Topic: AIF - 1B - 2 LHR
2nd LHR, AIF
2nd Australian Light Horse Regiment
2nd Light Horse Lines on visiting day
[From: The Queenslander, 12 September 1914, p. 21.]
The 2nd Light Horse Regiment was formed as part of the 1st Light Horse Brigade, 1st Contingent and attached to the Australian Division at Enoggera Training Camp to the west of Brisbane, Queensland, on 18 August 1914. The recruits were drawn from the four main Militia Regiments within the 1st Military District which incorporated all of Queensland, Darwin and Northern New South Wales. The men from New South Wales found themselves mainly in "C" Squadron. Many of the men went from the Light Horse Militia formation into the AIF Light Horse.
"A" Squadron recruited mainly from:
2nd Light Horse Regiment (50 men).
"B" Squadron recruited mainly from:
3rd Light Horse Regiment (34 men)
"C" Squadron recruited mainly from:
4th Light Horse Regiment (64 men); and,
27th Light Horse Regiment (30 men).
[Click on page for larger version.]
Training of the 2nd Light Horse Regiment occurred at Enoggera Training Camp from August until September 1914.
Embarkation of the 2nd Light Horse Regiment occurred by the HMAT A15 Star Of England from Pinkenbar Wharf in Brisbane, Queensland, on 24 September 1914.
HMAT A15 Star of England at Pinkenbar, Queensland, September 1914
[See: His Majesty's Australian Transports [HMAT] Ships, A15.]
The 2nd Light Horse Regiment sailed by convoy from Albany and passed by the action against the Emden at the Cocos Islands. The Star of England disembarked the 2nd Light Horse Regiment in Egypt on 9 December 1914.
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 2nd 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 colour patch for the 2nd Light Horse Regiment was green over white.
The 2nd Light Horse Regiment carried the white Brigade colour as the lower triangle part of the colour patch, while the green unit colour was on the top. This is illustrated with the above presentation.
GallipoliAs mounted troops, the Light Horse was considered to be unsuitable for work in Gallipoli. The mounted troops volunteered to operate as infantry and thus were sent to Gallipoli with the 2nd Light Horse Regiment landing on 12 May 1915. Only once was this regiment used for offensive activities which occurred on the morning of 7 August 1915 with an attack on a Turkish position opposite Quinns Post. The tragedy was reduced when the assault was abandoned. The 2nd Light Horse Regiment was withdrawn from the front line in September and left the peninsula on 18 December 1915.
Western Frontier Force
After the return to Egypt, the 2nd Light Horse Regiment reformed and re-equipped. The reorganisation of the Light Horse led to the formation of the ANZAC Mounted Division to which the 2nd Light Horse Regiment became a foundation member.
For the first five months of 1916, between January and May, the 2nd Light Horse Regiment was deployed throughout the Nile valley to defend the Egyptian economic centres from the interruption by the Senussi infiltrating from Siwa Oasis.
Defence of Egypt
On 14 May1916, the 2nd Light Horse Regiment moved to join its parent brigade, the 1st Light Horse Brigade, which was taking part in the defence of the Suez Canal. The work was hot and monotonous. they remained here until moved to the Romani region to bolster the defence of that area.
The 1st Light Horse Brigade played an important role in beating back the Turkish invasion of the Suez Canal zone at Romani. Now known as the Battle of Romani which lasted from 4-6 August which was quickly followed by the Battle of Katia and then Bir el Abd on 9 August. All the actions in which the 2nd Light Horse Regiment finally led to the defeat of the Ottoman Canal Expeditionary force and its retreat to Bir el Mazar.
Over the next few months, the 2nd Light Horse Regiment took part in the Allied advance over the Sinai leading to the fall of Bir el Mazar, then El Arish followed by Bir el Magdhaba and finally Rafa in January 1917. The Ottoman forces were expelled from the Sinai and were poised to be tackled in Palestine.
The 2nd Light Horse Regiment was assigned to protect the rail line and lines of communications for the first months of 1917. They missed the First Battle of Gaza but were back at the fron by 6 April 1917 and took part in the Second Battle of Gaza on 19 April 1917.
The 2nd Light Horse Regiment took part in the Battle of Beersheba and then the follow up actions that lasted until early January 1918. This included such actions as the advance to Jaffa.
After the fall of Jerusalem the 2nd Light Horse Regiment moved to the Jordan Valley and took parts in operations in this region. This included the taking of Jericho, the attack on Amman during 27 March - 2 April 1918 and Es Salt Raid of 30 April – 4 May 1918. It's last major action prior to the breakout was to repel the German Asien Corps attack on Abu Telllul, 14 July 1918.
At the opening of the final Allied offensive on 19 September 1918, the 2nd Light Horse Regiment took part in the invasion of the Moab hills for the third time. This time Amman was captured and finally, the Ottomans called for an Armistice on 30 October 1918.
Return to Australia
After the conclusion of hostilities, the 2nd 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's 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 2nd Light Horse Regiment embarked from Egypt for the long voyage to Australia where the unit was disbanded.
Lieutenant Colonel Robert Mackay Stodart
Lieutenant Colonel Thomas William (Bill) Glasgow
Lieutenant Colonel Sydney William Barlow
Lieutenant Colonel George Herbert Bourne
Decorations earned by the 2nd Light Horse Regiment
- 1 CMG - Companion in The Most Distinguished Order of St. Michael and St. George
- 8 DSO - Distinguished Service Orders
- 10 MC - Military Crosses
- 6 DCM - Distinguished Conduct Medals
- 15 MM- Military Medals
- 1 MSM - Meritorious Service Medal
- 34 MID - Mentioned in Despatches
- 3 foreign awards
- Defence at Anzac
- Sari Bair
- Gallipoli 1915-1916
- Senussi Campaign
- Defence of Egypt
- Second Battle of Gaza
- Third Battle of Gaza
- El Mughar
- Nebi Samwill
- Es Salt
- Abu Tellul
- Palestine 1917-1918
Casualties suffered by the 2nd Light Horse Regiment
- 203 killed
- 472 wounded
The Australian War Memorial has put these on line and may be accessed here:
The following list details all the embarkations in support of the 2nd Light Horse Regiment, AIF, during the Great War. Each entry details the individual soldier's: rank on embarkation; full name; Declared age; last occupation held; last address as a civilian; enlistment Date; and, ultimate fate. Each man is linked to a brief military biography where ever possible. One interesting point is that many of the men listed in the embarkation roll for the 2nd Light Horse Regiment ended up in a different unit altogether. This list details the men's starting point in the AIF.
See: Troop transport ships for information and photographs about the various ships employed in transporting the troops to Egypt.
Bourne, GH, "Nulli Secundus" - The History - of the 2nd Light Horse Regiment Australian Imperial Force - August 1914 - April 1919, Melbourne 1926.
Needham-Walker, DR, Biography of the 2nd Australian Light Horse Regiment, A.I.F, Brisbane 1926.
Scrymgeour, JTS, Echoes of the Australian Light Horse in Egypt and Palestine, 1917-1918, Warwick 1918.
2nd Australian Light Horse Regiment, AIF
2nd Australian Light Horse Regiment, Roll of Honour
Battles where Australians fought, 1899-1920
Citation: 2nd Australian Light Horse Regiment, AIF, Outline