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

Wednesday, 12 August 2009
The Volunteer Movement in Western Australia, Enrolment and Conditions of Service
Topic: Militia - LHW - WA

Western Australian Militia

Enrolment and Conditions of Service

 

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. 20 – 21:

 
Chapter IV - Enrolment and Conditions of Service

In the "Sixties" the enrolment formula was very simple; any apparently able-bodied man could enrol for service in a Volunteer corps and remain a member thereof for the rest of his life or until obviously incapacitated. There was no medical or physical standard. Inefficiency and misconduct were valid reasons for discharge.

The Volunteer was required to attend a recruit training course before being finally accepted. He then, in his own time and at his own expense, attended without pay 10-12 training parades per annum, provided himself with uniform, and endeavoured to acquire a standard of efficiency. Apart from the satisfaction of service well rendered and the thrill of serving in Her Majesty's Armed Forces, the Volunteer's recompense was membership of a form of social club which numbered in its ranks many of the prominent and responsible personages of the community.

There were many difficulties but years passed before ills were cured and weaknesses eliminated.

An Establishment (or permissible maximum for each corps) was not in use until 1875, when the Military Commandant requested the Executive Council to lay down what corps strengths he was expected to observe. From that time it was possible to conduct recruiting on an orderly basis. Lack of knowledge and experience led some corps commanders into the trap of over-recruiting: their first impulse was to enrol every suitable person available without any thought for the future, consequently when the inevitable vacancies occurred recruits were not available to fill them. In such cases either the corps strength fell below the permissible minimum and the Corps was disbanded or the Commander covered-up by retaining misfits and inefficients on the roll. The potential of any District can be calculated and unless results are heeded the corps will die of inanition. One District which enrolled up to 80 men had difficulty 70 years later in maintaining a corps of only 30.

One result of the unwise bursts of recruiting was the great disappointment felt by members at the long delays (up to three years in some cases) in issues of arms and clothing. Provision for these requirements was made by the authorities on what was practically a minimum basis-they could not afford anything else. Corps Commanders knew what they could expect in this direction and were to blame for most of the disappointment felt.

As an inducement to serve, an Amendment to the Land Regulations appeared on 22nd May, 1873, under the Caption "Grants to Volunteers". A Lot of Rural Land not exceeding 50 acres was to be granted to each of the Officers, Non-commissioned Officers and Privates of the Volunteer Force who shall have served continuously for a period of five years from and after the coming into operation of the Regulation. If the Volunteer was efficient, of good conduct, and approved by the Governor, Fee Simple would be granted if at the end of three years improvements to the value of £25 had been made, otherwise the Land would revert to the Crown. The wood-pile was not without its "nigger" for records state that in many cases the men accepted cash in lieu because neither water supplies nor communications existed in the area containing their Lots.

 

 

Previous: Western Australian Militia, Light Horse

Next: The Plan in Operation 

 

Further Reading:

Western Australian Militia, Light Horse

Western Australian Militia, Infantry

 


Citation: The Volunteer Movement in Western Australia, Enrolment and Conditions of Service

Posted by Project Leader at 12:01 AM EADT
Updated: Thursday, 13 August 2009 11:00 PM EADT
Australian Light Horse, Roles within the Regiment, Orders for Guards
Topic: AIF - Lighthorse

Australian Light Horse

Roles within the Regiment

Orders for Guards

 

The following entries dealing with the roles and duties within the hierarchy of a light horse regiment are extracted from a very informative handbook called The Bushman’s Military Guide, 1898. While written in 1898, the information contained in the entries held true for the next twenty years with only minor modifications with the principles remaining as current then as now.

 

Orders for Guards

 

(1.) This most important duty in Camp should be carried out to the letter.

(2.) Guards, usually furnished by mounted troops, are of two descriptions, viz.-

(1.) Regimental or quarter guard, which goes on duty (or mounts) in review order dismounted, with carbines, and remains on duty for twenty-four hours. This guard is responsible for the safety of the Camp, especially at night, the paying of compliments to armed parties, officers, etc.

(2.) Night guard, or horse-lines guard. Usually mounts at sunset, and remains on duty until reveille, viz., 5.30 a.m., and is responsible for the safety of the horses and saddlery and Camp equipment.

(3.) All guards must be extremely alert, and ready to turn out at the shortest notice. No man is on any account to take off any part of his dress or accoutrements.

(4.) Every guard will be turned out twice a day by the non-commissioned officer commanding it - at daybreak and at watch setting (usually 9.30 p.m.)

(5.) The senior non-commissioned officer of the guard is responsible that there is no gaming, drinking, or singing in the guard tent, and that no man quits his guard without leave.

(6.) The guard tent is to be kept clean, and will not be taken over by the relieving non-commissioned officer in charge unless it is in a proper state.

(7.) The non-commissioned officer commanding the guard will at once report anything extraordinary to the adjutant or orderly officer.

(8.) No person is to be admitted into the guard tent except on duty.

(9.) All reliefs of sentries going out and coming in will be inspected by the non-commissioned officer in charge of the guard.

(10.) Guards turn out to the General Officer Commanding, or the senior officer of the Camp, and the Commanding Officer of the regiment during the day, at all times until sunset. If a Field Officer - viz., a Major, Colonel or General - with presented arms; to Field Officer not commanding a regiment once a day with presented arms. Guards never turn out to officers in plain clothes.

(11.) All guards turn out when armed parties approach their posts; they present arms only to parties commanded by officers. Non-commissioned officers in charge of guards, will ascertain the identity of the General and other officers entitled to a salute as soon as possible after arrival in Camp.

(12.) The guards turn out for the inspection of the officer of the day or the Adjutant whenever ordered by them with shouldered arms, and once daily for the Regimental Sergeant-Major, with ordered arms, for inspection as to their cleanliness (the men being shaved etc.) by 8 a.m. daily.

(13.) Guards and sentries must pay compliments to which officers are entitled, when within 15 yards of them, but sentries must stand at "attention" and call "Guard turn out" to the full extent of their voice when the officer entitled, is at the distance of 60 yards, or sooner, if the officer is fast approaching, and as quick as possible if the officer comes suddenly upon them.

(14.) Sentries are not to quit their arms or walk more than 10 yards on either side of their posts; they will walk about in a brisk and soldier-like manner.

(15.) Sentries will be very particular in paying compliments to which officers are entitled viz., Halt, Front, and present arms to all field officers, or armed parties in charge of an officer. Halt, Front, and shoulder arms to other officers. To officers in plain clothes by day, and to all officers after dark, they will stand to their front at attention.

(16.) At night all sentries will front and challenge any person approaching their posts, and continue fronting until they are some distance off.

(17.) The sentries are to keep their posts clear at all times, and to abstain from conversation with bystanders.

(18.) No sentry is to communicate to anyone the orders he receives, except to the Commanding Officer and the adjutant, as well as the orderly officer and non-commissioned officer of the guard; nor is he to accept fresh orders except from them.

(19.) No sentry is to quit his post on any account whatever, nor allow himself to be relieved, except by the non-commissioned officer of his own guard, and must do his duty rigidly and faithfully.

(20.) Sentries, on the appearance of an officer, are to stand firm, on any part of their walk, paying the compliment due until the officer has passed, taking care to face their proper front.

(21.) The Governor of the Colony only is entitled to a guard being turned out to him when in plain clothes.

(22.) The foregoing orders to be posted in every guard tent occupied by the regiment, and to be read to the men daily at guard mounting.

 

 

Previous: Trumpeters

Next: Relieving and Posting a Guard 

 

Further Reading:

Australian Light Horse

Militia 1899 - 1920

 


Citation: Australian Light Horse, Roles within the Regiment, Orders for Guards

Posted by Project Leader at 12:01 AM EADT
Updated: Wednesday, 2 September 2009 11:26 AM EADT
Bir el Abd, Sinai, 9 August 1916, Canterbury Mounted Rifles Regiment, War Diary Account
Topic: AIF - NZMRB - CMR

Bir el Abd

Sinai, 9 August 1916

CMR, War Diary Account


War Diary account of the CMR.

 

The transcription:

9 August

The Brigade paraded at 0400 and marched out of Debabis towards Bir el Abd. The Telegraph line was followed for on mile east of Debabis and turned slightly to the south east. Auckland Mounted Rifles Regiment were the Advance Guard and came in touch with the Turkish outpost at 0515 when they were fired on. The 8th Squadron were then detailed to support the Auckland Mounted Rifles Regiment on their left which brought us right onto the Main Road. Firing became heavier and then our remaining two squadrons were sent to support the left of the 1st Squadron. The 8th Squadron advanced down a sandy spur and engaged the Turks drawing them off the sand spur towards Bir el Abd. The 1st and 10th Squadrons had in the meantime advanced some 300 or 400 yards on the left and driven the Turks back. The Turkish artillery fire became very heavy in the valley by the road and the 8th Squadron suffered very heavily. Never the less they advanced onto another position north east of sand spur. Here Lieutenant Menzies was killed and Major Hammond and Lieutenant Blackney were badly wounded. The position was held for some time when it became too hot to hold so we had to retire about 500 yards and there hold the enemy in check. The 5th Light horse Regiment came up and supported us on our left and during the afternoon, “A” Squadron of the Warwickshire Yeomanry came up and helped to strengthen our position. Communication was maintained  throughout the day by visual and despatch riders. Good work was done by RSM Denton and the Signaller Section. It was the intention of the GOC that the 3rd Light Horse should make a flanking movement and come around in the south side of Bir el Abd and the Light Horse were to proceed round the northern flank and cut off the enemy between Bir el Abd and Salmana but neither of these Regiments accomplished their task. Artillery was brought into action and did useful work. Received order at 1800 to retire to Debabis at dusk. We commenced to retire at 1900, our retirement being covered by the Machine Gun Section under Captain Sharpe. Our casualties for the day were very heavy.

  

Roll of Honour

Cyril BLAKENEY

Cecil Hervey CROWE

George Harcus DAVIS

Owen Ernest Oscar FERRIS

Frank GOODRICK

William Moody GRAY

Herbert Harold HAMMOND

Gordon Gerald HARPER 

Robert Harry LAMBIE

John McKAY

Jeffrey McNEILL

William Barnet MENZIES

Alexander MOORE

John Henry RAINE

William SANDERSON

 

Lest We Forget

 

 

Further Reading:

Canterbury Mounted Rifles Regiment

Battle of Romani, Sinai, August 4 to 5, 1916 

Bir el Abd, Sinai, 9 August 1916

Battles where Australians fought, 1899-1920

 


Citation: Bir el Abd, Sinai, 9 August 1916, Canterbury Mounted Rifles Regiment, War Diary Account

Posted by Project Leader at 12:01 AM EADT
Updated: Sunday, 13 September 2009 12:20 AM EADT
Tuesday, 11 August 2009
The Volunteer Movement in Western Australia, The Plan in Operation
Topic: Militia - LHW - WA

Western Australian Militia

The Plan in Operation

 

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. 22 – 25:

 

Chapter V - The Plan in Operation

The Vasse District was first in the field. It desired to form an Infantry corps - to be named the Sussex Volunteer Rifles, with Headquarters Busselton. A roll bearing 33 names, including that of Captain-elect J. Couchman (ex British Army) accompanied by a request for the loan of some muskets and the services of a drill instructor, was forwarded to the Military Commandant. Apparently Lt-Col. Bruce was not quite satisfied for he visited Busselton and there decided that not sufficient of the persons enrolled resided close enough to the proposed headquarters to ensure a sufficient and regular attendance at training parades; he suggested the raising of a mounted corps with fewer numbers. Lt-Col. Bruce's suggestion was indignantly rejected by Capt. Couchman (an Infantry Officer) and the elected committee. During the course of some rather heated correspondence Capt. Couchman returned to England and the proposal to form a Volunteer corps was withdrawn.

The Vasse experience was repeated, with variations, at York, Guildford and Newcastle (Toodyay). With opinion divided at first, York eventually decided on an Infantry corps with some Cavalry as well. Lt-Col. Bruce did not agree, recommending a small Cavalry corps in lieu. The committee agreed but wanted a corps of at least 30 men. Lt-Col. Bruce insisted that York could not maintain so large a body. Nothing further was done.

At Guildford a meeting presided over by Viveash proposed to form a corps, either Cavalry or Infantry, to be known as the Swan River Volunteers, with Capt. Young in command. Sixteen volunteers were available for Infantry and seven for Cavalry. Training commenced under Lieut. Thorold, R.E. Lt-Col. Bruce said there were insufficient volunteers to form an independent corps and suggested that Guildford form a detachment of the Perth corps. The committee would not agree to the suggestion and withdrew its proposal.

At Newcastle no suitable person could be found for the position of Captain Commanding so the proposal could not be accepted.

At Perth and Fremantle action proceeded simultaneously along parallel lines. Public meetings were held in September 1861. Perth recommended a corps of Infantry, 100 strong, to be known as the Perth Volunteer Rifles, with Mr F. S. Leake as Captain Commanding. Fremantle recommended a similar corps, to be known as the Fremantle Volunteer Rifles, with Mr R.S. Price as Captain Commanding. Both proposals were approved, the Gazette notice appearing on 6/8/1862.

Pinjarrah, as was expected, recommended a Cavalry corps of 17 men, to be known as the Pinjarrah Mounted Volunteers, with Mr F. Fawcett (ex-Cornet of 6th Dragoon Guards) to Command. This proposal was approved, the Gazette appearing on 23/10/1962.

Thus far the Movement had produced three corps with a united strength of about 180 men, most of them located where the need was greatest. There was a lapse of 8 years before another corps was raised. Then it was a Cavalry corps whose chief occupation seems to have been the provision of escorts for the Governor on official occasions. Gazetted on 19/7/1870, it was 30 strong and was designated the Union Troop of Western Australian Mounted Volunteers. Its commander was Lieutenant F. de Lisle, a Cornet of British Cavalry.

Very aptly and conveniently the Volunteer Movement may be considered as covering three stages or phases, i.e. Infant (1862 to 1872), Adolescent (1872 to 1895) and Adult (1895 onwards). As we see, the first (infant) stage produced four corps - two mounted and two dismounted - under the conditions originally prescribed. In that same decade the dismounted corps were disbanded, one for insubordination the other for inefficiency. The Military Commandant had no Staff and because of his other duties supervision would tend to be irregular. The ultra-democratic nature of corps administration proved a weakness. However, enthusiasm was not wanting and its tendency towards irregular actions soon brought about drastic changes. It cannot be claimed that the Volunteer Force had achieved a very high standard of efficiency in the first stage.

The invasion scare of 1872 came when the fortunes of the Volunteer Movement were at a low ebb. The manhood of Western Australia is remarkable for its willingness to answer the call to serve and the call of 1872 was no exception. The second (adolescent) stage commenced under good auspices. The conditions of enlistment, service, discipline, and command were improved. Corps were raised at Perth, Fremantle, Guildford, Geraldton, Bunbury, Albany, York, Northampton, Northam and Newcastle. Some of these were disbanded but generally were soon replaced by others containing most of the former personnel. During this stage every corps had a separate identity and dealt direct with the Military Commandant. The Defence Force was still a collection of small corps whose opportunities to gain experience in and a knowledge of leadership and higher administration were very limited. However, the Force was growing up. In addition to Cavalry and Infantry there were now some Artillery, and as the financial position improved the three Arms joined more frequently in camps and training exercises.

By 1895 the Defence Force was sufficiently mature to enter the third (Adult) stage. Here we find, firstly several Infantry corps grouped and forming a Regiment of Four Companies under a Regimental Commander; secondly, several other similar corps (some quite new); and finally, the formation of a Brigade consisting of Brigade Headquarters and five Battalions. It will be noticed that the emphasis is on Infantry. Artillery is a costly arm of the Service and requires specialists, which would account for the relatively small proportion raised. The Archives contain no reference to Engineers, Army Service Corps, Army Medical Corps, &c, so it must be presumed no attempt was made to raise them. Some Infantry corps, certainly those at Perth, Bunbury, Geraldton and Guildford, maintained a mounted detachment which carried out cavalry duties as required. Eventually a mounted regiment was raised (in 1900) and a tactical balance achieved. It was also customary for each corps to maintain a body of Cadets who wore the uniform of the corps and appeared on corps parades.

 

Previous: Enrolment and Conditions of Service 

Next: Perth Volunteer Rifles

 

Further Reading:

Western Australian Militia, Light Horse

Western Australian Militia, Infantry

 


Citation: Western Australian Militia, Light Horse, The Plan in Operation

Posted by Project Leader at 12:01 AM EADT
Updated: Friday, 14 August 2009 12:15 PM EADT
Australian Light Horse, Roles within the Regiment, Relieving and Posting a Guard
Topic: AIF - Lighthorse

Australian Light Horse

Roles within the Regiment

Relieving and Posting a Guard

 

The following entries dealing with the roles and duties within the hierarchy of a light horse regiment are extracted from a very informative handbook called The Bushman’s Military Guide, 1898. While written in 1898, the information contained in the entries held true for the next twenty years with only minor modifications with the principles remaining as current then as now.

 

Relieving and Posting a Guard

 

"New Guard."

"Halt,"

"Eyes Right - Dress."

The new guard will be halted, with carbines shouldered, about 15 paces from and opposite the old guard and dressed.

 

"Old Guard."

"Present-Arms."

The old guard, drawn up on its parade, will receive the new guard with the prescribed salute.

 

"New Guard."

"Present-Arms."

The new guard will return the salute.

 

"Old Guard, Shoulder - Arms."

"New Guard, Shoulder-Arms."

After which, both guards will be ordered to shoulder, and the commander of the old guard will hand the duplicate of his guard report to the commander of the new guard.

 

"Old Guard, Order-Arms."

"Stand at - Ease."

"New Guard, Order-Arms."

"Stand at - Ease."

The guards will order arms and stand at ease.

(2.) The guard will then be told off, and the first relief sent out. While the relief is going round, the commander of the new guard will take over the property in charge of the guard, according to the list in the old guard report.

 

"Old Guard, Attention."

"Shoulder - Arms."

"New Guard, Attention."

"Shoulder-Arms."

When the reliefs have returned and all the men of the old guard have, fallen in, both guards will be called to attention and ordered to shoulder arms.

 

"Old Guard, Fours Right (or Left),"

"Quick March."

The old guard will be marched off, either to the right or left, in fours, or files, as most convenient.

 

"New Guard, Present Arms."

The new guard will present arms.

 

"New Guard, Shoulder Arms."

When the left, or right, of the old guard is clear of the ground on which it stood the new guard will shoulder arms.

 

"Fours - Right."

"Left Wheel."

"Quick-March."

"Left Wheel."

The new guard will then take up the ground on which the old guard was formed.

 

"To the Halt."

"Fours - Left."

"Eyes Right."

"Dress."

"Order - Arms."

"Stand at - Ease."

When on the ground which was occupied by the old guard, the commander will order it to form line to the halt, order arms, and stand at ease; he will then read the orders of the guard to his men, and dismiss them.

 

"Attention."

"Shoulder - Arms."

"Right - Turn."

"Dismiss."

When the first relief comes in, the orders must be read to the men who have been on sentry.

(3.) In situations where the new guard cannot advance in line towards the front of the old guard, it will move up by fours, etc., and will be formed up opposite to it, or, if necessary, on its left, leaving an interval between them of 4 or 6 paces.

(4.) When a guard is being posted in a new place, and there is no guard to relieve, it will be marched in column on to the ground it is to occupy, and be halted, fronted, and directed to order arms and stand at ease.

(5.) When the commander has taken over the property in charge, he will read the orders to the guard, and then tell it off and send out the first relief.

(6.) Guards march with carbines at the Support.

 

 

Previous: Orders for Guards

Next: Marching Reliefs 

 

Further Reading:

Australian Light Horse

Militia 1899 - 1920

 


Citation: Australian Light Horse, Roles within the Regiment, Relieving and Posting a Guard

Posted by Project Leader at 12:01 AM EADT
Updated: Wednesday, 2 September 2009 11:25 AM EADT

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