The Camels Also Charged

From Waler Data Base @ FaceBook, October 2022. Image for post: The camel transport carrying rations for personnel of the 3rd Light Horse Brigade at Rafa. The Anzac Mounted Division and the Imperial Camel Corps attacked and captured Rafa, occupied by a Turkish rearguard force, on 9 January 1917. Along with the defeat of another rearguard force at Magdhaba in December 1916, this raid opened the way for British forces to advance into Palestine. Frontier, Sinai, Egypt. February 1917. AWM

When we remember the famous charge at the Battle of Beersheba on 31st October 1917 let’s not forget the camels, who also charged earlier in the day.

Locals in Egypt and Palestine were employed by the Australian Army for the camels. These men walked miles every day in the heat, often having to bind their feet with cloth as the sand burned bare feet and not all could afford shoes. They took loads of feed and water for our men, camels and horses, medical supplies and ammunition. They also carried stretchers on their shoulders to get our wounded out, when there was no other way to get men to a medical station; and loaded our wounded onto camel field ambulance camels and wagons and walked miles beside them to get them to help. They set up camp every night and kept the camps clean and orderly. They did an outstanding job.

Imperial Camel Corps
‘Unidentified Australian members of the Imperial Camel Corps, prepare to mount. Jaffa, Palestine. 1918.’ AWM

AWM Images left to right:

Captain (Capt) Randolph William Creswell, 3rd Battalion, Imperial Camel Corps, riding a camel on a beach. Capt Creswell was killed in action on 6 November 1917 in Palestine. El Burj, Paelstine, March 1917.

Australians of the Imperial Camel Corps on the sandhills near the sea. The Brigade, which was five eighths Australian, was at this time in rest. Rafa, Sinai, Egypt. March 1918.

The Imperial Camel Corps ‘express’. The wagon is pulled by six camels. Jaffa, Palestine. 1918.

AWM Images left to right:

Australians of the Imperial Camel Corps on the sandhills. This image is a colour Paget Plate. Frotier, Rafa, Sinai, Egypt. 26th January 1918. Frank Hurley photo.

Serapeum, Egypt. c. March 1916. A team of eight camels pulling an artillery piece is halted outside a tent, possibly in the camp of 20th Australian Army Service Corps. Note how the gun and its limber have special track attached to the rim to traverse the sand. The original caption reads `The first heavy gun drawn across the desert.’

An unidentified soldier on a loaded camel, showing how the water tanks were carried. The numbers 3666 have been branded on the neck of the camel. c. 1918.

Fourth Battalion Camels
‘4th battalion, ANZAC section, Imperial Camel Corps. Preparing for a parade. Abbassia, Egypt. 1915.’ AWM

Posted by Enoch Waler

Waler gelding purpose bred to help educate and advocate for Walers, in person and via Facebook and Instagram.