"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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In addition to the three active squadrons in Palestine, in Egypt there was the 15th Light Horse Training Squadron which was formed in July 1918. It supplied reinforcements for the 15th Light Horse Regiment.
5th Light Horse Brigade Routine Order 1 July 1919 announcing the Peace Treaty
[Note: No specific 15th LHR RO's exist. 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 15th 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 Patch for the 15th Light Horse Regiment as others received their colours. 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.
3rd Battalion Imperial Camel Corps Colour Patch
The first colour patch for the 3rd Battalion, Imperial Camel Corps was a blue triangle. This was initially worn by the men from the 13th and 14th Camel Companies which became the 3rd Battalion.
15th Light Horse Regiment Colour Patch
The 15th 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 green 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 15th 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 15th 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 15th 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 15th Light Horse Regiment was deployed to assist in suppressing the Egyptian Uprising. When the revolt collapsed, the 15th Light Horse Regiment embarked on the 24 July 1919 for the long voyage to Australia where the unit was disbanded.
Lieutenant Colonel Arthur James Mills
Decorations earned by the 15th Light Horse Regiment
2 DSO - Distinguished Service Orders
2 DCM - Distinguished Conduct Medals
4 MM - Military Medals
6 MID - Mentioned in Despatches
As the successor of the 3rd Camel Battalion, Imperial Camel Corps, the 15th 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 15th Light Horse Regiment
The Australian War Memorial has put these on line and may be accessed here:
15th Australian Light Horse Regiment, Roll of Honour Topic: AIF - 5B - 15 LHR
15th LHR, AIF
15th Australian Light Horse Regiment
Roll of Honour
Poppies on the Roll of Honour, Australian War Memorial, Canberra
The Roll of Honour contains the names of all the men known to have served at one time with the 15th Light Horse Regiment and gave their lives in service of Australia, whether as part of the 15th Light Horse Regiment or another unit.
Roll of Honour
Roy Bunbury ARMSTRONG, Died of Disease, 30 October 1918.
Frederick Joseph BAILEY, Died of Disease, 1 November 1918.
Charles BASKETT, Died of Disease, 13 October 1918.
Arthur Stanley BATSON, Died of Disease, 14 October 1918.
William Joseph BEER, Missing, believed Killed in Action, 19 September 1918.
Albert Joseph BOND, Died of Disease, 1 November 1918.
Richard Harwell BRYANT, Died of Disease, 4 November 1918.
Richard Leslie Oliver BUTTERS, Died of Disease, 22 November 1918.
Daniel Ruben CURTIS, Died of Disease, 23 February 1919.
Richard Clarence GREEN, Died of Disease, 25 October 1918.
Robert Walter HAWKES, Died of Disease, 3 November 1918.
Leslie Sylvester HOWARD, Died of Disease, 3 October 1918.
John LYONS, Died of Disease, 17 October 1918.
John James MCCARTY, Died of Disease, 4 November 1918.
Walter George Lowing MCMILLAN, Died of Disease, 21 October 1918.
John Bede MOYLAN, Died of Disease, 28 September 1918.
William Thomas PAPWORTH, Died of Disease, 5 December 1918.
George Frederick WEEDON, Died of Disease, 1 November 1918.
Harold WRIGHT aka Harold HARRIS, Died of Disease, 27 October 1918.
Lest We Forget
Acknowledgement: Many thanks to Steve Becker who provided much of the raw material that appears in this item.
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