Topic: AIF - Lighthorse
Australian Light Horse
Roles within the Regiment
Orders for Guards
The following entries dealing with the roles and duties within the hierarchy of a light horse regiment are extracted from a very informative handbook called The Bushman’s Military Guide, 1898. While written in 1898, the information contained in the entries held true for the next twenty years with only minor modifications with the principles remaining as current then as now.
Orders for Guards
(1.) This most important duty in Camp should be carried out to the letter.
(2.) Guards, usually furnished by mounted troops, are of two descriptions, viz.-(1.) Regimental or quarter guard, which goes on duty (or mounts) in review order dismounted, with carbines, and remains on duty for twenty-four hours. This guard is responsible for the safety of the Camp, especially at night, the paying of compliments to armed parties, officers, etc.
(2.) Night guard, or horse-lines guard. Usually mounts at sunset, and remains on duty until reveille, viz., 5.30 a.m., and is responsible for the safety of the horses and saddlery and Camp equipment.
(3.) All guards must be extremely alert, and ready to turn out at the shortest notice. No man is on any account to take off any part of his dress or accoutrements.
(4.) Every guard will be turned out twice a day by the non-commissioned officer commanding it - at daybreak and at watch setting (usually 9.30 p.m.)
(5.) The senior non-commissioned officer of the guard is responsible that there is no gaming, drinking, or singing in the guard tent, and that no man quits his guard without leave.
(6.) The guard tent is to be kept clean, and will not be taken over by the relieving non-commissioned officer in charge unless it is in a proper state.
(7.) The non-commissioned officer commanding the guard will at once report anything extraordinary to the adjutant or orderly officer.
(8.) No person is to be admitted into the guard tent except on duty.
(9.) All reliefs of sentries going out and coming in will be inspected by the non-commissioned officer in charge of the guard.
(10.) Guards turn out to the General Officer Commanding, or the senior officer of the Camp, and the Commanding Officer of the regiment during the day, at all times until sunset. If a Field Officer - viz., a Major, Colonel or General - with presented arms; to Field Officer not commanding a regiment once a day with presented arms. Guards never turn out to officers in plain clothes.
(11.) All guards turn out when armed parties approach their posts; they present arms only to parties commanded by officers. Non-commissioned officers in charge of guards, will ascertain the identity of the General and other officers entitled to a salute as soon as possible after arrival in Camp.
(12.) The guards turn out for the inspection of the officer of the day or the Adjutant whenever ordered by them with shouldered arms, and once daily for the Regimental Sergeant-Major, with ordered arms, for inspection as to their cleanliness (the men being shaved etc.) by 8 a.m. daily.
(13.) Guards and sentries must pay compliments to which officers are entitled, when within 15 yards of them, but sentries must stand at "attention" and call "Guard turn out" to the full extent of their voice when the officer entitled, is at the distance of 60 yards, or sooner, if the officer is fast approaching, and as quick as possible if the officer comes suddenly upon them.
(14.) Sentries are not to quit their arms or walk more than 10 yards on either side of their posts; they will walk about in a brisk and soldier-like manner.
(15.) Sentries will be very particular in paying compliments to which officers are entitled viz., Halt, Front, and present arms to all field officers, or armed parties in charge of an officer. Halt, Front, and shoulder arms to other officers. To officers in plain clothes by day, and to all officers after dark, they will stand to their front at attention.
(16.) At night all sentries will front and challenge any person approaching their posts, and continue fronting until they are some distance off.
(17.) The sentries are to keep their posts clear at all times, and to abstain from conversation with bystanders.
(18.) No sentry is to communicate to anyone the orders he receives, except to the Commanding Officer and the adjutant, as well as the orderly officer and non-commissioned officer of the guard; nor is he to accept fresh orders except from them.
(19.) No sentry is to quit his post on any account whatever, nor allow himself to be relieved, except by the non-commissioned officer of his own guard, and must do his duty rigidly and faithfully.
(20.) Sentries, on the appearance of an officer, are to stand firm, on any part of their walk, paying the compliment due until the officer has passed, taking care to face their proper front.
(21.) The Governor of the Colony only is entitled to a guard being turned out to him when in plain clothes.
(22.) The foregoing orders to be posted in every guard tent occupied by the regiment, and to be read to the men daily at guard mounting.
Citation: Australian Light Horse, Roles within the Regiment, Orders for Guards