"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.
After filling out his application to enlist with the AIF at Kalgoorli, Tom Cooper was ascertained as accepted by the Recruiting Officer on 13 December 1915. From Kalgoorli, Tom Cooper went to Blackboy Hill Training Camp for his basic training where he entered on 15 December 1915. Blackboy Hill was the major Western Australian Training Depot for the AIF. Almost every soldier from Western Australia passed through this camp.
From basic training, Tom Cooper was accepted as a Private with the 10th Light Horse Regiment. His cohort was the 15th Reinforcements.
Sometime in February 1916, it was decided that the colour of Tom Cooper's skin was a factor in determining his efficiency as a soldier. Tom Cooper was discharged from the AIF as "Not of substantially European descent" which was apparently in compliance of General Order No 679.
Pte Tom Cooper's Attestation Papers "Statement of Service" with the AIF
After receiving his discharge Tom Cooper never sought to serve his country again.
It is unusual that after qualifying as a soldier with the Recruiting Officer, he would have been subsequently discharged on the grounds of race. There is a deeper underlying story in this situation which is covered up by the application of General Order No. 679. The fact that it was chosen to be enforced two months after Tom Cooper was accepted into the AIF leads to the suggestion that a particular person took a dislike to Tom Cooper and utilised a vague order to legitimise personal animus. Until that time, Tom Cooper appears to have been accepted by all his comrades. In addition, his horsemanship was considered to be excellent as he was accepted as a reinforcement to the Light Horse, a difficult task.
The enforcement of this rule appears capricious. Not more than four months later, 4484 Pte Billy Elsdale, 47th Infantry Battalion, a full blood Aboriginal with in AIF was killed in action in the Fleurbaix sector on the bloody Somme, 7 July 1916. Elsdale was not the only Aboriginal in the AIF as the numbers of Aboriginal recruits were quite substantial considering their treatment by the broader community.
The humiliation of Tom Cooper was enough to remove from him the desire to do his bit for the country, especially by 1917 when it was difficult to get recruits which led to an almost fully Aboriginal reinforcement Troop being sent to the 11th Light Horse Regiment from Queensland.
While not a Light Horseman, 2919 Pte Alfred John Henry Lovett was a jockey by profession. The exceptional detail available about this Aboriginal member of the AIF makes his inclusion most important. It indicates a normality about this man that was no different to the rest of the community. Lovett has a wife, two sons and a successful career. The only reason for his enlistment towards the end of 1915 related to his height, not his race. Lovett did his duty well and returned to Australia as medically unfit for military service.
The following entries are extracted and transcribed from the 9th Light Horse Regiment War Diary, the originals of which are held by the Australian War Memorial. There are 366 entries on this site. Each day has entries as they occurred from 1914 to 1919. In addition to the 9th Light Horse Regiment War Diary, when appropriate, entries from the 3rd Light Horse Brigade War Diary and other regiments with the Brigade will also appear. Entries from the unit history, Darley, TH, With the Ninth Light Horse in the Great War, Adelaide, Hassell Press, 1924 will also appear from time to time. The aim is to give the broadest context to the story and allow the reader to follow the day to day activities of the regiment. If a relative happened to have served in the regiment during the Great War, then this provides a general framework in which the individual story may be told.
9th Light Horse Regiment War Diary - Ayliffe, Lieutenant SH; and, 51 Other Ranks left by train from Mahamadiyah for Anzac Rest Camp, Port Said. B Squadron supplied patrol of one Sergeant and three Other Ranks for patrol to Bir Abu Duyuk, Bir el Hamisah, Qatiya and return.
McKenzie, Major KA returned from Cavalry School, Zeitoun.
Thursday, November 1, 1917
9th Light Horse Regiment Location - Beersheba.
9th Light Horse Regiment War Diary - A Squadron holding line from Point 1040 to Tel el Saba. Remainder of Regiment bivouacked one mile south of Point 1040. Gregory, 1364 Lance Corporal HO, with A Squadron patrol at 0700 captured one Turkish Medical Officer and 5 Other Ranks. Medical Officer spoke very good English and informed Commanding Officer that our flank attack by mounted troops was entirely unexpected and unprovided for by the enemy. Burial party from B Squadron was working in the vicinity of the Regiment burying enemy dead. Four Turkish wounded were collected and dispatched to 3rd Light Field Ambulance.
At 1400 on the afternoon of 31st October [Note: the date should be 1 November, ed.] Ragless, Captain BB, with Kildea, Lieutenant FJ; and, his troop of B Squadron left Regiment in vicinity of Iswaiwin and moved into Beersheba and Ragless, Captain BB, assumed duties of first military governor of that place.
At 1630, C Squadron moved out as escort to 1300 Turkish prisoners being sent from Beersheba to 20th Corps Headquarters Taweil el Habari.
Bodkin 3255, Trooper JL, died of wounds.
3rd Light Horse Brigade War Diary -
At 0500 enemy carried out an aeroplane raid; two planes drew a heavy rifle and machine gun fire from the Mounted Troops and one aeroplane was shot down by the 8th Light Horse Regiment.
Wounded and unwounded Turkish Prisoners were being taken from daylight and information gained from these that the Turks had fallen back to Tel el Sheria.
At 1430 troops of the 53rd Division and Imperial Camel Corps moved through the outpost lines. Day outpost was then withdrawn and Brigade was concentrated in the neighbourhood of 960.
Big supplies of grain and tibbin were discovered in the vicinity of Tel el Saba. Horses were watered from pools in the Wadi Saba during the day.
At 1600 Ragless, Captain BB, 9th Light Horse Regiment assumed the duties of first Military Governor of Beersheba.
At 1630 C squadron, 9th Light Horse Regiment, moved out as escort to 1300 prisoners despatched from Beersheba to 20th Corps Headquarters at Taweil el Habari.
Convoy carrying one day's rations for man and horse arrived at Brigade Headquarters at 1800. The Brigade had left Khalasa self supporting, with supplies for three days in the event of continuous fighting, after the attack on Beersheba commenced. Two days supplies only had been used up and the arrival of the convoy our allowed for the third days fighting ration to be carried as a day's reserve ration. Had the infantry attack on the south and the south west of Beersheba failed, this convoy could not have reached Brigade at the time it did. It travelled that country held by the enemy up to the previous day.
The situation was now that Beersheba, the left flank of the Turkish line was occupied by our troops. The survivors of that garrison had fallen back to the centre of their line at Tel el Sheria. The 2nd Brigade had pushed on up the Beersheba - Hebron road toward Dhaheriyeh. If more troops were sent on towards Tel Khuweilfeh the now left flank of the Turkish Line would be seriously threatened. To protect his flank the enemy would have to deplete his general reserve now in the neighbourhood of Tel el Sheria. This would weaken his centre. That is what our High Command desired. The bulk of his general reserve was moved east to Tel Khuweilfeh, and a few days later our infantry broke through his unsupported line at Tel el Sheria.
In furtherance of the above scheme orders were received for a Regiment to be attached to the 7th Mounted Brigade, [Yeomanry], for operations towards Ain Kohel and Tel Khuweilfeh, about eleven miles north north east of Beersheba. These places were of tactical importance in as much as there was a good water supply there.
The 8th Light Horse Regiment [McLaurin, Lieutenant Colonel AG] was detailed for duty. The orders were that it was to go without the slightest possible delay. The Division expected that it would return that night. The regiment carried little water and most of the water bottles were empty. There was no time to fill them or to water the horses. The Regiment moved at 0800.
No water cart was allowed to accompany the Regiment, and only one day's water was carried. After proceeding about nine miles the enemy were met with in position a hill barring our progress. One Yeomanry Regiment was on our right and on their left with a considerable distance between them.
The 8th Light Horse Regiment was ordered to send one Squadron to attack the enemy and drive him off the hill. The enemy was engaged and driven back about one mile, where strong opposition was met. The remaining two squadrons of the Regiment were sent in and a line established linking up with the Yeomanry on the left.
Touch could not be gained with the Yeomanry on our right because of a wide wadi intervening.
Our line was maintained throughout that day and night under heavy fire and on the morning of 3rd the Yeomanry Brigade was relieved by the 1st Light Horse Brigade of the Anzac Mounted Division and the 8th Light Horse Regiment came under the orders of the General Officer in Command of that Brigade.
The enemy had strongly reinforced the forces opposed to us during the night and became very bold, but as our position was very strong, they did not attack in numbers.
Several attacks were by the Anzacs but were unsuccessful.
The 8th Light Horse Regiment had suffered several casualties and the men were suffering severely from hunger and thirst, no water being obtainable near our position. And the 8th Light Horse Regiment was relieved by Welsh Infantry and returned to Beersheba arriving in bivouac at 2300, after having been 39 hours without rest with less than one bottle of water per man and rations for two meals. The horses were without water for the same period.
48 cases of acute diarrhoea occurred in the Regiment next day, caused, in the opinion of the Medical Officer through the drinking of large quantities of impure water by men who were suffering severely from thirst. The 8th Light Horse Regiment was complimented for the fine resistance it had put up under such trying circumstances.
Friday, November 1, 1918
9th Light Horse Regiment Location - Homs
0500 Arrived at Homs. Passed through centre of town to an area two miles north and bivouacked. This completed the 100 miles march from Kaukab. The horses stood the trip well. Route throughout was fairly well watered. With the exception of the stage from Adra to Kuteife a high standard of march discipline was maintained. On the aforementioned stage the 3rd Light Horse Brigade marched in rear of the Divisional Troops Group. This group included much wheeled transport which necessitated a very slow pace. Details of the armistice with Turkey received.
On 10th October 1918, Barker, Lieutenant AS, was attached to 3rd Light Horse Brigade as Acting Staff Captain.
Saturday, November 1, 1918
9th Light Horse Regiment Location - Adelaide
9th Light Horse Regiment War Diary - Regiment disbanded.
Diaries of AIF Servicemen, Bert Schramm, 1 November 1918 Topic: Diary - Schramm
Diaries of AIF Servicemen
1 November 1918
2823 Private Herbert Leslie SCHRAMM, a 22 year old Farmer from Whites River, South Australia. He enlisted on 17 February 1916; and at the conclusion of the war Returned to Australia, 10 July 1919.
During part of the course of his military service with the AIF, Bert Schramm kept a diary of his life. Bert was not a man of letters so this diary was produced with great effort on his behalf. Bert made a promise to his sweetheart, Lucy Solley, that he would do so after he received the blank pocket notebook wherein these entries are found. As a Brigade Scout since September 1918, he took a lead part in the September Offensive by the Allied forces in Palestine. Bert's diary entries are placed alongside those of the 9th Light Horse Regiment to which he belonged and to the 3rd Light Horse Brigade to which the 9th LHR was attached. On this basis we can follow Bert in the context of his formation.
The complete diary is now available on the Australian Light Horse Studies Centre Site at:
Bert Schramm's Handwritten Diary, 1 - 4 November 1918
[Click on page for a larger print version.]
Friday, November 1, 1918
Bert Schramm's Location - Homs, Syria
Bert Schramm's Diary - We arrived at Homs at 5.30 this morning and we are at present camped about two miles north of the town. I think we will probably stay here until the results of the armistice is known. Homs is a fairly decent town and much cleaner than most of the places we have seen yet. Homs has a population of eighty thousand people.
9th Light Horse Regiment War Diary
9th Light Horse Regiment Location - Homs, Syria
9th Light Horse Regiment War Diary - 0500 Arrived at Homs. Passed through centre of town to an area two miles north and bivouacked. This completed the 100 miles march from Kaukab. The horses stood the trip well. Route throughout was fairly well watered. With the exception of the stage from Adra to Kuteife a high standard of march discipline was maintained. On the aforementioned stage the 3rd Light Horse Brigade marched in rear of the Divisional Troops Group. This group included much wheeled transport which necessitated a very slow pace. Details of the armistice with Turkey received. On 10th October 1918, Barker, Lieutenant AS, was attached to 3rd Light Horse Brigade as Acting Staff Captain.
Nominal Roll, AWM133, Nominal Roll of Australian Imperial Force who left Australia for service abroad, 1914-1918 War.
War Diaries and Letters
All War Diaries and letters cited on this site should be read in conjunction with the Australian Light Horse Studies Centre, War Diaries and Letters, Site Transcription Policy which may be accessed at:
The Australian Light Horse Studies Centre is a not for profit and non profit group whose sole aim is to write the early history of the Australian Light Horse from 1900
- 1920. It is privately funded and the information is provided by the individuals within the group and while permission for the use of the material has been given for this
site for these items by various donors, the residual and actual copyright for these items, should there be any, resides exclusively with the donors. The information on
this site is freely available for private research use only and if used as such, should be appropriately acknowledged. To assist in this process, each item has a citation
attached at the bottom for referencing purposes.
Please Note: No express or implied permission is given for commercial use of the information contained within this site.
A note to copyright holders
The Australian Light Horse Studies Centre has made every endeavour to contact copyright holders of material digitised for this blog and website and where
appropriate, permission is still being sought for these items. Where replies were not received, or where the copyright owner has not been able to be traced, or where
the permission is still being sought, the Australian Light Horse Studies Centre has decided, in good faith, to proceed with digitisation and publication. Australian Light
Horse Studies Centre would be happy to hear from copyright owners at any time to discuss usage of this item.