The HAC in January 1917

The Great War January 1917

The 1st Battalion did not re-enter the line until 30th January. The month was spent in training as the snow or rain fell. It was a well-deserved rest when one looks at what the Battalion had already achieved since arriving in France in September 1914. First there were the battles of the 1st Ypres: Rouge Croix in November 1914; Petit Bois in December 1914. Then there was fighting in 1915 in March at Spanbroek Molen, St Eloi in April, Ypres Hooge in June when in an attack on Bellvarde, the battalion lost two thirds of its effectives, Hooge Crater in July and Sanctuary Wood in October.  Then after a spell at GHQ the battalion fought in the Battle of the Ancre in November 1916.
The 2nd Battalion spent most of the month in the trenches, losing several of its strength to German shelling including 21 cooks killed and injured when the cookhouse was hit.
A Battery trained in Egypt whilst B Battery was deeply involved in a raid on Turkish entrenchments at Rafa. It was a big attack, involving the ANZAC Division, the 5th Mounted Brigade and the Imperial Camel Corps Brigade. B Battery operated under the direct command of the Divisional Commander but was in action from early morning, galloping into action in the open with mixed teams of horses and mules. As the guns unlimbered and opened fire, the mules literally took the bit between their teeth and set off with the limbers for the Turkish trenches only pulling up and returning to control when they came upon some young green barley. The Battery advanced at the gallop again later that day, so close to the enemy that they could not register their range in time. Once in cover the battery commenced some of the best shooting the Brigade commander had ever seen. Helped by such support the position was captured and 1700 prisoners taken.