"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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Monday, 11 January 2010
The Battle of Anzac Cove, Gallipoli, 25 April 1915, 2nd Infantry Brigade Signals - No. 21 Topic: BatzG - Anzac
The Battle of Anzac Cove
Gallipoli, 25 April 1915
2nd Infantry Brigade Signals - No. 21
2nd Infantry Brigade, AIF, Signals - No. 21
The following is a transcription of the Signal No. 21 of the 2nd Infantry Brigade, AIF, which forms part of a series which illustrates the chaos and problems experienced in executing their role in the landings at Anzac on 25 April 1915.
KB 27 25/4/15 AAA
Sixth must be reinforced immediately in order to hold position
I spoke to Major Blamey at 2nd Bde HQ - he asked for permission to use C Coy 8th Bn & I authorised it.
The Battle of Anzac Cove, Gallipoli, 25 April 1915, 2nd Infantry Brigade Signals - No. 22 Topic: BatzG - Anzac
The Battle of Anzac Cove
Gallipoli, 25 April 1915
2nd Infantry Brigade Signals - No. 22
2nd Infantry Brigade, AIF, Signals - No. 22
The following is a transcription of the Signal No. 22 of the 2nd Infantry Brigade, AIF, which forms part of a series which illustrates the chaos and problems experienced in executing their role in the landings at Anzac on 25 April 1915.
KB 25 25/4/15 AAA
From sound mountain guns appear to be about 224 S but I have no knowledge
In addition to the three active squadrons in Palestine, in Egypt there was the 14th Light Horse Training Squadron which was formed in July 1918. It supplied reinforcements for the 14th Light Horse Regiment.
14th Light Horse Regiment Routine Order No 48, 3 August 1918
[Click on page for larger version.]
Initially, the only colour separation of the various Australian mounted troops was by use of the pennant. The marker pennants were carried on poles to mark lines troop lines in camps in Egypt. They were not lance pennants as the Australian lancers had red over white pennants on their lances.
Pennant of the 14th Light Horse Regiment
While this pennant was useful in distinguishing horse and troop lines, it failed to identify the individual with a unit. The AIF 1st Australian Division Standing Orders issued in December 1914 ordered the Australian Light Horse Regiments to wear a 4 inch wide [10.2cm] blue armband with the regiment name marked on the band in black lettering.
The earlier systems proved to be ineffective so to assist with identification of the men in the various units within the AIF, Divisional Order No 81 (A) Administration was issued at Mena on 8 March 1915 detailing the Colour Patchs for the various units. Generally, the colour patch was made of cloth 1¼ inches wide and 2¾ inches long and worn on the sleeve one inch below the shoulder seam.
1st Battalion Imperial Camel Corps Colour Patch
The first colour patch for the 1st Battalion, Imperial Camel Corps was a red triangle. This was initially worn by the men from the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th Camel Companies which became the 1st Battalion.
Second 14th Light Horse Regiment Colour Patch
The 14th Light Horse Regiment as part of the 5th Australian Light Horse Brigade, Australian Mounted Division, carried the Imperial Camel Corps triangle patch with the red Brigade colour as the lower triangle part of the colour patch, while the light blue Regimental colour was on the top. This is illustrated with the above presentation.
In a move that converted the Light Horse into full cavalry, the Australian Mounted Division was issued with swords during August and early September 1918. The Australian Mounted Division went to work training with swords and undertaking cavalry work.
On 19 September 1918 the Battle of Megiddo began. The infantry over ran the Turkish defensive trenches allowing the cavalry to debouch into the Turkish hinterland. The 14th Light Horse Regiment participated in the breakthrough which moved rapidly through the north of Palestine. At the end of the first week, it was obvious that the way to Damascus was open and so a second push occurred on the heels of the first assault. On 1 October 1918, Damascus was taken.
After a rest in Damascus, the 14th Light Horse Regiment moved towards Homs when the Turks surrendered on 30 October 1918.
Return to Australia
14th and 15th LHRs Embarking for Australia from Kantara on the Dongala, 24 July 1919
After the conclusion of hostilities, the 14th Light Horse Regiment was marked to return to Australia. Prior to that action, one of the saddest actions occurred for the Australian Lighthorsemen, they had to farewell their best friends, the horses. All the Light Horse unit horses' health was ascertained with the fit horses being transferred to the Indian Cavalry while those in poor condition were destroyed by the Veterinary units.
On 13 March 1919 the 14th Light Horse Regiment was deployed to assist in suppressing the Egyptian Uprising. When the revolt collapsed, the 14th Light Horse Regiment embarked on the 24 July 1919 for the long voyage to Australia where the unit was disbanded.
Lieutenant Colonel George Furner Langley Lieutenant Colonel Aubrey Sydney Nobbs Lieutenant Colonel Herbert Reginald Denson
Decorations earned by the 14th Light Horse Regiment
3 DSO - Distinguished Service Orders
5 MC - Military Crosses
2 DCM - Distinguished Conduct Medals
11 MM- Military Medals
13 MID - Mentioned in Despatches
1 foreign award
As the successor of the 1st Camel Battalion, Imperial Camel Corps, the 14th Light Horse Regiment also inherited the battle honours.
Defence of Egypt
First Battle of Gaza
Second Battle of Gaza
Third Battle of Gaza
Casualties suffered by the 14th Light Horse Regiment
The Australian War Memorial has put these on line and may be accessed here:
The following list details all the embarkations in support of the 14th Light Horse Regiment, AIF, during the Great War. Each entry details to formation and the ships on which the units embarked with the date and place of embarkation. The detail of the formation is linked to a list of men who embarked upon that ship on the specific date.
The Battle of Rafa, Sinai, 9 January 1917, Outline Topic: BatzP - Rafa
The Battle of Rafa
Sinai, 9 January 1917
Rafa landscape, January 1917.
Rafa, the site of a former Egyptian police post on the Mediterranean border with Palestine. is the name generally given to an action between British and Turkish forces on 9 January 1917 which was actually fought about 1.5 kilometres to the south on ground known as El Magruntein. Following the capture of the other main Turkish post inland at Magdhaba (q.v) a fortnight earlier, the British commander of what was called the Desert Column, Lieut.-General Sir Philip Chetwode, prepared to take Rafa as well. Aerial patrols reported that place to be held by 2,000 - 3,000 enemy troops, who were busily digging in. Available for this operation was the Anzac Mounted Division (1st and 3rd Australian Light Horse brigades and the New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade) commanded by Major-General Harry Chauvel, reinforced by three of the four battalions of the Imperial Camel Corps (which also contained many Australians) and the 5th Mounted Brigade, a British yeomanry outfit.
Map outline for the Battle of Rafa, drawn February 1917.
[Click on map for larger version.]
After a period spent in reconnoitring routes and compiling plans of the Turkish defences from the air, Chauvel's troops commenced their march from El Arish at dusk on 8 January. Moving first to Sheikh Zowaiid, an Arab village sixteen kilometres short of the objective which was seized and sealed to prevent a warning being carried to the enemy, by dawn the attacking force had entirely surrounded Rafa and was in position to attack. Only at this stage was the true difficulty of the operation apparent to Chetwode and Chauvel. The Turks occupied a network of trenches rising in tiers around an earthen redoubt on a central knoll, and although these works were not protected by wire they completely dominated the long bare slopes leading up to them.
Once commenced at 10 a.m. the British assault-as at Magdhaba - made only slow progress. For the first time use was made of aircraft to direct the fire of artillery using radio, but despite this innovation the attack lacked the weight of guns to destroy the enemy's defences or their spirit. By midafternoon the force's reserves had all been committed, ammunition was getting short, and Chetwode was beginning to fret about whether success could he achieved in time to meet the pressing need for water for both his men and horses. When news reached him at about 4 p.m. that two strong groups of Turkish reinforcements, probably 2,500 men, were approaching from the east and north-east, Chetwode decided soon afterwards to break off the fight and withdraw.
Wellington Mounted Rifles 2nd Troop from 9th Squadron charging the trenches at Rafa.
Acting on this order, Chauvel had issued the necessary instructions to his brigades. As at Magdhaba, however the recall was ignored at unit level where the troops were determined to bring the action to a climax. The New Zealanders and the Camel Corps both succeeded in overrunning the redoubts in front of them, and within a short period the entire Turkish defence collapsed. Of the garrison, some 200 were killed and 1,602 taken prisoner (including 168 wounded); only a few escaped into the darkness which soon afterwards enveloped the battlefield. British losses totalled 486, including 71 killed.
With his flank guards already exchanging fire at long range with the approaching Turkish reinforcements, Chauvel did not attempt to hold the ground just won but withdrew to Sheikh Zowaiid where water and supplies had been dumped. The enemy did not re-occupy the defences, however, and - apart from a fruitless clash by cavalry and camelry the next morning with two light horse regiments left to cover a field ambulance while it searched for wounded - left the British in uncontested possession of Rafa.
Prisoners captured at Rafa.
Extracted from the book produced by Chris Coulthard-Clark, Where Australians Fought - The Encyclopaedia of Australia's Battles, Allen and Unwin, Sydney, 1998, pp. 122-123.
Additional References cited by Chris Coulthard-Clark:
H.S. Gullett, (1944), The Australian Imperial Force in Sinai and Palestine, Sydney: Angus & Robertson.
A.J. Hill, (1978), Chauvel of the Light Horse, Carlton, Vic.: Melbourne University Press.
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