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"At a mile distant their thousand hooves were stuttering thunder, coming at a rate that frightened a man - they were an awe inspiring sight, galloping through the red haze - knee to knee and horse to horse - the dying sun glinting on bayonet points..." Trooper Ion Idriess

The Australian Light Horse Studies Centre aims to present an accurate history as chroniclers of early Australian military developments from 1899 to 1920.

The Australian Light Horse Studies Centre site holds over 12,000 entries and is growing daily.

Contact: Australian Light Horse Studies Centre

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Thursday, 15 May 2008
Rifle Clubs, Question 11, and the 9th Light Horse Regiment
Topic: MilitiaRC - Rifle Clubs

Australian Rifle Clubs

Attestation Paper 1914 - 1918

Question 11

 

Question 11 on the AIF Attestation Paper reads as follows:

 

 

 An interesting question which set off a trail of interest with me a few years ago when the children's GGF listed the following on his attestation papers:


2823 Private Herbert Leslie Schramm, Served 2 years with Tumby Bay Rifle Club.

Of course, the curiosity is raised as to why a person would include a rifle club as part of military service. My nephew and myself were members of a rifle club in WA and apart from all the regulation things that had to be dealt with as par for the course, there was nothing martial about it. So the connection is tenuous. A puzzler indeed for the person in the 21st century.


A bit more digging and we find rifle clubs being listed in the Commonwealth General Military Orders as they become active or are deactivated. In addition to shooting, their main task, they also undertook rudimentary drills and led by a captain, usually a nominal position a la Captain Mainwaring in "Dad's Army".

There was a very serious side to the Rifle Clubs which is missed by most historians of the Great War, but one which laid the underpinnings for the Australian defence posture from 1901 - 1910 and the roll on effects into the Kitchener Report.

My understanding is that Hutton was asked to put together a low cost military model for the defence of Australia upon Federation. The state's model - producing Imperial formations which would slot into the British Army seamlessly - proved to be outrageously expensive and far beyond the resources of the Commonwealth. Boer War commitments nearly ruined the state governments and it certainly crippled the growth of the Commonwealth for many years. So Hutton was assigned the task of coming up with a solution that fit the funding ability from the states' empty coffers. With little money, the soolution was relatively simple.

Hutton selected the Boer Commando system as the best model for the defence of Australia. This was the greatest accolade that could be paid to Oom Paul and his methodology of fighting the British. Hutton aped the Boer system of defence while ironically being committed to fight against it and stamp out the Boer Republics. To get trained cells of men without actually incurring too much cost the notion of Rifle Clubs came into play. The Commonwealth would provide the rifles and ammunition while the members would pay the rest. The clubs would be an integral part of the military with the Australian Instructional Staff taking care of the drills and shooting training for the leadership cadres of the clubs. In essence, if Australia had been invaded during this period, one would have seen a replay of the Boer War although this time Australians riding in the commandos.

After the Kitchener reforms where the posture was to be changed from a guerrilla force to a military that would once again fit seamlessly into an Imperial Expeditionary Force, massive battalions and regiments were formed, and while not stated, appeared to be slotted into an Imperial scheme with 7 infantry divisions and 2 cavalry divisions. We can see how this played out in the Great War with 5 Infantry Divisions, 2 Cavalry Divisions and 1 Training Division - just one division short of the Kitchener Plan and that was only because the PM, Billy Hughes could not get his desire for another division through cabinet.

For regions not able to be adequately served by this structure or for those not eligible to serve, the rifle clubs remained an integral part of the landscape in their quasi military role.

Here are a few other members of the 9th LHR who also answered Question 11 regarding Rifle Club service:

552 Pte Albert Ernest King, Served 3 years in the Tumby Bay Rifle Club
689 Pte John Diamond, Served 7 years with Appollo Bay Rifle Club
717 Pte Arthur Harry Charles Jackson, Served 3 years in the Sandringham Rifle Club
895 Pte Edgar Ernest Mathews, Served 3 years in the Crystal Brook Rifle Club
943 Pte Carl Martin Steicke, Served 10 years in the Caltowie Rifle Club
1000 Pte Edgar William Gifford, Served in the Port Germain Rifle Club
2475 Pte John Thomas Ward, Served 3 years with Red Bank Rifle Club, Victoria
2803 Pte Guthrie Hugh Lipson Baillie, Served 1.5 years with Tumby Bay Rifle Club
2824 Pte Frederick Harry Schwartz, Served 2 years with Mannum Rifle Club
2986 Pte William Bumett Willison, Served 2 years with the Salisbury Rifle Club


These are just a few examples.

 

Further Reading:

Australian Rifle Clubs

The Australian Militia, 1899 - 1920

AIF - Lighthorse

 


Citation: Rifle Clubs, Question 11, and the 9th Light Horse Regiment

Posted by Project Leader at 10:11 PM EADT
Updated: Sunday, 25 July 2010 4:08 PM EADT
Great War, Queensland History, Great War, Queensland History, The Rockhampton Military Parade, August 1914
Topic: Gen - St - Qld

Great War

Queensland History

The Rockhampton Military Parade, August 1914

 

The Citizens Military forces march past the Post Office.

[From: The Queenslander, 5 September 1914, p. 23.]

 

At Rockhampton, the response was a bit more subdued. To build up the patriotic fervour and demonstrate the town's military prowess, by the middle of August 1914, the town put on a military parade. The express purpose was to demonstrate the quality of the two military formations - the army and navy - give a few speeches and send the Naval volunteers on their way to Papua.

In the above picture we see the Citizens Military forces march past the Post Office. This pic was taken near the intersection of East and William Streets. The purpose of this march past was to send the men to their Church Parade.

It has all the quality of a novelty for the public. On the main street, you can see a mother walk along with her child, looking at the men marching, although I suspect the child wanted to see Daddy marching and Mum has taken the child along for that occasion. There is also a fellow by himself, holding his bicycle and standing in the middle of the street, fascinated by the spectacle. These people show no obvious fear of traffic which tells us something about traffic movements along the streets of Rocky with Sunday morning coming down. On the footpath, desultory groups of people are walking along with the troops.

 

The Naval forces march past the Post Office.

[From: The Queenslander, 5 September 1914, p. 23.]

 

In the background is the signage announcing Stewarts - over the road from the Post Office. This departmental store still exists at the same spot in Rocky - it is a landmark institution.

The crowds are a bit thicker. The fellow with his bicycle is now moving towards Stewarts. Another woman in a black dress is standing with her daughter watching the parade. The one thing never missing from these parades are the little boys marching along pretending to be soldiers. At the bottom right hand corner it is possible to see half a dozen doing just that much to the annoyance of the officer marching in front.

 

 

Further Reading:

Great War, Queensland History

Great War, August 1914

Battles where Australians fought, 1899-1920

 


Citation: Great War, Queensland History, The Rockhampton Military Parade, August 1914

Posted by Project Leader at 6:59 PM EADT
Updated: Sunday, 25 July 2010 11:17 AM EADT
Anzac v ANZAC
Topic: Gen - Legends

A Legend from Misunderstanding

Anzac v ANZAC

 

Now the intentional institutional changes to our language and ultimately, our history.

In house, 10 years ago, the AWM began the policy of capitalising the word Anzac to become ANZAC, both grammatically and spelling wise incorrect. However, this is the policy. Here is the official version of this policy as given to me in response to my query by the regarding this very issue:

"But to pass on to your main point: whether to write "ANZAC" or "Anzac".

"The instances of "ANZAC" you adduce in this document are neither "typos" nor evidence of a "policy to redefine history", but rather simply examples of the author and his editor following a particular house style. All institutions have house styles: they are necessary to provide consistency and a professional look for the institution's various publications. Now, ANZAC (all caps) is the Memorial's preferred style for this word, and this is what individual writers or editors for the Memorial's publications must adhere to, regardless of their personal views.

"Even book titles need to conform to an institution's house style; to take the example you quote, even though a publisher may have The Shores of Gallipoli: Naval Aspects of the Anzac Campaign (or even THE SHORES OF GALLIPOLI: NAVAL ASPECTS OF THE ANZAC CAMPAIGN) on the title page, it is quite acceptable editorial practice to make this The shores of Gallipoli: naval aspects of the ANZAC campaign in a list of references. (Otherwise you might end up with differing styles in the same list.)"


Well that leaves me speechless. Had I not seen it with my own eyes I would not have believed it. Basically the AWM has taken it upon itself to redefine the English language and shape it into its own mould. What was acceptable English usage a decade ago has now suddenly been expunged. It is the AWM "in house" policy to capitalise Anzac regardless of context and in so doing, change the titles of books. Here is an example at:

http://www.awm.gov.au/atwar/gallipoli.htm


Their entry reads:

C.E.W. Bean, "The Story of the ANZAC", Official History of Australia in the War 1914-1918 vol 1 and vol 2

"The Story of Anzac" is the original title.

This indicates that the person who made the entry does not understand that Bean meant his title to refer to 'Anzac' - the PLACE - but instead thinks he meant to refer to the army corps ("The ANZAC'). Whatever the person though, however, altering others' work on that basis. Bean knew what he meant to write. So instead of the word "Anzac" in Bean's book, for the purposes of conformity with the web site in house operation, it is now "ANZAC", a totally different concept to that portrayed by Bean in his book title. Indeed, this in house practice flies in the face of everything produced then an now. Very deliberate.

Of course, once this ball starts rolling, it compounds into unbelievable howlers. Here is a quote from the AWM [April 2008] email newsletter:

    Fri 25 March

    93rd anniversary of ANZAC Day


Apart from changing the date of Anzac Day, they have also changed its spelling. Yes, I accept that the date change is probably a typo, but it is a sloppy one born of the lack.

The renaming of Anzac Day is a bit strange because it celebrates the landings at Anzac Cove by the ANZAC forces who were known as Anzacs. It was a celebration of the Anzacs who landed, not the defunct military formation. A combination of hubris and lack of care.

There still is some contention as to whether it is the 93rd anniversary of the landing at Anzac by the Anzacs or the 92nd Anniversary of Anzac Day - the first Anzac day in some states was celebrated in 1915 when they renamed "8 Hour Day" for that year "Anzac Day" so it could still be the 93rd anniversary of Anzac Day.

One of the best articles produced on the subject was by Bruce Topperwien called 'The word "Anzac" '; which was published in Sabretache, the official journal of the Military Historical Society of Australia (MHSA), Melbourne, July - September 1997, pp. 33 - 36 which is extracted below.

I've heard from some people that the word 'Anzac' should always be spelled with capital letters, but others say it shouldn't be. What do you think about this? 

To say that 'Anzac' should always be spelled in capitals ignores both the rules of English grammar and the word's historical usage.

I use both forms, but for different purposes. I certainly do not believe that the word should always be capitalised, for any reason.

Insisting that the word should always be capitalised is implying that everybody in the past - including the Anzacs themselves - used the term incorrectly. This is insulting.

The full capitalisation is fine so long as it is actually the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps - that is, the army formation - being referred to. However, when 'Anzac' is used as a proper noun, as in 'Anzac Cove', 'Anzac Day', or 'the Anzacs', the word does not refer to the army formation but forms one of the other six uses of the term as identified by Dr. Charles Bean in the Official History of Australia in World War 1.

The following definitions of the word 'Anzac' are from Bean, C.E.W. The Official History of Australia In The War of 1914 - 1918 Vol 1. The Story Of Anzac p 609. [I have not changed any of the capitalisation from the original].

(1) Originally, code name for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (see p. 124) ;

(2) Name given to the beach where the A. & N.Z. Army Corps landed on Gallipoli;

(3) Official name of the two A. & N.Z. Army Corps in France (1st Anzac Corps, 2nd Anzac Corps) ;

(4) Term universally applied by British troops in France to the Australians and New Zealanders of the two Anzac Corps (the Anzacs);

(5) In Palestine, often used to denote men of the Anzac Mounted Division as distinguished from those of the Australian Mounted Division;

(6) In Australia (and eventually in the A.I.F.), used to denote Australians and New Zealanders who served on Gallipoli.
The generally accepted uses of the term are (1), (2), (3), and (6).


Clearly Bean has indicated that while originally the term ANZAC was, as is well known, a short-hand way of referring to the actual army corps, a new word - 'Anzac' - sprang from this which almost immediately evolved to have different meanings and uses.

Most authors since 1915 have used the proper noun 'Anzacs' or 'Anzac' to refer to the troops, the sector of Gallipoli and the actual cove.

It's ludicrous for anybody now to suggest that each and every one of these writers used the term incorrectly because they did not entirely capitalise it, and insulting to imply that they didn't know any better - but that 'we' do.

Consider exactly who used or uses the noun 'Anzac' :

The official Australian historian, Dr. Charles Bean;
The official British and New Zealand historians;
The Australian Imperial Force and the New Zealand Expeditionary Force in their official documents;
Those who wrote articles for the RSL in Reveille and other returned servicemen's magazines;
Those who wrote the unit histories (Australian, New Zealand and English);
Those that have written for the Australian War Memorial's Journal; the Gallipolian magazine; the Army Journal; the Defence Force Journal; the New Zealand Defence Quarterly and others.
Other authors on the subject (including French, Americans, Canadians and Turks);
All the newspapers of the day;
The Macquarie, Oxford and Collins dictionaries;
The compilers of the Imperial War Graves Commission's cemetery registers.
ALL used 'Anzac' when referring to the place, the holiday, or the men. They did not fully capitalise the proper noun because not only would that be an incorrect use of the term, it would also be incorrect use of basic grammar.
Almost every writer since 1915 has accepted that the word has different facets representing different concepts, that it is a word - a proper noun (or in some cases an adjective) - and we all (should) know that neither a proper noun nor an adjective is ever entirely capitalised.


Fully-capitalised acronyms may be used as words in order to avoid confusion with a word of the same spelling and pronunciation if that word already exists (for example PIN or AIDS - both these words - 'pin' and 'aids' already existed, so retaining the capitalisation for the new acronym helps avoid confusion). Obviously this is not the case with 'Anzac'. The word was invented in 1915, so there was no chance of confusion with an already-existing word (other examples of acronyms which evolved into nouns in the same way are 'Qantas', 'Fiat', 'scuba', 'laser' and 'radar'). The fully-capitalised acronym ANZAC refers only to the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps.

It should not be used when referring to the sector at Gallipoli (the Anzac sector), the soldiers (the Anzacs), the name of the cove (Anzac Cove), the national holiday in Australia and New Zealand (Anzac Day), and it should not be used when writing of the Campaign Honours Landing at Anzac, Defence of Anzac and Withdrawal from Anzac.

To fully capitalise 'Anzac' in any of these cases is both historically and grammatically incorrect. The fully capitalised 'ANZAC' refers only to the army formation which came into existence in 1915 and which was disbanded in early 1916, and that's how I use it on this site. That's how almost every writer has used it since 1915.

From Hart's Rules, Oxford University Press 1983:

"As a general rule, abbreviations and contractions should be followed by a full point unless the shortened form consists [entirely] of upper-case initials or is a recognized acronym pronounced as a single word: thus print BBC, HMS, OUP, PAYE, PLC, SDP, SPCK, TUC, WEA; Anzac, Aslib, Fiat, Naafi (or NAAFI). Abbreviations and contractions consisting of a mixture of upper and lower case take full points, as in I.o.W. (Isle of Wight), Bt. (Baronet), Kt. (Knight), Ltd. (Limited), St. (Street), and university degrees (D.Litt., D.Phil., Ph.D., etc.); exceptions to be made for Dr (Doctor), Revd (Reverend; not Rev), Mr, Mrs, Mme, Mlle, St (Saint); here full points are not required."


I have increasingly often seen quotes taken from Bean and other authors where those doing the quoting - either in a magazine article, on a web site, or in a book - have capitalised the word 'Anzac' when it was NOT capitalised in the original document. I can only conclude that this is done to back the author's contention that the word should always be written in capitals. At worst, this is deliberate deception, and at best, sloppy research.

Most people will never read the original documents or official histories, and it's only reasonable for them to expect to be able to trust authors to have quoted truly and accurately from them.

Following are extracts from sources which have correctly used the word 'Anzac':

Sydney Morning Herald - Anzac

 

"Anzac" in the Sydney Morning Herald, 18 August 1915, p. 13.



'Turkish prisoners at Anzac Cove. The name "Anzac" is made up of the initials in "Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. The cove is just north of Gaba Tepe, and the troops all land there.'


Anzac Park, Nelson, NZ

 

Anzac Park, Nelson, New Zealand.
 
 

One of the reasons sometimes given for fully-capitalising Anzac is that it is 'disrespectful' to New Zealand not to. Seems New Zealanders haven't had a problem with it though. The card above shows 'Anzac Park', in the South Island city of Nelson.

2nd NZEF Anzac Spirit poster

The poster below shows a 2nd World War NZEF Recruiting Poster. Note that 'The Spirit of Anzac' is calling.

 

2nd NZEF Anzac Spirit poster

 

Royal Australian Mint, the 1999 $1.00 Anzac coin

 

Royal Australian Mint, the 1999 $1.00 Anzac coin detail on their pamphlet

 

From the Royal Australian Mint; the 1999 $1.00 Anzac coin pamphlet which uses the term both as capitalised and as a proper noun. Here 'Anzac' refers to the soldiers ('Anzacs'), and to the spirit - 'Anzac'

'Reveille', the RSL journal, 1936 

 

'Reveille', the RSL journal, 1936

 

Origin of word 'Anzac', no comment necessary - from 'Reveille', the RSL journal, 1936 (and written by a New Zealander).


The Anzac Day Commemoration Committee of Queensland

 

The Anzac Day Commemoration Committee of Queensland

 

From the Anzac Day Commemoration Committee of Queensland's 'Anzac Day 1921 - 1929'


Anzac Square sign, Brisbane

 

Anzac Square sign, Brisbane

 

While some in Queensland are insisting 'Anzac Square' in Brisbane is, and always has been, called 'ANZAC Square', they've been caught out because someone forgot to change the sign. Photographed 2007.



Army Form B. 103 (Casualty Form - Active Service)

 

Army Form B. 103 (Casualty Form - Active Service)

 

Extract from Army Form B. 103 (Casualty Form - Active Service) for Lieutenant Wilfred Bert Granger, 8th Battalion, AIF.
Died of Wounds at 'Anzac', 22nd August 1915. Buried Beach cemetery, Anzac.

Anzac Day 1916 commemoration at Winton, Queensland.

 

Anzac Day 1916 commemoration at Winton, Queensland.

 

Anzac Day 1916 commemoration at Winton, Queensland.
Note that in this photo 'Anzac' refers (in different signs) both to the sector at Gallipoli ('Quinn's Post, Anzac'),
AND to the holiday ('Anzac Day').

Were these men - who had been to Gallipoli - wrong, and the people who are pushing NOW, 92 years later,
to have 'Anzac' always fully-capitalised - right?

 

Anzac Day anthology and Anzac Gallipoli Landing

Anzac Day anthology and Anzac Gallipoli Landing

 

One for 'Anzac Day', one by 'a Returned Anzac'.


Anzacs in snow

Anzacs in snow postcard

 

 

Anzac Pier

 

Watson's Pier at 'Anzac Beach'

 

Watson's Pier at, according to the card, 'Anzac Beach'

Bruce Topperwien was a Director in the Legal Services Group of the Australian Department of Veteran's Affairs (which administers the Protection of word "Anzac" Regulations), when he wrote an article on this subject.

The article argues for the use of the historically correct 'Anzac' over the baseless assertion that 'Anzac' should always be written fully capitalised.

Reference for the article is:

Topperwien, B. 'The word "Anzac" ', Sabretache, published by the Military Historical Society of Australia (MHSA), Melbourne. July / September 1997, pp. 33 - 36.

The article may also be downloaded from Mr Topperwien's web site at:

http://www.geocities.com/btopperwien/legal/lgl2.html


See also the New Zealand Anzac Day site, maintained by the Heritage Group of the New Zealand Department of Internal Affairs.

http://www.nzhistory.net.nz/war/anzacday

This section, 'The Anzacs', examines the development of the word 'Anzac' from the original acronym for 'Australian and New Zealand Army Corps'.

The above item was taken in toto with minor edits from Anzac officers died at Gallipoli, an excellent site produced by Bryn Dolan.

http://www.anzacs.org/faq.html

After reading this essay, no one should be left in any doubt as to the correct English usage of the terms. It also clearly demonstrates the hubris displayed by the AWM in this circumstance. It is not in the market to change language and create confusion but to promote understanding of an aspect of the Australian story.

 

Further Reading:

Myths and Legends

Great War, August 1914

Battles where Australians fought, 1899-1920

 


Citation: Anzac v ANZAC


Posted by Project Leader at 11:36 AM EADT
Updated: Sunday, 25 July 2010 12:18 PM EADT
Fleas on fleas
Topic: Gen - Legends
 
A Legend from Misunderstanding
 
Fleas on fleas, the results from careless work

 

 

The results from careless work - a case study

One major problem confronting any researcher is the quality of primary research conducted by popular historians. Poor quality research and published conclusions are then picked up by the public and soon the error becomes the reality. This is readily seen with the use of the emu plume as a symbol of the Australian Light Horse during the Great War.

One thing that becomes apparent is the confusion between the 3rd LHR (Light Horse Regiment) and the 3rd (LHB) Light Horse Brigade. This confusion rears its head in many captions of pix held at the AWM (Australian War Memorial) and because of the role played by the AWM as an authoritative institution, is picked up by many people as being accurate.

 

Case #1.

 

Caption Reads - "A captured turkish water cart at the camp of the 3rd Australian Light Horse near Beersheba. The cart is pulled by an emaciated grey Turkish horse while a ridden Waler in improvised breast plate and traces, is hitched in front of the Turkish horse. Horse lines can be seen in the background. "

[From: AWM P05109.003]

 

There are a number of overt problems with the description provided by the AWM regarding this specific picture. Desptie the caption describing the men as belonging to the 3rd Australian Light Horse, nothing could be further from the truth. A quick look by someone with a bit of knowledge would ascertain that the men in this picture are clearly British Yeomanry, and in this case, at a guess, possibly from the 5th Mounted Brigade.

The distinguishing uniform features of the men in the tell the story in this circumstance. They are wearing the pith helmet, rifle buckets and more importantly, they have puttees on their legs, items only worn by the Yeomanry. The Australians had discarded the pith helmet very early during the Sinai campaign and they never wore puttees, always leather leggings.

Just as an aside, all water casks captured from the Turks were ordered to be burnt. This was a great necessity as the containers were usually disease ridden. A couple cases of cholera ended any desire to retain Turkish water holders. The destruction was to ensure they did not end up in Turkish hands again either by accident or capture nor would they be available to carry cholera to the Allied troops.

 

Case #2

The poor ol' 3rd LHR get going over. They are attributed as taking part in many photograph captions regardless if they were no where near to be found. Such poor captioning brings up the realisation that there is a certain lack of quality control where the culture is more "near enough is good enough" and "say anything because the average person reading the site really wouldn't know". This is indicative of a culture that aims to gets quantity rather than quality from the dollar. It seems to work like this - if you employ professionals, they cost money, so basic wage staff will do the same for less money. This may seem like good economics within the organisation but the knock on effects to the broader community are dreadful. It is instrumental in passing on poor and corrupted information from one source to another, each compounding the error and feeding that error back as a confirmation.

To illustrate, I looked at the Hurley Collection and sure enough, an error made by a less than thorough historian or caption writer created an error which is then recycled in the public as well as scholarly works, thus adding to the apparent authenticity of the original mistake. We will use one of the famous pics take by the Official War Photographer, Captain Frank Hurley during his tour of Palestine at the end of December, 1917.

Here is the picture:

 

Four unidentified members of the 3rd Australian Light Horse Regiment machine gun in action at Khurbetha-Ibn.

[From: AWM P03631.087]

 

Picture details displayed by the AWM at the time of writing, 15 May 2008:

ID Number: P03631.087
Maker: Hurley, James Francis (Frank)
Place made: Palestine
Date made: 31 December 1917
Physical description: Colour
Summary: Four unidentified members of the 3rd Australian Light Horse Regiment machine gun in action at Khurbetha-Ibn. This image is a colour Paget Plate. The same image is available in black and white and is held at B01697.



Now let's test out the veracity of this caption. It should be easy.

The 3rd Australian Light Horse Regiment War Diary is online and kindly provided by the AWM, a service which can only be described as of the highest order and most commendable as it is the life blood of most researchers - the December 1917 War Diary pages are found at this address:

http://www.awm.gov.au/cms_images/AWM4/10/AWM4-10-8-37.pdf


Let's see what it says:

"Jisr Esdud, 31/12/17, Detailed working party of 1 NCO & 15 men to report to Lt Jones Field Troop, at watering area at 0900 to deepen troughs. Details party of 1 NCO & 6 men as Guards on the drinking water."


This is the simple part. A quick check of a map will reveal that  Khurbetha-Ibn and Jisr Esdud are no where near each other. Indeed, the former is in the Judaean Hills while the latter is on the coast, two very different locations. Added to this, there is no mention of deployment of any machine gunners from the 3rd LHR in their War Diary.

So who was at Khurbetha-Ibn?

Well, one will find that at a place named Khurbetha Ibn Harith were elements of the 3rd Light Horse Brigade and indeed the 3rd Light Horse Machine Gun Squadron deployed near the Beit Sira area, nearby the headquarters at Khurbetha Ibn Harith. Here is what the 3rd LHB War Diary says for that very day:

"The relief of the Brigade by the 29th Infantry Brigade commenced at 0900 but owing to the steep and rocky nature of the country was not completed until 1600.

"At 2000 the Brigade was concentrated in the vicinity of Kefr Rut. Instructions were received that the withdrawal of the Brigade to Katra would commence at 1100 on 2nd January, 1918, and that the Brigade led horses would reach Brigade Headquarters at 1000 that day."

This entry gives a hint as to the formation that actually was at  Khurbetha Ibn Harith, the 3rd Light Horse Brigade. There is a substantial difference between a "Regiment" and a "Brigade", the most significant difference being at that time being was a Brigade was composed of three Regiments, thus making the Brigade a larger formation and thus quite different in nature. The structure of the Light Horse in Egypt and Palestine may be seen discussed in general terms at The Australian Light Horse - Structure while the complete structure of the Australian Light Horse forces deployed is found here at Australian Light Horse Order of Battle.

Let us go one step further and meet Trooper Henry Bostock of the 10th LHR. Fortunately for us, he left a diary.

 

 Trooper Henry Bostock's Diary Entry of 30 December 1917

 

And now we go to the personal diary of Henry Bostock of the 10th LHR. He was a 3rd LHB Scout and was delegated to provide an escort for Hurley on 30 December 1917 to the front lines to take his pictures. Here is what Bostock says:

"I escorted Brig Gen Wilson & Capt Hurley OWP around the front line."

Finally we look at the diary of Frank Hurley himself. During these days he talks only of being escorted around by General Wilson of the 3rd Light Horse Brigade. Not one mention of the 3rd Light Horse Regiment.

 

Frank Hurley's Diary, 31 December 1917

[From: Manuscript No. 883 - Frank Hurley Diary,  p. 128]


The relevant pages of the Hurley diary are available on the National Library of Australia site. 

So now we know - the men in the photograph are members of the 3rd Light Horse Machine Gun Squdron [3rd LHMGS] at Beit Sira.

One final piece of the puzzle. Hurley's team filmed this particular event.

 

Extract from the Hurley film of the 3rd Light Horse Machine Gun Squadron in action.

[To view the film clip, click on this link or on the above picture. Note: the clip is 5 mb in length.]

 

One look at the movie produced of the event and the still photograph indicates that it is one and the same event. Hurley was filming and photographing the 3rd Light Horse Machine Gun Squadron in action in the Judaean near Beit Sira, not the machine gunners from the 3rd Light Horse Regiment.

"Regiment" or "Brigade" - who cares and what is the difference anyway?

The 3rd LHR was part of the 1st LHB NOT the 3rd LHB. Two totally different formations. This is clearly seen when reading the Australian Light Horse Order of Battle.

Now the impact on external research and publications.

We now go to the book by Benjamin Z Kedar, The Changing Land - Between Jordan and the Sea - Aerial photographs from 1917 to the present, and then open at p. 102. where we see the Hurley picture published in this excellent volume.

 

Benjamin Z Kedar, The Changing Land - Between Jordan and the Sea - Aerial photographs from 1917 to the present, p. 102.

 

The caption to the picture on this page reads:

"The Third Australian Light Horse Regiment machine gun in action northwest of Beit Sira, 31 Dec 17. (Frank Hurley's color photo)"


Now we have the same error initiated by the AWM being perpetuated by Kedar. These are fleas on fleas. Goodness only knows where this corruption will head to but if publications such as these rely upon the AWM caption, which they have, then the editors relied upon poor information. But this mistake has now become reality.

And so it goes on.

This is not meant to pick on the AWM since there are other institutions who present this information in a flawed format. The list is long and the mistakes almost endemic. It presents the question: "If only the experts can determine the accuracy of a statement, what chance has the ordinary punter got?"

It is through producing a quality product that we honour our ancestors and the work and sacrifices they endured and in so doing, we honour ourselves.

The culture is clearly - "near enough is good enough" which is clearly not good enough.

 

Further Reading:

The Australian Light Horse - Structure

Australian Light Horse Order of Battle

Fleas on fleas - The results from careless work - another case study

Myths and Legends

 


Citation: Fleas on fleas - The results from careless work - a case study

Posted by Project Leader at 10:46 AM EADT
Updated: Sunday, 25 July 2010 12:30 PM EADT
Great War, Queensland History, Embarkation from Townsville to Enoggera
Topic: Gen - St - Qld

Great War

Queensland History

Embarkation from Townsville to Enoggera

 

In September 1914, more embarkations from Townsville occurred. This time, the recruits were heading south for training at Enoggera, a training base to the west of Brisbane.

 

Marching down Sturt Street, Townsville.

[From: The Queenslander, 5  September 1914, p. 27. ]

 

This is the group of young hopefulls marching west along Sturt Street just past the Post Office building on the corner of Sturt and Denham Streets. This area now is all part of Flinders Mall although the old buildings have been preserved with a boutique brewery located in the old Post Office building. One thing that is not apparent in many other similar departure pix is the number of onlookers riding horses to get a better view of the parade.

 

Marching down Stokes Street, Townsville.

[From: The Queenslander, 5  September 1914, p. 27. ]


The parade has now turned left into Stokes Street and are moving south east to cross the Victoria Bridge over to Palmer Street and onto the wharf. One thing that really stands out is the poor condition of the road itself. If you look carefully, you can see all the fearsome ruts in what appears to be a macadamised earthen track. The buggies appear to have created a traffic jam.

 

Listening to the Speeches at the wharf, Townsville.

[From: The Queenslander, 5  September 1914, p. 27. ]

 

All the hopeful soldiers in muftee are lined up on the wharf in anticipation of saying farewells and boarding the ship. This is when they would have heard all the patriotic speeches.

 

Last Farewells at the wharf, Townsville.

[From: The Queenslander, 5  September 1914, p. 27. ]

 

The farewells. This rather awkwardly posed pic tries to demonstrate all the different ways people said farewell. However, the men look very uncomfortable in their new uniforms - probably the only couple who actually had a uniform of sorts. The dower women look stoic and expressionless. This is totally the opposite of the previous pix showing a more tumultuous farewell. Indeed, I would guess that after the pic was taken, these folk went back to making their farewells a tad bit more filled with emotion and expression.


The only difference between this deployment and one which occurred in 2006 to Timor, some 92 years later, is that in 1914 at least the people in Townsville knew that the men were leaving and were given an opportunity to say farewell. In 2006, the ship left in the dead of night and no one knew officially that the troops had departed until 3 weeks later, although the empty beds and no telephone responses indicated something had happened to the soldiers. That's progress for you.

 

 

Further Reading:

Great War, Queensland History

Great War, August 1914

Battles where Australians fought, 1899-1920

 


Citation: Great War, Queensland History, Embarkation from Townsville to Enoggera

Posted by Project Leader at 12:15 AM EADT
Updated: Saturday, 24 July 2010 5:39 PM EADT

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