Mounted Rifles units

Page 7 – Canterbury Mounted Rifles timeline 1914-19

Jump to: 19141915; 1916; 1917; 1918; 1919

This detailed timeline of activities of the Canterbuiry Mounted Rifles Regiment is derived from the unit diaries kept during the First World War. Each year of the timeline is introduced by a summary of the main activities in which the regiment was involved.

1914

August 1914

The Canterbury Mounted Rifles Regiment (CMR) is formed from the three Territorial Force mounted rifles regiments of the Canterbury Military District and starts training for service overseas as part of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force (NZEF).

Lieutenant-Colonel John Findlay is appointed to command the new regiment, which is assembled at the Addington Show Grounds from 12 August and reaches full strength on 16 August.

The regiment’s horses come from two sources. A man can enlist with his own horses. Those who do not are allocated a horse (known as a ‘remount’) from the stock that the army purchases at the start of the war. This leads to skulduggery as men attempt to acquire a suitable mount.

September 1914

  • 16th – Sir James Allen, the Minister of Defence, inspects the regiment.
  • 23rd – The CMR leaves camp. Most of the regiment ride to Lyttelton. Headquarters and the 1st (Canterbury Yeomanry Cavalry) Squadron embark on HMNZT Tahiti, while 8th (South Canterbury) and 10th (Nelson) board HMNZT Athenic. Because of a lack of space on these transports, one officer and 40 men from the CMR travel to Dunedin and embark on the same transport as the Otago Mounted Rifles.
  • 25th – On arrival in Wellington, the men of the CMR disembark as the departure of the convoy carrying the Main Body of the NZEF has been delayed. 1st (Canterbury) goes into camp at Lyall Bay, while 8th (South Canterbury) and 10th (Nelson) enter camp at Trentham.

October 1914

  • 14th – The CMR re-embarks on its transports.
  • 16th – The convoy carrying the Main Body of the NZEF leaves Wellington.
  • 21st – The convoy arrives at Hobart, Tasmania.
  • 22nd – The men of the Main Body undertake a route march through Hobart, then re-embark on their transports and the convoy leaves the harbour.
  • 28th – The CMR and the rest of the Main Body arrive at Albany, Western Australia, and join the convoy carrying the main body of the Australian Imperial Force (AIF).

November 1914

  • 1st – The combined AIF/NZEF main body convoy leaves Albany for the Indian Ocean.
  • 15th – The troop convoy arrives in Colombo, Ceylon (Sri Lanka). Leave is not granted to the men of the CMR.
  • 17th – The troop convoy leaves Colombo.
  • 25th – The faster ships of the convoy, including those carrying the CMR, leave the convoy and enter port at Aden.
  • 26th – The ships that called at Aden leave the port and rejoin the convoy.
  • 30th – The convoy arrives at Suez, Egypt.

December 1914

  • 3rd – After passing through the Suez Canal, the CMR disembarks at Alexandria and travels by train to Zeitoun Camp, which is located near Cairo, the capital of Egypt.
    The regiment soon settles into a routine of training interspersed with sightseeing and sport.
  • 17th – The horses have acclimatised and mounted training begins.

1915

For the first four months of 1915, the Canterbury Mounted Rifles Regiment (CMR) continues training in Egypt. Hopes of action in defence of the Suez Canal and then in the invasion of the Dardanelles are dashed. In May, however, the CMR and the rest of the New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade (NZMR) are thrown – as infantry – into the desperate struggle to seize the commanding heights of the Gallipoli Peninsula. In the next four months the regiment suffers more than half of all its casualties in the war.

January 1915

  • 9th – The CMR begins training as a regiment.
  • 30th – The Second Reinforcements arrive in Zeitoun Camp. About 105 men and 130 horses join the CMR.

February 1915

  • 1st – The NZMR begins training as a brigade. These exercises in coordination are important for the senior officers but tedious for the men.

March 1915

  • 26th – The Third Reinforcements arrive in Zeitoun. The CMR receives 115 horses, some of poor quality.

April 1915

  • 2nd – Rioting by Anzac soldiers in Cairo’s Wazzir brothel district is put down by mounted troops. All leave is stopped.
  • 3rd – Orders are received for the Gallipoli invasion. The bulk of the NZMR (including the CMR) and the two Australian Light Horse brigades will remain in Egypt to continue training and to defend the Suez Canal against the Ottoman Turks.
    Training focuses on long-distance treks and inter-brigade maneouvres.

May 1915

  • 5th – The NZMR receives orders to move to Gallipoli as infantry.
  • 7th – On the night of 7/8 May, the CMR leaves Zeitoun Camp and travels by train to Alexandria. The regiment, along with the rest of the NZMR, has been selected to reinforce the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) at Anzac Cove on the Gallipoli Peninsula. The Anzacs are part of General Sir Ian Hamilton’s Mediterranean Expeditionary Force (MEF), which has been given the task of capturing the Gallipoli Peninsula and seizing control of the Dardanelle Straits from the Ottoman Empire. Because of the small size of the Anzac beachhead, and the rugged terrain, the regiments of the NZMR are ordered to leave most of their horses behind in Egypt. They will fight as standard infantry units at Gallipoli. Arrangements are made to take officers’ horses and a few draught horses to meet transport requirements.
    The strength of the CMR is 26 officers and 482 other ranks.
  • 8th – The CMR is divided into two groups that embark on two transport ships:
    HMT Grantully Castle – 25 officers, 452 other ranks
    HMT Kingstonian – one officer, 30 other ranks and the horses
  • 9th – HMT Grantully Castle leaves Alexandria at 6 p.m.
  • 12th – HMT Grantully Castle arrives off Anzac Cove at 12.30 p.m. The men of the CMR are transferred onto destroyers, taken closer inshore and landed by lighters at the jetty. Though they are exposed to Ottoman small-arms fire from the heights overlooking Anzac Cove during this process, only one man is wounded. On landing the strength of the regiment is 25 officers and 451 other ranks.
    The CMR bivouacs in Reserve Gully.
  • 13th – The NZMR is ordered to relieve the Royal Naval Brigade and take over No. 4 Section of the Anzac Cove defensive perimeter (a line which included positions on Russell’s Top and Walker’s Ridge). After dark the CMR relieves British troops on Walker’s Ridge.
    HMT Kingstonian,which is carrying the first-line transport, arrives off Anzac Cove but returns to Alexandria without disembarking any of the men or horses on board.
  • 15th – The CMR suffers its first battle death when Trooper William Hay is killed.
    Major Percy Overton, the CMR’s second-in-command, undertakes the first of a number of daylight reconnaissance patrols outside the Anzac perimeter. The information gained will be crucial in planning the August offensives.
  • 19th – The CMR sends a troop to help the Auckland Mounted Rifles defend Walker’s Ridge against a strong Ottoman attack.
  • 24th – A truce is in effect at Anzac Cove between 7.30 a.m. and 5 p.m. This allows both sides to collect and bury their dead from the ‘no-man’s land’ between the two front lines. Medical officers supervise the truce, during which each side clears half of no-man’s land. The bodies of enemy dead are brought to collection points in the centre to be handed over to the other side. Men of the CMR in the front line collect and bury bodies.
  • 27th – Major Overton leads three parties out of the British lines on reconnaissance. Overton’s group does not return until the morning of the 30th.
  • 28th – The Otago Mounted Rifles relieves the CMR on Walker’s Ridge. While most of the CMR moves into a reserve position, the 1st Canterbury Yeomanry Cavalry is tasked with attacking a new Turkish position 450 m north-east of No. 2 Post that evening. The attack against weak opposition succeeds. This ground, now known as No. 3 Post, is immediately handed over to a squadron of the Wellington Mounted Rifles and 1st Canterbury withdraws.
  • 30th – The 8th (South Canterbury), less one troop, and 10th (Nelson) squadrons are ordered to relieve the Wellington Mounted Rifles at No. 3 Post. The Wellingtons have been under constant attack since taking over the post, and Ottoman forces have come close to surrounding them.
    Captain Neil Guthrie, the regiment’s Medical Officer, is wounded in the wrist but refuses to be evacuated.
    The CMR force moves up to No. 3 Post at 8 p.m. The changeover is complete by midnight.
  • 31st – Shortly after relieving the Wellington Mounted Rifles the CMR’s commanding officer, Major George Hutton, decides that No. 3 Post is untenable and retires to Fishermen’s Hut. The Ottoman Turks quickly reoccupy No. 3 Post (from now on known as ‘Old No. 3 Post’ by the Anzacs) and advance towards the gully between Fishermen’s Hut and No. 1 Post. Alerted to this sudden threat, the Wellington Mounted Rifles’ commander stands to his squadrons and extends them in a makeshift defensive line between Fishermen’s Hut and No. 1 Post. Met with a hail of fire, the Ottoman forces break off their attack and fall back to Old No. 3 Post.

June 1915

  • 4th – The CMR moves back into the front line on Walker’s Ridge, taking over Posts 1 and 2.
  • 9th – The Otago Mounted Rifles relieves the CMR at No. 2 Post.
  • 11th – The CMR relieves the Otago Mounted Rifles at No. 2 Post.
    The CMR is later relieved and goes into bivouac near the beach.
  • 21st – A party led by Lieutenant G.R. Blackett is dropped off by a destroyer near Ejelmer Bay, north of Anzac Cove and Suvla Bay, and conducts a reconnaissance into the hills towards Buyuk Anafarta. The party is picked up and returned to Anzac Cove by destroyer next day.
  • 22nd – Major Overton leaves for Alexandria to buy fresh food. Because of the poor sanitary conditions and diet, a quarter of the regiment’s 320 men are now unfit for service despite remaining on duty.
  • 30th – The CMR receives three officers and 44 men from the Fourth Reinforcements.

July 1915

  • 7th – The CMR moves into a front-line position at No. 2 Post on Russell Top, relieving the 8th Australian Light Horse Regiment.
  • 18th – The CMR is relieved from the front line.

August 1915

  • 5thBattle of Chunuk Bair: The CMR takes part in the biggest offensive undertaken by the Allies at Gallipoli. This has three main components:
    1.  A large-scale British landing at Suvla Bay, 8 km north of Anzac Cove;
    2.  An attack by New Zealand, Australian and British forces from Anzac Cove aimed at linking up with the British at Suvla and capturing the strategic heights of the Sari Bair range;
    3.  Diversionary attacks by the Australian Division at Lone Pine and British forces at Cape Helles.
    The NZMR is assigned to the Right Covering Force of the Allied attack on the Sari Bair range. This force is to clear the way for the Right Assaulting Column to capture the ridge at Chunuk Bair (part of the Sari Bair range) by taking six key features: Old No. 3 Post, Big Table Top, Destroyer Hill, Little Table Top, Bauchop’s Hill and Walden Point.
    The CMR – supported by a platoon of the Maori Contingent – is to capture Walden Point.
    The CMR moves to No. 2 Post in preparation for its part in the offensive.
  • 6th – After resting for the day, the CMR moves to a small depression in front of No. 2 Post at 9 p.m. and begins its advance at 9.30 p.m. They clear Walden Point with bayonets alone before advancing along the north side of Bauchop’s Hill to their objective. The regiment suffers 40% casualties; Major Overton is killed and Lieutenant-Colonel Findlay badly wounded. Medical Officer Captain Guthrie receives a second wound, but again refuses to be evacuated.
  • 7thBattle of Chunuk Bair: The advance of the main assault columns is now badly behind schedule. The CMR remains on Bauchop’s Hill, releasing men as stretcher-bearers for the wounded and burial parties for the dead.
    Major Hutton takes command of the regiment.
  • 8th to 10th  – Battle of Chunuk Bair: The battle for the heights continues. Chunuk Bair is taken, then lost. The CMR remains in its defensive positions on Bauchop’s Hill.
  • 11th – The CMR sends a squadron to stiffen a line held by the South Wales Borderers Battalion and the Indian Brigade near Kabak Kuyu, inland from Suvla Bay.
  • 12th – Since the 6th, the CMR has lost 24 men killed and 63 wounded.
  • 15th – The CMR moves into the support trenches on Holly Hill, then during the evening takes over the front-line trenches from the South Wales Borderers. That night the CMR advances 200 m and incorporates an abandoned Ottoman trench into the Allied defences.
  • 21st – The CMR, along with the Otago Mounted Rifles and 100 men from the Maori Contingent, approximately 500 from the 4th Australian Infantry Brigade and 700 from the Connaught Rangers, are assigned to attack the Ottoman trenches on Hill 60 in conjunction with an attack from Suvla Bay. The attack starts at 3.30 p.m. after an artillery bombardment. The attackers run across an open valley for approximately 800 m. Only the Canterbury and Otago Mounted Rifles reach the Turkish trenches, at the cost of approximately 60% casualties. A small group of men now hold 100 m of trenches with no support on the flanks and no line of communication across the exposed ground crossed by the initial charge. They consolidate and hold their newly won position until dusk, when Ottoman fire slackens.
    Major Hutton is wounded during the charge. Major H.C. Hurst assumes command of the CMR.
  • 22nd – Repeated Ottoman counter-attacks are repelled throughout the night. At one point fire from the Mounteds’ machine-guns sets alight clothing on the body of a Turk. The resulting scrub fire almost forces the Mounteds out of their trenches. Trooper A. Barr beats it out with a shovel while standing in the open under fire.
    An attack launched at 4.15 a.m. by the 18th Battalion, Australian Imperial Force (AIF), takes the trenches on the Mounteds’ left flank. Counter-attacks by the Ottoman Turks leave the Australians holding just 50 m of trench by 10 a.m.
    While attending to wounded men under fire, Medical Officer Captain Guthrie is wounded for a third time. With a serious neck wound, he has no option but to be evacuated.
    During the night of the 22nd/23rd a communications trench is dug from the old front line to the trenches captured by the Canterbury and Otago Mounted Rifles.
  • 23rd – The CMR and the Otago Mounted Rifles are relieved from the front-line trenches on Hill 60 by the Wellington and Auckland Mounted Rifles.
    During this attack the Canterbury and Otago Mounted Rifles collectively have lost 25 men killed, 111 wounded, 73 missing and 46 evacuated sick.
  • 27th – A second attack on Hill 60 is mounted in an effort to expand the foothold gained on the 21st. The attacking force comprises a Right Force of 350 Australian infantry, a Left Force of 250 infantry from the Connaught Rangers, and a Centre Force consisting of 300 men of the NZMR and 100 from the 18th Battalion, AIF.
    An artillery bombardment opens up on the Ottoman trenches at 4 p.m. After this ceases at 5 p.m. the first wave of attackers
    160 men of the Auckland and Canterbury Mounted Rifles – quickly capture the first line of Ottoman  trenches. The second wave, consisting of the Wellington and Otago Mounted Rifles, captures the second line of trenches, some 40 m further on. Both waves suffer heavy casualties and the Ottomans counter-attack. The advance is halted and Centre Force is ordered to consolidate its hold on the second line of trenches. The 100 men from the 18th Battalion, AIF, reinforce the New Zealand line.
    The New Zealanders defend the position under continuous artillery, machine-gun and rifle fire. A number of Ottoman counter-attacks are beaten off.
    Another 50 men from the 18th Infantry Battalion, AIF, 250 men of the 9th Australian Light Horse, and the Wellington Mounted Rifles men who did not take part in the attack arrive around 10 p.m. to reinforce the position.
    Major Hurst is evacuated after being wounded during the attack.
  • 28th – The CMR continues to hold the trenches on Hill 60 against constant Ottoman counter-attacks.
    Captain D.B. Blair is wounded, leaving Captain T.L. Gibbs as the only commissioned officer in the CMR.
    Late in the day 180 men of the 10th Australian Light Horse Regiment arrive to reinforce the line.
  • 29th – The CMR is relieved from the position on Hill 60 by troops of the 19th Battalion, AIF and the 3rd Australian Light Horse Brigade. The CMR and the rest of the NZMR move into trenches at the rear of the Hill 60 position.
    It has been a hard month for the regiment. Of the 16 officers and 280 other ranks who were with it on 6 August, only one officer and 39 other ranks remain.

September 1915

  • 2nd – The CMR and the rest of the NZMR move into a bivouac just behind the front line on Cheshire Ridge.
  • 4th – The CMR and the rest of the NZMR relieve the Royal Welsh Fusiliers in the front-line trenches on Cheshire Ridge.
  • 12th – Some of the CMR men are relieved from front-line positions by the 27th Battalion, AIF.
  • 13th – The rest of the CMR is relieved from front-line positions by the 5th Australian Infantry Brigade. The CMR (apart from the 12-man machine-gun section) is ordered to move down to the beach and board HMT Osmanich. Along with the rest of the NZMR, it is transported from Anzac Cove to the island of Lemnos.
    The CMR has suffered heavy casualties on Gallipoli. 485 men landed at Anzac Cove on 12 May and another 192 arrived later as reinforcements. Of these 677 men, 113 have been killed in action, 12 died of sickness, 46 are missing and 466 have been evacuated wounded or sick. Just 28 men of the CMR travel to Lemnos.
  • 14th – The CMR disembarks in Mudros Harbour and goes into Sarpi Camp for rest and training.

October 1915

  • 5th – Reinforcements arrive to replenish the depleted ranks of the CMR.
  • 7th – The four regiments of the NZMR reallocate their recently arrived reinforcements to the regiment from the military district in which they were recruited.
  • 8th – Lieutenant-Colonel George Stewart takes command of the CMR.
  • End of Oct – Lieutenant-Colonel Stewart is evacuated to hospital with illness. Major J. Studholme takes command of the regiment.

November 1915

  • 10th – The CMR embarks on HMT Osmanich to return to Anzac Cove. Its strength is now nine officers and 163 men. On arrival the CMR bivouacs in Waterfall Gully.
  • 27th – The CMR relieves the Suffolk Yeomanry and part of the 162nd Brigade on the northern side of the Aghyl Dere.
    Snow starts to fall late in the day and continues falling until the next day. Men in the trenches with little shelter have a miserable time.

December 1915

  • 9th – Major C. Guy Powles takes over command of CMR from Major Studholme.
  • 18th – Five officers and 177 other ranks from the CMR are embarked as part of the general evacuation of Suvla Bay and Anzac Cove by the Allies. They are transported to Lemnos.
  • 20th – During the night of 19/20 December the final CMR party leaves Anzac Cove for Lemnos. The CMR’s involvement in the Gallipoli campaign is over.
    The regiment (total effective strength 354 men) camps on Lemnos awaiting transport to Egypt.
  • 22nd – The CMR embarks on HMT Hororata and leaves Lemnos for Egypt.
  • 26th – The CMR disembarks at Alexandria, Egypt, and travels by train to Zeitoun Camp, near Cairo.
  • 27th – The CMR arrives at Zeitoun Camp. Mounted training resumes.

1916

The Canterbury Mounted Rifles Regiment (CMR), like the rest of the New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade (NZMR), soon recouped its strength after returning to Egypt from Gallipoli. When most of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force sailed for France in April 1916, the NZMR remained in Egypt as part of an Anzac Mounted Division which was helping defend Egypt against the Ottoman Turks. A rethink of British strategy in the region saw this defensive effort changed into an offensive one designed to take the fight to the enemy and destroy or neutralise his bases in the Sinai Peninsula.

The advance this new strategy required was made feasible by the construction of a railway and water pipeline eastwards from the Suez Canal across the Sinai Desert. This would supply the food, ammunition and most importantly water needed to keep the British forces – the ‘Egyptian Expedtionary Force’ (EEF) – fighting in a harsh environment.

By the end of the year the EEF had won a series of actions against Ottoman forces, driven them out of the Sinai, and reached the border of Palestine in one of the most successful Allied campaigns of the war.

January 1916

Reinforcements bring the CMR up to full strength plus 10% of establishment. The Regimental Machine Gun Section is reorganised and strengthened from one to two sections (two to four machine guns).

  • 23rd – The CMR and the rest of the NZMR leave Zeitoun Camp for the Suez Canal, 140 km to the east. The AMR bivouacs overnight at the village of Nawa. The journey takes seven days in all.
  • 29th – The CMR completes its journey with a 5½-hour trek from Moascar to Serapeum, near the canal. A camp is set up and the CMR resumes training alongside the rest of the brigade.

February 1916

The CMR spends the month training, playing sport and swimming in the Suez Canal.

March 1916

  • 5th – The CMR leaves Serapeum Camp and rides to Ferry Post railhead.
  • 7th – The CMR relieves Australian infantry in the Suez Canal defences at Ferry Post railhead.
  • 11th– The ‘Australian and New Zealand Mounted Division’ is officially established. Commanded by an Australian officer, Major-General ‘Harry’ Chauvel, it comprises:
    • Divisional Headquarters
    • 1st Australian Light Horse Brigade
    • 2nd Australian Light Horse Brigade
    • 3rd Australian Light Horse Brigade
    • New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade

The Australian and New Zealand Mounted Division is soon routinely referred to as the ‘Anzac Mounted Division’ by its officers and men.

April 1916

  • 1st – The CMR is relieved by Australian troops and rides back to Serapeum.
  • 6th – The CMR rides to Moascar.
  • 7th – The CMR rides to Salhia, in the desert north-west of Ismailia, where the NZMR is being concentrated for training.
  • 23rd – The CMR and the rest of the Anzac Mounted Division receive an urgent order to move to Kantara in response to an Ottoman raid on British outposts near Katia, 40 km to the north-east. The mounted troops ride through the night to cover the 40 km from Salhia to Kantara.
  • 24th – The CMR arrives at Kantara at 6 a.m. and rests for the day at Hill 70, 10 km to the north-east.
  • 25th – The CMR goes into camp at the ‘Loop’ (later known as Canterbury Post). Over the following days the men escort camel trains and conduct local patrols.

May 1916

  • 4th – The CMR receives four horses from the remount depot.
  • 10th – The CMR rides to Romani, near the coast 30 km north-east of Hill 70, and bivouacs there for the night.
  • 11th – The CMR moves to Bir Etmaler, just south of Romani.
  • 12th – The rest of the NZMR joins the CMR at Bir Etmaler. The brigade’s role is to protect the wells in the area.
  • 15th – The CMR, less 1st Canterbury Yeomanry Cavalry Squadron, patrols 10 km east to Oghratina. The regiment arrives at 6.30 p.m. and bivouacs.
  • 16th – The CMR continues its patrol before returning to Bir Etmaler at 10 p.m. The day is particularly hot and 23 men are evacuated to hospital suffering from heatstroke.
  • 29th – The NZMR is ordered to attack Ottoman forces reported to be at Bir el Abd and Salmana. The brigade moves out at 10 p.m.
  • 30th – The CMR arrives at Debabis, 20 km south-east of Bir Etmaler, at 7 a.m. and spends the day resting.
    The CMR leaves Debabis at 9 p.m. as part of the brigade column. Finding Bir el Abd clear of Ottoman troops, the column moves further east towards Salmana.
  • 31st – At 4 a.m. the CMR and the Auckland Mounted Rifles are ordered to attack Salmana. The rearguard covering the withdrawal of the main Ottoman force is soon overwhelmed. The Auckland Mounted Rifles starts in pursuit of the retreating Ottoman Turks, but all NZMR units are soon ordered to withdraw to Bir Etmaler, which the CMR reaches at 11.30 p.m.

June 1916

  • 5th – The NZMR leaves Bir Etmaler at 2 p.m. and rides for four hours to Oghratina.
  • 6th – The NZMR leaves Oghratina at 3 a.m. and moves towards Bir el Abd, 20 km to the east, to clear the area of Ottoman troops.
    By 7 a.m. it has become clear that there are no Ottoman forces in Bir el Abd, and orders are received to ride back to camp at Bir Etmaler, which the CMR reaches at 5.30 p.m.
  • 10th – The CMR leaves bivouac at 2 a.m. to undertake a reconnaissance. The regiment reaches Sagia, nearly 20 km east of Bir Etmaler, at 11 a.m. and rests for the day.
  • 11th – The CMR leaves Sagia at 1 a.m. and continues its reconnaissance. After reaching Mageibra, 10 km to the south, at 4 a.m., the regiment returns to Bir Etmaler by 6.30 p.m.
  • 15th – The CMR and the rest of the NZMR ride to nearby Katia to assist a reconnaissance by the Australian Light Horse.
  • 16th – The CMR and the rest of the NZMR return to Bir Etmaler.
  • 23rd – The CMR leaves Bir Etmaler at 10 p.m. for Hill 70.
  • 24th – The CMR reaches Hill 70 at 5 a.m. The day is spent setting up camp.
  • 28th – Major Percy Acton-Adams assumes temporary command of the regiment.
  • 29th – The 10th (Nelson) Squadron moves back to Kantara to spend a week in the rest camp .

July 1916

  • 2nd – Lieutenant-Colonel Findlay departs on leave and Major Acton-Adams assumes command of the CMR.
  • 3rd – The CMR, the 4th (Waikato) Squadron of the Auckland Mounted Rifles and a two-gun section of machine guns form a composite regiment and move to Dueidar, 10 km north-east of Hill 70, to support operations by the 5th Australian Light Horse Regiment.
  • 5th – The composite regiment returns to Hill 70.
  • 6th – 10th (Nelson) Squadron returns from Kantara.
  • 7th – 8th (South Canterbury) Squadron rides to Kantara to spend a week in the rest camp.
  • 14th – 8th (South Canterbury) Squadron returns to Hill 70 and is replaced at the Kantara rest camp by the 1st Canterbury Yeomanry Cavalry.
  • 15th – The three separate regimental machine-gun sections are reorganised as a single autonomous unit, the New Zealand Machine Gun Squadron. Lewis guns are issued to the NZMR regiments.
  • 18th – Lieutenant-Colonel Findlay resumes command of the regiment.
  • 20th – A large Ottoman force is discovered advancing westward on a 12-km front in the vicinity of Salmana and Bayud, 30 km east of Romani.
    The CMR stands by at Hill 70 as numerous reports of combat between units of the Anzac Mounted Division and Ottoman Turks come in.
  • 21st – 1st (Canterbury Yeomanry Cavalry) Squadron returns to Hill 70.

August 1916

  • 4thBattle of Romani: The first wave of Ottoman attacks begins shortly after midnight. Concentrated against a sandhill known as Mount Meredith, it is repulsed by the 1st Australian Light Horse Brigade.
    A second wave of Ottoman infantry assaults that begins around 2 a.m. is pressed home with much more determination. Intense fighting takes place all along the line. By daybreak the Ottoman Turks have forced the Australians off Mount Meredith and back towards Wellington Ridge.
    The NZMR reaches a point 2½ km south of Canterbury Hill at 11.30 a.m. It is decided to attack the Ottoman forces holding Mount Royston, a large sandhill at the western end of Wellington Ridge. The Auckland Mounted Rifles is in the centre, the CMR on the right flank and some British Yeomanry on the left flank. This force advances steadily throughout the afternoon.
    A general attack is ordered for 4.45 p.m. in an attempt to clear Mount Royston before dark. The 5th Australian Light Horse Regiment joins in on the left. The Ottomans withdraw or surrender, and by 5.30 p.m. the summit has been taken. By 6.30 p.m. most of the Ottoman forces still in the area have surrendered.
    That night the CMR bivouacs at Anzac railway siding.
    The CMR has lost one man killed and 15 wounded.
  • 5thBattle of Romani: The NZMR moves off at 6 a.m. in pursuit of the Turkish forces, which are now retreating.
    The NZMR, along with the 1st and 2nd Light Horse Brigades and the 5th Mounted Brigade, is ordered to attack the Ottoman rearguard at Katia. The attack begins at 2.30 p.m. The Ottoman Turks defend a strong position resolutely, and at 7 p.m. the attack is abandoned. The CMR withdraws 3 km and bivouacs for the night.
    The CMR has lost two men killed and 14 wounded.
  • 6th – The NZMR leaves the bivouac at 6.30 a.m. Katia is found to be empty of enemy forces, and the Ottoman rearguard is located at Oghratina at 11.30 a.m. After spending the afternoon observing and avoiding shellfire, the CMR is ordered at 7 p.m. to withdraw to Er Rabah, where it spends the night in bivouac.
    Four men have been wounded and another dies later of his wounds.
  • 7th – The CMR leaves camp with the rest of the NZMR at 4.30 a.m. The brigade returns to Oghratina and spends the day observing the Ottoman defences, then withdraws to the bivouac at Er Rabah at 7 p.m.
  • 8th – The CMR leaves camp with the rest of the NZMR at 4.30 a.m. and finds Oghratina abandoned. Patrols make contact with the main Ottoman position 3 km west of Bir el Abd. The CMR bivouacs at Debabis.
  • 9th – The CMR leaves bivouac at 4 a.m. to take part in an attack on Bir el Abd by the Anzac Mounted Division. The CMR is initially in reserve but is soon sent forward to support the left flank of the Auckland Mounted Rifles. Ottoman counter-attacks eventually halt the advance, and at 11.20 a.m. enfilading fire forces the left flank to retire. With Ottoman counter-attacks continuing, the division receives orders to withdraw at 4.15 p.m. The CMR withdraws successfully while in close contact with enemy forces. The regiment bivouacs at Debabis.
    The day’s fighting has cost nine men killed and 22 wounded. Another six men are reported as wounded and missing.
  • 12th – The CMR leaves Debabis and conducts a reconnaissance. Bir el Abd is found to abandoned by the Ottoman Turks. Further patrolling discovers Ottoman positions around Salmana.
    The CMR returns to Debabis that evening.
  • 14th – The CMR moves to Hod el Amara and sets up a bivouac.
  • 20th – The CMR moves to Bir el Abd and occupies the outpost line.
  • 27th – The CMR is relieved and moves back to Hod el Amara.
  • 31st – The CMR holds a Board of Enquiry into the fate of men who are missing after the recent fighting.

September 1916

  • 11th – The NZMR leaves Hod el Amara at 5.30 a.m. and arrives at Bir Etmaler at 11.30 a.m.
  • 20th – Three officers and 95 other ranks of the CMR leave for a new rest camp at Sidi Bishr (on the coast near Alexandria).
  • 30th – Regimental headquarters and another draft of men leave for the rest camp at Sidi Bishr. The CMR men still at Bir Etmaler come under the temporary command of the Auckland Mounted Rifles.

October 1916

  • 3rd – Lieutenant Colonel Findlay departs for a period of leave in England. Major Acton-Adams assumes command of the CMR.
  • 7th – Regimental headquarters arrives back at Bir Etmaler and resumes command of the CMR men.
  • 23rd – The CMR and the rest of the NZMR leave Bir Etmaler and rides to Bir el Abd, where they bivouac for the night.
  • 24th – The CMR rides to Willegha and relieves the 10th Australian Light Horse Regiment in the forward outpost line. It maintains a defence against Turkish incursion and mounts patrols to gain as much information as possible about Turkish movements and find souces of water.
  • 27th – The CMR rides to a new outpost line at Mossefig, 11 km east of Salmana.

November 1916

  • 3rd – Major Acton-Adams is promoted to temporary lieutenant-colonel.
  • 13th – After being relieved, the CMR rides to a new outpost line at Mazar and rejoins the rest of the NZMR there.
    8th (South Canterbury) Squadron is detached to man an outpost line at Malha.
  • 17th – Lieutenant-Colonel Findlay returns from leave and resumes command of the regiment. Temporary Lieutenant-Colonel Acton-Adams reverts to the rank of major.
  • 25th – The CMR, along with the rest of the NZMR, leaves Mazar at 5.45 a.m. and rides to Mustagidda, where it sets up a new outpost line.
    8th (South Canterbury) Squadron rejoins the regiment.

December 1916

    • 3rd – The 1st (Canterbury Yeomanry Cavalry) Squadron is sent to an outpost line at Zoabatia.
    • 4th – The 10th (Nelson) Squadron is detached to an outpost at Arnussi.
    • 20th – The CMR (including the detached squadrons), along with the rest of the NZMR, leaves Mustagidda at 1.30 p.m. After a 1½-hour pause at Ghurfan el Gimal, the force rides through the night for 35 km to get into position to attack El Arish.
    • 21st – The attacking force arrives at El Arish to discover that the Ottoman garrison has abandoned the town three days ago. The CMR bivouacs at Masmi, 5 km to the west.
  • 22nd – Scottish soldiers of the 52nd (Lowland) Division arrive at El Arish and relieve the Anzac Mounted Division. The allows the Anzac division to attack the Ottoman garrison – two battalions of the 27th Arab Division – at Magdhaba, 40 km inland. The NZMR concentrates in Wadi el Arish for this task.
  • 23rd – The CMR and the rest of the NZMR leave bivouac at 1.10 a.m. and arrive at a point about 6 km outside Magdhaba at 4.50 a.m. After a reconnaissance, the village is attacked. The last Ottoman resistance is overcome late in the afternoon.
    The CMR’s casualties are two killed and 11 wounded.
  • 27th – As the CMR moves to a bivouac near the beach west of El Arish, a storm that will rage for 12 days begins.

1917

During 1917 the Canterbury Mounted Rifles Regiment (CMR) and the rest of the New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade (NZMR) take part in three battles for Gaza. After two setbacks, the third battle is won. The way is now clear for the Egyptian Expeditionary Force to advance along the coast of Palestine as far as modern-day Tel Aviv, and into the Judean Hills towards Jerusalem.

January 1917

  • 1st – The CMR and the rest of the NZMR move back to the railhead at Kilo 139 (markers give the distance from Kantara), mainly because of the difficulty of transporting supplies across 15 km of desert to El Arish.
  • 4th – The CMR and the rest of the NZMR move back to Wilder Hod because of the poor watering arrangements for the horses at Kilo 139.
  • 8th – The CMR and the rest of the NZMR move to Wadi el Arish. They join the Australian units of the Anzac Mounted Division, which moves off as a divisional column at 4 p.m. to ride 45 km to Rafah overnight and attack the isolated Ottoman garrison there.
  • 9th – The CMR crosses the frontier into Palestine and overruns a police station north of Rafah, taking 170 prisoners.
    The Anzac Mounted Division’s attack on Rafah begins at 10 a.m after a 30-minute bombardment. The CMR and the Auckland Mounted Rifles are to take the key defensive position, the redoubt at Point 255.
    The initial advance is steady but slow. By 12.15 the attackers are within 500 m of the redoubt. No further progress is made against heavy Ottoman fire, and at 1 p.m. the Wellington Mounted Rifles moves into the line to assist the attack. By late afternoon the situation is becoming desperate, with Ottoman reinforcements approaching. At 4.30 p.m. Lieutenant-General Sir Philip Chetwode, in charge of the operation, orders a withdrawal. However the NZMR has launched an attack on the redoubt shortly after 4 p.m. Fire from Lewis guns and the New Zealand Machine Gun Squadron allows the New Zealanders to take the redoubt at bayonet point. With the redoubt and the high ground taken, resistance in the other position is quickly overcome by the Australian Light Horsemen and the Camel Corps.
    As Ottoman reinforcements continue to approach, the CMR withdraws at 6 p.m. and goes into bivouac at Sheikh Zowaiid, 15 km south-west of Rafah, at 10.30 p.m.
    The CMR’s casualties are six men killed and 19 wounded.
  • 10th – The CMR moves back to Masaid, near El Arish.
  • 17th – 5% of the officers and men depart for Cairo after being granted leave.

February 1917

  • 22nd – The NZMR joins the Anzac Mounted Division column and moves forward to Sheikh Zowaiid.
  • 23rd – The NZMR and the 2nd Australian Light Horse Brigade leave Sheikh Zowaiid at 1 a.m. for Khan Yunis, 30 km to the north-east, which is reported to have been abandoned by Ottoman forces. It is hoped to capture Sheikh Ali el Hirsch, a suspected Ottoman spy.
    Reports that the Ottoman Turks have left Khan Yunis prove to be premature when the Wellington Mounted Rifles, who have formed the advance guard, come under fire at 5.30 a.m. Despite making progress on the right flank, the CMR receives orders for a general withdrawal and the operation is abandoned. The CMR has sustained no casualties during the attack.
    The CMR returns to bivouac at Sheikh Zowaiid.
  • 26th – The NZMR conducts a day-long reconnaissance around Shokh es Sufi, 8 km south-east of Rafah. Elements of the advance guard make intermittent contact with Ottoman patrols but suffer no casualties. The column returns to bivouacs at Sheikh Zowaiid that evening.
  • 28th – The NZMR conducts a day-long reconnaissance around Rafah. The column again returns to bivouacs in Sheikh Zowaiid.
    Khan Yunis is abandoned by the Ottoman Turks and occupied by elements of the Desert Column.

March 1917

As part of a reorganisation of the British forces operating against the Ottoman Turks, the 22nd (Yeomanry) Mounted Brigade is incorporated into the Anzac Mounted Division. The Desert Column now comprises the Anzac Mounted Division, the Imperial Mounted Division, and the 53rd (Welsh) Division.

  • 3rd – The CMR and the rest of the NZMR conduct a day-long reconnaissance east and south-east of Karm Ibn Musleh, which is 6 km south of Rafah. The CMR returns to bivouacs at Sheikh Zowaiid.
  • 7th – The CMR and the rest of the NZMR undertake a reconnaissance around Khan Yunis. The CMR returns to its bivouac at Sheikh Zowaiid at 6.45 p.m.
  • 10th – The CMR and the rest of the NZMR ride to Bir el Malalha, on the coast north of Rafah, and sets up a new bivouac.
  • 11th – The CMR and the rest of the NZMR undertake a reconnaissance towards Gaza. The CMR bivouacs at Bir el Esha at 6.45 p.m.
  • 18th – The CMR and the Wellington Mounted Rifles leave their bivouacs at 3.15 a.m. and conduct a patrol around Um el Kelab with the intention of capturing any Ottoman patrols in the area. No Ottoman Turks are found, and by 9.15 a.m. the two regiments withdraw to the area around Khan Yunis to protect a party of Royal Engineers working on the wells. The CMR returns to bivouac at Bir el Esha at 2.30 p.m.
  • 23rd – After receiving orders from Brigade Headquarters, the CMR begins preparations for an operation on the 25th which will result in the Battle of Gaza.
  • 25th – The NZMR moves out of Bir el Malalha at 2 a.m. for Deir el Belah, 15 km from Gaza. The NZMR and the 22nd Mounted Brigade are to provide security for the Desert Column while it moves up to and crosses Wadi Ghazze.
  • 26thFirst Battle of Gaza: The NZMR leaves its bivouacs at 2.30 a.m. to take part in the Anzac Mounted Division’s operations against Gaza. The division is to block the roads to the north of Gaza to prevent an Ottoman withdrawal or the arrival of reinforcements. The Imperial Mounted Division will play a similar role east of Gaza. The 53rd (Welsh) Division and a brigade of the 54th (East Anglian) Division are to attack the town from the south at 8 a.m.
    The CMR arrives at its blocking position at Tellul el Humra at 10 a.m.
    While the NZMR carries out its initial role, the infantry attack from the south faces more difficulties. Fog obscures the routes across Wadi Ghazze. The infantry is in position to begin the assault at 9 a.m., but there is further confusion about the location of some of the assault force, and the artillery is slow to come into action. By the time the assault is launched at 11.45 a.m. the Gaza garrison is well prepared and precious time before Ottoman reinforcements arrive has been lost.
    With the infantry attack difficult and slow, the Anzac Mounted Division launches an attack from the north-east at 4 p.m. to assist. The Wellington Mounted Rifles advances on the left, the CMR in the centre and the 2nd Australian Light Horse Brigade on the right. With most of the Ottoman defenders facing the infantry attack from the south, the mounted regiments make good progress and quickly break into the town. One of the CMR squadrons occupies the abandoned redoubt on Ali Muntar at the same time as British infantry arrive from the south. But with Ottoman reinforcements getting closer and darkness approaching, Lieutenant-General Chetwode, in charge of the operation, makes a controversial decision to withdraw across Wadi Ghazze.
    The CMR receives the orders to withdraw around 6.45 p.m. It takes some time for the regiment to fully extract itself, its wounded and its prisoners from Gaza. The CMR rejoins the Anzac Mounted Division at Tellul el Humra. The divisional column rides through the night.
    The CMR’s casualties are one man killed and six wounded.
  • 27th – The CMR arrives back at Deir el Belah during the morning. After resting for the day, the CMR and Wellington Mounted Rifles form an outpost line between Inseirat and El Iaire.
  • 28th – The CMR is relieved by a regiment of Australian Light Horse and moves to a new bivouac by the beach at Deir el Belah.
  • 29th – The CMR moves back to the outpost line between Inseirat and El Iaire.
  • 30th – The CMR is relieved by a yeomanry regiment and moves back to bivouac in Deir el Belah.

April 1917

  • 2nd – The CMR moves back to the outpost line between Inseirat and El Iaire.
  • 3rd – The CMR is relieved by a yeomanry regiment and moves back to bivouac in Deir el Belah.
  • 8th – The CMR moves to an outpost line in the Deir el Belah area.
  • 9th – The CMR is relieved from the outpost line and moves back to bivouac at Deir el Belah.
  • 16th – The CMR receives orders to move inland to Shellal (15 km south of Gaza) to take part in the second attempt to take Gaza. The regiment leaves Deir el Belah as part of the NZMR column at 6.30 p.m.
  • 17thSecond Battle of Gaza: The CMR reaches Shellal at 6 a.m.
    The situation facing the Allied forces has become more difficult since the First Battle of Gaza. The 18,000 Ottoman troops now holding the line between Gaza and Tel el Sheria occupy more elaborate and extensive defences. A frontal assault from the south is now the only practical option. This is undertaken in stages. On the 17th the infantry move up close to Gaza. The artillery move into place on the 18th, with the final assault to be made next day.
    The Desert Column has two subsidiary roles in the assault: to protect the right flank of the infantry; and to keep the redoubts at Atawineh and Hareira (10 to 12 km from Gaza) busy, preventing the Ottoman commanders there moving men to the main battlefield at Gaza.
    The CMR remains in the vicinity of Shellal during the day.
  • 18thSecond Battle of Gaza: The CMR moves up to Point 550 in the morning and returns to Shellal at 9.30 p.m.
  • 19thSecond Battle of Gaza: It is decided that the Imperial Mounted Division will attack the Atawineh redoubt to assist the infantry assaults. The NZMR is placed in reserve with a view to exploiting any breach in the Ottoman line.
    The CMR receives orders at 2.30 a.m. to move forward and assist the Wellington Mounted Rifles, who are trying to clear ‘Sausage Ridge’. By the time this order is given the CMR can do little to help the Wellingtons renew their attack. Instead the CMR endures shelling and Ottoman counter-attacks.
    The Ottoman attacks are repelled, but the day does not go well for the Allied force. The assaults by both the infantry and the mounted horsemen are unsuccessful and it is decided to abandon the attack and withdraw.
    The CMR receives the orders to withdraw at 5.45 p.m. Once clear of the Ottoman defences it rides back across Wadi Ghazze to Tel el Jemmi, 10 km south of Gaza.
    Three CMR men have been killed and 28 wounded; 12 horses have been killed.
  • 20th – During the night it is decided not to renew the assault on Gaza because of the strength of the defences. The Allied units are redeployed to defensive positions.
    At 10 a.m. the NZMR moves to a point near Sheikh Nuran, where the CMR occupies a redoubt.
  • 21st – The CMR is relieved by the 7th Australian Light Horse Regiment and moves to a bivouac at Abasan el Kabir, east of Khan Yunis.
  • 22nd – The CMR moves into an outpost line at Point 310.
  • 27th – The CMR receives 13 reinforcements.
  • 29th – The CMR is relieved from the outpost line and moves to a new bivouac at Tel el Fara (south of Shellal and about halfway between Rafah and Beersheba) for a short period of rest.

May 1917

  • 1st – The CMR acts as advanced guard for the NZMR on a reconnaissance to Goz el Basal. Ottoman patrols are fired upon but there are no casualties. The CMR returns to its bivouac at 5.30 p.m.
  • 6th – The NZMR and the 6th Mounted Brigade concentrate west of Goz el Basal at 9.15 p.m. At 10 p.m. the CMR moves towards Kh Khasif to try to capture Ottoman patrols that are reported to be in the area.
  • 7th – No Ottoman Turks are found at Kh Khasif and the CMR starts back for Tel el Fara at 6.45 a.m.
  • 11th – The NZMR leaves bivouac at 3.30 a.m. and moves towards El Buggar, 15 km to the east, to look for 2000 Ottoman Turks who are reported to be in the area. Only Ottoman patrols are contacted. The CMR returns to bivouac at Tel el Fara at 5 p.m.
  • 16th – The CMR crosses Wadi Ghazze to provide an outpost line in front of the infantry defences.
  • 17th – The CMR returns to bivouac at Tel el Fara at 7.30 a.m.
  • 20th – The CMR receives 20 reinforcements.
  • 22nd – The NZMR moves out of bivouac. The New Zealanders hold a defensive position in the desert to provide a link between the Imperial Mounted Division, which is conducting a demonstration against Beersheba, and the Australian Light Horse, which is demolishing as much of the Asluj–Auja railway (south of Beersheba) as it can. The raid is a success, destroying 11 km of track and five bridges. The CMR returns to Tel el Fara next day without making contact with Ottoman forces.
  • 28th – The CMR moves to Abasan el Kebir, 5 km inland from Khan Yunis, and sets up a new bivouac.

June 1917

  • 2nd – Major Percy Acton-Adams assumes command of the regiment.
  • 8th – The NZMR moves to Marakeb, just north of Khan Yunis, for a period of rest and training.
    Lieutenant-Colonel Findlay resumes command of the regiment.
  • 18th – The NZMR moves to Kazar.
  • 30th – The strength of the CMR is 23 officers and 451 other ranks. During the month 73 men have been evacuated to hospital; two officers and 64 men have arrived as reinforcements.

July 1917

  • 3rd – At 11.45 p.m. the NZMR leaves for Taweil el Habari to support a reconnaissance towards Beersheba by the Australian Mounted Division.
  • 4th – The AMR returns to its bivouac at Kazar at 11 p.m.
  • 6th – The NZMR moves to Tel el Fara.
  • 8th – The CMR takes part in a day-long reconnaissance east of Issiri with the Anzac Mounted Division. The regiment returns to bivouac at 9 p.m.
  • 10th – In the early hours of the morning the CMR takes part in an NZMR operation to capture Ottoman patrols in the Khasif–El Buggar area, 15 km west of Beersheba. No Ottoman Turks are found and the CMR returns to bivouac at 8.10 a.m.
  • 12th – The CMR patrols around Point 630 observing Ottoman positions.
  • 13th – The CMR returns from its reconnaissance at 8.15 a.m.
  • 14th – The CMR moves to Ghabi and occupies the redoubts there.
  • 19th – The CMR is ordered across Wadi Ghazze to respond to an Ottoman reconnaissance. Ineffectual shellfire directed against the regiment causes no casualties. The CMR returns to bivouac at Tel el Fara at 10 p.m.
  • 20th – The CMR moves out of bivouac at 12.30 a.m. and takes up an outpost line at Goz el Basal. The CMR and the Wellington Mounted Rifles advance to Hill 720. The CMR returns to the bivouac at Tel el Fara at 2.30 p.m.
  • 23rd – The NZMR undertakes a reconnaissance to Beersheba to investigate false reports that the Ottoman Turks have abandoned the town.
  • 26th – The CMR, less the 1st Canterbury Yeomanry Cavalry, conducts a reconnaissance along the Abu Ehawish Road, south-east of Beersheba. 1st Canterbury reconnoitres the Sana redoubt.
  • 30th – The CMR escorts a section of the 91st Heavy Battery to Goz el Geleir, where it fires on the Hereira Tepe redoubt. This force withdraws at the end of the day.
  • 31st – The strength of the CMR is 20 officers and 431 other ranks. During the month four officers and 46 other ranks have been either evacuated to hospital or sent for training. One officer and 26 other ranks have arrived as reinforcements.

August 1917

  • 4th – The CMR moves to Ghabi, relieves 1st Australian Light Horse Brigade and occupies the defensive works there.
  • 11th – The CMR is relieved from the Ghabi defensive works and returns to Tel el Fara in the late morning. The NZMR leaves Tel el Fara at 7.25 p.m. to support a raid on Sana redoubt by the Imperial Camel Corps. The CMR returns to Tel el Fara at 5.30 a.m. the next day.
  • 13th – The NZMR leaves the bivouac at 6.25 p.m. to support an operation by the 2nd Australian Light Horse Brigade. The CMR returns to Tel el Fara at 8.30 a.m. the next day.
  • 14th – The CMR receives seven reinforcements.
  • 16th – The CMR assists an Anzac Mounted Division operation in support of a reconnaissance by the Desert Mounted Corps to the south of Beersheba.
  • 18th – The Berkshire Yeomanry relieves the CMR, which – along with the rest of the NZMR – moves to the beach at Marakeb for a period of rest.
  • 20th – Major H.C. Hurst assumes command of the regiment.
  • 27th – Lieutenant-Colonel Findlay resumes command of the regiment.
  • 31st – The strength of the CMR is 22 officers and 473 other ranks. During the month four officers and 67 other ranks have been evacuated to hospital or sent to the New Zealand Mounted Rifles Training Regiment (TR). Six officers and 109 other ranks have arrived as reinforcements.

September 1917

  • 2nd – Lieutenant-Colonel Findlay temporarily takes command of the NZMR. Major D.S. Murchison assumes temporary command of the CMR.
  • 7th – Major Hurst returns to the CMR and takes temporary command of the regiment.
  • 12th – Major Acton-Adams returns from hospital and takes temporary command of the CMR.
  • 18th – The NZMR leaves Marakeb and moves inland to Fukhari for a month of training.
  • 30th – The strength of the CMR is 23 officers and 492 other ranks. During the month 38 other ranks have been evacuated to hospital or sent to the TR. One officer and 67 other ranks have arrived as reinforcements.

October 1917

  • 2nd – Lieutenant-Colonel Findlay returns to the CMR and resumes command.
  • 24th – The CMR spends the day preparing to move. At 5.15 p.m. it leaves with the NZMR for Esani, 20 km west of Beersheba. This move is part of a concentration of forces for a third assault on the Gaza line.
  • 28th – The CMR leaves its bivouac at 5 p.m. and rides 10 km south-east to a new bivouac north of Khalasa.
  • 29th – The NZMR leaves bivouac at 5.30 p.m. and proceeds to Asluj, 15 km further south-east.
  • 30thThird Battle of Gaza: The CMR moves out with the Anzac Mounted Division to ride through the night to take part in the assault on the Gaza line. In the Second Battle of Gaza the emphasis was on a frontal assault. This time 21 Infantry Corps will threaten Gaza at the western end of the Ottoman line, but the main attack will come from 20 Infantry Corps and the Desert Mounted Corps (including the NZMR) around Beersheba at the eastern end of the line. After the Desert Mounted Corps captures Beersheba, 20 Corps will roll up the Ottoman line from the east and ultimately take Gaza. Beersheba must be captured quickly before the Ottoman Turks can blow up the wells there. The Desert Mounted Corps and 20 Corps are operating away from the coastal railroad that supplies the Allied forces. Without Beersheba’s water, implementing the plan will be difficult, if not impossible.
  • 31stThird Battle of Gaza: At 8.45 a.m. the CMR receives orders for an operation against Tel el Saba, a 300-m high hill 5 km east of Beersheba. Its occupation by the New Zealanders will greatly aid the Australian assault on Beersheba. The Auckland Mounted Rifles is ordered to attack Tel el Saba from the south-east, while the CMR moves to the north and fires on the rear of the Ottoman positions.
    The CMR works its way around Tel el Saba under heavy fire. Meanwhile the Auckland Mounted Rifles slowly makes inroads into the Ottoman defences. Reinforced by the Australian Light Horse and the Wellington Mounted Rifles, it reaches the summit at 3 p.m. This allows the 4th Australian Light Horse Brigade, supported by the 5th and 7th Mounted Brigades, to charge into Beersheba on horseback. By 6.30 p.m. the town and most of its vital water supplies are in Allied hands. The infantry can now outflank the main Ottoman defences and advance on Gaza.
    The CMR spends the night in bivouac on Tel el Saba. During the day it has lost one man killed and six wounded.

November 1917

  • 1stThird Battle of Gaza: The CMR moves to the north-east of Beersheba during the day and by nightfall has captured the high ground east of Mikreh. The regiment is relieved at 8.30 p.m. and returns to bivouac at Tel el Saba.
  • 2ndThird Battle of Gaza: The CMR moves into the Judean Hills and takes over an outpost line at Bir Imshash, 17 km east of Beersheba. Men and horse soon suffer from a shortage of water.
  • 4thThird Battle of Gaza: The NZMR is ordered 20 km north to Khuweilfe to relieve the 5th Mounted Regiment, which is in contact with Ottoman forces. Five men are wounded by shrapnel during the day.
  • 5thThird Battle of Gaza: The CMR holds its position at Khuweilfe against Ottoman attacks that include accurate shellfire. During the day six men are killed and 49 wounded; 23 horses are killed and 24 wounded.
    By now the NZMR’s horses have had no water for 48 hours, and it is decided to lead them back to Beersheba for watering.
  • 6thThird Battle of Gaza: The NZMR is relieved by the Imperial Camel Corps during the morning. The brigade marches 8 km north-east to Khurbet el Ras and occupies an outpost line.
    The brigade’s horses arrive that night after being watered. The brigade remains at Khurbet el Ras until the 9th. The horses are led to Beersheba each day for watering.
  • 7thThird Battle of Gaza: The Ottoman Turks abandon Gaza and are pursued north.
  • 10th – The CMR and the Wellington Mounted Rifles move back to Beersheba.
    The CMR receives five reinforcements from the TR, and 12 remount horses.
  • 11th  – The CMR and the Wellington Mounted Rifles begin a two-day ride to Hammame, near the coast 25 km north of Gaza.
  • 13th – The CMR and the Wellington Mounted Rifles move to Yebna, 30 km further north, where they are joined by the Auckland Mounted Rifles.
  • 14thBattle of Ayun Kara: Following the collapse of the Gaza defensive line, the Ottoman defence of Palestine is centred on Jerusalem and Jaffa. The Allied plan is to cut communications between the two towns and then attack each separately. The NZMR is ordered to advance to Kubeibeh (10 km south of Jaffa) and conduct reconnaissance towards Surafend, 6 km further north-east. Kubeibeh is reached at 9.30 a.m., but when the CMR moves towards Surafend it comes into contact with Ottoman troops. The NZMR launches an attack at 12.30 p.m. The Auckland Mounted Rifles is on the left, the Wellington Mounted Rifles in the centre and the CMR on the right. By 2.30 p.m. the attack has come to a halt and Ottoman forces are counter-attacking with increasing vigour, particularly against the Auckland and Wellington regiments. The New Zealanders withstand the pressure, and by 4.15 p.m. the Ottoman counter-attacks have stopped and the Ottoman Turks pull back.
    With the CMR having had only a limited role in the day’s events, its casualties have been light: one man killed and six wounded.
  • 15th – During the morning Ayun Kara is found to be clear of Ottoman forces. At 12.15 p.m. the NZMR moves forward and sets up an outpost line near Richon le Zion, a Jewish village 8 km south-east of Jaffa.
  • 16th – The CMR moves back to Ayun Kara and sets up a bivouac.
    The Ottoman Turks withdraw from Jaffa before Allied forces arrive.
  • 17th – The CMR moves into Jaffa and bivouacs in nearby Sarona. The regiment supplies parties for garrison duties.
  • 20th – The CMR occupies an outpost line on the south banks of Nahr el Auja.
  • 23rd – The CMR is relieved and moves into reserve.
    The CMR receives eight reinforcements.
  • 24th – The CMR and the Wellington Mounted Rifles cross Nahr el Auja at 1 p.m. and quickly establish positions on the northern bank. By nightfall the CMR has secured Sheikh Muwannis, which it hands over to the British 161st Infantry Brigade. The CMR bivouacs on the south bank of the Auja.
    One horse is wounded during the attack.
  • 25th – Early in the morning the Ottoman Turks counter-attack against the newly won ground on the north side of the Auja. The CMR crosses the river at 8.15 a.m. to assist the defence, but all Allied troops are forced to withdraw to the southern bank of the river during the morning.
    The CMR has had two men killed and four wounded. Four horses have been killed and six wounded.

December 1917

  • 4th – The NZMR relieves the Imperial Camel Corps in muddy trenches at Sakia, 7 km south-east of Jaffa.
    The CMR receives seven reinforcements.
  • 10th – The CMR is relieved by the 10th London Battalion and bivouacs at Ayun Kara.
    The CMR receives 13 reinforcements.
  • 13th – The CMR moves 30 km south to a new bivouac at Esdud.

1918

The Canterbury Mounted Rifles Regiment (CMR) and the rest of the New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade (NZMR) move east across Palestine into the Jordan Valley in early 1918 as part of the Anzac Mounted Division. Two raids into the highlands east of the Jordan are costly failures. A third raid in September reaches Amman and takes 7000 Ottoman prisoners. After an armistice with the Ottoman Empire comes into effect on 31 October, the CMR represents the New Zealand Expeditionary Force in an occupying force on Gallipoli.

January 1918

  • 12th – The CMR moves north from Nahr Sukereir to a new bivouac at Richon le Zion.
  • 14th – The CMR receives eight reinforcements.
  • 19th – The CMR moves 25 km inland to Nalin and relieves the 2nd Australian Light Horse Regiment in front-line positions.
  • 22nd – Major Percy Acton-Adams assumes command of the regiment.

February 1918

  • 3rd – The CMR is relieved by the 6th Australian Light Horse Regiment and returns to Richon le Zion.
  • 15th – After a pause in operations, General Sir Edmund Allenby wants the Anzac Mounted Division to take the shortest route east from Bethlehem, 9 km south of Jerusalem, to the northern end of the Dead Sea, then clear the Jordan Valley west of the river as far north as Wadi el Auja. Meanwhile the infantry will advance down the main road from Jerusalem to Jericho. Allenby hopes that with the Mounted Division threatening to cut off their line of retreat, the Ottoman Turks will abandon their defences along the road, avoiding the need for a potentially costly assault.
    To prepare for its role in this operation, the CMR must move to Bethlehem, where the NZMR is concentrating. The CMR bivouacs for the night at Junction railway station.
  • 16th – The CMR leaves bivouac at 9.30 a.m. and rides to Zakariye, where it rests for the night.
  • 17th – The CMR reaches Bethlehem and sets up a bivouac there.
  • 19th – The CMR and the Auckland Mounted Rifles leave Bethlehem and ride through an area known as the ‘Wilderness’ towards the Jordan Valley. The two regiments are following the Wellington Mounted Rifles, which is cooperating with an infantry attack on the Ottoman defences at El Muntar. The Wellingtons clear a path through these defences and the CMR does not make contact with Ottoman forces.
  • 20th – The NZMR leaves bivouac at 4 a.m. and continues to move towards the floor of the Jordan Valley. During the morning contact is made with Ottoman forces defending two hills 4 km apart and about 10 km north-east of El Muntar. The Wellington Mounted Rifles attacks Tubk el Kuneitra and the CMR assaults Jebel el Kalimun. The CMR initially follows the wrong ridge. The Auckland Mounted Rifles is brought up from reserve to bolster the attack and Jebel el Kalimun is eventually taken.
    The NZMR continues to push forward during the afternoon and bivouacs on the line it holds at dusk.
  • 21st – The NZMR resumes the advance at 5 a.m. It is quickly discovered that the Ottoman forces have withdrawn overnight and the CMR is soon in the Jordan Valley. The Australian Light Horse Brigade occupies the village of Jericho, 12 km north-east of Tubk el Kuneitra. The CMR sets up an outpost line on the Jordan River.
  • 22nd – While the Auckland Mounted Rifles is ordered to maintain a patrol presence in the Jordan Valley, the CMR and the Wellington Mounted Rifles are to return to Bethlehem.
    The CMR starts moving out of the Jordan Valley at 6 p.m.
  • 23rd – The CMR reaches Bethlehem at 5.45 a.m. and moves into bivouac.
  • 24th – 25% of the CMR is granted leave to Jerusalem.
  • 25th – The CMR starts a two-day ride back to its old bivouac at Richon le Zion. The regiment reaches Zakariye on the first day of march.
  • 26th – The CMR arrives at Richon le Zion and begins a period of rest and training.
  • 28th – The CMR receives 12 reinforcements.

March 1918

  • 13th – The CMR and the Wellington Mounted Rifles move to Junction railway station.
  • 16th – The CMR rides to Zakariyen.
  • 17th – The CMR rides to Mar Elias, 5 km south of Jerusalem, and sets up a bivouac.
  • 20th – The CMR leaves Mar Elias at 6.30 p.m. for Talaat ed Dumm, a village halfway between Jerusalem and Jericho.
  • 21st – The CMR arrives at Talaat ed Dumm at 1.30 a.m. and sets up a bivouac.
  • 24thFirst Raid on Amman: The CMR rides down into the Jordan Valley as part of the Anzac Division. It crosses the Jordan River at Hijla and enters a bridgehead established by the 2/19 London Battalion on 22 March. The CMR is on the right flank of an attack on Ottoman positions at Shunet Nimrin, 12 km east of the river. These are taken by midday and at 3 p.m. the NZMR column moves into the hills along the Ain es Sir track. The 2nd Australian Light Horse Brigade, the Imperial Camel Corps and an infantry column are approaching Es Salt and Ain es Sir by different routes. The intention is then to attack the Hejaz railway at Amman.
    The NZMR’s march is not impeded by the Ottoman Turks, but the weather is miserably wet and cold (the hills are 600–900 m above sea level). With the track unsuitable for wheeled vehicles, the column is not supported by artillery.
  • 25thFirst Raid on Amman: The NZMR reaches Ain es Sir (25 km north-east of Shunet Nimrin) at noon, having had very little rest overnight. The column bivouacs at 1.30 p.m. and waits for 2nd Australian Light Horse Brigade and the Imperial Camel Corps to arrive.
  • 27thFirst Raid on Amman: The NZMR, the Imperial Camel Corps and the 2nd Australian Light Horse Brigade launch a raid on Amman, which is 12 km east of Ain es Sir. The defenders, well equipped with artillery and machine guns, are too strong for the mounted troops. These hold the ground that has been taken during the day while waiting for the infantry column.
    The CMR has two men killed and four wounded during the day.
  • 28thFirst Raid on Amman: The British infantry battalions and mountain guns arrive to reinforce the attack on Amman. The assault is renewed at 1 p.m., but the plan is very similar to that for the previous day and little headway is made.
    The CMR tries twice during the day to advance, but at the end of day it still occupies the line it held the previous day.
    The CMR’s casualties for the day are one man killed and two wounded.
  • 29thFirst Raid on Amman: More British troops arrive outside Amman. An Ottoman force is now threatening to cut the line of retreat at Es Salt, and two of the three bridges across the Jordan River have been swept away by floods. With the situation now urgent, a night attack will be undertaken.
  • 30thFirst Raid on Amman: The Auckland Mounted Rifles, the CMR (less 10th Nelson Squadron, now the brigade reserve) and two troops of the Wellington Mounted Rifles attack Point 3039 in two lines at 1.30 a.m. Heavy rain assists a silent approach. At 4.30 a.m. the defences on the hill are overrun by a bayonet charge, and by dawn the brigade overlooks the defences of Amman. The rest of the Wellingtons now arrive and the New Zealanders prepare defences against Ottoman counter-attacks that continue throughout the day.
    The assault on Amman by the Imperial Camel Corps and the infantry fails. The leader of the raiding force, Major-General Edward Chaytor, decides that Amman cannot be taken quickly enough and orders a withdrawal.
    The CMR withdraws from Point 3039 after dark and moves back to Ain es Sir, where it goes into bivouac at 3.15 a.m.
    The day has been a costly one for the regiment. Three officers and 13 other ranks have been killed, one officer and 31 other ranks wounded, and one man is missing.
  • 31stFirst Raid on Amman: The CMR and the Auckland Mounted Rifles remain at Ain es Sir as a rearguard that allows other units to withdraw in good order.

April 1918

  • 1stFirst Raid on Amman: After withdrawing at 4 a.m., the CMR moves down the track and reaches Shunet Nimrin and a bivouac at 8 p.m.
  • 2nd – The CMR withdraws across the Jordan River and bivouacs 3 km south-east of Jericho.
  • 4th – Lieutenant-Colonel Findlay returns from furlough in England and resumes command of the regiment.
  • 5th – While bivouacked near Jericho, the CMR sends daily working parties into the Ghoraniyeh bridgehead to help improve the defences.
    The CMR receives 15 reinforcements and nine remount horses.
  • 12th – The CMR receives 20 reinforcements.
  • 17th – The CMR receives 58 reinforcements.
  • 18th – The CMR moves into the Ghoraniyeh bridgehead.
  • 19th – The CMR conducts a reconnaissance into the foothills around the Ghoraniyeh bridgehead, then returns to bivouac at Jericho at 9 p.m.
  • 30thSecond Raid on Amman: The CMR moves into the Ghoraniyeh bridgehead at 3.30 a.m. During the day the regiment is shelled as it assists the British 180th Infantry Brigade in its attack on Shunet Nimrin. Little progress is made and at the end of the day the CMR moves back to Ghoraniyeh and bivouacs for the night.
    Three men have been killed and 11 wounded; 20 horses were killed and 25 wounded.

May 1918

  • 1stSecond Raid on Amman: The CMR again operates outside the Ghoraniyeh bridgehead in support of the 180th Infantry Brigade.
  • 2ndSecond Raid on Amman: The CMR moves north to the Umm esh Shert track to help the 4th Australian Light Horse Brigade hold open this route to Es Salt.
  • 5th – The CMR withdraws across the Jordan River and bivouacs at Kh Kakun.
  • 16th – The CMR and the rest of the NZMR move to a new bivouac near Talaat ed Dumm, 300 m above sea level.
    Major Acton-Adams assumes command of the regiment.
  • 18th – The CMR receives 18 reinforcements.
  • 24th – Trooper G.W.H. Smith is killed by a kick from a horse.
  • 27th – The 8th (South Canterbury) Squadron moves to the Desert Corps School of Instruction at Richon le Zion for a tour of duty.
  • 29th – The NZMR leaves at 7.30 p.m. for Bethlehem.
  • 30th – The CMR arrives at its new bivouac at Beit Fajjar, 8 km south of Bethlehem, around 6 a.m.
  • 31st – The CMR receives 12 reinforcements.

June 1918

  • 13th – The CMR moves back to Talaat ed Dumm and bivouacs overnight.
  • 14th – The CMR moves into the Jordan Valley and bivouacs at Jebel Kuruntul, the biblical Mount of Temptation 3 km north-west of Jericho, at 11.30 p.m.
  • 16th – The CMR moves to Ain ed Duk, 3 km north of Jericho, and takes over the bivouac of the 9th Australian Light Horse Regiment. Over the coming days the men of the regiment patrol and provide working parties in extreme heat.
  • 28th – Lieutenant-Colonel Findlay resumes command of the regiment.

July 1918

  • 1st – The CMR receives 18 reinforcements.
  • 4th – The CMR receives 21 reinforcements.
  • 7th – Major H.C. Hurst assumes command of the regiment.
  • 9th – The CMR receives 21 reinforcements.
  • 10th – The 8th (South Canterbury) Squadron rejoins the CMR after its detachment to the Desert Corps School of Instruction.
  • 14th – The CMR moves to ‘Wax Post’ at 1 p.m. to help the 1st Australian Light Horse Brigade repel an attack by a German battalion on Wadi el Auja. The regiment moves back to its bivouac at Ain ed Duk at 4.30 a.m. One man has been killed and five have been wounded.
  • 19th – The CMR is relieved and at 7.30 p.m. begins to move up to Talaat ed Dumm.
  • 21st – Lieutenant-Colonel Findlay resumes command of the regiment.
  • 27th – The CMR moves to Solomon’s Pools (outside Bethlehem) and sets up a bivouac. The regiment’s strength is down to 18 officers and 363 other ranks after its periods of duty in the malaria-infested Jordan Valley.

August 1918

  • 5th – The CMR receives 38 reinforcements.
  • 6th – The CMR holds a regimental sports meeting.
  • 16th – The NZMR moves out of bivouac at 3 p.m. for Jericho. The CMR rides via Jerusalem and bivouacs near Bethany, 2½ km east of the city.
  • 17th – The CMR resumes its ride at 3 a.m., reaches Talaat ed Dumm (12 km north-east of Bethany) at 7 a.m., and sets up a bivouac.
  • 18th – The CMR rides the 12 km from Talaat ed Dumm to Jericho.
  • 19th – The CMR moves to a bivouac near the Auja bridgehead.
  • 20th – The CMR receives 37 reinforcements.

September 1918

  • 5th – The CMR moves to Wadi el Auja.
  • 19th – A major offensive is launched along the Mediterranean coast. The Ottoman army in Palestine, weakened by illness and desertion, is unable to resist effectively. The Ottoman front line is soon ruptured. The Desert Mounted Corps rides towards Haifa and infantry move north along the Judean Hills.
    The troops remaining in the Jordan Valley are now known as ‘Chaytor Force’. They comprise the Anzac Mounted Division (including the NZMR), the 20th Indian Brigade, the British West Indies Regiment, and two battalions of Royal Fusiliers. With their supply lines about to be cut, the Ottoman Turks opposite them will soon have to withdraw. Chaytor Force is to wait until this withdrawal begins, then advance up the western side of the Jordan Valley and take the bridge at Damieh. They are then to cross the Jordan, advance on Amman and cut off the Ottoman Turks to the south.
    The CMR’s normal daily patrols find no signs of an Ottoman withdrawal.
    Major Hurst assumes command of the regiment.
  • 20th – Late in the day the anticipated Ottoman withdrawal is detected and the CMR prepares to move.
  • 21st – The CMR moves out of bivouac at 8 p.m. As the reserve regiment of the NZMR, it follows the Auckland Mounted Rifles along the west side of the Jordan Valley.
  • 22nd – The CMR remains in reserve for most of the morning. At 6.30 a.m. the 10th (Nelson) Squadron is sent to help the Wellington Mounted Rifles secure the area around Makhruk. At 10.30 the 1st (Canterbury Yeomanry Cavalry) Squadron helps the Auckland Mounted Rifles capture the bridge at Damieh. Units now begin crossing the Jordan River to start the second stage of the operation, the advance on Amman.
    The CMR crosses the Jordan at 2 p.m. and pushes out to the hills. The regiment returns to the vicinity of the Damieh bridge at dusk and bivouacs there.
    The CMR suffers no casualties during the day.
  • 23rdThird Raid on Amman: The CMR forms the advance guard of the NZMR during the advance to Es Salt, 25 km south-east of Damieh. The CMR moves into the town at 4.20 p.m., easily overcoming resistance and capturing 64 Ottoman Turks.
    The CMR bivouacs for the night at Es Salt.
  • 24thThird Raid on Amman: The CMR leaves at 11.40 a.m. to join the rest of the NZMR at Suweile, 15 km further east.
  • 25thThird Raid on Amman: The CMR leaves its bivouac at 6 a.m. and joins the NZMR and the 2nd Australian Light Horse Brigade en route to Amman, 15 km to the south-east. It is anticipated that the mounted force will lack the strength to take the village. A full-scale assault will begin once the slower column of British infantry and artillery arrives.
    At 7.45 a.m. the Wellington Mounted Rifles comes under fire. At 10.30 a.m. the Auckland Mounted Rifles is sent forward to help clear the advanced defensive posts.
    At 10.40 a.m. the situation changes dramatically. A British aircraft drops a message stating that the Ottoman Turks are abandoning Amman. Chaytor now orders a full-scale assault. The CMR, assisted by the Wellington Mounted Rifles, pushes towards the village and captures the ‘Stone Tower’, a key feature of the defences. This allows the NZMR to move into Amman itself and clear out the last Ottoman resistance. At the same time the 2nd Australian Light Horse Brigade clears Point 3039 behind the village. By 4.30 p.m. Amman is secure.
    At the end of the day the CMR bivouacs in Amman. One officer has been killed and two other ranks wounded.
  • 29thThird Raid on Amman: The NZMR advances to Quseir railway station, 5 km south of Amman, and bivouacs there for the night.
    The 5th Australian Light Horse Regiment arrives at Ziza railway station, 20 km south of Quseir, to find 4600 Ottoman Turks surrounded by a large Arab irregular force who are keen to loot them. The Ottoman Turks are unwilling to surrender until an Allied force large enough to protect them arrives. Two Australian regiments join the Ottoman Turks in the Ziza defences.
  • 30thThird Raid on Amman: The NZMR leaves bivouac at 1.30 a.m. and rides to Ziza to complete the Ottoman surrender.
    The CMR bivouacs at Ziza station that night.

October 1918

  • 3rdThird Raid on Amman: The CMR is relieved by the 3rd Australian Light Horse Regiment and rides back to Quseir station.
  • 4thThird Raid on Amman: The CMR rides via Ain es Sir to Shunet Nimrin, where it rejoins the NZMR.
  • 5th – The NZMR crosses the Jordan River at Ghoraniyeh and bivouacs near Jericho.
    Since 20 September 18 CMR officers and 150 other ranks have been evacuated to hospital with malaria.
  • 8th – The NZMR rides up to Talaat ed Dumm and sets up a bivouac.
  • 9th – The CMR moves to Mar Elias, 5 km south of Jerusalem, and sets up a bivouac.
    Lieutenant-Colonel Findlay resumes command of the regiment.
  • 10th – Half the regiment are granted leave to visit Jerusalem.
  • 13th – The NZMR rides 25 km to Latrun.
  • 14th – The NZMR resumes its journey at 8 a.m. and rides 25 km to Richon le Zion. Bivouacs are set up and the brigade rests and trains.
  • 30th – The Ottoman Turks sign an armistice.
  • 31st – The armistice comes into effect at midday.

November 1918

  • 13th – The CMR boards a train at Ludd, 8 km from Richon le Zion.
  • 14th – The CMR arrives at Kantara, Egypt, and bivouacs beside the railway line 7 km north-east of the town.
  • 15th – The CMR receives 42 reinforcements.
  • 22nd – The CMR receives 15 reinforcements.
  • 27th – The CMR embarks on HMT Huntscastle. The regiment and the 7th Australian Light Horse Regiment are returning to the Gallipoli Peninsula to monitor Ottoman compliance with the terms of the armistice.
  • 28th – HMT Huntscastle leaves Kantara.

December 1918

  • 1st – HMT Huntscastle spends the day anchored at Lemnos. The first signs of influenza appear amongst the men.
  • 5th – HMT Huntscastle arrives off Chanak (Canakkale) in the Dardanelle Straits.
  • 6th – The CMR begins disembarking onto Gallipoli. Most of the regiment is billeted in a hospital on the eastern side of the peninsula; 10th (Nelson) Squadron occupies a ruined mosque at Maidos.
    One officer and 24 other ranks are evacuated to hospital with influenza. During the month a total of 92 men will be sent to hospital.
  • 9th – Lance-Corporal Hugh McGuckin is the first of 11 CMR men to die from disease during December.
    Disembarkation from HMT Huntscastle is complete.
  • 11th to 15th – The CMR reconnoitres the southern part of the Gallipoli Peninsula.
  • 25th – A CMR party goes to Anzac Cove to tend the graves there.

1919

The Canterbury Mounted Rifles Regiment (CMR) returns to Rafah from Gallipoli in January. The return home of the New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade (NZMR) is delayed by a shortage of shipping. The men take classes designed to ease them back onto ‘civvy street’ after up to five years in the army. They also help quell riots in Egypt, where there is anger at the lack of progress towards the independence that has been promised after the war.

January 1919

  • 10th – Major H.C. Hurst assumes command of the CMR.
  • 19th – Most of the CMR embarks on HMT Normanat Chanak (Canakkale). Four officers and 90 other ranks remain behind on the Gallipoli Peninsula.
    Lieutenant-Colonel J.C.B. Findlay resumes command of the regiment.
  • 22nd – The CMR disembarks at Port Said, Egypt.
  • 23rd – The CMR travels by train to Rafah, arriving at 2 p.m. Training and education programmes to help the men return to civilian life are now its main concerns.

February 1919

  • 2nd – The officers and men left behind on Gallipoli arrive at Rafah.
  • 7th – Major Percy Acton-Adams assumes command of the regiment.
  • 12th – Lieutenant-Colonel Findlay resumes command of the regiment.

March 1919

  • 2nd – Major Hurst assumes command of the regiment.
  • 10th – Lieutenant-Colonel Findlay resumes command of the regiment.
  • 17th – The CMR leaves Rafah by train at 7 p.m. The NZMR is being rushed to Egypt to help suppress a nationalist revolt. Martial law is in force.
  • 18th – The CMR moves into a bivouac at Kantara.
  • 21st – The CMR boards a train for Damanhour, 50 km south-east of Alexandria.
  • 22nd – The CMR arrives at Damanhour at 10.30 a.m. and rides through the town.
  • 23rd – The CMR moves by train to Tanta in the Nile Delta. After arriving at 1 p.m., the regiment rides through the town.
  • 25th – The CMR leaves Tanta at 3.30 a.m. and rides 40 km north to the disaffected village of Kafr el Sheik, accompanied by four armoured cars. A cordon is thrown around the village at 7 a.m. and it is occupied by 8 a.m. An investigation of the cause of the disturbances results in a number of arrests. Those convicted by summary military court are publicly flogged, fined or imprisoned.
  • 26th – The 8th (South Canterbury) Squadron rides through nearby villages as a show of force. The rioting is investigated and summary punishments are meted out in minor cases.
    The 10th (Nelson) Squadron is detached and returns to Tanta.

April 1919

  • 15th – The CMR moves 25 km west to Disuq, on the western distributary of the Nile.
  • 22nd – The CMR returns to Kafr el Sheik.

June 1919

  • 17th – The CMR moves to the Demobilisation Camp at Chevalier Island, Ismailia.
  • 26nd – The CMR is divided into two groups. One party moves to the New Zealand Training Unit and Depot at Ismailia to await transport to New Zealand in July.
  • 30th – The rest of the regiment embarks on HMT Ulimaroa and the CMR ceases to exist as a formed unit.