Battle Honour GAZA

Event
Wednesday, 7 November, 1917
This Turkish .44 inch Smith & Wesson 'Russian' revolver was taken at the 3rd Battle of Gaza, on 8 November 1917, by Lieutenant Roy Sorge of the 5th Battalion The Royal Irish Fusiliers. On its butt he has scratched his name, and the date and place (Hareira [Sic] Tepe redoubt) of capture.

The Battle Honour GAZA is emblazoned on the Queen's Colours of The Royal Irish Regiment.

GAZA was granted for actions over the period 26 March-7 November 1917. One such action was the battle for Beersheba on 31 October 1917. The reserve brigade in the 10th (Irish) Division for the initial attacks was 31 Brigade.* As part of the final phase, 31 Brigade had the task of attacking the Turks over the Wadi esh Sheria to cut their defensive line across the Gaza-Beersheba road.
BH GAZA
The Turks held a well-defended stretch of high ground called the Hureira Redoubt. The 2nd Battalion The Royal Irish Fusiliers (2nd Faughs), together with two companies of the 5/6th Faughs, was ordered to capture the redoubt while the 6th Battalion The Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers was given a subsidiary role on the right flank. The attack was hurriedly staged and began at 0700 hours on 7 November. There was insufficient time to prepare artillery support in any detail but, in the absence of the artillery's horses being watered elsewhere, the pack mules of the 5/6th Faughs galloped forward towing a supporting battery of howitzers.

Enemy machine guns caused many casualties among the troops advancing across the open ground, but when the Faughs were within 300 yards of the enemy, the attack faltered. When the Inniskillings on the right and a Faugh company on the left simultaneously outflanked the Turkish position, the Turkish fire slackened. The Faughs rose and charged the hill and overran the Turkish defenders who had not abandoned their positions. The fighting had lasted three hours and the Faughs casualties were 29 killed and 137 wounded.

General Allenby's Egyptian Expeditionary Force broke through the enemy positions at Beersheba and Gaza, and went on to pursue both the retreating Ottoman Seventh and the Eighth Army before capturing Jerusalem on 9 December 1917 and then advancing into Syria.

*
The 31 Brigade infantry included:

5th Battalion The Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers
6th Battalion The Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers
2nd Battalion The Royal Irish Fusiliers
5th/6th Battalion The Royal Irish Fusiliers

The 6th Battalion The Royal Irish Rifles were in 10th (Irish) Division's 29 Brigade.

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