« May 2008 »
1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30 31
You are not logged in. Log in

Search the site:

powered by FreeFind
Volunteer with us.

Entries by Topic All topics  
A Latest Site News
A - Using the Site
AAA Volunteers
AAB-Education Centre
AAC-Film Clips
AAC-Photo Albums
AIF - Lighthorse
AIF - ALH - A to Z
AIF - DMC - Or Bat
AIF - DMC - Anzac MD
AIF - DMC - Aus MD
AIF - DMC - British
AIF - DMC - French
AIF - DMC - Indian
AIF - DMC - Italian
AIF - DMC - Medical
AIF - DMC - Remounts
AIF - DMC - Scouts
AIF - DMC - Sigs
AIF - DMC - Sigs AirlnS
AIF - DMC - 1 Sig Sqn
AIF - DMC - 2 Sig Sqn
AIF - DMC - Eng
AIF - DMC - Eng 1FSE
AIF - DMC - Eng 2FSE
AIF - 1B - 1 LHB
AIF - 1B - 6 MVS
AIF - 1B - 1 LHMGS
AIF - 1B - 1 Sig Trp
AIF - 1B - 1 LHFA
AIF - 1B - 1 LHR
AIF - 1B - 2 LHR
AIF - 1B - 3 LHR
AIF - 2B - 2 LHB
AIF - 2B - 7 MVS
AIF - 2B - 2 LHFA
AIF - 2B - 2 LHMGS
AIF - 2B - 2 Sig Trp
AIF - 2B - 5 LHR
AIF - 2B - 6 LHR
AIF - 2B - 7 LHR
AIF - 3B - 3 LHB
AIF - 3B - 8 MVS
AIF - 3B - 3 LHB Sigs
AIF - 3B - 3 LHFA
AIF - 3B - 3 LHMGS
AIF - 3B - 3 Sig Trp
AIF - 3B - 8 LHR
AIF - 3B - 9 LHR
AIF - 3B - 10 LHR
AIF - 4B - 4 LHB
AIF - 4B - 4 Sig Trp
AIF - 4B - 9 MVS
AIF - 4B - 4 LHFA
AIF - 4B - 4 LHMGS
AIF - 4B - 4 LHR
AIF - 4B - 11 LHR
AIF - 4B - 12 LHR
AIF - 5B - 5 LHB
AIF - 5B - 10 MVS
AIF - 5B - 5 LHFA
AIF - 5B - 5 Sig Trp
AIF - 5B - ICC
AIF - 5B - 14 LHR
AIF - 5B - 15 LHR
AIF - 5B - 1er Regt
AIF - 5B - 2 NZMGS
AIF - Aboriginal LH
AIF - Badges
AIF - Cars
AIF - Chinese LH
AIF - Double Sqns
AIF - Engineers
AIF - Fr - 22 Corps
AIF - Fr - 13 LHR
AIF - Honour Roll
AIF - HQ - 3rd Echelon
AIF - Marching Songs
AIF - Misc Topics
AIF - NZMRB - Sig-Trp
AIF - Ships
AIF - Ships - Encountr
AIF - Ships - Una
AIF - Wireless Sqn
BatzA - Australia
BatzA - Broken Hill
BatzA - Liverpool
BatzA - Merivale
BatzB - Boer War
BatzB - Bakenlaagte
BatzB - Belmont
BatzB - Bothaville
BatzB - Buffels Hoek
BatzB - Coetzees Drift
BatzB - Diamond Hill
BatzB - Driefontein
BatzB - Elands
BatzB - Graspan
BatzB - Grobelaar
BatzB - Grootvallier
BatzB - Hartebestfontn
BatzB - Houtnek
BatzB - Karee Siding
BatzB - Kimberley
BatzB - Koster River
BatzB - Leeuw Kop
BatzB - Mafeking
BatzB - Magersfontein
BatzB - Modder River
BatzB - Onverwacht
BatzB - Paardeberg
BatzB - Palmietfontein
BatzB - Pink Hill
BatzB - Poplar Grove
BatzB - Rhenoster
BatzB - Sannahs Post
BatzB - Slingersfontn
BatzB - Stinkhoutbm
BatzB - Sunnyside
BatzB - Wilmansrust
BatzB - Wolvekuil
BatzB - Zand River
BatzG - Gallipoli
BatzG - Anzac
BatzG - Aug 1915
BatzG - Baby 700
BatzG - Evacuation
BatzG - Hill 60
BatzG - Hill 971
BatzG - Krithia
BatzG - Lone Pine
BatzG - Nek
BatzJ - Jordan Valley
BatzJ - 1st Amman
BatzJ - 2nd Amman
BatzJ - Abu Tellul
BatzJ - Es Salt
BatzJ - JV Maps
BatzJ - Ziza
BatzM - Mespot
BatzM - Baghdad
BatzM - Ctesiphon
BatzM - Daur
BatzM - Kurna
BatzM - Kut el Amara
BatzM - Ramadi
BatzN - Naval
BatzN - AE1
BatzN - Cocos Is
BatzN - Heligoland
BatzN - Marmara
BatzN - Zeebrugge
BatzN - Zeppelin L43
BatzNG - Bitapaka
BatzO - Other
BatzO - Baku
BatzO - Egypt 1919
BatzO - Emptsa
BatzO - Karawaran
BatzO - Peitang
BatzO - Wassa
BatzP - Palestine
BatzP - 1st Gaza
BatzP - 2nd Gaza
BatzP - 3rd Gaza
BatzP - Aleppo
BatzP - Amwas
BatzP - Ayun Kara
BatzP - Bald Hill
BatzP - Balin
BatzP - Beersheba
BatzP - Berkusieh
BatzP - Damascus
BatzP - El Auja
BatzP - El Buggar
BatzP - El Burj
BatzP - Haifa
BatzP - Huj
BatzP - JB Yakub
BatzP - Kaukab
BatzP - Khan Kusseir
BatzP - Khuweilfe
BatzP - Kuneitra
BatzP - Megiddo
BatzP - Nablus
BatzP - Rafa
BatzP - Sasa
BatzP - Semakh
BatzP - Sheria
BatzP - Surafend
BatzP - Wadi Fara
BatzS - Sinai
BatzS - Bir el Abd
BatzS - El Arish
BatzS - El Mazar
BatzS - El Qatiya
BatzS - Jifjafa
BatzS - Magdhaba
BatzS - Maghara
BatzS - Romani
BatzS - Suez 1915
BatzSe - Senussi
BatzWF - Westn Front
BW - Boer War
BW - NSW - A Bty RAA
BW - NSW - Aust H
BW - NSW - Lancers
BW - NSW - NSW Inf
BW - Qld
BW - Qld - 1ACH
BW - Qld - 1QMI
BW - Qld - 2QMI
BW - Qld - 3ACH
BW - Qld - 3QMI
BW - Qld - 4QIB
BW - Qld - 5QIB
BW - Qld - 6QIB
BW - Qld - 7ACH
BW - SA - 2ACH
BW - SA - 4ACH
BW - SA - 8ACH
BW - Tas
BW - Tas - 1ACH
BW - Tas - 1TIB
BW - Tas - 1TMI
BW - Tas - 2TB
BW - Tas - 2TIB
BW - Tas - 3ACH
BW - Tas - 8ACH
BW - Vic
BW - Vic - 1VMI
BW - Vic - 2ACH
BW - Vic - 2VMR
BW - Vic - 3VB
BW - Vic - 4ACH
BW - Vic - 4VIB
BW - Vic - 5VMR
BW - Vic - 6ACH
BW - Vic - AAMC
BW - Vic - Scot H
BW - WA - 2ACH
BW - WA - 3WAB
BW - WA - 4ACH
BW - WA - 8ACH
BW Gen - Campaign
BW Gen - Soldiers
BW General
Cavalry - General
Diary - Schramm
Egypt - Heliopolis
Egypt - Mena
Gen - Ataturk Pk, CNB
Gen - Australia
Gen - Legends
Gen - Query Club
Gen - St - NSW
Gen - St - Qld
Gen - St - SA
Gen - St - Tas
Gen - St - Vic
Gen - St - WA
Gm - German Items
Gm - Bk - 605 MGC
GW - 11 Nov 1918
GW - Atrocities
GW - August 1914
GW - Biographies
GW - Propaganda
GW - Spies
GW - We forgot
Militia 1899-1920
Militia - Area Officers
Militia - Inf - Infantry
Militia - Inf - 1IB
Militia - Inf - 2IB
Militia - Inf - 3IB
Militia - Inf - NSW
Militia - Inf - Qld
Militia - Inf - SA
Militia - Inf - Tas
Militia - Inf - Vic
Militia - Inf - WA
Militia - K.E.Horse
Militia - LH
Militia - LH - Regts
Militia - LH - 1LHB
Militia - LH - 2LHB
Militia - LH - 3LHB
Militia - LH - 4LHB
Militia - LH - 5LHB
Militia - LH - 6LHB
Militia - LHN - NSW
Militia - LHN - 1/7/1
Militia - LHN - 2/9/6
Militia - LHN - 3/11/7
Militia - LHN - 4/6/16
Militia - LHN - 5/4/15
Militia - LHN - 6/5/12
Militia - LHN - 28
Militia - LHQ - Qld
Militia - LHQ - 13/2
Militia - LHQ - 14/3/11
Militia - LHQ - 15/1/5
Militia - LHQ - 27/14
Militia - LHS - SA
Militia - LHS - 16/22/3
Militia - LHS - 17/23/18
Militia - LHS - 24/9
Militia - LHT - Tas
Militia - LHT - 12/26
Militia - LHV - Vic
Militia - LHV - 7/15/20
Militia - LHV - 8/16/8
Militia - LHV - 9/19
Militia - LHV - 10/13
Militia - LHV - 11/20/4
Militia - LHV - 19/17
Militia - LHV - 29
Militia - LHW - WA
Militia - LHW-18/25/10
Militia - Military Orders
Militia - Misc
MilitiaRC - Rifle Clubs
MilitiaRC - NSW
MilitiaRC - NT
MilitiaRC - Qld
MilitiaRC - SA
MilitiaRC - Tas
MilitiaRC - Vic
MilitiaRC - WA
Militiaz - New Zealand
Tk - Turkish Items
Tk - Army
Tk - Bks - Books
Tk - Bks - 1/33IR
Tk - Bks - 27th IR
Tk - Bks - Air Force
Tk - Bks - Yildirim
Tk - POWs
Wp - Weapons
Wp - Hotchkiss Cav
Wp - Hotchkiss PMG
Blog Tools
Edit your Blog
Build a Blog
RSS Feed
View Profile
Open Community
Post to this Blog
Site Index
Education Centre
LH Militia
Boer War
Transport Ships
LH Battles
ALH - Units
ALH - General
Aboriginal Light H
Ottoman Sources

"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

Let us hear your story: You can tell your story, make a comment or ask for help on our Australian Light Horse Studies Centre Forum called:

Desert Column Forum

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

Thursday, 15 May 2008
Fleas on fleas
Topic: Gen - Legends
A Legend from Misunderstanding
Fleas on fleas, the results from careless work



The results from careless work - a case study

One major problem confronting any researcher is the quality of primary research conducted by popular historians. Poor quality research and published conclusions are then picked up by the public and soon the error becomes the reality. This is readily seen with the use of the emu plume as a symbol of the Australian Light Horse during the Great War.

One thing that becomes apparent is the confusion between the 3rd LHR (Light Horse Regiment) and the 3rd (LHB) Light Horse Brigade. This confusion rears its head in many captions of pix held at the AWM (Australian War Memorial) and because of the role played by the AWM as an authoritative institution, is picked up by many people as being accurate.


Case #1.


Caption Reads - "A captured turkish water cart at the camp of the 3rd Australian Light Horse near Beersheba. The cart is pulled by an emaciated grey Turkish horse while a ridden Waler in improvised breast plate and traces, is hitched in front of the Turkish horse. Horse lines can be seen in the background. "

[From: AWM P05109.003]


There are a number of overt problems with the description provided by the AWM regarding this specific picture. Desptie the caption describing the men as belonging to the 3rd Australian Light Horse, nothing could be further from the truth. A quick look by someone with a bit of knowledge would ascertain that the men in this picture are clearly British Yeomanry, and in this case, at a guess, possibly from the 5th Mounted Brigade.

The distinguishing uniform features of the men in the tell the story in this circumstance. They are wearing the pith helmet, rifle buckets and more importantly, they have puttees on their legs, items only worn by the Yeomanry. The Australians had discarded the pith helmet very early during the Sinai campaign and they never wore puttees, always leather leggings.

Just as an aside, all water casks captured from the Turks were ordered to be burnt. This was a great necessity as the containers were usually disease ridden. A couple cases of cholera ended any desire to retain Turkish water holders. The destruction was to ensure they did not end up in Turkish hands again either by accident or capture nor would they be available to carry cholera to the Allied troops.


Case #2

The poor ol' 3rd LHR get going over. They are attributed as taking part in many photograph captions regardless if they were no where near to be found. Such poor captioning brings up the realisation that there is a certain lack of quality control where the culture is more "near enough is good enough" and "say anything because the average person reading the site really wouldn't know". This is indicative of a culture that aims to gets quantity rather than quality from the dollar. It seems to work like this - if you employ professionals, they cost money, so basic wage staff will do the same for less money. This may seem like good economics within the organisation but the knock on effects to the broader community are dreadful. It is instrumental in passing on poor and corrupted information from one source to another, each compounding the error and feeding that error back as a confirmation.

To illustrate, I looked at the Hurley Collection and sure enough, an error made by a less than thorough historian or caption writer created an error which is then recycled in the public as well as scholarly works, thus adding to the apparent authenticity of the original mistake. We will use one of the famous pics take by the Official War Photographer, Captain Frank Hurley during his tour of Palestine at the end of December, 1917.

Here is the picture:


Four unidentified members of the 3rd Australian Light Horse Regiment machine gun in action at Khurbetha-Ibn.

[From: AWM P03631.087]


Picture details displayed by the AWM at the time of writing, 15 May 2008:

ID Number: P03631.087
Maker: Hurley, James Francis (Frank)
Place made: Palestine
Date made: 31 December 1917
Physical description: Colour
Summary: Four unidentified members of the 3rd Australian Light Horse Regiment machine gun in action at Khurbetha-Ibn. This image is a colour Paget Plate. The same image is available in black and white and is held at B01697.

Now let's test out the veracity of this caption. It should be easy.

The 3rd Australian Light Horse Regiment War Diary is online and kindly provided by the AWM, a service which can only be described as of the highest order and most commendable as it is the life blood of most researchers - the December 1917 War Diary pages are found at this address:


Let's see what it says:

"Jisr Esdud, 31/12/17, Detailed working party of 1 NCO & 15 men to report to Lt Jones Field Troop, at watering area at 0900 to deepen troughs. Details party of 1 NCO & 6 men as Guards on the drinking water."

This is the simple part. A quick check of a map will reveal that  Khurbetha-Ibn and Jisr Esdud are no where near each other. Indeed, the former is in the Judaean Hills while the latter is on the coast, two very different locations. Added to this, there is no mention of deployment of any machine gunners from the 3rd LHR in their War Diary.

So who was at Khurbetha-Ibn?

Well, one will find that at a place named Khurbetha Ibn Harith were elements of the 3rd Light Horse Brigade and indeed the 3rd Light Horse Machine Gun Squadron deployed near the Beit Sira area, nearby the headquarters at Khurbetha Ibn Harith. Here is what the 3rd LHB War Diary says for that very day:

"The relief of the Brigade by the 29th Infantry Brigade commenced at 0900 but owing to the steep and rocky nature of the country was not completed until 1600.

"At 2000 the Brigade was concentrated in the vicinity of Kefr Rut. Instructions were received that the withdrawal of the Brigade to Katra would commence at 1100 on 2nd January, 1918, and that the Brigade led horses would reach Brigade Headquarters at 1000 that day."

This entry gives a hint as to the formation that actually was at  Khurbetha Ibn Harith, the 3rd Light Horse Brigade. There is a substantial difference between a "Regiment" and a "Brigade", the most significant difference being at that time being was a Brigade was composed of three Regiments, thus making the Brigade a larger formation and thus quite different in nature. The structure of the Light Horse in Egypt and Palestine may be seen discussed in general terms at The Australian Light Horse - Structure while the complete structure of the Australian Light Horse forces deployed is found here at Australian Light Horse Order of Battle.

Let us go one step further and meet Trooper Henry Bostock of the 10th LHR. Fortunately for us, he left a diary.


 Trooper Henry Bostock's Diary Entry of 30 December 1917


And now we go to the personal diary of Henry Bostock of the 10th LHR. He was a 3rd LHB Scout and was delegated to provide an escort for Hurley on 30 December 1917 to the front lines to take his pictures. Here is what Bostock says:

"I escorted Brig Gen Wilson & Capt Hurley OWP around the front line."

Finally we look at the diary of Frank Hurley himself. During these days he talks only of being escorted around by General Wilson of the 3rd Light Horse Brigade. Not one mention of the 3rd Light Horse Regiment.


Frank Hurley's Diary, 31 December 1917

[From: Manuscript No. 883 - Frank Hurley Diary,  p. 128]

The relevant pages of the Hurley diary are available on the National Library of Australia site. 

So now we know - the men in the photograph are members of the 3rd Light Horse Machine Gun Squdron [3rd LHMGS] at Beit Sira.

One final piece of the puzzle. Hurley's team filmed this particular event.


Extract from the Hurley film of the 3rd Light Horse Machine Gun Squadron in action.

[To view the film clip, click on this link or on the above picture. Note: the clip is 5 mb in length.]


One look at the movie produced of the event and the still photograph indicates that it is one and the same event. Hurley was filming and photographing the 3rd Light Horse Machine Gun Squadron in action in the Judaean near Beit Sira, not the machine gunners from the 3rd Light Horse Regiment.

"Regiment" or "Brigade" - who cares and what is the difference anyway?

The 3rd LHR was part of the 1st LHB NOT the 3rd LHB. Two totally different formations. This is clearly seen when reading the Australian Light Horse Order of Battle.

Now the impact on external research and publications.

We now go to the book by Benjamin Z Kedar, The Changing Land - Between Jordan and the Sea - Aerial photographs from 1917 to the present, and then open at p. 102. where we see the Hurley picture published in this excellent volume.


Benjamin Z Kedar, The Changing Land - Between Jordan and the Sea - Aerial photographs from 1917 to the present, p. 102.


The caption to the picture on this page reads:

"The Third Australian Light Horse Regiment machine gun in action northwest of Beit Sira, 31 Dec 17. (Frank Hurley's color photo)"

Now we have the same error initiated by the AWM being perpetuated by Kedar. These are fleas on fleas. Goodness only knows where this corruption will head to but if publications such as these rely upon the AWM caption, which they have, then the editors relied upon poor information. But this mistake has now become reality.

And so it goes on.

This is not meant to pick on the AWM since there are other institutions who present this information in a flawed format. The list is long and the mistakes almost endemic. It presents the question: "If only the experts can determine the accuracy of a statement, what chance has the ordinary punter got?"

It is through producing a quality product that we honour our ancestors and the work and sacrifices they endured and in so doing, we honour ourselves.

The culture is clearly - "near enough is good enough" which is clearly not good enough.


Further Reading:

The Australian Light Horse - Structure

Australian Light Horse Order of Battle

Fleas on fleas - The results from careless work - another case study

Myths and Legends


Citation: Fleas on fleas - The results from careless work - a case study

Posted by Project Leader at 10:46 AM EADT
Updated: Sunday, 25 July 2010 12:30 PM EADT

View Latest Entries

Full Site Index

powered by FreeFind
Let us hear your story: You can tell your story, make a comment or ask for help on our forum.

Desert Column Forum

A note on copyright

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.


Australian Light Horse Studies Centre

eXTReMe Tracker