Skip to main content

Watering horses during dust storm


Troopers of the New Zealand Mounted Rifles water their horses during a dust storm at Beersheba, Palestine, November 1917.

Lack of water for men and animals was a serious problem during the campaigns in Sinai and Palestine. In late 1917, just before the Battle of Ayun Kara, some horses went without water for up to 72 hours. In his history of the Auckland Mounted Rifles, The story of two campaigns (p. 243),  C.G. Nicol recalls the response of one horse when water arrived: 

[T]he old pack horse, smelling the water, struggled to his feet and staggered up to the group. ‘Shout the old chap a pint,’ said a trooper, and immediately a pint of the precious liquid was poured into the lid of a ‘dixie’ and held out to the animal, which sucked up every drop. He looked so grateful, that another pint was given him and, small though the quantity was, he began to look better immediately. He was then given some barley, and by the time the Regiment was ready to move he had taken a new lease of life, and he was able to make the march back to Beersheba. There he was sent to ‘hospital,’ and he lived to return to duty.


Alexander Turnbull Library
Reference no: PA1-q-605-24-1
Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand, Te Puna Matauranga o Aotearoa, must be obtained before any re-use of this image

How to cite this page

Watering horses during dust storm, URL:, (Manatū Taonga — Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated