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The Queens Own Worcestershire Hussars commemorate the Charge at Huj

29th September 2017

The Queens Own Worcestershire Hussars will commemorate the Charge at Huj in a special exhibition which runs from 25 October at the Worcester Soldier Gallery, Worcester City Museum & Art Gallery as part of the Worcestershire World War One Hundred programme.

The Charge at Huj, or as contemporary records referred to it The Affair at Huj, took place on 8 November 1917 and involved a small Cavalry force assembled from 1½ Squadrons of the Warwickshire Yeomanry and 1½ Squadrons from the Worcestershire Yeomanry, The Queen’s Own Worcestershire Hussars, charging a ridgeline to the South of the village of Huj, Palestine where a mixed force of German, Austrian and Turkish Artillery and Machine Guns were positioned to stem the advance of the British 60th Division.

Major General Shea, commander of the 60th London Division appreciated just how difficult it would be for his Infantry to take the position called on the Desert Mounted Corps for assistance. The Troops available were from the two County Yeomanry Regiments serving with the 5th Mounted Brigade of the Australian Mounted Division.

Using a small ridge line to cover their initial advance the force assembled before slitting into three attacking parties. One Squadron attacking the Infantry, 1½ Squadrons the Artillery and Machine Gunners and the remainder attacked the Turks held in reserve at the rear of the guns.

All three charges achieved their objectives and the Turkish force, of perhaps 2,000 troops was routed. 11 Field Guns and 4 Machine Guns were captured and 70 or so Prisoners. However the cost to the two Yeomanry Regiments involved was high. All Squadron Leaders were killed or subsequently died from wounds. Of the troops involved 26 died and over 40 injured and over 100 horses were killed or maimed and were subsequently destroyed.

The Medical Officer, who followed closely behind the Charge, Major Oscar Teichman, writing in the Cavalry Journal in 1936 stated: “The Charge at Huj had it occurred in a minor war would have gone down in history like the Charge of the Light Brigade at Balaclava. In the Great War when gallant deeds were being enacted on all fronts almost daily it was merely an episode, but as the Official Historian remarks, for sheer bravery, the episode remains unmatched”.

Talking about the forthcoming commemorative exhibition Colonel Stamford Cartwright MBE, TD, Curator of Worcestershire Yeomanry Museum and Chairman of the Comrades Association said: “The Affair at Huj was certainly a significant moment in the history of Yeomanry and the last determined charge to capture Turkish guns. The exhibition will commemorate the determined efforts of the Yeomanry as well as remember the sacrifice made by so many of the troops. We look forward to welcoming visitors to the Gallery to find out more.”

On 26 October to accompany the exhibition Stamford Cartwright will give a talk about the Charge and the role of The Queens Own Worcestershire Hussars. Tickets for the talk cost £5, the exhibition is free.