Battle of Romani

The battle of Romani, fought between 3 and 5 August 1916, finally put a stop to the Turkish threat to the Suez canal and marked the beginning of the British forces’ drive out of Egypt and into Palestine.

The British defences were sited admist a series of towering sand dunes, 35 kilometres east of the canal, which the Turks tried to outflank to the south early on 4 August. Initially, only the 1st Light Horse Brigade was in position to meet the Turkish attack.

Heavily outnumbered it was forced to fall back but as the day progressed both mounted and infantry reinforcements steadily arrived, allowing the position to be stabilized around a massive dune known as Mount Royston, after the charismatic light horse officer Lieutenant Colonel “Galloping Jack” Royston. The position was held throughout the night and before dawn the next morning the 1st and 2nd Light Horse Brigades advanced on foot with the bayonet.

Turkish resistance collapsed at this point, and large numbers of prisoners were taken. At 6.30 am fresh troops of the 3rd Light Brigade were turned loose in pursuit of the retreating Turks.