23 January 1917

“In the morning, early, we marched in a straggle for three hours down Wadi Hamdh. Then the valley went to the left, and we struck out across a hollow, desolate, featureless region. To-day was cold: a hard north wind drove into our faces down the grey coast. As we marched we heard intermittent heavy firing from the direction of Wejh, and feared that the Navy had lost patience and were acting without us. However, we could not make up the days we had wasted, so we pushed on for the whole dull stage.”

Events of 23 January 1917 as recounted by T. E. Lawrence in Seven
Pillars of Wisdom

Delays throughout the march meant that the Arab army were late meeting the rendezvous with the British Navy south of Wejh. On 23 January – the date set for the attack – ominous sounds suggested that the battle had begun without them.