The HAC in the Great War - September 1918

In Palestine, ‘A’ and ‘B’ Batteries where camped in company with the rest of the Australian Mounted Division at Ludd. Moving only at night between the 15th and 17th September and sleeping in concealed positions by day the Battery slowly moved forwards to their gun positions near Arsuf. Before dawn on the 18th the position was reached and the Battery was ordered to open fire at 0430 the next morning in order to bombard the Turkish lines until 0540. During this period the Battery fired 735 rounds in just seventy minutes, the greatest number they fired in so short a time. The attack was successful and allowed infantry to break through the Turkish lines resulting in a full retreat. The Battery pushing in fourty miles before being rerouted south east to Jenin. The enemy, having lost their will to fight, surrendered almost immediately. The number of prisoners was so large the Brigade had to apply for reinforcements in order to contain them. On the 25th the Battery pushed on to Lake Tiberias where the men watered their horses and had the welcome opportunity of a bath.

For the 2nd Battalion September, Italy was quiet and enjoyable. Notably with a Divisional Sports Competition at the village of Trissino where the Battalion won a series of awards including the ‘one-horse turnout’ and second place in the ‘open mile race.’ Towards the end of September it was announced that one Battalion from each Brigade would be sent to Western Front in France. The 2nd Battalion was lucky enough not to be sent as the 20th Manchester Regiment was selected, suffering many casualties during their time there.

The 1st Battalion whilst on the western front were gearing up for what was universally thought to be the final push, with the German lines slowly giving way to the sustained British attacks. On the 25th September the Battalion was ordered to entrain and join the 4th Guards Brigade at Maison Ponthieu. They spent the remainder of the month preparing for the battle that lay ahead.

On 1st September the Siege Battery were located near to Foret and took part in sporadic contacts up until the 8th September when they journeyed forwards past Longavesnes in position for the final attack on the Hindenburg Line. With the enemy dug in and determined the Battery expected a bitter fight. The valley that the Battery occupied was shelled continually until the 18th when the enemy’s guns were taken allowing them a measure of peace. The Battery then moved up beyond Ste. Emilie and occupied the position until the 1st October, spending the time bombarding the strengthened positions at Priel Farm, Ossus Wood and the ‘Knoll.’

On 1st September 2/A Battery saw action near the Cambrai road during which the Drocourt-Quéant line was broken sending the enemy into full retreat. On the 4th the Battery occupied the line and spent two days providing harassing fire on the north east where the enemy was most stubborn. With a new battery commander, Major P. A. Dyott, the Battery was moved to Vis-en-Artois. Accommodated in a chalk-pit, the rest of the month was relatively peaceful with only the occasional shooting to keep the detachments in order.