Friday, 25 July 2014

A Trip to the National Archives. Half an hour with the Yeomanry in Palestine.

Yesterday we made our second visit of the summer to the National Archives in Kew. Once the official business was over, I indulged myself by ordering up the War Diary of the Berkshire Yeomanry for the period 1916 to 1918. I knew it was there, I'd seen it in the catalogue, but as it is not digitised I did not know quite what to expect. To my surprise a sturdy box arrived. It contained not only the Berkshire Yeomanry diary but the diaries of 6th Mounted Brigade HQ, 6th Mounted Brigade Signal Squadron,  17th Squadron Mounted Machine Gun Corps, the Queen's Own Dorset Yeomanry and the Royal Buckinghamshire Hussars.

I got quite excited. Time was short. It was pushing 5pm and although the National Archive opens late on a Thursday, we had to make our way home shortly as the dog needed a walk. I hastily created a plan of action... find the descriptions in each diary of the action at El Mughar, 13 November, 1917.

The Charge of the  Buckinghamshire, Berkshire and Dorset Yeomanry at El Mughar, Palestine. 
By James Prinsep Beadle. 

First, the Berkshire Yeomanry. I hope that by clicking on the photos you may get an image big enough to read. The action is described in the last entry on this page.
 Then next in the box was was the diary of 17th Squadron Mounted Machine Gun Corps.
 The Dorset Yeomanry, the entry for 13 November over two pages.

 A detailed description of the action from the Royal Buckinghamshire Hussars.

The Signal Squadron diary only had a very brief entry but as I opened the Brigade HQ diary, I found this booklet in the back of the file containing the November entries. Published in Cairo in 1918, it is an analysis of the El Mughar action.





 In the back of the booket was a large map of the Palestine theatre of operations and this panorama of the heights as they would have looked to the Yeomanry troopers as they moved towards them. The village of El Mughar, attacked by the Berkshire Yeomanry on foot, is on the right. The cactus hedges that necessitated a dismounted attack are clearly visible. A photograph of El Mughar village, taken during the early 1940s can be found in the National Library of Australia's Digital Collection.
 The Brigade HQ diary entry for the 13 November.
 "Appendix A" in the Brigade HQ diary giving a formal, if brief description of the action at El Mughar.
 For me, this was the prize. This hand drawn sketch map of the dispositions of the 6th Mounted Brigade.

By the time I had found this little lot it was time to go. When we frequented the National Archives back in the early 2000s, the photographing of documents was controlled and one had to apply for a special sticker to put on the Reader's Ticket. I am glad to say that the photographing of documents is now unrestricted. 

As I have published these images online I must now do the decent thing and credit the source. The above pages can all be found in WO 95/4506. 

I shall have to go back..... I've just discovered the diary of the Berkshire Battery RHA. It would be good to get a gunner's perpective of El Mughar!


Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Queen's Own Dorset Yeomanry. Musketeer Miniatures (Footsore Miniatures) Conversions 3.

I took some time out from commission painting to complete painting the first two mounted figures for QODY. Now back to WW2 Italians.







Monday, 21 July 2014