Ross Smith, image courtesy State Library of South Australia B6101
Smith, Ross – October 1917
Oct. 3rd. & 4th. Out on photos.
Oct. 5th. — Oct. 19th. Out on the usual jobs, photos & escorts.
Oct. 20th. Jones, Winter-Irving & I went to Cairo by rail to get 3 new R.E.’s that were ready for us at the Park.
Oct 21st. Arrived Cairo & stayed at the Continental Hotel.
Oct 22nd. Jones & Percival & I came back to NURAN by air. Winter could not get his machine started. Landed & filled up at KANTARA on the way.
Oct. 28th. Did a patrol with Jones on 12’s & we also took photos of the Sharia defences for the coming attack.
Oct. 30th. Patrolled over the L.H. around Esani with Spragg.
Oct. 31st. The big attack started by the L.H. and Infantry attacking Beersheba. The Turks held a trenched line from the coast through Gaza, Hariera, Sharia & down to Beersheba. Gen. Allenby’s plan was to hit the Turks on their left flank first. For a week before there was a continuous bombardment of the Gaza trenches to make the Turks think we were going to attack there and on the night of the 30th. the Inf. & L.H. were moved out to A attack Beersheba. The Inf. made a frontal attack & by 10 A.M. had taken most of the important trenches which were in very difficult ground & strongly held. Meanwhile the Anzac Div. and Aust. Div. had moved round to the north east of Beersheba & attacked from there. By night we had taken the town & its garrison. The 4th L.H. Bgde. were the first troops to enter the town & they made a very fine mounted charge over 3 rows of trenches. Col. Grant was presented with a Bar to his D.S.O. by Gen. Allenby the next day. I was out in the morning escorting a reco. & saw all the early stages of the attack.