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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

Let us hear your story: You can tell your story, make a comment or ask for help on our Australian Light Horse Studies Centre Forum called:

Desert Column Forum

WARNING: This site contains: names, information and images of deceased people; and, language which may be considered inappropriate today.

Tuesday, 31 March 2009
Reveille Articles on Aboriginals in the AIF
Topic: AIF - Aboriginal LH

Reveille Articles

Aboriginals in the AIF

 

Article #1

In 1931, the RSL [Returned Serviceman's League], through their monthly magazine, Reveille, made an attempt to recognise the services given to the AIF by  the Aboriginal members. This was quite a radical departure from the usual Australian social policy

 

Reveille, 30 September 1931, p 6.

[Click on document for larger version.]

 

The article deals specifically with the 11th Light Horse Regiment and a particular group of reinforcements. The reinforcement group mentioned is the 11th Light Horse Regiment, 20th Reinforcement, which embarked from Sydney, New South Wales on board the HMAT A38 Ulysses on 19 December 1917. Most of the reinforcements arrived for absorbtion in the 11th Light Horse Regiment by April 1918.

The full list of men involved in this reinforcement group may be found at the  The AIF Project:

11th Light Horse Regiment, 20th Reinforcement

Those specifically identified as Aboriginal Light Horsemen include the following 29 men in this Reinforcement group:

2422 Pte William Bert Brown
2423 Pte Frederick Arthur Burnett
2424 Pte Edward Collins
2459 Pte Fred Collins
2458 Pte Samuel Cooper
2425 Pte Jack Costello
2426 Pte Harry Doyle
2428 Pte Frank Fisher
2427 Pte Joe Fitzroy
2462 Pte Rupert Franklin Gore Gallaway
2429 Pte John Geary
2460 Pte John Hall
2430 Pte John Johnston, Died of Wounds, 1 June 1918
2431 Pte Jack Kearns
2432 Pte John McKenzie Laurie
2433 Pte James Lingwoodock
2434 Pte Leonard Lynch
2438 Pte James Mcbride
2437 Pte David Molloy
2435 Pte Frank Morris
2458 Pte Martin Mulrooney
2436 Pte Harry Murray
2439 Pte William Nicholld
2440 Pte Jack Oliffe
2443 Pte Charlie Parkes
2441 Pte Jack Pollard
2445 Pte Edward Smith
2447 Pte Joe White
2448 Pte Leslie Thomas Wogas

Apart from four other men in this group, the 11th Light Horse Regiment, 20th Reinforcement was the only exclusively Aboriginal formation created within the AIF during the Great War and so holds a special place in the recognition of the Aboriginal participation of this conflict.

 

Article #2

This article in the November 1931 edition of Reveille was the follow up of the first article displayed above.

 

Reveille, 30 November 1931, p 22.

[Click on document for larger version.]

 

This was an important piece of work in the process of identifying those members of the AIF who were of Aboriginal origin. The list is far from complete and is of dubious accuracy but it does provide the researcher with some solid information. Where service numbersare given in the list, the accuracy of the list comes into its own. Notes by the Aboriginal Protectors of Victoria and Queensland are indicative and issued with the best knowledge available at the time. Spelling variations are not accounted for nor are a number of other factors which generally reduces the value of this list.

 

Additional Reading:

Aboriginal Light Horsemen Servicemen 

List of Aboriginal Servicemen

Aboriginal Light Horsemen and AIF personnel

 


Citation: Reveille Articles on Aboriginals in the AIF

Posted by Project Leader at 11:01 PM EADT
Updated: Thursday, 2 April 2009 11:18 PM EADT
Halazin, Egypt, January 23, 1916
Topic: BatzSe - Senussi

 

Halazin

Egypt, 23 January 1916

 

Armoured Car section at Mersa Matruh

 

Halazin, an action fought on 23 January 1916 in the Libyan Desert on Egypt's western frontier 35 kilometres south-west of Mersa Matruh, between pro-Turkish Arabs of the Senussi sect and a British expeditionary force under Major-General Alexander Wallace. Following an indecisive action at Gebel Medwa (q.v.), there was little action on this front until the main Senussi camp was located at Halazin on 19 January by the crew of a British aircraft who reported the presence of 300 tents, including that of Sheikh Saved Ahmed (the Grand Senussi) himself.

Wallace decided to mount an attack, buoyed by the fact that many of the improvised units initially scratched together from rear details to form his force had since been replaced by properly formed battalions and regiments. In addition to a newly arrived battalion of South African infantry, he also now had several complete yeomanry units which had become available following the end of the Gallipoli campaign. Although he still had light horsemen in his mounted brigade, the Australian presence was reduced on 15 January to just a half-regiment after two squadrons left to return to Egypt.

 

Official History Map of the Affair of Halazin

 

Marching out from Mersa Matruh with both his infantry and cavalry brigades, Wallace formed camp on the evening of 22 January only sixteen kilometres from the Senussi encampment. That night there was a torrential rainstorm, which meant the advance was resumed next morning in a quagmire of mud. Conditions were so difficult that armoured cars with the force had to he sent to the rear in case they became bogged in the face of the enemy. Once combat was joined that day, Wallace also found himself confronted by a spirited enemy who put heavy pressure on both his flanks. On the left flank in particular, covered by the mounted column, the Senussi attack was so determined that at one point several companies of New Zealand infantry had to be turned about to render assistance to the cavalry. The situation on this front continued to become pressing until the infantry forming the British centre, reinforced by some light horse, broke through the enemy's main defence line. The Arabs made a general withdrawal through and beyond their tented camp, leaving behind some 200 dead and 500 wounded.

Exhaustion, and the sodden ground, again prevented success being exploited with a vigorous pursuit. The action had been hard and costly; with casualties on the British side totalling 312 (though only 21 were killed). Most of the wounded were not retrieved until the following day, being forced to spend an agonising and cold night on the battlefield. The force as a whole had a wretched night, being without food or shelter and forced to drink only muddy rainwater. The troops were withdrawn soon after the fighting ended, so enjoyed little warmth from the blaze made by the Senussi tents. The next day the 1st Australian Divisional Train, which had been stuck fast in mud during 23 January, succeeded in reaching the returning force and was able to relieve many of the shortages while helping to alleviate the sufferings of the wounded, for which it earnt special thanks from Wallace.

Although there was a return to Mersa Matruh on this occasion, as after previous engagements, the way was finally clear for the British to advance and re-occupy the Egyptian border post at Sollum (Salem). This was accomplished on 14 March 1916, though not before one final large-scale clash at Agagiya, 24 kilometres south-east of Sidi Barrani, on 26 February. The 1st Australian Divisional Train was still serving in support of the advance at the, time of this final action, but on 7 March was withdrawn back to Egypt to join in the expansion and general reorganisation of the Australian Imperial Force which was then taking place.

 

Australian Light Horsemen on patrol on the Western Frontier

[From: Sydney Mail, 10 May 1916, p. 11.]

 

Extracted from the book produced by Chris Coulthard-Clark, Where Australians Fought - The Encyclopaedia of Australia's Battles, Allen and Unwin, Sydney, 1998, pp. 115-116.



Additional References cited by Chris Coulthard-Clark:

C.E.W. Bean, (1929), The Australian Imperial Force in France 1916,  Sydney: Angus & Robertson.

 

Further Reading:

The History of the Composite Australian Light Horse Regiment

Senussi Rebellion and the 9th LHR 

Battles where Australians fought, 1899-1920

 


Citation: Halazin, Egypt, January 23, 1916

Posted by Project Leader at 11:01 PM EADT
Updated: Sunday, 5 April 2009 2:07 PM EADT
Australian Light Horse Order of Battle, Contents
Topic: AIF - DMC - Or Bat

Australian Light Horse

Order of Battle

Contents

 

This section is a step by step outline of the Australian Light Horse as it existed in the AIF during the Great War.

 

History

The Oxford Companion to Australian Military History, Light Horse

The Oxford Companion to Australian Military History, Mounted Rifles v Mounted Infantry

The Oxford Companion to Australian Military History, Unit Numbering 

The Oxford Companion to Australian Military History, The Division

 

 

Structure

The Australian Light Horse – Structural outline

Australian Light Horse Order of Battle

 

Corps

Desert Mounted Corps (DMC)

 

Divisions

Anzac Mounted Division

Australian Mounted Division

 

Brigades

New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade

1st Australian Light Horse Brigade

2nd Australian Light Horse Brigade

3rd Australian Light Horse Brigade

4th Australian Light Horse Brigade, 1915

4th Australian Light Horse Brigade, 1917-19

5th Australian Light Horse Brigade

Imperial Camel Corps - units

 

Regiments

1st Australian Light Horse Regiment, AIF, History

2nd Australian Light Horse Regiment, AIF, History

3rd Australian Light Horse Regiment, AIF, History

4th Australian Light Horse Regiment, AIF, History

5th Australian Light Horse Regiment, AIF, History

6th Australian Light Horse Regiment, AIF, History

7th Australian Light Horse Regiment, AIF, History

8th Australian Light Horse Regiment, AIF, History

9th Australian Light Horse Regiment, AIF, History

10th Australian Light Horse Regiment, AIF, History

11th Australian Light Horse Regiment, AIF, History

12th Australian Light Horse Regiment, AIF, History

13th Australian Light Horse Regiment, AIF, History

The First 14th Australian Light Horse Regiment, AIF, History

The Second 14th Australian Light Horse Regiment, AIF, History

15th Australian Light Horse Regiment, AIF, History

Auckland Mounted Rifles, NZMRB, History

Wellington Mounted Rifles, NZMRB, History

Canterbury Mounted Rifles, NZMRB, History

Otago Mounted Rifles, NZMRB, History

 

Double Squadrons

Double Squadrons

Double Squadron - Units

 

Further Reading:

Australian Light Horse Order of Battle - Outline 

The Australian Light Horse - Structure

 


Citation: Australian Light Horse Order of Battle, Contents

Posted by Project Leader at 11:01 PM EADT
Updated: Thursday, 13 August 2009 10:33 AM EADT
Great War, Military Biographies, Frank Dudley Beaumont, His Story
Topic: GW - Biographies

Great War

Military Biographies

Frank Dudley Beaumont, His Story

 

Toowong Cemetery

 

At the turn of the century, Frank Dudley Beaumont was a rising star in the cavalry. During the Second Anglo Boer War, 1899 - 1902, he served successively with:

  • The Cape Mounted Rifles;
  • The Roberts Colonial Horse; and,
  • The Cape Coloured Forces as a Lieutenant.

 

The next record of Beaumont is in the 1913 electoral roll where he was registered in the Federal seat of Oxley.

Beaumont then enlisted in the 9th Infantry Battalion at Enoggera on 17 September 1914 as 1095 Private Frank Dudley Beaumont. He was allotted to "D" Company. Despite being 47, being born in 1867, he stated his age as 44 to fall under the 45 year age ceiling. The place of birth was recorded as Brighton, Sussex. His next of kin was stated to be Mrs Verschoyle, Dunsford, Surrey.

The last record of this life was a burial on 30 September 1914 at Toowong Cemetery on the corner of Frederick Street and Mt Coot-tha Road, Toowong. The location of  Beaumont's grave was at Portion 5, Section 118, Grave Number 13.

It is known that he had one sister called May Elizabeth Beaumont who was born in 1869 who appears to be his next of kin, Mrs Verschoyle. He has a brother, Harold Beaumont whose address is unknown and a former girlfriend Dell whom he possibly met in South Africa for she was in Transvaal in 1914.

In relation to known friends, there was John Charles Browne, a journalist and former officer who had known him for some three years. Browne enlisted as 414 Colour Sergeant John Charles Browne who served with the 15th Battalion, C Company. His other friend was Herbert Mark Meadows Maddock, a public servant working for the Commissioner of Public Health in Brisbane. Later Maddock enlisted as a Captain in 9th Battalion, 6th Reinforcement.

Beaumont wrote a succession of letters to different people explaining his circumstances and his intentions.

 

Letter 1 - to his sister May Elizabeth Beaumont.

Brisbane, 31/7/'l4.

Good-bye, dear old May.

Things have got beyond my control, so there is nothing to do but end it. Good-bye, and God bless you. It is terrible for Dell but things are quite hopeless.

Your heart-broken brother,

Frank.

 

Letter 2 - to Captain Alexander Clifford Vernon Melbourne, OC, 9th Battalion, D Company.

Brisbane, 22/9/'14.

Dear Melbourne,

Sorry not is have been able to "play the game," but circumstances over which I have no control have been too strong for me, so when you receive this I will be is the land of shade. I wish I could have gone there by an easier route, and have died as a man should: but it was not to be. My apologies to you and your officers, and the best of luck to you all.

Yours truly,

Frank D. Beaumont.

 

Letter 3 - to his brother, Harold Beaumont. 

26/9/'14.

My dear Harold,

The end has come at last. Fate been been too strong for me to fight against, and in sporting parlance I have got to "throw up the sponge"! What I want you to do is this: Supposing that anything really good eventuates from those bonds, please divide the money between Dell and yourself. It might come after my death; it would be just lay luck. Thank God she is at present in the Transvaal staying with her brother; so the shock, I hope and pray, may not be so great. I only hope Uncle Somerset will pay my debts, for I would like to leave my name clear.  Good-bye and good luck to you, love to dear old May and the girls. 

Your unfortunate brother,

Frank D Beaumont.

P.S. I enlisted in the Expeditionary Force for the war a week ago, and if I had some money to pay certain obligations I would been gladly gone intend of taking this step. - Frank.

 

Letter 4 - to his friend Tom.

Brisbane, Sept. 27th, 1914.

My dear Tom,

I am so seriously involved (and this last silly escapade has put a finish to it) that I am going to end my useless life. Many thanks to you all for your kindness to me. Should, at any time in the next few months, you have any spare cash, there is a gold chain and sovereign case pawned for 35/- with M. Harris, Edward Street, which I would like you to send to my girl. Maddock would give you her address, and I know Harris would let you have them on showing this. There is also a silver wristlet watch pawned for 5/- (it cost £2/10/- seven months ago), and a silver cigarette case pawned for 30/-, which if you care to take out, I would like you to keep. My love to Harry. Good-bye old chap, and good luck.

Yours sincerely,

Frank D Beaumont.

 

Letter 5 - to the Secretary of the United Services Institute of Queensland.

Brisbane, Sept. 27th, 1914.

The Hon. Secretary, U.S.I. of Q.

Dear Sir,

I wish to apologise to you and the committee for the non-payment of my wine account. My affairs are so frightfully involved that I am about to terminate my worthless life. Good-bye, and good luck to you and the members.

Yours truly.

Frank D. Beaumont.

 

The letters map out a steady decline in the mental health of Beaumont. From the last two letters, it was obvious that he had pawned all his goods and still was largely in debt, especially to the United Services Institute where he received wine on credit. It looks like the financial loss from the "last escapade" and the wine bill together brought about his decision to end his life.

Just after 4 pm on the afternoon of 28 September 1914, near the Hamilton Hotel, by Racecourse Road, Beaumont decided to take his last breaths. To accomplish the deed, he had acquired a bottle of strichnine poison. Beaumont put the bottle to his lips and drank the contents.

Death was slow and painful. At about 4.30 Frederick Ernest Grimley, a motorman, employed by the Tram Company, and residing in Ann Stree, Valley, noticed Beaumont lying near the Hamilton retaining wall and moaning. Grimley asked Beaumont what he thought had happened. In response Beaumont asked for a drink of water, and said he had taken a fit. Grimley replied, "You have taken no fit. What have you done to yourself ?" The reply from Beaumont was, "I had some strychnine in my pocket, and took it to see how it would act."

Grimley left Beaumont to fetch an Ambulance and the police and on returning found him dead.

What really drove Beaumont to take his life is unknown. It appears that he had already made that decision in July 1914, possibly after the collapse of his relationship with his companion Dell and her departure to the Transvaal. After the elapse of more time and financial trouble, it seems as though it became all too much for him. It appears as though his friends urged him to enlist as a way to get himself back onto a positive track. This seems to have failed as Beaumont still considered that his life was "worthless". Ten days later he was dead.

 

National Archives Service File: 1095 Private Frank Dudley Beaumont

 

Further Reading:

Great War, Military Biographies

Great War, August 1914

Battles where Australians fought, 1899-1920

 


Citation: Great War, Military Biographies, Frank Dudley Beaumont, His Story

Posted by Project Leader at 10:17 PM EADT
Updated: Tuesday, 27 July 2010 6:55 PM EADT
Montague (Macgregor) Grover - I Killed a Man at Graspan
Topic: BatzB - Graspan

Montague (Macgregor) Grover

I Killed a Man at Graspan

 

Montague (Macgregor) Grover was born 31 May 1870 in West Melbourne, Victoria. He was the son of Harry Ehret Grover.

As a journalist, first with David Syme and then the Argus in 1896. For ten years remained one of the paper's chief police reporters and political roundsmen. Grover was an experienced writer and wrote many poems and had them published thoughout Victoria.

The following poem, I Killed a Man at Graspan was published in the "The Coo-ee Reciter" in 1904 was very much in the anti-war genre that grew over the twentieth century. The poem is quite haunting and as such is popular throughout the bush poetry circles.

 

I Killed a Man at Graspan

I killed a man at Graspan
I killed him fair in a fight;
And the Empire's poets and the Empire's priests
Swear blind I acted right.
The Empire's poets and the Empire's priests
Make out my deed was fine,
But they can't stop the eyes of the man I killed
From starin' into mine.

I killed a man at Graspan
Maybe I killed a score;
But this one wasn't a chance-shot home,
From a thousand yards or more.
I fired at him when he'd got no show;
We were only a pace apart,
With the cordite scorchin' his old worn coat
As the bullet drilled his heart

I killed a man at Graspan,
I killed him fightin' fair;
We came on each other face to face,
An' we went at it then and there.
Mine was the trigger that shifted first,
He was the life that sped.
An' a man I'd never a quarrel with
Was spread on the boulders dead.

I killed a man at Graspan;
I watched him squirmin' still
He raised his eyes, an' they met with mine;
An' there they're star'n still.
Cut of my brother Tom, he looked,
Hardly more'n a kid;
An' Christ! he was stiffenin' at my feet
Because of the thing I did.

I killed a man at Graspan;
I told the camp that night;
An' of all the lies that I ever told
That was the poorest skite.
I swore I was proud of my hand-to-hand,
An' the Boer I'd chanced to pot,
An' all the time I'd ha' given my eyes
To never ha' fired that shot.

I killed a man at Graspan;
An hour ago about,
For there he lies with his starin' eyes
An' his blood still tricklin' out.
I know it was either him or me,
I know that I killed him fair,
But, all the same, wherever I look,
The man that I killed is there.

I killed a man at Graspan;
My first an, God! my last;
Harder to dodge than my bullet is
The look that his dead eyes cast.
If the Empire asks for me later on
It'll ask for me in vain,
Before I reach to my bandolier
To fire on a man again.

 

Apart from his poetry, one ongoing memorial remains for the work of Grover, the Montague Grover Award for cadet journalists aimed at promoting excellence in journalism. Grover died 7 March 1943 at "Casa del Rio", 95 Alexander Avenue, South Yarra, Victoria, Australia.

 

Further Reading:

Australian Dictionary of Biography - Grover, Montague MacGregor (Monty) (1870 - 1943) 

Grover, Montague, The time is now ripe: revolution without tears, Robertson & Mullens, Melbourne, 1937.

Graspan, South Africa, November 25, 1899

Battles where Australians fought, 1899-1920

 


Citation: Montague (Macgregor) Grover - I Killed a Man at Graspan

Posted by Project Leader at 12:01 AM EADT
Updated: Wednesday, 2 December 2009 8:57 PM EAST

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