Topic: AIF - 2B - 7 LHR
7th LHR, AIF
7th Australian Light Horse Regiment
Routine Order No. 156, 17 June 1916
Hill 70 Camp, Sinai, 1916
[From: AWM J02862]
Hill 70 has the look of a very hot and bleak bivouac. Any men stationed there would have been only too happy to march out as soon as possible to another location.
It was at Hill 70 Camp that the 7th LHR Routine Order No 156, 17 June 1916 was issued.
7th LHR Routine Order No 156, 17 June 1916
One thing that is very noticable for today's society is the complete abrogation of a basic constitutional protection in Paragraph 7 of the RO which orders a compulsory Church Parade. This is clearly in contravention of Section 116 in the Australian Constitution which says:
The Commonwealth shall not make any law for establishing any religion, or for imposing any religious observance, or for prohibiting the free exercise of any religion, and no religious test shall be required as a qualification for any office or public trust under the Commonwealth.
The atheists, agnostics, Jews and Muslims in the ranks had their rights circumvented by this order.
This RO details the issues faced by a Regiment on the march. The greatest space describes protection arrangements required by the Brigade and Regiment. The First Battle of Romani had already occurred which let to a massacre of the British Yeomanry. The area was insecure and the Turkish forces not too far away at Katia and facing the Allied forces gathering at Romani.
The essential part of the Brigade Train, the Brigade Ammunition Column required careful attention with a specific guard allocated to protection. Another guard fatigue for both the Brigade and Regiment is the Timber Guard indicating a quantity of timber for usage was carried by the Brigade.
The patrol work seems to be arduous for both men and horses. The first mentioned patrol to Canterbury Post and Hod el Arras is one which required at least a couple days or one day of very hard riding. There is no mention of the timing but Canterbury Post was located a couple kilometres east of Pelusium Station and was another 10 km due east from Canterbury Post. This was a long patrol.
In contrast, the patrol from Hill 40 to Gilban Siding was more manageable but still a long day's ride for the men on the patrol. To put it into perspective, below is a 1:40,000 map illustrating the distances involved in this particular patrol.
Hill 70 Camp between Kantara and Romani, 1916
The beauty of this RO is the detail of the day which is absent from the War Diary and the 7th LHR Unit History. This allows the reader to get a feel for the day that was to greet the men from the Regiment. It is so immediate. The actual file itself still contains the grit from the desert which not only allows the reader to experience the day, but also feel the conditions in both a visceral and vicarious manner.