Official War History of the Wellington Mounted Rifles Regiment 1914-1919
Return to the Jordan Valley
Return to the Jordan Valley
On September 26th the W.M.R. moved with the Brigade to a new bivouac site, close to Amman station, where Lieut-Colonel Whyte rejoined and took charge of the regiment, with Major Dick as second in command. Outpost duties were carried out till the 29th, when the regiment, less the 6th Squadron, moved with the 2nd A.L.H. Brigade railway station, en rôute to Ziza to support the 2nd A.L.H. Brigade in guarding some five thousand prisoners.
On approaching Ziza next evening (the 30th), rifle and machine-gun fire was heard ahead. It was known that a strong force of Turks had surrended to a single Australian Brigade, and treachery was at first suspected, but the cause of the firing page 232was soon ascertained. The Bedouin, ever ready to pounce on a wounded prey, was about in large numbers looking for loot, but the cosmopolitan Australians made common cause with the Turks, and the marauders were driven off.
The N.Z. Brigade relieved the 2nd L.H. Brigade in the line during the night, and the following day (October 1st) it commenced the return journey to the Valley.
The 6th W.M.R. Squadron, which had been detached at Damieh, rejoined at Ain Es Sir, having meanwhile captured the following:—Fifteen prisoners, three 77-m.m. guns and one mountain gun, besides two British thirteen-pounders which the Turks had captured during the second operation against Es Salt.
The march was continued on the 4th, and Jericho was reached early next morning, the W.M.R. bivouacking two miles north-west of the town.
Now commenced a long series of casualties from an invisible enemy—the parasite of malignant malaria. The disease had previously appeared in the Jordan Valley, but the evacuations then were insignificant, compared with those which the Medical Corps had now to cope with and transport safely and in comfort across the Mountains of Moab and the Jordan Valley after Amman fell. It was a tragic sight to see the men who had fought so gallantly, and held on so tenaciously through years of fighting, suddenly stricken, and swaying in and sometimes falling from their saddles. As these were evacuated their horses were left to their comrades to lead, and by the time the Valley was reached there was a long line of horses, but few riders.
The Brigade remained in the Valley till October 8th, when it began to march out of it for the last time, and there were no regrets.
Next day the W.M.R. took up its old quarters near the Mar Elias Monastery, where it remained till the 13th, on which date it moved with the Brigade to Latron, proceeding next day to Richon le Zion.
On its arrival there the Brigade took up its old bivouac area, and, although the war was practically ended, general training was continued, intermingled with sports and horse races, the W.M.R. meeting being held on Armistice Day.