"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.
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About 2000 on the night of the 10th inst I received order from my CO to report to the Brigade Major at the 6th Regiment Officers' Mess. I did so immediately and he told me to gather any Machine Gun Squadron men I could find in the 6th Regiment lines. I found a number of men on the top of the hill watching the fire and I asked if any Machine Gun men were amongst them. There were none there. I found that all Machine Gun men who had been there had returned to their lines.
Report by Major Tunbridge about Elands River, 15 September 1900, page 2 Topic: BatzB - Elands
The Battle of Elands River, 4 August 1900
Report by Major Tunbridge, 15 September 1900, Page 2
Report by Major Tunbridge about Elands River, 15 September 1900, page 2.
On 15 September 1900, Major Tunbridge wrote a report of the action at Elands River for the NSW General Staff of which page 2 is transcribed below.
"… died of wounds Sergeant J Mitchell, JC Walker, J Duff, J Wardell; wounded and sent to Pretoria (Johannesburg) GH Rollston (Ralston), FA Buckleton, Lovatt; wounded and returned to duty Sergeant JC Burrow, Corporal WP Burrow and Trooper K Gulston."
The Elands River Camp was attacked by Commandant De La Rey on 4th August at daybreak.
The garrison consisted of 105 of the 1st Regiment R.F.F. (NSW), 145 of the 2nd Regiment R.F.F. (141 Queenslanders, 2 Tasmanians, 2 Rifle Brigade), 51 of 3rd Regiment R.F.F. (42 Victorian, 9 Wester Australians) and 201 Rhodesian and other South African Volunteers with 2 Canadians and 1 A.S. Corps attached. One 7 pound screw gun, one .303 Maxim and one .450 Maxim.
The Volunteer Movement in Western Australia, Fremantle Artillery Volunteers Topic: Militia - LHW - WA
Western Australian Militia
Fremantle Artillery Volunteers
The following is an extract from the book written in 1962 by George F. Wieck called The Volunteer Movement in Western Australia 1861-1903, pp. 51 - 52:
Fremantle Artillery Volunteers
Formerly the Naval Artillery Volunteers, approval for the change of designation was published on 17 December 1888. There were then 38 names on the Roll.
On 31 January 1889, Lieutenant F Wemyss resigned from the corps and on 5 February 1889 applications were publicly called for the vacant position. Captain E Mayhew, the successful applicant, was appointed on 5 April 1889.
The very obsolete 6Pdr guns [6 pounder guns] were replaced on 18 February 1889 by two 9Pdr R.M.L. field guns [9 pounder rifled muzzle loading field guns], complete with limbers and wagons, the whole being a gift from the British Government valued at £850.
Recruitment was a constant problem: in 1892 there were 22 names on the Roll, 44 in 1894, and when 22 members were discharged (chiefly owing to non-attendance) in 1899 there was danger of disbandment.
The corps designation was changed on 24 October 1892 to No. 2 Battery, Field Artillery. See: No. 2 Battery, Field Artillery.
The Battle of Koster River, South Africa, 22 July 1900, Outline Topic: BatzB - Koster River
The Battle of Koster River
South Africa, 22 July 1900
Koster River, a controversial action fought on 22 July 1900 (during the Second South African War), on the road between Rustenburg and Elands River in western Transvaal. After a Boer commando led by General H.L. Lemmer had cut the westward route towards Zeerust and Mafeking, thereby preventing supplies from reaching British forces stationed at Rustenburg under Colonel Robert Baden-Powell, late on the afternoon of 21 July a detachment of 270 Australian Bushmen (from New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria and Western Australia) was sent from Magato Nek (or Pass) under Lieut. Colonel Henry Airey with orders to 'brush aside' the enemy and return with a convoy from Elands River.
At about 8 a.m. the next day Airey's column was ambushed by Lemmer at Koster River, a tributary of the Selons. The Boers allowed the Australians' advance guard and flanking scouts to pass before opening a heavy fire on the main body from a horseshoe of kopjes (low hills) 730 metres away. Forced to seek concealment in the long grass beside the road, in an area offering little cover such as stones or boulders and only a few thin trees, the Bushmen were pinned down and over 200 of their horses stampeded or shot. Airey, finding that his force was unable to move, determined to hold out until help arrived. The action accordingly lasted throughout the day, with the Boers' numbers - initially put at 400-increasing to about 1,000.
At one stage in the heated engagement, an isolated party of an officer and ten men raised a white flag to give themselves up. Airey considered that this act compromised the integrity of the defence, and felt honour-bound to surrender his entire command. I His decision was flatly opposed by the officer commanding the Western Australians, Major Harry Vialls, who reportedly 'stamped and swore' at what he regarded as a shameful order. Attempts to surrender were ignored by the Boers anyway, and in the face of the enemy's unrelenting fire the column was obliged to keep fighting.
After word of the Australians' predicament was carried to Magato Pass by a young Englishwoman who lived on a farm at nearby Woodstock, a relieving force (comprising 200 Australians from Magato Nek and a portion of the Bechuanaland Protectorate Regiment sent out from Rustenburg) proceeded to the scene. When these reinforcements arrived at about 2.30 p.m. and began to threaten the flanks of the Boer position, the enemy broke off the action and rode away. There were 39 casualties incurred by Airey's men in the six-and-a-half hour fight: six killed, three later died of wounds, 23 wounded, and seven men missing.
Extracted from the book produced by Chris Coulthard-Clark, Where Australians Fought - The Encyclopaedia of Australia's Battles, Allen and Unwin, Sydney, 1998, pp. 82-83.
Additional References cited by Chris Coulthard-Clark:
P.L. Murray (1911) Official Records of the Australian Military Contingents to the War in South Africa, Melbourne: Government Printer.
John Stirling (1907) The Colonials in South Africa, 1899-1902, Edinburgh: W. Blackwood & Sons.
R.L. Wallace (1976) The Australians at the Boer War, Canberra: Australian War Memorial & Australian Government Publishing Service.
Australian Light Horse, Roles within the Regiment, Aldershot Oven Topic: AIF - Lighthorse
Australian Light Horse
Roles within the Regiment
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.
The Aldershot Oven
(19.) The Aldershot oven consists of:
2 half circles or arches.
Weight about 3¼ cwt.
The oven will bake 108 1¼ lb. loaves of bread in each batch. To erect the oven, select a gentle slope on clay soil if possible, as it will bake hard and firm, avoiding wet ground, clear and smooth the side, and erect the oven with the front to the prevailing wind, sods being cut to build the front, back and sides of the oven.
A shallow trench, 12 inches wide and 3 deep, should be dug inches from the point selected as the front, down the middle of the length of each oven, when the bottom is used, this will greatly assist in laying the fire.
(20.) The bars are then placed through the ribs of the two arches and the latter placed over the trench already cut, the back one overlapping the front, the back of the oven placed in position, the plate forming the bottom of the oven is then placed against the front portion and firmly fixed, the sods are then built round the front, back, and sides. A trench is next cut for the cook to work in, which is 18 inches deep, 2 feet wide, and 6 feet long, leaving a space of 12 inches between it and the oven. The clay or soil from the trench being mixed with water and grass, rushes, etc, to assist in binding it, is then thrown on the oven and well beaten down. The depth of clay or earth should at least be 6 inches, the roof slightly sloping backwards to carry off the rain. 300 lb. of hard wood are required to heat each oven when first pitched, the wood being cut as previously mentioned and placed in the oven in small quantities, to ensure its being reduced to ashes. Each subsequent heating requires about 75 lb. If, however, the oven be filled with meat, potatoes, etc., about 150 lb. is required.
(21.) Dough should not be put into the oven for about twenty minutes after the fire has been drawn, owing to the top heat being so fierce that it would inevitably burn the upper part of the bread. When meat is to be cooked the dishes may be placed in immediately the fire is drawn. A barrow containing wet clay being ready previous to doing so, the moment the dishes are in, the door should be put up and wedged tightly with a piece of wood, the end resting on the outer edge of the trench in front, and then pegged round to prevent any steam escaping; if this be properly performed, the dinners will not be burnt, the steam keeping the surface of the heat and potatoes moist, and giving the former the appearance of having been well basted. The time required depends entirely on the heat of the oven, and the amount of food placed in an oven with a good heat containing 220 men's rations will require about 2½ hours.
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