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Monday, 26 May 2008
13th LHR, AIF, 13th Australian Light Horse Regiment, Rouget Account
Topic: AIF - Fr - 13 LHR

13th LHR, AIF

13th Australian Light Horse Regiment

Rouget Account


 Arthur James Rouget


Rouget Biography

Rouget was born in Wandin, Victoria in 1889. He enlisted at the Light Horse Base Depot in Victoria, 7 January 1915 and was absorbed into the 13th Light Horse Regiment B Squadron on 1 May 1915. He embarked from Melbourne, Victoria, on board Transport A34 Persic on 28 May 1915. On 4 September 1915, he departed from Alexandria, Egypt on HMT "Mogantic" for service at Gallipoli. He was evacuated from Gallipoli and from Mudros on HMT "Simla", 8 January 1916, and returned to Alexandria.  He went to France on 22 June 1916 where he served till the end of the war with the 1st Anzac Army Corps Light Horse Regiment. He returned to Australia after departing from Devonport, England, 19 April 1919 and arriving at Melbourne on 8 June 1919. He was discharged due to cessation of hostilities on 7 August 1919. He died on 4 July 1940.


Rouget's story with the 13th Light Horse Regiment

The numbers at the commencement of the entry indicates the page number in the notebook. In keeping faith with the original document, the transcription is as it is presented without any alteration regarding spelling or grammar.


Page 1.

13 LH Regt preparing to embark 28 May 1915

2 a.m. roll call

4 a.m. issue plumes

5.30 a.m. get out of bed

great commotion in camp till 8.30 saddle up 9 oclock we move off leading our horses as they are a bit fresh 1/4 mile from camp we mount a few get spills but no bones broken arriving at the Pier about noon put the horses on board and wait on the Pier to receive

Page 2.

the colours the latter presented by Gov Stanley We go aboard ourselves the people then allowed on Pier very soon we are away. From Port Melb to Port Suez on Persic we get a small pay going down the bay after that nothing much happening till we get in the Bight when she shipped a sea and breaking some of the horse boxes on top deck one man receiving a fractured leg, by this time plenty of seasickness on board  

Page 3.

but very soon getting alright we had a quiet time from then on till we got out in Mid ocean when a waver broke over the stern and breaking the horse boxes on that part, from then on we started to feel the heat and had to take to sleeping on deck, another inconvenience coming into the war climate the horses required exercising and in some cases had to be brought up out of the hot holds onto the top deck and the

Page 4.

horses on top go below we eventually arrived at Suez 28 June loosing on the voyage 1 man and 30 horses we were very glad to get off the boat and the horses were I am sure. Greatly impressed with the niggers they seem to be very lazy and have to be driven to work also being knocked about by the water police. We unshipped the horses and put them on the train for Abbassieh one horse pulling away and jumped into

Page 5.

The Sea but was caught by a Motor Boat and saved, we buy a lo9t of water melons from the natives and pelt the skins back at them. We arrive at our destination in the wee hours of the morning tired and hungry and out of sorts we stay at Abbasieh for a few days it is very hot for us and the horses which are out in the open after we had been here a few day we are given leave to Cairo it is a wonderful

Page 6.

Party we had no idea that there was a City like it in the world so dirty and a peculiar stench we also had a trip to the Pyramids and went and seen the tombs in the most of them and also seen the Sphinx we nearly all get tired of them and go into Cairo and have to toe the carpet next day for it but get let off. We shift to Oaisis camp after a few days which is much better as we

Page 7.

Stables for our horses and baths for ourselves a week after we get here the horses are able to be ridden and we do some mounted drill which is better than having to do it on foot we get up at 5 oclock have a cup of tea and drill till 9 oclock as it is too hot for either man or horses in the middle of the day, We have to take our turn guarding the Turkish prisoners at Mahdi it is a bit of a change for us but plenty of polishing to do we take them

Page 8.

Out to work in the mornings and evening and their work was extending their own prison one morning 9 men escorting over 1000 to their work without a cartridge in their rifle someone forgot to see that we were loaded before we started we soon got over that one man sneaking away at a time and loading so as not to let the Turks know that we had not loaded before we started we had about 10 days of this and then go back to our camp at Oaisis

Page 9.

We are told that we are going to Galipoli as infantry and exchange our equipment for web we dump all our saddles and leather equipment in a bag and put our name on it we eventually get our web equipment together and our packs filled with the things we think we will need most and are ready for the fray marching to Zietoun station to entrain for alexandria, getting aboard the Megantic we have a good trip across as we are


 Rouget Diary, Page 1


Page 10.

In cabins and have a dining room to have our meals in reaching Lemnos they issue us with fly veils amunition and iron rations and then transferred to a smaller boat the Prince Abyaos we give 3 cheers for Captain and crew of Megantic, in the afternoon we leave Lemnos for Anzac towards midnight we hear for the first time war and see the gun boats using the searchlights and shooting also, as we draw near the land we are put into lighters

Page 11.

And towed alongside the little bit of pier at 1 am we go up into Shrapnel Gully and camp till daylight next day we shift into Monash Gully and dig in, after resting a few days we go into Lone Pine trenches with 24th Battlin until the 11 Dec the Regt shifted to Thompson's Lookout trenches and stayed there till the evacuation helping to load the mines that were being put in that sector

Page 12.

We are marched down to the Pier this time to go off getting on a lighter again and towed out to a vessel the (Mars) an old Cruiser and taken to Lemnos island we stay there for a few weeks and spend our first Xmas from home getting our Xmas Billies and enjoying a good est we are not here long & when are once more put on board this time on the Simla

Page 13.

Back once more to Egypt disembarking after a short but not too pleasant journey at Alexandra and entraining for Tel el Khebir here we get reorganized as the Regt has come down from 500 strong to a little over 200 we also hand in our web equipment and get our own back and also our horses after being made up to full strength again with a new Colonel (our own going back home) we set out for Ferry Post

Page 14.

For the Suez Canal to patrol the desert very shortly after this it is decided to split the Regt up so as each Div could have some Mtd Troops our lot being sent to the 4th Div we joined them at Tel el Khebir and were sent out on the plantations guarding them in case some of the troops interfered  with the Natives we were on this job for a fortnight then taking over from the 1st Div at Serapeum on 1st of April 1916

Page 15.

Here we are given a little patroling to do as this is the place where the Turk tried to cross the Canal before, so we are patroling the desert with 9 LH and also the sweet water Canals to prevent the natives from bathing in it and also from using it to irrigate their land, We celebrate the anniversary of our leaving Australia here, 2 days after we put the horses on the train en route for sunny France

Page 16.

On the Kingston arriving at Marseilles in June 1916 we were given 2 days leave which gave us an opportunity of seeing a good deal of the City putting our horses on the train we start for the North at 1 oclock in the morning when day broke we were passing through the most picturesque country that  I have ever seen our train did not stop in many places but wherever it did we received a warm welcome in fact

Page 17.

Some of the girls exchanging kisses for badges I had all my badges when we arrived at our destination on the third morning we could see Eiffel Tower in the distance and from there on we were given tea by the Red Cross workers at every station we stopped at arriving at our destination in the following morning we were certainly glad to get out of the train after over 3 days trip but I am very glad that I never missed that

Page 18.

Train journey from marseilles to Baileul in the summer of 1916. From the station we walked to our camp about 4 mls  away as the horses could not be ridden so soon after the sea trip it was at this place that we first heard the guns on the Western Front we have an easy time at this place doing gas drill and grazing the horses in our spare time after about 3 weeks I took sick and was sent to Hospital and

Page 19.

10 days latter joined my unit at Contay on the Somme which in the meantime had been joined by the other two squadrons completing the Regt again with Col Williams in command in this place we are given a good deal of mounted drill also learning the horses to jump a part of us let this place and went to Albert on different jobs and stayed there till the Aus Troops were relieved by the Canadians then entraining

Page 20.

It a place called Bell-a-glen we go north once again to Abiele while here they decide that they will build stables for the horses for the winter with brick floors so a party of us were detailed to proceed to Ypres to pick out the good  bricks from among the ruins and load the waggons when they came up at night we used to do a bit of souvinir hunting in our spare time among the ruins it took us about

Page 21.

10 days before we had enough of bricks, when we had, we went back to our camp and got to work laying, there happened to be one tradesman among our lot so he was foreman we got on very well and it did not take us long to lay enough to accommodate 130 horses the funny part was we were just finished when we had to pack up and go down on the Somme again arriving at our destination after marching for 7 days.

Page 22.

A small party of us were sent straight out to be attached to the 4 Division to carry despatches to the various Bdges we were at this for 14 weeks not the best job in the world as the roads were very bad for the horses and we were very poorly fed 4 of us messing together and it was costing nearly 10/- a week for food that we could buy from canteens we were eventually relieved and given an easy job a long way

Page 23.

back from the line for a few weeks but we were soon back up again this time going to a place called Bayentin doing traffic duty we stayed at this place until they had an idea that the Germans were going to retreat we were all called in and stood by ready to move out very quick which eventually came in 17 Mar we got to the front line but it was too hot to send Mtd troops over so we retired

Page 24.

a mile and camped for the night sending a patrol over at 3 a.m.  they got through could only find a German here and there so they sent the rest of us then the way we covered the ground I thought we were going straight to Berlin but after we got out a bit we meet a M.G here and there so had to steady up so the officers said they were the only ones that did it was necessary

Page 25.

for some of the men to hold 56 horses and jerry very soon found out where we had them and came over attacking with G.G in aeroplane and one officer getting under a log and shouting out give it to him boys as some of the boys were shooting at him with rifles This was the first inkling that we got as regards the sort of officers we had over us the result was that the men would hardly take any notice

Page 26.

of them we were relieved by the 21st Battln just about sundown and went a little way back to where the wagons had come up to in the meantime with food for us and our poor horses who had not had a bite since daylight that morning and some of them had to do a lot of galloping especially those on patrol the cook made tea for us and I enjoyed it as I have never enjoyed as well before, we were

Page 27.

not left much to ourselves as we were turned out at 1 a.m. we were in the road of the Artillery firing so had to pack up and go further back getting nicely into bed in our new camp after putting down horse lines we were immediately turned out again as there was a patrol wanted and other duties as well another chap and myself being sent to the 6th Bdge to carry despatches for them to their Battlin a job that was more

Page 28.

interesting at some times that others we were kept firstly pretty busy we heard an awful explosion one night followed by a lot of bricks falling you would think that all the bricks that were ever made were all coming down at once of course we had to see what had happened and found that the Town Hall of Bapaume had been blown up with some of our own men in it the first mine of its kind to

Page 29.

explode on the Western Front my mate and I thought we were close enough as we were about 100 yds from it but were quite sure about it the next day when one went up 20 yds away and left our horses standing  just on the edge of the crater luckily for us most of the explosion went on the opposite side to us unlike the town hall this one only got 2 victims the other getting somewhere about 30 we were relieved a few

Page 30.

days after this and went back to our old camp for 10 days rest at the end of that time coming up again but we were of no use for patrols as by this time both sides were well dug in and strongly supported with Artillery we were not kept in the forward area long except a few staying to do a bit of despatch riding the rest of us going back to our old camp we stayed here a few weeks then shifting up north again and camping just out


 Rouget's Diary, Page 41


Page 31.

side of Harebroneh it was at this time that the Germans surprised everyone by shelling the latter town throwing the shell a little over 30 mls and putting his first in the town at 7 oclock in the evening of about the 15th Aug and we stayed in this until the first week in Sept then shifted to Ryvelt and from here detachments were sent out the various Divisions to be in readiness for the 20th of Sept the M.G's going into support on

Page 32.

air defenses the remainder were detailed as D.R's and a few small parties were to patrol fortunately the patrol that we were with never reached the front line as the officer got lost and it would have been too late for us to get over when he had found the way we returned to camp and were sent to carry despatches for the 2nd Div and remained at that till the infantry done the next stunt on Oct 4th as our horses

Page 33.

were getting poor with the extra work we were relieved and sent back to our Camp as it was now getting well on in the winter of 1917 we had to shift into stables at a place called Locre we were fairly comfortable here as there was a coal dump not far away and we used to buy potatoes from the farmers and cook them we also celebrated our 3rd Xmas away from home it was very good indeed and a credit to those who

Page 34.

bought the stuff and prepared the dinner we had a very good time indeed. We were not allowed to remain in this place very long, in the month of Jan we were sent to a Cavalry school on the Somme at a place 20 ml from Amiens called Longpre Les Corps Saints as we were the first Aus that were in this village we were treated very well. They told us that we were not trained enough

Page 35.

and had to be brought up to the same standards as the British soldiers were in the standing army both in the foot and mounted drill so we were given what they called intensive training personally I did not care too much about it after been at it for 3 yrs we were kept at the school for 4 weeks and then went back to our camp at Locre it was at this time that the Germans were expected to attack so it was our job to learn

Page 36.

every inch of the country in our sector so as to be able to fight a rearguard the enemy at this time doing a good deal of long shooting mainly on Bailuh the attack came eventually but on the Somme so we were rushed away down there to support the Battln if opportunity came, only a small party of one of the Squadrons getting a chance to do anything the remainder were riding over the country doing road reconnaissance

Page 37.

and learning the lay of the country as it was thought that the Germans would try to capture Amiens we also had the M Guns mounted every night as Fritz was pretty active with his planes, on the 8th Aug a lot of our men were sent to the Battln H.Q to carry despatches to the companys in the line the first time to my knowledge horses going into the front line while the infantry were attacking. On the 10 of Aug a party of us

Page 38.

were attached to the Gaison Force but they did not do a stunt, on the 18 of Aug a composite squadron done a charge the first on only time a bug bunch of our Regt went over fortunately the only opposition was field Artillery and they got off with few casualties from the 8 of Aug on till Oct 4th were given plenty to do as each Div required a certain number of mounted men and our Regt was the only one they could

Page 39.

get them from 1/2 a squadron of us were sent to the 5th Div when they were following the yanks in smashing the Hindenburg line the latter was not too good for a while as the Yanks went forward too quick and left a lot of Germans M Gunners behind who gave us a bit of trouble for the first day on one sector they could not advance at all so we were getting infalating fire from the Artillery for a few days After the

Page 40.

3rd day of it was not so bad for us except Fritz paid us a good deal of attention at night we were using his own tracer bullets on him so he used to get rid of his load and get back shortly after this we went back for a spell to Longpre les Ameins after resting about 4 weeks we received marching orders again by this time the line had

Page 41.

advanced a long way so far that we were riding for a few days before we could even hear the Guns, while riding along one morning cold and wet we were told by a Staff Officer that the Armistice had been signed.


So ends the story of Rouget's service. 



Hunter, DJ, My Corps Cavalry - A History of the 13th Australian Light Horse Regiment 1915-1918, Melbourne 1999.


Further Reading:

13th Australian Light Horse Regiment, AIF

13th Australian Light Horse Regiment, Roll of Honour 

Battles where Australians fought, 1899-1920

Citation: 13th LHR, AIF,  13th Australian Light Horse Regiment, Rouget Account

Posted by Project Leader at 4:43 PM EADT
Updated: Thursday, 18 February 2010 9:01 PM EAST

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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

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