"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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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 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].
10th Light Horsemen undertaking mounted drill, Guildford, Western Australia, December 1914.
[From: The Western Mail, 4 December 1914, p. 23.]
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 went through two distinct phases during its formation.
"C" Squadron, 7th Light Horse Regiment
Initially, it was envisaged that the unit would be designated as "C" Squadron, 7th Light Horse Regiment as part of the 2nd Australian Light Horse Brigade. The 7th Light Horse Regiment was to be a composite regiment based and trained in Queensland with "A" Squadron and Headquarters recruited in Queensland, "B" Squadron from South Australia with Western Australia providing the "C" Squadron. However, recruitment produced an overflow of men in all states. The result was the cancellation of the original structure of the 7th Light Horse Regiment and this regimental designation now applied to a unit raised in New South Wales.
With the creation of the 3rd Australian Light Horse Brigade, "C" Squadron, 7th Light Horse Regiment was renamed "A" Squadron, 10th Light Horse Regiment. The 10th Light Horse Regiment was made up by recruits entirely drawn from the 5th Military District [Western Australia]. The 10th Light Horse Regiment was established at Guildford Training Camp to the east of Perth, Western Australia, and later at Rockingham Training Camp to the south of Perth.
10th Light Horse Regiment Squadron Routine Order No's 1-9, October 1914
[Click on page for larger version.]
Training for the 10th Light Horse Regiment occurred originally at at Guildford Training Camp to the east of Perth, Western Australia, and later at Rockingham Training Camp to the south of Perth. Reinforcement training occurred at Blackboy Hill Training Depot.
Embarkation of the 10th Light Horse Regiment was accomplished in two groups using both the HMAT A47 Mashobra and HMAT A52 Surada from Fremantle, Western Australia.
10th Light Horse Regiment "C" Squadron embarked on the HMAT A52 Suradafrom Fremantle, Western Australia, 17 February 1915.
The 10th Light Horse Regiment sailed to Egypt and disembarked on 8 March 1915.
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.
Pennant of the 10th Light Horse Regiment
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 10th 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 10th Light Horse Regiment was black over yellow.
10th Light Horse Regiment Colour Patch
The 10th Light Horse Regiment carried the yellow Brigade colour as the lower triangle part of the colour patch, while the black unit colour was on the top. This is illustrated with the above presentation.
As 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 10th Light Horse Regiment landing on 20 May 1915. The Regiment was deployed on primarily defensive activities at Russel's Top and Rhododendron Spur throughout the stay at Gallipoli. The 10th Light Horse Regiment participated in the ill fated charge at the Nek on 7 August 1915 where most of the Regiment was either killed or wounded. The 10th Light Horse Regiment participated in the attack at Hill 60 on 27 August 1915. The 10th Light Horse Regiment left the peninsula on 20 December 1915.
Defence of Egypt
After the return to Egypt, the 10th 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 10th Light Horse Regiment became a foundation member.
On 28 February 1916, the 10th Light Horse Regiment moved to join its parent brigade, the 3rd Australian 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 3rd Australian 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 10th 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 10th 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.
On 27 March 1917, the 10th Light Horse Regiment took part in the First Battle of Gaza. While involved in the encirclement of the city as a prelude to its capture, the 10th Light Horse Regiment received the order to withdraw and return to the starting line. Grudgingly they did so but realised the Turks had snatched victory out of the jaws of defeat.
The 10th Light Horse Regiment took part in the Second Battle of Gaza on 19 April 1917 and suffered the heaviest casualties since Gallipoli.
The 10th Light Horse Regiment took part in the Battle of Beersheba and then the follow up actions that lasted until early January 1918.
From this time onwards, for the next two months, the 10th Light Horse Regiment remained in continuous combat action until relieved for three months refit and training at Deir el Belah from early January 1918.
In early April 1918, the 10th Light Horse Regiment moved into the Jordan Valley and took part in the invasion of Moab and took Es Salt during the action of 30 April – 4 May 1918. Unfortunately, due to a Turkish attack on the lines of communication, this raid nearly turned into a disaster where the Turkish forces almost cut off the Australian Mounted Division in the hills.
In a move that converted the Light Horse into full cavalry, the Australian Mounted Division was issued with swords during August and early September 1917. The Australian Mounted Division went to work training with swords and undertaking cavalry work.
On 19 September 1918 the Battle of Megiddo began. The infantry over ran the Turkish defensive trenches allowing the cavalry to debouch into the Turkish hinterland. The 10th Light Horse Regiment participated in the breakthrough which moved rapidly through the north of Palestine. At the end of the first week, it was obvious that the way to Damascus was open and so a second push occurred on the heels of the first assault. On 1 October 1918, Damascus was taken. As part of the 3rd Light Horse Brigade, they marched through the city after its surrender by the Sarai.
After a rest in Damascus, the 10th Light Horse Regiment moved towards Homs when the Turks surrendered on 30 October 1918.
Return to Australia
After the conclusion of hostilities, the 10th 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' 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 10th Light Horse Regiment was deployed to assist in suppressing the Egyptian Uprising. When the revolt collapsed, the 10th Light Horse Regiment embarked on the 10 July 1919 for the long voyage to Australia where the unit was disbanded.
Lieutenant Colonel Noel Murray Brazier Lieutenant Colonel John Burns Scott Lieutenant Colonel Percy Phipps Abbott Lieutenant Colonel Clive Lanyon Nicholas Lieutenant Colonel Thomas John Todd Lieutenant Colonel Samuel Edward Grimwood Lieutenant Colonel Arthur Charles Niquet Olden
Decorations earned by the 10th Light Horse Regiment
1 VC - Victoria Cross
1 CMG - Companion in The Most Distinguished Order of St. Michael and St. George
3 DSO & 1 Bar - Distinguished Service Orders
1 MBE - Member of the British Empire
9 MC & 1 Bar - Military Crosses
15 DCM & 1 Bar - Distinguished Conduct Medals
15 MM- Military Medals
3 MSM - Meritorious Service Medal
48 MID - Mentioned in Despatches
2 foreign awards
Defence at Anzac
Defence of Egypt
First Battle of Gaza
Second Battle of Gaza
Third Battle of Gaza
Casualties suffered by the 10th Light Horse Regiment
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 10th Light Horse Regiment, AIF, during the Great War. Each entry details to formation and the ships on which the units embarked with the date and place of embarkation. The detail of the formation is linked to a list of men who embarked upon that ship on the specific date.
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