"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.
The Australian Light Horse Studies Centre site holds over 12,000 entries and is growing daily.
The 9th Light Horse Regiment was formed as part of the 3rd Australian Light Horse Brigade, 3rd Contingent and attached to the Australian Division. The 9th Light Horse Regiment was a composite regiment with two squadrons made up by recruits from the 4th Military District [South Australia and the Broken Hill region of New South Wales] while the last squadron, "C" Squadron was composed of men from the 3rd Military District [Victoria].
The 10th Light Horse Regiment was formed as part of the 3rd Australian Light Horse Brigade, 3rd Contingent and attached to the Australian Division. The 10th Light Horse Regiment was made up by recruits entirely drawn from the 5th Military District [Western Australia].
One of the best sources of information available for understanding the immediate challenges facing a regiment is to be found in the Routine Orders. They are a wealth of detail. The Routine Orders provide an unvarnished history of the Regiment.
Outline of the 1st Australian Light Horse Brigade, AIF
Formed in August 1914 as part of the 1st Contingent and attached to the Australian Division, the 1st Light Horse Brigade was made up of Light Horsemen from four different states. This was the only Brigade recruited from a majority of men drawn immediately from the Militia formations within the various states. The Regiments included:
The 1st Signal Troop was composed exclusively from Victorians from the Militia 10th and 21st Signal Troops.
1st Light Horse Field Ambulance
The 1st Light Horse Field Ambulance was formed with two sections: "A" Section recruited in Melbourne which included some 20 students from the Richmond Agricultural College; and, "B" Section recruited in Sydney and composed to a greater extent by Militia members from the 28th Light Horse Field Ambulance.
1st Light Horse Brigade Train
The 1st Light Horse Brigade Train was primarily recruited around Brisbane and trained at Enoggera. After Gallipoli, this unit underwent some name changes from 1st Supply Section in February 1916 to 32nd Australian Army Service Corps Company in February 1917.
6th Mobile Veterinary Section
After the formation of the Anzac Mounted Division, the three individual Regimental Veterinary sections were brigaded to form the 6th Mobile Veterinanry Section.
1st Light Horse Machine Gun Squadron
In July 1916, all Regimental Machine Gun Sections were to be excised and brigaded to form a Machine Gun Squadron. The 1st, 2nd and 3rd Machine Gun Sections were combined to form the 1st Machine Gun Squadron under the command of the Brigade.
Artillery support was provided for the 1st Light Horse Brigade from British batteries. The first British battery attached to the Brigade was the 3rd (Territorial Force) Horse Artillery Brigade, Leicester Battery. This battery remained until the re-organisation of February 1918 when the Leicester Battery was replaced by the British 18th Royal Horse Artillery Brigade, Somerset Battery
1st Light Horse Training Regiment
Formed in Egypt during March 1916, this unit trained incoming reinforcements while allowing the wounded and sick a place to recover before returning to active service. The Training Regiment contained three squadrons, each duplicating the Regiments within the Brigade to whom it supplied the reinforcements. The Training Regiment was disbanded in July 1918 to be replaced by the Anzac Light Horse Training Regiment when recruits were no longer tied to a Regiment but placed in a general pool of reinforcements called the General Service Reinforcements.
1st Light Horse Double Squadron
Formed Egypt 6 July 1916 from 1st Light Horse Brigade reinforcements. It was officered and administered by the 1st Light Horse Brigade. This Double Squadron was broken up in November 1916 with the men being transferred to the newly formed Imperial Camel Corps Battalions.
The Brigade embarked to Egypt during the months of September and October 1914. In Egypt additional training occurred at the Mena Camp.
See:Troop transport ships for information and photographs about the various ships employed in transporting the troops to Egypt.
To assist with identification of 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 1st Light Horse Brigade 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 1st Light Horse Brigade was plain white.
1st Light Horse Brigade Colour Patch
The individual units attached to the 1st Light Horse Brigade carried the white colour as a lower triangular part of the colour patch, the unit itself having their colour on the top. This is illustrated with the above description about each individual unit.
Brigadier General Henry “Harry” George Chauvel 15 August 1914 to 6 November 1915.
Brigadier General Charles Frederick Cox 6 November 1915 to 13 March 1919.
Formed Australia August 1914.
Attached to the New Zealand and Australian Division from December 1914 to April 1915. Attachment ceased on the Division's deployment to Gallipoli.
Attached to the New Zealand and Australian Division at Gallipoli from May 1915 to February 1916.
Attached to the Anzac Mounted Division March 1916 until March 1919.
The Brigade returned to Australia in March 1919. As each Regiment arrived in the specific home port, they were disbanded.
The following list details all the embarkations in support of the 1st Light Horse Brigade, 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 1st Light Horse Brigade ended up in a different unit altogether. This list details the men's starting point in the AIF.
The Battle of Magdhaba, Sinai, December 23, 1916, Outline Topic: BatzS - Magdhaba
The Battle of Magdhaba
Sinai, 23 December 1916
Magdhaba, was fought on 23 December 1916 in the northern Sinai Desert, 35 kilometres south-east of the Mediterranean coastal town of El Arish and about 30 kilometres west of the border with Palestine. Following their defeat at Romani (q.v.) Turkish forces were thrown onto the defensive and retreated to Bir el Abd and subsequently Mazar, in each case abandoning their positions once attacked by British mounted troops - principally Australians and New Zealanders of the Anzac Mounted Division led by Major-General Harry Chauvel. After El Arish was vacated by the enemy and duly occupied by British forces on 21 December, the way into Palestine was barred by two principal Turkish blocking forces: at Magdhaba and Rafa.
On the night of 22 December Chauvel was ordered to move against the inland base at Magdhaba. Available to him was his mounted division, less one brigade but with the newly formed Imperial Camel Corps (and attached battery of mountain guns) taking its place. Marching in the early hours of 23 December, by daybreak Chauvel's troops had closed on the enemy-held village. As soon as the Turks' dispositions were clearly established by low-flying aircraft from No. I Squadron, Australian Flying Corps, Chauvel gave his orders. The Imperial Camel Corps was sent from the north-west directly at the nearest redoubt lying east of the Wadi el Arish, while the other brigades detoured around the northern flank, where the firm ground best suited horses, to attack from the north and north-east; one regiment was sent on a wide circling movement to the east then south to cross the wadi and take up position in rear of the enemy position.
A hard fight followed in which the attackers made slow progress crossing open ground under heavy fire. Soon after 1 p.m., upon learning that sources of water apart from the wells at Magdhaba were denied to him, Chauvel decided to call off the attack. The recall reached the commander of the 1st Australian Light Horse Brigade, Brigadier-General Charles Cox, just as his troops were preparing to assault the main enemy redoubt with the bayonet. He temporarily misplaced the message until the attack was underway, and his men's success a few minutes later showed Chauvel that victory was actually at hand.
By 4.30 p.m. the Turkish garrison surrendered; few escaped. The number of enemy killed has been put at about 300 - certainly nearly 100 were collected on the field for burial and just short of 1,300 were captured. The 10th Australian Light Horse Regiment, providing the blocking force south of the wadi, alone accounted for 722 of the prisoners. Chauvel's losses were trifling: only 146 casualties, of whom 22 were killed. After setting fire to the village and leaving two regiments to clear the battlefield of dead and wounded, the remainder of the column returned to El Arish.
Preparing the dead for burial, Australians and Ottoman soldiers lay together in peace.
Extracted from the book produced by Chris Coulthard-Clark, Where Australians Fought - The Encyclopaedia of Australia's Battles, Allen and Unwin, Sydney, 1998, p. 122.
Additional References cited by Chris Coulthard-Clark:
H.S. Gullett, (1944), The Australian Imperial Force in Sinai and Palestine, Sydney: Angus & Robertson.
A.J. Hill, (1978), Chauvel of the Light Horse, Carlton, Vic.: Melbourne University Press.
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