Farther over towards the right the East Anglian division, the "Cameliers," and a brigade of Light Horse to the last-named of which we ourselves were attached began just before noon to advance, after the "pipe-opener" of the early morning. The infantry had a few tanks operating with them, but these met with little success, for everything was against them.
The Turks were overwhelmingly superior in numbers, yet a brigade was held up for half the day by one company of the "Cameliers"! Another company formed up like cavalry and actually charged and took a position, the camels taking the hurriedly vacated trenches in their stride, as a horse leaps a ditch! I should think this charge is almost unique in the annals of war.
The situation now looked extremely serious, for the Turks, growing bolder, launched a most determined attack on Mansura, and in spite of numerous counter-attacks rapidly made the ridge untenable. The "Cameliers" again sacrificed themselves in a gallant effort to raise the siege and played sad havoc with the Turkish cavalry.
For three days the battle raged, wave after wave of infantry staggering forward undaunted, hardly knowing their direction except that it was towards the enemy, while the cavalry made repeated efforts to storm the great hill defending the town and the "Cameliers" operated in the centre.
The cavalry and the "Cameliers," advancing from the south, were obliged to travel over tracks which would have given a mountain goat the horrors, across wadis and nullahs so steep that the horses had to be let down by ropes and hauled up the other side, while the "Cameliers" had to build their roads as they went along, a camel being rather an inconvenient beast on which to scale the slippery sides of a cliff.
Meanwhile the "Cameliers," whose mounts could last in fair comfort for a week without water, went off into the parched hills north of Beersheba to perform their usual function of protecting our flank. Then all the mounted troops took the road towards Sheria, so as to be in readiness for the main blow when the transport difficulty had been solved.