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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.

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Contact: Australian Light Horse Studies Centre

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Friday, 26 June 2009
South Australian Militia - 1861, Reedbeds Cavalry and Captain John Haimes
Topic: Militia - LHS - SA

South Australian Militia - 1861

Reedbeds Cavalry and Captain John Haimes


The South Australian Advertiser, Friday, 5 April 1861, p. 3.


The artilce is transcribed below:



On Thursday evening last, the 11th of April, the officers and troopers of the Reedbeds Cavalry invited their Captain, John Haimes, Esq., who leaves for England in a few days, to an entertainment at the New Globe Inn, Mile end, as the most suitable method to convey to that gentleman the expression of their esteem prior to his leaving for England. In noticing this entertainment, we may mention that Mr Haimes has never been in England, having been born in one of the neighbouring colonies, and many years ago in the days of his youth came to South Australia, at once joined the then small but noble little band of heroes who in those days spent their time, their money, and the enthusiastic energies exploring and opening tracts through the bush of Australia. In fact he is a genuine specimen of those ''cross country" lads whose perseverance and pluck have made the operation of settling in Australia, a mere "gentleman's walk" to what it was in those days.

The dinner got up by Host John Cave was well worthy the occasion; the tables to use a very common expression, literally "groaned" under the good things which graced them - poultry, pigs, &.c were there in "galore" and most superbly cooked. The vegetables and fruit were also supplied to repletion. One bunch of grapes we had the curiosity to ascertain the weight of, and found it to weigh 9½ lbs., and there were other lesser giants of the tribe. That now rare vegetable, cabbage, was also there in abundance and in prime and sweet condition, which was a surprise to the company how Cave got them there All were certain they were brought from a long distance, and the only conjecture how Cave got them in the pot fresh was that his messengers must have had feathers on their heels, like the herald "Mercury", to bring them in so fresh and young. The dinner was presided over by Lieutenant Grey, supported on the right by Captain Haimes, and on his left by Hurtle Fisher, Esq., late Lieutenant of the troop, and the vice chair occupied by Sergeant Major Anderson, supported on his right by Sergeant Harrold, and on his left by Veterinary Surgeon Chalwin.

The usual loyal toasts were proposed from the Chair and responded to with true military ardour. After which "The Army and Navy" were proposed and responded to by the Instructor to the troop, Mr Ferguson. Then followed the toast of the evening, "The Health of Captain Haimes," which was proposed by the Chairman, who in doing so reminded the troop of the extreme and devoted interest he had manifested while at the head of the troop, and gave expression to the regret which they all felt at Captain Haimes leaving them, and he was sure the same regret was felt by Captain Haimes himself, that a necessity had arisen to call him away, from them; but there was one consolation, he said, to know that as Captain Haimes was going to England, a country which he had never seen, he would met with scenes of happiness. Indeed he envied Captain Haimes that he could visit England a pleasure which he himself could not hope to enjoy, but he hoped Captain Haimes in his visit to England would meet with happiness that he would have a prosperous voyage, and that he would shortly return amongst them, and see there numbers augmented and the troop in a perfect state of efficiency.

Captain Haimes, in returning thanks, addressed the company as the officers and troopers of the Reedbeds Cavalry, and also, which he thought he was entitled to do as brother soldiers. He said he felt proud at the manner in which his health had been drunk He hoped to be excused from making a long speech, as it was not his habit to indulge in such amusement, but assured them of the great pleasure he had always experienced in being connected with the troop whose interests he would further as far as he could, with heart and soul. He informed the troop that he had sent in his resignation as captain because he thought it was his duty to do so, as he should be away in England perhaps l8 months, and for the preservation of the efficiency of the troop it would necessary for them to appoint an officer who could constantly attend to his duties. He assured the company that his interest was enduring, and that when he returned from England he should enter the troop if it was as a private trooper. He added that when he got to England he should look out for some present for the company and send it to them, if they would accept it, to be shot for, as an inducement to the members not to relax in their efforts to be efficient; but he would strongly urge upon them the necessity of getting thoroughly equipped and to get tho carbines which had been promised them from the Government. He advised the, to make constant and continuous applications to the government for their carbines, as he was sure, without it, they would not get them.

"The Health of Hurtle Fisher Esq, late Lieutenant to the Troop, was then proposed, which that gentleman acknowledged and added that, in imitation of Captain Haimes, he intended, when he got to England to select something to present to the troop, if they would accept it, and to be given to the member who is most efficient in drill, and, also, if they would accept it, he would send them a "wooden spoon" to be presented to the worst shot in the troop. (Roars of laughter and tremendous cheers followed this promise.)

"The Health of the Chairman" was then drunk and responded to, shortly after which the meeting broke up, finishing a most harmonious and convivial evening.


Commentary on the Article

The importance of this story lies in the fact that it goes into great detail about the structure of the Reedbeds Volunteer Cavalry, the first mounted formation in South Australia which at the time of this article, maintained a Nominal Roll of 33 men all ranks.

An issue flagged by Captain Haimes in his speech related to the promise by the Government to provide carbines for the unit. While the men provided their own horse and saddle while paying for their uniform as Volunteers, the South Australian Government had promised to arm the men. Years of attempting to get arms from the Government had met with deaf ears. Indeed, it became quite a scandal in South Australia that the Cavalry had no arms. In the end, the press advocated this cause in the community and eventually the men were provided with carbines.


Further Reading:

South Australian Militia - Light Horse


Citation: South Australian Militia - 1861, Reedbeds Cavalry and Captain John Haimes

Posted by Project Leader at 10:59 AM EADT
Updated: Friday, 26 June 2009 11:27 AM EADT
AIF & MEF & EEF, Glossary of Australian Graduation Staff List and Honours
Topic: AIF & MEF & EEF


Glossary of Australian Graduation Staff List and Honours


Each year, a listing of Australian officers was produced. This list detailed such vital information as their commission date, appointments and qualifications. In addition it contained any honours granted during their service. After August 1914, a similar book was produced for the AIF. This was updated every three months until the conclusion of the war and the disbandment of the units. Below is a glossary detailing the nature of the certificates and honours. For people not familiar with British honours, this is essential to understanding the letters attached to the names of various officers.


a. - Passed in Signalling, Aldershot.
(a) - Submarine Mining, Officer's Course, Royal Engineers.
(b) - Electric Lighting, Officer's Course, Royal Engineers.
c. - Passed in Field Engineering, Chatham.
(c) - Brennan Torpedo Course, Royal Engineers.
C. - Passed in Military Topography, Chatham.
C.A. - Central Administration.
Ch. Inst. - Chief Instructor, School of Gunnery.
(d) - Instructors' Certificate (Imperial) Cavalry Pioneer Duties.
f. - Firemaster's Certificate, Woolwich, &c.
F. - Honour's Certificate, Firemaster's Course, Woolwich, &c.
g. - Obtained a Certificate in the Long Course of Gunnery or Gunnery Staff Course, School of Gunnery, Shoeburyness.
H. - Passed Hythe School of Musketry.
i.l.s. - Certificate as Inspector of Laboratory Stores.
M. - Militia.
o. - Passed Ordnance Course, Ordnance College, England.
P. - Permanent.
P.C. - Privy Councillor.
p.f. - Qualified in Position Finding.
P.M. - Graduated at the Staff Colleges, Camberley, England; or Quetta, India.
s. - Passed Course in testing Small Arm Ammunition.
V. - Volunteer.
K.G. - Knight of the Garter.
K.P. - Knight of St. Patrick.
K.T. - Knight of the Thistle.
G.C.B. - Knight Grand Cross of the Bath.
K.C.B. - Knight Commander of the Bath.
C.B. - Companion of the Bath.
G.C.M.G. - Knight Grand Cross of St. Michael and St. George.
K.C.M.G. - Knight Commander St. Michael and St. George.
C.M.G. - Companion of St. Michael and St. George.
G.C.I.E. - Knight Grand Commander of the Indian Empire.
G.C.S.I. - Knight Grand Commander of the Star of India.
G.C.V.O. - Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order.
C. V.O. - Commander of the Royal Victorian Order.
M.V.O. - Member of the Royal Victorian Order.
D.S.O. - Companion of the Distinguished Service Order.
I.S.O. - Imperial Service Order.
O.M. - Member of the Order of Merit.
(R) - Reward for Distinguished or Meritorious Services.
V.C. - Victoria Cross.
V.D. - Volunteer Forces Decoration (Colonial Auxiliary Forced)


Further Reading:

B103, Index to Common Terms

Battles where Australians Fought

AIF, MEF and the EEF


Citation: AIF & MEF & EEF, Glossary of Australian Graduation Staff List and Honours

Posted by Project Leader at 12:01 AM EADT
Updated: Friday, 10 July 2009 6:10 PM EADT
The Volunteer Movement in Western Australia, Uniforms and Badges
Topic: Militia - LHW - WA

Western Australian Militia

Uniforms and Badges


The following is an extract from the book written in 1962 by George F. Wieck called The Volunteer Movement in Western Australia 1861-1903, pp. 78 - 82:

Uniforms and Badges

Detailed descriptions of uniform adopted by the early Volunteer Infantry corps do not exist therefore the descriptions given herein are incomplete and possibly inexact in some cases. The best has been done with the information available.

Records indicate that about the year 189 the tunic worn by British Infantry was changed to a pattern described by the press of the day as long, ill-fitting, loose and slovenly. Presumably that was the pattern adopted by the Perth and Fremantle Volunteer Rifles in 1862, for the Illustrated London News in 1864 reproduced a sketch drawn by Captain E. Henderson, R.E., depicting these two corps parading in front of Government House, Perth, on a ceremonial occasion, wearing long scarlet tunics, white duck (or canvas) trousers, and shakoes. There is ground for the belief that the Perth facings were blue and Fremantle's green.

The Pinjarrah and Wellington mounted corps adopted a uniform stated to be a replica of that of the 6th Dragoon Guards (with white cords instead of yellow), i.e. scarlet tunic, white doe-skin pantaloons, white helmet with spike, and over-boots. A brief reference to the Union Troop suggests its uniform was of Hussar type.

The W.A. Troop of Horse Artillery appears to have worn a uniform which was for all practical purposes a replica of that of the British Horse Artillery. The Naval Artillery Volunteers carried on Naval tradition.

In 1872 the newly formed Perth and Fremantle infantry adopted in each case, the uniform worn by its predecessor.

New Corps were formed but the first inkling of uniform and details is gained from a ‘water-colour' executed by Lieutenant Colonel E. F. Angelo, Military Commandant at the Albion camp in 1884 which depicts the whole of the Infantry Volunteers (excepting the Geraldton Corps) on a ceremonial parade wearing scarlet tunic, blue trousers and white helmet. It is not known when helmets were officially adopted but there exists a photograph taken in 1878 of soldiers some wearing white helmets and others blue or dark green.

Dress Regulations for Volunteers were promulgated in 1888 (Government Gazette. No. 55) prescribing what should be worn by Officers of Artillery and Infantry (there was no Cavalry at that time). British Army patterns were closely followed, the artillery volunteers copying the Royal Artillery and the infantry adopting the normal scarlet tunic (now shortened), blue trousers with scarlet seam (plus silver braid for ceremonial occasions) and helmet. Infantry could choose a helmet of either dark green British Army pattern or one of the white Mediterranean type; for facing colours they could choose from blue, green, white or yellow. Perth Rifle Volunteers chose blue for facings, all others it is understood originally adopted green; at a later date three corps at least, i.e. Perth, Albany and Bunbury, changed to white.

The 1888 Regulations also authorised blue undress uniform, khaki being substituted by the end of the century.

The year 1900 saw several major divergences.

The West Australian Mounted Infantry adopted khaki tunic, light coloured breeches, slouch hat (turned up on right side) and ‘concertina' top-boots. The Metropolitan Civil Service Battalion favoured grey tunic and trousers, black helmet and black facings. The Goldfields Battalion of Infantry adopted a workmanlike khaki with puttees and slouch hat. The West Australian Highlanders proudly wore a replica of the uniform of the 79th Cameron Highlanders, including the Erract tartan.

As in the case of uniform, there is no recorded description of the design and date of adoption of the various corps badges. Several helmet plates dating chiefly from the `eighties' have been located; comparison of these suggests the adoption of two basic designs, one for artillery, the other for infantry. The following sketches are copies from the plates of the Perth Artillery Volunteers and Perth Rifle Volunteers respectively. The basic designs were amended to meet the requirements of each corps as follows:

Perth Artillery Volunteers Badge


Artillery (1): The words Perth, Fremantle, or Albany being inserted according to requirements. The Albany Corps' plate included a fortress type gun on a barbette mounting in lieu of the field gun.

Fremantle Rifle Volunteers Badge


Infantry (2) : The Fremantle Rifle Volunteers plate had a circular strap almost entirely enclosed by a laurel wreath, super-imposed upon the basic star and crown; the area within the strap carried the conventional bugle with ribbons attached and in raised letters on the strap was the Corps title – “Fremantle Rifle Volunteers: Western Australia.”

The Guildford Rifle Volunteers plate had the laurel wreath and a raised "circle" instead of a strap, on the circle in raised letters was the motto "Honi Soit Qui Mal y Pense" and within the circle, in script the Corps initials G.R.V.

The Geraldton Rifle Volunteers plate carried the Corps title on the raised circle with bugle and ribbons within as in the case of Fremantle. It is believed that Albany, York and Bunbury also adopted this style.

There were two unconventional types.

The Civil Service Rifle Volunteer Corps adopted a black oxidized Maltese Cross with an interior raised circle carrying the Corps title. Within the circle on a solid background was a representation in white metal of the crest of the Prince of Wales.

The Goldfields Infantry Regiment's plate was a white metal "Rising Sun" surmounted by a St. Edmund's Crown. In the centre on a solid ground, was an enamelled black swan and on a 3-section (2 over 1) scroll below in raised letters the corps title appeared.


Previous:  Organization and Training

Next: Western Australian Militia, Light Horse


Further Reading:

Western Australian Militia, Light Horse

Western Australian Militia, Infantry


Citation: The Volunteer Movement in Western Australia, Uniforms and Badges

Posted by Project Leader at 12:01 AM EADT
Updated: Friday, 4 September 2009 6:49 PM EADT
Thursday, 25 June 2009
South Australian Militia Structure, 19 August 1861
Topic: Militia - LHS - SA

South Australian Militia Structure

19 August 1861


The return of volunteers enrolled within South Australia up to 19 August 1861 inclusive showed a total force of 1,851 strong. The dissection of this force is as follows:-


Reedbeds Volunteer Cavalry - 33 men. 



Port - 27 men;

Adelaide - 68 men.




The Adelaide Regiment - 804 men;

Nairne - 22 men;

Noarlunga - 26;
Milang - 42 men;

Mount Barker - 46 men;

Maclaren Vale - 29 men;

Willunga - 34 men;

Finniss Vale - 66 men;

Strathalbyn - 37 men;

Robe Town - 33 men;

Goolwa - 25 men;

Port Elliot 19 men;

Gumeracha - 30 men;

Lyndoch - 22 men;

Kapunda - 86 men;

Angaston - 35 men;

Nuriootpa and Greenock - 41 men;

Virginia - 24 men;

Woodside - 42 men;

Balhannah - 40 men;

Macclesfield - 31 men;

Yankalilla - 10 men;

Meadows - 25 men;

Teatree Gully - l8 men;

Gawler River - 27 men;

Munno Para West - 26 men;

Kapunda Mine - 52 men;

South Australian Free Rifle Corps - 31 men.

Total - 1,851.


The above includes rank and file, and consists of 1 Lieutenant-Colonel, 2 Majors, 1 Adjutant, 31 Captains, 47 Lieutenants, 1 Surgeon, 1 Veterinary Surgeon, 1 Quartermaster, 2 Sergeant Majors, 1 Farrier-Major, 69 Sergeants, 54 Corporals or Bombardiers, 1,640 Privates. Total,

The Adelaide Regiment, 804 rank and file, consists of the following companies:-

Regimental Officers - 2 men;

Regimental Noncommissioned Officers - 1 men;

Port Adelaide Rifles - 53;

First Adelaide Rifles - 117 men;

Glen Osmond and Mitcham Rifles - 40 men;

Glenelg Rifles - 33 men;

The Adelaide Rifles - 73 men;

Munno Para East Rifles - 54 men;

West Adelaide Rifles - 84 men;

Sturt and Brighton Rifles - 48 men;

First Gawler Rifles - 56;

The Gawler Volunteers - 59 men;

Salisbury Rifles - 28 men;

Eastern Suburban Rifles - 49 men;

Smithfield Rifles - 38 men;

No. 1 Brighton Rifles - 28 men;

Cadet Company - 41 Cadets.

Total - 804 men.


Further Reading:

South Australian Militia - Light Horse


Citation: South Australian Militia Structure, 19 August 1861 

Posted by Project Leader at 6:13 PM EADT
Updated: Saturday, 27 June 2009 8:41 AM EADT
El Burj, Palestine, 1 December 1917, 52nd (Lowland) Infantry Division Account
Topic: BatzP - El Burj

El Burj, Palestine, 1 December 1917

52nd (Lowland) Infantry Division Account


Below is a transcript from the 52nd Infantry Division War Diary entry of 1 December 1917


War Diary Entry

Saturday, 1 December 1917

52nd Infantry Division Location -

Wadi Zait - Kh Faaush Sector

52nd Infantry Division Entry -

1st December 1917  

0200  - About 0130 a force of Turks, the strength of whom was unknown attacked the 157 Brigade on the ridge to the north of Beit ur el Tahta. The attack was delivered with great determination and part of the Brigade was forced back about 80 yards an a 200 yard front. A counter attack was immediately organised and launched. By 0530 the enemy had been driven off the ridge and the line re-established as before the attack. At the seme hour, a body of the enemy 500 strong attacked the Australian Division in Front of El Burj forcing back an advanced post of the 8th L.H. Regt. and pressing their attack with bombs, rifle grenades and automatic rifles. Just prior to the development of the attack against the main position, one Company 1/4 Royal Scots Fusiliers reinforced our firing line and were largely instrumental is holding up the enemy pressure 30 yards from our trenches. Our enfilade machine gun fire prevented the enemy's retirement and a turning movement towards the flanks, partly by 1/4 Royal Scots Fusiliers resulted in the capture of 6 officers 118 O.R, prisoners, of that 2 Cadet officers and 66 O. R. were taken by 1/4 Royal Scots Fusiliers. At dawn, the post on the right flank which was evacuated on the commencement of the attack was re-occupied. Our casualties were very slight but it believed that practically the whole of the attacking troops were killed or taken prisoner 1/4 Royal Scots Fusiliers were congratulated by a. G.O.C. 52nd Division on their good work.

1230 - 155 Bde moved from their camp near Beit Sira (L.10) to bivouac in the vicinity of Amwas.

1610 - In order to prevent confusion of traffic and camp sites the dividing line between the 52nd Division and the Australian Division was fixed as Kh Faaush O.85. J.34.c. along the crest of the hills N.W. of the Wadi el Miktely to K.29.b. the crest being inclusive to the 52nd Division.

1700 - The day was quiet with very little activity. The command of the sector Wadi Zait - Kh Faaush formerly held by the Division passed to G.O.C. 10th Division.

2100 - G.H.562 orders for 2nd inst issued 155 Brigade will march to Ramleh to camp, 156 and 157 Bdes. will move from the camp sites that they have taken up overnight after relief to the vicinity of Kubab.

2145 - Relief of 156th Infantry Brigade by units of the 10th Division in the line J.3
6 - Kh Faaush completed.


Further Reading:

Order Of Battle of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force, October 1917, Part 4, XXI CORPS

Battles where Australians fought, 1899-1920

The Battle of El Burj, 1 December 1917

Citation: El Burj, Palestine, 1 December 1917, 52nd (Lowland) Infantry Division Account

Posted by Project Leader at 12:01 AM EADT
Updated: Wednesday, 15 July 2009 5:42 PM EADT

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