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  • desmodium 3 Mar 2014 at 07:18
    spuadron (should be) squadron.

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Corporal A. J. Cotter writes from Palestine to his sister, Miss Cotter,   Staceys Bridge, 27/11/17 :— We have been knocking the old Turk about to  

some order since last I wrote. We grabbed Beersheba out of his hands, intact, one fine evening. We rode all night, and by daybreak we were hid-  

ing in the hills behind Beersheba waiting for a charge, which came off successfully at a quarter to 5 in the evening. Imagine a line of hills broken by gullies in which we were hiding, and then a grassy flat of about two miles to a town we could see in the distance. Well, we filed

down out of the gullies and formed a  

long thin line with about four yards  

between horsemen. A spuadron of  

the 4th Light Horse was the first line and was the first to enter the town. The 1st Light Horse was on our right and the 12th Light Horse on our left flank. We got the order to trot and then to gallop, and then the bullets started to crack. I can tell you my

head was well down in the old horse's  

mane. The grassy flat we could see

on a closer view was crossed by nu- merous trenches filled with Turks,

who, armed with numerous machine   guns, bombs, rifles and saw-edged bayonets, seemed to have but one ob- ject in life, and that was to stop us from galloping over them ; but they did not succeed, poor chaps. If we had been armed with swords we would have sliced the old Turks up a treat. A bayonet is absolutely use- less on horseback against a dis- mounted man, especially when he is lying down shooting at you, and your horse is going at full gallop. My old horse got shot from under me just as we crossed the first line of the enemy, and I finished the journey on foot. A few rode right into the town, but the majority dismounted when they got fairly in amongst the Turks, and we were shooting at one another from a distance of five yards. The Turks' machine guns were kill- ing as many of their own men as they  

were of us. The Turks are a dirty,  

treacherous mob of swine. They  

would throw down their rifles one

minute and as soon as you turned

your back to deal with someone else

they would have a pot at you. Our  

troop officer got shot dead. I settled

the hash of the Turk who shot him.   I bagged five. We lived for two days on Turkish rations at Beersheba,

horses and all. The Turkish flour is  

like pollard, and the bread is brown.   Some of it was just out of the ovens, and it went down alright after army biscuits. We took 11,000 pri- soners at Beersheba, and we have been scrapping ever since. On the 14th Nov. we captured a railway sta- tion, the junction of lines running from Gaza, Jaffa, Beersheba, Jerusa- lem and several branch lines. There were several trains, a large quantity of munitions and stores, three dam- aged Taubes and a Turkish hospital with wounded and hospital staff. I and another young chap had a look through the hospital. We found one wounded Australian out of the Light Horse in there. All the Tur- kish doctors could speak good Eng- lish. One man and I took 11 prison- ers that day, and four out of the 11 had saw-edged bayonets. I am still carrying a Turkish bayonet, as it is very handy for sawing wood to boil the billy. A few days ago we were halted for a day and a night along- side a pretty little Jewish village, where we got plenty of brown bread and oranges which, though a bit heavy, went down alright after a month on biscuits. We also got a drop of grape wine which, though sweet, was very acceptable. And an- other thing we got was a wet skin that night, as it rained, actually rained heavily ! The first rain we had seen for a long time. We are camped about two miles from the sea, and yesterday rode down for a swim. Both air and water were very cold, This is a beautiful country. They grow the best oranges in the world, also grow dates, figs, grapes, and all the country is under crop. The win- ter here is the same as in Australia.   We are moving on again to-morrow morning, so I don't know whether I will have a chance to post this letter  

or not. This Jewish village I was telling you of was like many others  

about here, financed by Lord Roth- child. There are some very pretty Jewesses in the villages. They told us that they have had no sugar for three years. Some of the Light Horse that saw Jaffa while passing by tell us that the town is for all the

world like Ballarat. Jerusalem is   surrounded by our troops. The coun-

try where the fighting is going on at  

present is so hilly and rocky that   horses are with difficulty led over it. I suppose they will be turning us into infantry unless the Turks make a  

run for home, which he can't do un- less he breaks through some part of our line. Our aeroplanes have com-  

plete mastery of the air. It is ter- ribly cold here at night, and even the days are not too warm. In fact it is raining as often as not, and we can only carry one blanket, a water-proof sheet and overcoat. They are start-  

ing to issue to us Australian tunics   in place of the cotton ones we have.  

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