Topic: BW - NSW - 5ACH
5th ACH (NSW)
5th Battalion Australian Commonwealth Horse New South Wales
Lieutenant Colonel James William Macarthur ONSLOW, Commanding Officer for the 5th ACH.
[Town & Country Journal, 24 May 1902, p. 21.]
In 1911, Lieutenant-Colonel P. L. Murray, produced a marvellous Boer War reference detailing all the contingents sent from Australia to South Africa, giving a brief history of the formation and finally, listing all the soldiers who saw service in South Africa with that unit. The book was called, Official Records of the Australian Military Contingents to the War in South Africa. It is now the standard reference and starting place for any person interested in pursuing information about Australian involvement in the Boer War.
Murray, P. L., Official Records of the Australian Military Contingents to the War in South Africa, pp. 184 - 185.
Fifth Battalion Australian Commonwealth Horse.
This consisted of four squadrons, with the following establishment:
1 medical officer,
1 veterinary Officer,
1 regimental sergeant-major,
1 O.R. sergeant.
Total:- 6 officers, 1 warrant-officer, 2 sergeants, with 9 horses.
Squadron of 4 troops -
1 major or captain,
1 squadron sergeant-major,
1 squadron quartermaster-sergeant,
Total one squadron:-
5 officers, 6 sergeants, 5 artificers, 2 trumpeters, 103 rank and file—in all, 121, with an equal number of horses.
Total of battalion of 4 squadrons:-
26 officers, 1 warrant-officer, 26 sergeants, 20 artificers, 8 trumpeters, 412 rank and file; in all, 493, with 493 horses.
It was resolved no longer to crests composite battalions representing different states, but to raise the whole corps in New South Wales on a territorial basis, in order to associate defined districts, and the military units existing in those districts, with each battalion, squadron, and troop. By such means it was considered the battalion would consist of officers and men who represented the state. Each squadron would represent a distinct district, and the troops in that district; and each troop would further represent a particular corps or military unit in a defined locality. Officerse and men would thus bring with them to the squadrons and troops so formed (representative of defined districts and the troops belonging to such districts), all the cohesion, comradeship, and local association which are such valuable elements in promoting the highest standard of discipline in the field, and gallantry before the enemy.
Enrolment, therefore, was carried out under the General Officer Commanding Commonwealth Forces, New South Wales, by the commissioned officers of regiment and squadrons of the districts and localities selected to furnish a quota of men; and, as soon as appointed, the officers commanding battalion, squadron, and troops assisted. Preference in selecting men was given:-
(1) to those then serving in existing military units in each of the districts named;
(2) to those who had served in South Africa;
(3) to civilians possessing the most valuable military qualities.
Enrolling officers were required to ascertain that the applicant fulfilled the required conditions, and that he was a suitable representative of the district troops; upon which he was furnished with a certificate and directed to present himself at the place of concentration of the squadron upon a given date. Candidates were then medically examined, tested in horsemanship and ride practice; and finally, if passed, enrolled and attested.
Upon this principle:-
"A" Squadron represented New South Wales Lancers and troops in localities covered by this regiment;
"B" Squadron - New South Wales Mounted Rides and troops in such localities;
"C" Squadron - Australian Horse and troops in localities covered by half this regiment;"D" Squadron - Australian Horse and troops in localities covered by half this regiment.
The four “troops” into which each squadron was divided were thus recruited:-
"A" Squadron (Lancers)
Sydney squadron, enrolled at Sydney;
Camden - Berry squadron, enrolled at Berry;
Maitland, Singleton, and Newcastle squadron, enrolled at Newcastle;4th Troop:-Parramatta, Richmond, and Windsor squadron, enrolled at Parramatta.
"B” Squadron (Mounted Rifles)
Tenterfield, Inverell, Lismore, and Casino squadron, enrolled at Tenterfield;
Bathurst, Molong squadron and Forbes half-squadron, enrolled at Bathurst;
Picton - Camden squadron, enrolled at Camden;4th Troop:-Bega and Canterbury half - squndrons, enrolled at Canterbury.
"C" Squadron (Australian Horse)
Armidale, Glen-Innes squadron, enrolled at Armidale;
Tamworth - Gunnedah squadron, enrolled at Tamworth;
Scone, Belltrees, and Muswellbrook squadron, enrolled at Scone;4th Troop:-Mudgee, Lue, and Rylstone squadron, enrolled at Mudgee.
"D" Squadron (Australian Horse)
Goulburn squadron, enrolled at Goulburn;
Braidwood - Araluen squadron, enrolled at Araluen;
Bungendore and Michelago squadron, enrolled at Bungendore;4th Troop:-Gundagai, Cootamundra, and Murrumburrah squadron, enrolled at Murrumburrah.
Qualifications and Pay
Qualifications were:— Height, not less than 5 feet 3 inches; chest measurement, not less than 34- inches; age, not under 20; to pass medical examination; ride and shoot well; single men only, except in ease of senior N.C.O.’s of exceptional merit, who, if enlisted, were warned that their widows and children had claims on Patriotic Fund only, and not on Imperial funds, for pensions.
Pay and field allowances an for former Contingents.
Preference for horses was given to those bought by men who enrolled. Qualification: standard 15 to 15.3; age, 5 to 12 years.
Reference to Orders.
Pay and allowances .. District Order 159, of 9th April, 1902
Formation .. District Order 159, of 9th April, 1902
Equipment .. District Order 159, of 9th April, 1902
Enrolment .. District Order 159, of 9th April, 1902
Establishment .. District Order 159, of 9th April, 1902
Clothing and Equipment .. District Order 159, of 9th April, 1902Embarkation .. District Order 159, of 9th April, 1902
Uniform consisted of brown FS jacket and pants, puttees, and hat. Equipped with bandoliers, and saddlery, and fully horsed.
[Town & Country Journal, 31 May 1902, p. 38.]
The battalion embarked on transport Columbian at Sydney, on 22nd May, 1902, and disembarked on 18th June, at Durban. It comprised 22 officers, 465 other ranks, with 490 horses; 91 were struck off in South Africa, and 22 officers, 374 others, returned.
This splendid battalion had no chance of displaying its capabilities, the war having ended before its arrival. During its short stay in South Africa, half the battalion was stationed at Newcastle, Natal, and the other half at Durban, and subsequently at Gilletts, Natal.
The battalion again embarked at Durban on the transport Manchester Marshal on 1st July, and at Sydney on 1st August, 1902, having called at Albany, Adelaide, Melbourne, and Hobart on route.
Citation: Boer War, 1899 - 1902, Australian Forces, 5th Battalion Australian Commonwealth Horse New South Wales, Outline