First Battle of Gaza from The Official History of the Great War
Tuesday 27th March 1917 from our correspondent in the field
News has reached us today of a battle in far-away Palestine. The adjutant of the 1st/5th Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment, which is part of 54th (East Anglian) Division wired to say that the Battalion had taken a minor part in a battle near Gaza. Their part consisted in moving a mile along a track towards Gaza itself then taking up an outpost line in extension of the right flank and to the south of 53rd (Welsh) Division which carried out the principal attack.
By speaking with other correspondents we have been able to piece out roughly what happened. It seems the Turks were well dug-in around Gaza but the British and Imperial troops managed to encircle them. The Welsh seem to have been in position by about 9.30 am ready to attack from the south and east, however, the attack seems to have been delayed for reasons which are unclear, though its seems fog was at least partially to blame (Gaza is only a short distance from the coast). The attack seems to have met with mixed fortunes and 161st (Essex) Brigade of 54th Division was also involved, coming under the orders of 53rd Division. After some time the attack was supported by mounted men - the ANZAC Mounted Division, Imperial Mounted Division and Imperial Camel Corps. It seems that the resistance was too great and the attacks had to be called off and some captured ground given up. Our troops are reckoned to have sustained about 4,000 casualties. We understand from some of our colleagues that the commanding officer of 53rd Division, Major-General A G Dallas has received criticism in some quarters for his handling of operations.