Co? 5-16 ICC? Ex 2/10Bn Middlesex Regt (G/200545) and Corps of Hussars
Butfoy    William    50979    Pte    Tos possibly 5Co? 5-16 ICC? Ex 2/10Bn Middlesex Regt (4175) and Corps of Hussars
Cook    William    50980    Pte    Tos 5Co 5-16 shown ICC medal index card FGCM 16-10-18 Ex 2/10Bn Middlesex Regt (291914) rtn Middlesex Regt (L/21488)
Faulkner    William    50981    Pte    Tos possibly 5Co? 5-16 ICC? Ex 2/10Bn Middlesex Regt (18154) and Corps of Hussars
Green    Edward J.    50982    Pte    Tos possibly 5Co? 5-16 shown ICC medal index card Ex 2/10Bn Middlesex Regt (290195) and Corps of Hussars
Hancock    Benjamin    50983    Pte    Tos possibly 5Co? 5-16 shown ICC medal index card Ex 2/10Bn Middlesex Regt (13282) and Corps of Hussars
Newton    Edward    50984    Pte    Tos 5Co 5-16 ICC shown to detn camp Remlah with Pte Holland 11-6-18 Ex 2/10Bn Middlesex Regt (4993) and Corps of Hussars (L/22120) shown Kew records
Phillips    Walter    50985    L/Cpl    Tos 5Co 5-16 ICC reported died malaria buried Kantara War Cemetery Egypt Ex 2/10Bn Middlesex Regt (L/10077) and Corps of Hussars shown Kew records
Roberts    Robert    50986    Pte    Tos possibly 5Co? 5-16 shown ICC medal index card Ex 2/10Bn Middlesex Regt (3328) and Corps of Hussars
Smith    Charles    50987    Pte    Tos 5Co 5-16 shown ICC medal index card to UK leave 2-19 Ex 2/10Bn Middlesex Regt (2668) and Corps of Hussars
Roads    Henry T.    50988    Pte    Tos possibly 5Co? 5-16 ICC? Ex 2/10Bn Middlesex Regt (1533) and Corps of Hussars
Mussett    Frederick H.    50989    Pte    Tos possibly 5Co? 5-16 ICC? Ex 2/10Bn Middlesex Regt (50989) and Corps of Hussars
Donnell    William O.    50990    Pte    Tos possibly 5Co? 5-16 ICC? Ex 2/10Bn Middlesex Regt (942) and Corps of Hussars rtn Middlesex Regt (619353)
Robbins    Frank    50991    Pte    Tos possibly 5Co? 5-16 shown ICC medal index card Ex 2/10Bn Middlesex Regt (291989) and Corps of Hussars
Dickens    Edward C    50992    Pte    Tos possibly 5Co? 5-16 ICC? Ex 2/10Bn Middlesex Regt (5000) and Corps of Hussars
Humblestone    William H.    50993    Pte    Tos possibly 5Co? 5-16 ICC? Ex 2/10Bn Middlesex Regt (938) and Corps of Hussars
Hart    James A.    51115    Cpl    Tos possibly 5Co? shown ICC Ex 2/10Bn Middlesex Regt (3854) and Corps of Hussars
Coggins    HE.    51123    Pte    Tos possibly 5Co? ICC? Ex 2/10Bn Middlesex Regt (2960) and Corps of Hussars
Brothers    Leonard Charles        2/Lt    Tos 9Co 4-4-17 to OC 9Co (Newsam KIA) 3-18 shown OC at Musselabeh 4-18 to 11-18 MC - for his actions at Amman 30-3-18 shown rtn 9Co 7-18 to 5Co 1-10-18 to T/OC 5Co 2-19 to disch 3-19 Ex (Middlesex Regt)? Sgt 1/1 County of London Yeo (Middlesex Hussars) (3333) 
Merrill    A (Arthur)         2/Lt    CTD att 5Co ICC shown war diary 3-18 to hosp 8-18 rtn 5Co 8-18 att ICC depot 9-18 to 1 base depot Kantara 10-18 Ex 2/10Bn Middlesex Regt possibly Ex London Yeo (1074) and Corps of Hussars
Palmer    Harold Edgar        Lt    possibly Tos 5Co? ICC (date?) shown with Lt Brothers 9Co att ICC depot 8-18 to 5Co 9-18 Ex 2/Lt 2/10Bn Middlesex Regt
 

And Men from the 1/1st County of London Yeomanry (Middlesex Hussars) also served in the ICC.

 

The British Infantry is not an area I am 100% of, but If I remember right, Helmets were issued to the Infantry at some time, but like the British ICC prefered to wear the Pith helmets or soft covers then the helmets.

 

S.B

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