ID numberRELAWM04772
Collection typeHeraldry
TitleRegimental standard the 46th Turkish Infantry Regiment captured near Damascus, 1918
Object typeColour
Date madec 1914-1918
Physical descriptionSilk; Gold bullion thread; Gold bullion wire
DescriptionCrimson silk regimental standard with a coiled and linked gold bullion fringe on the upper and lower edges, and on the fly. One side of the standard is embroidered in gold bullion thread with the toghra (personal cypher) of the Ottoman Sultan Mehmet V (1909-1918) within a circle. The circle is surrounded by embroidered representations of four regimental flags and various military symbols, including pikes, double-headed axes and trumpets. Beneath is a scroll of leaves from which are suspended, from green embroidered cords, gold embroidered representations of five medals. The other side of the standard is also embroidered in gold and shows two texts from the Koran written in arabic script. They translate as 'There is no god but God' and 'Mohammed, the Messenger of God'. The standard would originally have been attached to a pole surmounted by a nickel plated crescent moon and brass star. Two gold bullion and crimson silk cords and tassels would also have been attached to the pole. The side of the standard bearing the sultan's toghra has been damaged by over-exposure to light.
SummaryThis Turkish regimental standard, belonging to the 46th Turkish Infantry Regiment, was captured by Major (later Lieutenant Colonel) Thomas Joseph Daly, near Damascus on the morning of 2 October 1918. At the time Daly was acting in command of 9 Light Horse Regiment (LHR), which had camped for the night at Khan Kusseir, near Damascus. Early in the morning a large Turkish force was seen marching for the pass at Khan Ayash, about a mile from 9LHR's encampment, in an attempt to retreat from Damascus. Daly immediately led his regiment up to the left of the Turkish column between the road and a ridge of hills. As the Australians approached a group of Germans attached to the column employed machine guns, and small parties tried unsuccessfully to move up the hills to prevent 9LHR from reaching the head of the Turkish column. Daly rode on until he was opposite the centre of the force. He sent two squadrons forward, one to block the pass at Khan Ayash and the other to block the road at Kubbett I Asafir. The third squadron dismounted and opened machine gun and rifle fire on the column. The first two squadrons quickly achieved their objective and the Turkish column halted on seeing its retreat cut off. Daly remounted the third squadron, sent a small party to gallop around the back of the column, and charged the enemy, with drawn swords. Although the Australians were only about a hundred strong the Turks surrended before the horsemen reached them. Ninety-one officers, 318 cavalymen, 1064 infantrymen and eight Germans were taken prisoner. Also captured were three field guns, twenty six machine guns and other material, as well as the standard of the 46th Regiment. The entire action was over in less than an hour. The standard, claimed to be the only one captured by Australians, is in fact one of at three captured in the course of the campaign in Palestine, another near Damascus in 1918 and one at Magdhaba in 1916. All are in the collection of the Australian War Memorial.