Volume 1: Letters written on active service, A-L, 1914-1919 - Page 37
At 1 a.m. on Monday we saddled up & moved off to the attack. This Brigade (2nd) was given the post of honor & we had to make a big detour to South East in order to get round to the East of the city to prevent a retreat & to stop Turkish reinforcements coming up. It was a ticklish job & risky & according to German Officers (captured) a move they did not count on as they thought no troops would attempt to get into such a dangerous position & even if they did would never get out again.
Yet we got in & got out too, the latter by the skin of our teeth. We
were had their main position in front of us & 13,000 Turkish reinforcements advancing from behind us. Well to proceed. A very heavy fog came down before daylight; it was impossible to see more than a few yards, the country was very rough in places & travelling very difficult, intensely cold just before dawn we were numbed & wet with the fog. At about 8 a.m. the latter lifted & we found ourselves in most beautiful country, all cultivated & sown with barley. At 9 we could see Gaza on our left, had still some distance to go to our proper position in rear of the town. A little later the enemy was reported ahead. One squadron was sent ahead to reconoitre while the main body advanced slowly.
Two Taubes came over & opened fire with machine guns. We drove them off for a while with our rifle & machine gun fire. Meanwhile the squadron ahead had captured a few scattered outposts. We could see the road to Beer Sheba running away to our right & a cloud of dust caused by some kind of vehicle travelling
at in a hurry towards the latter place. Two or three of our boys could be seen with our glasses galloping across country, apparently to cut off the fugitives whoever they were. It was a great race, lasted some time & our lads won in the finish. The quarry turned out to be a Austrian German General & his staff including an Austrian Colonel & others; travelling in two coaches. They had been on their way from Beer Sheba to Gaza, & were to take over the command of the troops at the latter place, against our attack. Tho' they were within a few miles of their destination, were too late & seeing our Brigade in the distance, turned