KOSB after Gallipoli
After Gallipoli, a much-depleted 1/4th Battalion went on to see service in Egypt, Palestine and the Western Front, and fought with distinction in all three places. Hawick men continued to serve, some recording their experiences.
Through the generosity of his family, the Club has come into the possession of a poem written about a battle at Katia View and found in the belongings of Pte John Ernest Brydon (1897-1988), a Hawick man who served with the Battalion in Palestine in 1916-17.
Past President John Aitkin then referred us to an article in the KOSB magazine, The Borderers' Chronicle, which featured the poem. The article is reproduced below by kind permission of the Regiment.
Out in the desert, here we roam
Thousands and thousands of miles from home.
At Katia View, here I stand
With a pair of field glasses in my hand.
My duty is to keep a sharp lookout
In case the Turks may come round the Redout.
It just happened last week, on August the fourth
That Jonnie came round with a very large force.
He intended to take the canal at all costs,
But the Borderers were there, every man at his post,
And what with the roar and the screech of the shells,
Poor Jonnie was sending forth terrible yells.
Now I think it is true, without any doubt,
He'll be sorry for the day he came to the Redout.
Now the Battle's ended with glory and fame
To every brave hero from Scotland that came.
So when we get back, we'll be welcomed by all,
For we are the lads that did answer the call.
Now I think I will close as my story has ended,
And I hope that poor Jonnie will not be offended.
But I hope you'll agree when I say there's no doubt
Jonnie'll long rue the day he came round the Redout.
The Battle of Romani (3rd-5th August 1916) marked a turning point in the British campaign in the Middle East, following disasters in the Dardanelles and Mesopotamia. The battle, which took place 23 miles east of the Suez Canal, near Katia, was the first victory against the forces of the Ottoman Empire, and secured the Suez Canal against ground attacks.
The 1/4th and 1/5th Battalions KOSB, brigaded together in the 52nd (Lowland) Division, took up positions in a line of redouts overlooked by Kattib Gannit, a large conical sand dune. On the night of 3rd August, the Turks advanced onto Wellington Ridge to the west of Redout 22a, which was held by 'C' company, 1/4th KOSB, commanded by Captain P.L.P. Laing of Hawick.
In the early hours of the following morning, Turkish aircraft began bombing the KOSB positions. This was followed by a heavy artillery bombardment and rifle fire from the ridge. Snipers from 1/4th and 1/5th KOSB were posted on high ground, and platoons were sent out to support Redouts 4 and 5, which were under attack by Turkish infantry.
As night approached, things quietened down considerably; however, after dark, the enemy broke through the wire between Redouts 6 and 7. The Battalion reserve under the Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel G.T.B. Wilson immediately went into the attack, driving back the Turks at bayonet point, and advancing to occupy a line of rifle pits constructed for such a contingency.
The following day, the Turks retreated. Some held out on Wellington Ridge, but were dislodged by the 7th and 8th Scottish Rifles. In spite of being under constant fire for the best part of a day, KOSB casualties were relatively light: the 1/5th Battalion signals officer, Lieutenant H.E. Pollard was killed, as was Private James Bradley, also serving with 1/5th KOSB. Ten men were wounded.