"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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Thursday, 23 April 2009
el Qatiya, Sinai, 23 April 1916, 5th LHR, AIF, War Diary Account Topic: AIF - 2B - 5 LHR
Sinai, 23 April 1916
5th LHR, AIF, War Diary Account
War Diary account of the 5th LHR, AIF.
22 April 1916
Instructions received to proceed to Katia. Regiment moved out this day at 0545 for Kantara arrived there 1300. Transport came by train. Instructed to leave transport waggons, personnel and horses at Kantara and marched next day to Dueidar.
23 April 1916
Received instructions from 52nd Division (General Lawrence) that Dueidar Post being attacked and to send out one Squadron at once and to follow on with the balance of the Regiment.
"C" Squadron under Major Cameron moved out, reported at Hill 40 (155 Brigade, Lieutenant Colonel Legett) were instructed to proceed to Dueidar and pursue enemy.
"C" Squadron arrived Dueidar where Turkish rearguard stiff firing into that post.
"C" Squadron moved South East a distance of 8 miles, did not get in touch with enemy other than two armed men who were taken prisoners.
Remainder of Regiment less Transport moved to Hill 70, reported to Lieutenant Colonel Legett. Left "B" Squadron and the Machine Gun Section there. Moved on to Dueidar with two Companies 4th Royal Scots Fusiliers. On arrival there instructed by Lieutenant Colonel Legett to pursue enemy who supposed to be on foot. Moved East and East South East. Took five prisoners but otherwise not in touch with enemy. Got touch with "C" Squadron. Both Squadrons saw a large number of tracks chiefly of camels estimated at least 500.
Received advice that Turks successfully attacked Katia and moving on Romani and for our two Squadrons to return to Dueidar before dark. Returned accordingly. "B" Squadron and Machine Gun Section left at Hill 70 rejoined Regiment at Dueidar at about 2000.
5th LHR Routine Order No 52, 20 November 1915 Topic: AIF - 2B - 5 LHR
Apart from the War Diary which presents a reflected view of Regimental history, one of the best sources of understanding the immediate challenges facing a regiment is to be found in the Routine Orders. They are a wealth of detail.
5th LHR Routine Order No 52, 20 November 1915
[Click on document for larger size.]
5th Light Horse Regiment Routine Order No 52 was written at Anzac, 20 November 1915. The purpose of this section of the Routine Order was to gazette the allottment of the named 57 men into the established strength of the Regiment, a necessary legal process in which to allow the unit to draw pay and rations for these men through the Regiment.
This particular list contains something that is of great assistance to an interested person, the allottment to the specific squadron. This gives a clearer view as to the location of the individual when reading the accounts in the War Diaries of the Unit Histories.
There is a caution. The handwritten list does contain inaccuracies and thus should not be relied upon without first checking the detail in depth.
Below is the list of 57 names next to which is the allotted Squadron.
1098 Trooper George ALLEN, "C" Squadron.
1004 Trooper Joseph AUSTIN, "B" Squadron.
53 Shoeing Smith Leslie John BAKER, "C" Squadron.
1126 Signaller Albert Ernest Lawrence BARKE, "A" Squadron.
1152 Trooper Thomas BONNER, "B" Squadron.
1008 Trooper George Henry BOTT, "B" Squadron.
1007 Trooper Eric BROWN, "B" Squadron.
1125 Trooper Robert Joseph CHIDLOW, "C" Squadron.
1107 Trooper Robert CLARK, "C" Squadron.
1116 Trooper Charles Joseph CONAGHAN, "B" Squadron.
1123 Trooper Samuel Freestone CROFT, "C" Squadron.
1012 Trooper Arthur Albert CROZIER, "B" Squadron.
1195 Trooper Lindsay DAWSON, "B" Squadron.
1060 Trooper Patrick DELANEY, "B" Squadron.
1157 Trooper Joseph DEVLIN, "A" Squadron.
1204 Trooper Harry DOYLE, "C" Squadron.
1058 Trooper Alwyne ELLIOTT, "B" Squadron.
244 Batman Alexander Madden FOOT, "A" Squadron.
1087 Trooper James GARDNER, "A" Squadron.
1057 Trooper Wilfred Holland GILBEY, "C" Squadron.
1103 Trooper William John GILLES, "A" Squadron.
1090 Trooper William Burnard HALLETT, "A" Squadron.
1059 Trooper Robert HANDLEY, "B" Squadron.
1113 Trooper Herbert Charles HARDWICK, "C" Squadron.
The Battle of Beersheba, Palestine, 31 October 1917, 5th ALHR, AIF, War Diary Account Topic: AIF - 2B - 5 LHR
The Battle of Beersheba
Palestine, 31 October 1917
5th LHR, AIF, War Diary Account
War Diary account of the 3rd LHR, AIF.
31 October 1917
Day Patrols found. Regiment moved out with rest of Brigade for advance to rear of Beersheba to Point on Hebron Road near Sakaty.
Arrived at Hanam in Wadi el Saba at 0700 on morning of 31st.
After watering horses in this Wadi, the Regiment was ordered forward to support the 7th LH Regiment which had crossed the Hebron Road under very heavy shell fire and occupied a position in Wadi Itmy. The Regiment was heavily shelled crossing the Wadi Khalil and Hebron Road. High ground to the north and north-west was held by enemy with guns and machine guns.
This Regiment and 7th LH Regiment engaged enemy during the remainder of day and held outpost line covering Beersheba-Hebron Road and approaches from the north-east during night 31st October/1st November.
Roll of Honour
Lest We Forget
Map detailing the movement of the 5th LHR as per the War Diary, 31 October 1917
The Battle of Beersheba, Palestine, 31 October 1917, 5th LHR, AIF, Unit History Account Topic: AIF - 2B - 5 LHR
The Battle of Beersheba
Palestine, 31 October 1917
5th LHR, AIF, Unit History Account
5th Light Horse Regiment on the march
Brigadier General Lachlan Chisholm Wilson and Captain Henry Wetherell, collaborated to produce a unit history published in 1926 called History Of The Fifth Light Horse Regiment, 1914 - 1919 which included a section specifically related to the battle of Beersheba and is extracted below. A copy of this book is available on the Lost Leaders of Anzacs website.
Wilson, L.C. and Wetherell, H., History Of The Fifth Light Horse Regiment, 1914 - 1919, Motor Press, Sydney, 1926, pp 127-8:
PART II. By CAPTAIN H. WETHERELL.
CHAPTER 30. BEERSHEBA TO JERUSALEM. (October to December, 1917)
 On the departure of Lieutenant-Colonel Wilson, Lieutenant-Colonel D. C. Cameron took over the command.
The plan for the attack on Beersheba on October 31st, 1917, was briefly as follows:-The 60th and 74th Infantry Divisions were to attack the outer defences on the west and south-west and, having captured them, were to hold the high ground west of the town. Meanwhile, the Anzac and the Australian Mounted Divisions, starting respectively from Asluj and Khalassa were to march during the night right round the enemy left flank, and attack the town from the north-east. The 7th Mounted Brigade, marching direct from Esani, had the duty of masking the strongly entrenched southern end of the outer defences. To the cavalry, thus fell the task of seizing the town of Beersheba itself.
On the night of 30th October, the full Regiment ("B" Squadron having returned from outpost duty with the Canal Brigade) started with three days' rations from Asluj with the Anzac Division for the attack on Beersheba, a distance of 25 miles. The country traversed was difficult and was unknown to us and the maps lacked detail. But there was a bright moon, and no serious enemy opposition was encountered. At dawn next morning the Brigade attacked the entrenched hill of Tel-el-Sakaty, which was captured about one o'clock, and half an hour later were astride the Hebron-Beersheba Road, The general battle, however, lasted all day, and as the resistance increased the Division was reinforced by the 3rd Brigade  under our old commanding officer. New reinforcements from Hebron had to be held up and the strong position of Tel-el-Saba was not captured by the Division until late in 'the afternoon. If Beersheba were not taken by nightfall, we should have been in serious straits among other things for water, but the brilliant charge of the 4th Brigade at dusk over successive lines of trenches finally captured the position.
Having watered our horses during the night at Beersheba wells, the Regiment was detached next morning and ordered to reconnoitre in the Judean Hills towards Hebron, in the direction of Dhaheriyeh. On reaching a point near Makruneh, the enemy were found to be holding the ridges in some strength and they opened fire with two guns and machine guns. They had created a new flank based on the commanding position of Khuweilfe. In the afternoon the Regiment moved forward to reconnoitre Deir Suideh, but found the enemy holding a strong position, which checked our advance. A withdrawal was made to B.H.Q. at dusk, where we watered and bivouacked for the night.. The following days, from the 2nd November to the 5th November, further reconnaissances with the full Brigade were made, and at night touch was maintained with the enemy who were still holding the hills in strength. It had been the intention on the 3rd to attack if possible and work round the enemy's left flank. The country, however, was extraordinarily rugged and difficult, and in many places the horses had to be led up and down the hills. Enemy reinforcements could be seen hurrying down the Hebron Road in motor lorries. We were shelled most accurately during these days although we had good cover, and it was apparent that Bedouin spies were at work. On the 5th four guns concentrated their fire on us and caused casualties-nine men wounded, 14 horses killed and 17 horses wounded.
Bir el Mazar, Sinai, 17 September 1916, 5th LHR, AIF, War Diary Account Topic: AIF - 2B - 5 LHR
Bir el Mazar
Sinai, 17 September 1916
5th LHR, AIF, War Diary Account
War Diary account of the 5th LHR, AIF.
16 September 1916
Report on Operations 16th to 18th September 1916, Fatir to Mazar
This Regiment less on Squadron on outpost, left Hod el Fatir at 0205 on 16th, left Hassaniya with Brigade at 0220. Outpost Squadron joined Regiment at Bada, Brigade arrived at Ge’eila at 1645, arrived Divisional Rendezvous at Mazar Road at 2030. Division left this point for Mazar. This Regiment formed the Advance Guard, "C" Squadron the van guard and two troops from "A" Squadron flank guards to the main guard.
17 September 1916
At point on Southern Road north of Hill 157 the 3rd Light Horse Brigade moved south east at 0245 and the 2nd Light Horse Brigade moved east, this Regiment still forming the advance guard as before, on arriving at a point about a mile west of Point 30 on the Mazar Road the Brigade was halted and instructions were received for the Regiment to reconnoitre the country to the east. On arriving at the line running north and south through Hill 30 our advance screen located two enemy outposts - one on the road and one half a mile to the north. Two Troops then advanced dismounted on the Southern Post and three Troops were sent to outflank it on the right, the Machine Gun Troop taking up a position to cover the advance, one Troop was sent north to Point 50. Before the attacking troops could reach the enemy outposts, the enemy retired on camels. The Regiment then advanced to a ridge overlooking Mazar. Three Troops of "A" Squadron advanced on the right and two Troops of "C" Squadron to the front a thousand yards further on a north and south line. The left flank of the advanced line was within 200 yards of the enemy's trenches and the right flank within 800 yards. Fire, including one Lewis Gun, was opened on the enemy. A message was then received from Brigade that Mazar was said to be to the south and not to advance any further east. At 0610 I intercepted a message from the 3rd Light horse Brigade that it had decided to withdraw. Shortly afterwards, I received a message from Brigade to keep the 3rd Light Horse Brigade in view and conform. On the Regiment arriving at Hill 30, the flank of the Anti-Aircraft Guns could be distinctly seen. This fact was reported, also that our position was a good Artillery Observation Post. An Artillery Officer afterwards arrived and inspected the position, and said he would bring up the Inverness Battery. The Battery, however, took up a position and Observation Post from which the Anti-Aircraft Guns could not be seen. They were not shelled during the day. At 0925 I intercepted a message from the 7th Light Horse Regiment to Brigade that 3rd Light Horse Brigade was retiring and that the 7th Light Horse Regiment was withdrawing less one Squadron which was waiting for the wounded men. I withdrew my advanced Squadrons to the line occupied by Regimental Headquarters. General Chauvel and General Ryrie then arrived at Regimental Headquarters and I was instructed not to retire beyond positions occupied by Guns until satisfied that the 3rd Light Horse Brigade and the last Squadron of the 7th Light horse Regiment had retired. The Regiment then withdrew to a line occupied by Battery leaving the Observation Post overlooking Mazar. I shortly afterwards ascertained that the 3rd Light Horse Brigade and final Squadron of the 7th Light Horse Regiment had withdrawn. The Guns then retired and this Regiment escorted them into the rendezvous. During the latter part of our stay at Mazar the Anti-Aircraft Guns were converted into field pieces and shelled us.
The Regiment marched to a point north of Moseifig where it halted for water. The Regiment les one Squadron was unable to obtain same and moved on to Salmana arriving at 1900, camped there until 0330 the following morning, then moved on to Hassaniya with Brigade. Casualties during these operations: one man killed and three men wounded. The Regiment moved from Fatia to Romani where it remained until 2nd October.
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