Topic: AIF - 5B - 15 LHR
15th LHR, AIF
15th Australian Light Horse Regiment
15th Light horse Regiment Kit Inspection, Baalbek, Lebanon, 1918
[From: AWM J06038]
The 15th Light Horse Regiment was formed as part of the 5th Australian Light Horse Brigade attached to the Australian Mounted Division on 26 July 1918. This Regiment was formed predominantly from the members of the 3rd Battalion, Imperial Camel Corps.
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.
[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.
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.
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
[From: AWM J06027]
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
CampaignsAs 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
- El Mughar
- Nebi Samwill
- Es Salt
- Palestine 1917-1918
Casualties suffered by the 15th Light Horse Regiment
- 16 killed
- 3 wounded
The Australian War Memorial has put these on line and may be accessed here:
15th Light Horse Regiment War Diaries.
See: Troop transport ships for information and photographs about the various ships employed in transporting the troops to Egypt.
15th Australian Light Horse Regiment, AIF
15th Australian Light Horse Regiment, Roll of Honour
Battles where Australians fought, 1899-1920
Citation: 15th Australian Light Horse Regiment, AIF, Outline