For king and country

I found the following post related to Tom’s battalion on The Great War Forum

“The 2/22nd Battalion the London Regiment did not publish an official battalion war history, however it was recorded that the battalion was an aggressive fighting battalion serving with distinction with the 181 brigade the 60th London Division. When the battalion’s Colonel was given command of the battalion in Egypt, he recorded the day as the proudest of his life. He went on to win the Victoria Cross leading the 2/22nd battalion in the battle at Shiera, this being the later stages of the capture of Beersheba/Gaza in November 1917. The 60th Division fought inland with Arab irregulars everywhere, so there may be more than a little truth with regards [to them having met] Lawrence of Arabia. [For information about Lawrence, go here]

At the battle of Tel el Shiera (NW of Beersheba) on 7 November 1917, the battalion attacked the Turkish front line, capturing a battery of enemy field guns. The battalion had been in action and on the march for ten days prior to the attack. The men charged the Turkish front line just before dawn after a difficult night march, coming under heavy enemy fire. The C.O. of the battalion won his V.C. here, leaving an account of the action on 7 November in a letter to his father.

“One of the men had a football, how it came there, God only knows, we kicked off and rushed the first guns, dribbling the ball with us. I take it the Turks thought we were dangerous lunatics, but we stopped for nothing, not even to shoot, the bayonet had its day. We swept everything before us for 3000 yards, finally capturing a battery of field guns and their entire crews. The Turk battery fired its last round at 25 yards.” Lt-Col Borton. 2/22nd London Regiment (The Queens)

Typically understated, The C.O. was actually amongst the enemy guns while they were still shooting. The battalion ultimately advanced in the face of stiff enemy fire and captured its main objective, the wells at Shiera. The 2/22nd battalion had attacked alone being in the vanguard of the brigade advance, doing the work of two brigades.”

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