Edited extracts from George Auchterlonie's WWI diaries
26 March: ...moved up on East side of Gaza & find the 3rd Brigade are in reserve some miles back...A great lot of firing going on at Gaza & some very big shells coming from Beersheba way...
2 April: Quiet night on post & very foggy. Can have a good look at Gaza with the glasses & it is a big town. During the fight the town was full of Turks & some bayonet work was done in the cactus hedges.
20 April: ...Waited for daylight & began to advance in support of 9th...Soon met some bullets but went on into a waddy, spelled & had some grub, then on again in a long line, very open now...we advanced over a ridge in sight of their trenches & what a welcome we got, machine guns fairly rained bullets & stopped our gallop. Hung on for a couple of hours under a very heavy fire & a lot were hit. I was flat on the ground for over half an hour, afraid to move, bullets just skimming over, when it slackened, made a dive for a heap of dirt & got there. When shrapnel came right over us, began to retire as no hope of getting forward. Took up another position & held it till dark. Men getting hit all the time. Then retired to our horses & rode back a couple of miles, watered & took up an outpost in some trenches...
22 April: Back at the old grooming, watering & grazing of horses & the dust is awful. However got a bit of sleep last night & removed our boots, & saddles, tho haven't had a wash yet.
31 October: ...Had operations explained re attack of Beersheba today...We rode all night with practically no sleep & at times very slow with many halts. Went NE then NW till on the East side of Beersheba...The infantry are operating from the other side & a heavy bombardment is going on. The Mtd. Div have advanced on to a great flat & their batteries pouring it in to Tel-el Sheba (Saba). Our horses are very tired & leg weary & short of feed, while we are on half ration & emergency stuff. A deserted Bedouin camp is near & we got a feed of barley for the nags & also water for ourselves. Beersheba appears to have a few buildings, a big one of three stories, the usual minaret, & a lot of hovels.
1 November: We then went back to Division headquarters & were going to water when a taube came over unobserved & emptied his load of bombs. Talk about a confusion, horses galloping everywhere, we handed over & pumped thousands of shots into him, but he returned & dived, emptying his machine gun into us, then departed. Soon found that the regt. was extremely lucky, tho Colonel Maygar, who only rejoined us two days ago, was badly hit in leg & arm, & we hear he will lose the latter.
5 November: ...Hear that Col. Maygar has died. On Friday we went 8 or 9 miles North of Beersheba – our Troop on flank guard of column; about 2 o'clock we rejoined the squadron & soon after galloped into action near where we had seen Yeomanry going up & also armoured cars, two of which were disabled...Poor Les Jackson was killed also Lt Watt while Elms, Cox, Drane, de Soyres, Keeble, Poulter & several others were hit. At last we got word that infantry were coming to relieve us & they were a welcome sight with their shrapnel helmets...Then rode back to Beersheba & it seemed as if we would never get there. Thousands of horses & a slow water pipe & it was two hours before our poor brutes got a drink.
8 January: More rain & mud. Left camp at 9 & the Brigadier took us thro the town of Gaza. There is hardly a building left whole & shell holes everywhere. Rode right thro the big mosque which was blown down...