"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.
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The following is a contemporaneous account of the battle at Merivale Street taken from the pages of the Brisbane Courier. The text from the scan is of poor quality and thus cannot be readily transcribed into text but it is legible enough to allow the contents to be satisfactorily read.
The ongoing Battle of Merivale Street, Queensland, from the account published in the Brisbane Courier, 26 March 1919.
[From: Brisbane Courier, 26 March 1919, p. 7, Demonstration.]
Bothaville, South Africa, November 6, 1900, Times Account Topic: BatzB - Bothaville
South Africa, 6November 1900
Times Account, 9 November 1900
The Times, 9 November 1900, p. 3.
THE FIGHTING WITH DE WET.
(THROUGH REUTER'S AGENCY.)
PRETORIA (undated), via Charlestown, Nov. 8.
De Wet, who, since his defeat at the hands of Colonels Lisle and Le Gallais, has been lost sight of, is reported to be in the neighbourhood of Rensburg Kop.
Further details of the fight have arrived. General Snow directed the movement, and the British force marched the whole day, arriving at Rensburg Drift, where De Wet was caught in the act of crossing the Vaal. Colonel De Lisle's troops, which formed the centre, poured a terrible tire into the enemy. Our guns exploded one of the enemy's ammunition wagons and six Boers were blown to atoms. Finally the enemy were obliged to flee, leaving behind them live Krupps guns on which were engraved the words "Free State Artillery." The Boers tried to move during the night, but, being met by a galling fire from Colonel Le Gallais's column, turned in confusion to the left, where a contingent was ready for them. Unluckily a thick storm of rain came on and saved Do Wet and his force from absolute annihilation or capture. Native reports state that De Wet was carried oil the field wounded in the leg.
1st Australian Armoured Car Section Topic: AIF - Cars
1st AUSTRALIAN ARMOURED CAR SECTION, AIF
THE FIRST AUSTRALIAN ARMOURED CAR SECTION
Below is a transcription from a manuscript submitted by Captain E.H. James called "The Motor Patrol". It is lodged in the AWM as AWM 224MSS 209.
THE FIRST AUSTRALIAN ARMOURED CAR SECTION
In August 1914 when the dogs of War were let loose a number of motoring enthusiasts met together in Melbourne to talk over a scheme for building Armoured Cars for use with the Allied Armies and to form a unit to volunteer for service abroad. Cold water was thrown on the schema from almost every quarter as there was practically no information available as to what the proper design for an armoured car should be; how the guns should be mounted; what the equipment should consist of and .hat the personnel should be.
Still fools rush in where angels fear to tread and being enthusiasts they persisted. After many months of searching and enquiries from various quarters, enough information was available to enable designs to be got out. Then other obstacles cropped up. Armoured Cars were very expensive luxuries and required commodious high powered chassis to carry then. Armour plating and other expensive equipment was required. Three powerful chassis were donated for the purpose by Mr. John Young of Horsham, Mr. P. Cornwall of Coburg and Mr. Sol Green of Melbourne. Designs and specifications that were drawn up were approved and ultimately through the untiring efforts of Colonel Osborne, authority was given for the unit to be formed and got ready as soon as possible for service at the front, the Imperial Government having accepted the offer of the unit complete. The necessary personnel were soon enrolled as members of the tat. Australian Armoured Car Section and they began to get busy.
The use of the plant at the Vulcan Engineering Works, South Melbourne vas obtained and as quite a number of the section were skilled engineers they decided to make the necessary alterations to the chassis and build the armour and gun mountings themselves.
Several Melbourne firms also vary kindly gave considerable assistance by supplying valuable equipment. Conspicuous amongst these donors were the Victoria Rolling Mills, Messrs. J. A. Linacre, W. Till and W. P. Thompson & Co.
It was found that many difficulties had to be overcome, the greatest of these being the obtaining of suitable bullet resisting plate for the protection of the inmates and the vulnerable parts of the chassis. Ordinary steel plating of the required thickness would be far too heavy to be of any use at all. Many suggestions were made by individuals who were prepared to sell us all kinds of wonderful metal and processes for toughening and hardening ordinary steel plate. We insisted that there was only one test, as far as we were concerned and that was the service bullet. Many tests were made at the rifle ranges and all these bullet proof metals were found useless. We also discovered that although these merchants were positive of the qualities of their plating none of them had enough faith in it to stand behind while rifles were fired at it.
One inventor in particular was quite amusing. He had en alloy which appeared to contain a large percentage of aluminium and which ha claimed was extremely light and quite bullet proof at point blank range. He even went to the trouble of making a special helmet with which he wished the authorities to supply the troops at the front. During our tests we got one of our marksmen to try a shot at this helmet at a range of a couple of hundred yards. The bullet drilled a neat hole through the front but knocked a piece out of the back several inches square. The inventor's face was a picture when we gave him back his helmet. He apparently had no knowledge of the power of the modern 303 bullet.
Ultimately we got over our armour plate trouble as we discovered that there was a small supply in Melbourne of the special 3/32" steel plate imported from England some time previously for plating ammunition wagons. This steel is absolutely bullet proof at 500 yards and by doubling it, is proof at a much shorter range. We were fortunate in being able to purchase a supply of this and we used it in double thicknesses and in some places treble thicknesses on the vehicles. Louvres were fitted In front of the radiators. Colt Automatic gone were mounted is turrets (one on the top of each car). The turrets were revolving giving a complete arc of fire of 360o and a spare gun was carried inside each vehicle. On tests we found our cars were capable of a speed of between 50 to 60 miles per hour with their full load.
The original vehicles of the 1st Australian Armoured Car Section at a training camp, Moascar, Egypt, 1916.
The crews went through intensive courses of machine gun instruction and as the majority were very experienced motor car drivers, the personnel were in the ideal position of being able at a moment's notice to take the place of any vacancy through casualty or otherwise. Towards the and of 1915 the authorities were satisfied that the unit was well enough advanced for embarkation although it was well into 1916 before the got away on the old transport A.13 HMAS Katuna, en route for an unknown port.
The account of this boat's peregrinations and how she took eight weeks from Melbourne to Suez sometimes drifting about in the Indian Ocean with engines broken down during the monsoons which were particularly severe, would fill a book; but ultimately men and cars ware disembarked at Port Tewfik and sent by rail to join the Australian forces in Egypt.
The first 4th Australian Light Horse Brigade, 1915
4th Light Horse Brigade formed Australia 4 March 1915. Shipped to Egypt without horses where broken up 26 August 1915.
11th Australian Light Horse Regiment
This was a composite Regiment recruited primarily from Queensland with a South Australian Squadron.
"A" Squadron recruited from Queensland.
"B" Squadron recruited from Queensland.
"C" Squadron recruited from South Australia.
The Regiment was broken up on 26 August 1915 as reinforcements to Regiments at Gallipoli.
"A" Squadron became "D" Squadron, 2nd Light Horse Regiment.
"B" Squadron became "D" Squadron, 5th Light Horse Regiment.
"C" Squadron became "D" Squadron, 9th Light Horse Regiment.
12th Australian Light Horse Regiment
This Regiment was recruited exclusively from New South Wales.
The Regiment was broken up on 26 August 1915 as reinforcements to Regiments at Gallipoli.
"A" Squadron became "D" Squadron, 1st Light Horse Regiment.
"B" Squadron became "D" Squadron, 7th Light Horse Regiment.
"C" Squadron became "D" Squadron, 6th Light Horse Regiment.
13th Australian Light Horse Regiment
This Regiment was recruited exclusively Victoria in March 1915. This Regiment served as a complete formation at Gallipoli. After Gallipoli was sent to France as Divisional Cavalry along with "B" and "D" Squadrons from the 4th Light Horse Regiment.
4th Signal Troop
The 4th Signal Troop was formed in March 1915.
Colonel Reginald Spencer-Browne 4 March 1915 to July 1915
The original Brigade embarked to Egypt during months of May and June 1915. In Egypt additional training occurred at Heliopolis Camp.
See:Troop transport ships for information and photographs about the various ships employed in transporting the troops to Egypt.
Formed Australia March 1915.
Disbanded and broken up when sent to Gallipoli and attached to the New Zealand and Australian Division at Gallipoli from May 1915 to February 1916.
The large scale of the Great War often gave people a sense of alienation from the activities of the government and the army. To overcome this, newspapers of the day commenced columns called Query Club or similar names, where ordinary people could clarify their understanding of the complex processes. They also provide us, the historians, an insight into witnessing first hand, the responses of the various bodies to public concerns. The end product is a window into a society now almost out of living memory.
This is the Query Club from the Sydney Mail, 17 March 1915, p. 26.
EMPLOYEES ON ACTIVE SERVICE
It is understood that the company you mention is keeping open the positions of those of its employees who have gone on active service.
UNIFORMS FOR RIFLEMEN
"R.B." asks if the military authorities will supply uniforms to members of rifle clubs.
No; the question of uniforms has frequently been raised; but, if the clubs decide to adopt them, it is probable that they will have to bear the expense themselves. The authorities might give a subsidy, but it is not likely.
"Wymum" (Wymum South) asks where Lord Kitchener was born, and what is his surname.
Lord Kitchener's surname is the same as his title. His full name is Horatio H. Kitchener. Though he was born at Crotton House, Ballylongford, Couthy Kerry, Ireland, he is of direct English stock, his father being the late Lieutenant Colonel H.H. Kitchener, of Leicestershire.
JAPANESE AND UNITED STATES NAVIES
Is informed that the Japanese fleet in the Pacific is much stronger than that of the United States. The Japanese fleet in the Pacific at the end of last June comprised four Dreadnought battleships, one battleship cruiser, 10 pre-Dreadnought battleships, 10 cruisers, 75 destroyers, and 15 submarines. Since then it has been substantially added to. The United States fleet in the Pacific at the same time was one battleship, 12 cruisers, 14 destroyers, 10 light cruisers, and 14 submarines. Feverish activity in the United States shipbuilding yards has, however, been maintained since the war broke out. The utmost secrecy as to the relative strength of the various navies has prevailed for some time.
LIFT ATTENDANT "A.E.T." (Leichhardt) asks how and where he can obtain a certificate for a lift attendant.
At the office of the Superintendent of Lifts and Scaffolds, Public Works Department, Sydney. Applicants must prove their ability to manage a lift and replace fuses that blow out. They must also be of good character.
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