"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
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Thursday, 7 January 2010
The Battle of Anzac Cove, Gallipoli, 25 April 1915, 2nd Infantry Brigade Signals - No. 25 Topic: BatzG - Anzac
The Battle of Anzac Cove
Gallipoli, 25 April 1915
2nd Infantry Brigade Signals - No. 25
2nd Infantry Brigade, AIF, Signals - No. 25
The following is a transcription of the Signal No. 25 of the 2nd Infantry Brigade, AIF, which forms part of a series which illustrates the chaos and problems experienced in executing their role in the landings at Anzac on 25 April 1915.
KB 28 25/4/15 AAA
Have ordered eighth Battn to leave one coy on knoll above 224 R or W and remainder of Battn to come in on enemy's left AAA This will leave about five hundred yards unguarded but position of sixth is critical
12th Light Horsemen parading through MacQuarrie St, Sydney, April 1915.
[From: The Sydney Mail, 28 April 1915, p. 6.]
The 12th Light Horse Regiment was formed as part of the 4th Australian Light Horse Brigade, 1915, 4th Contingent and attached to the Australian Division. Recruits went to the Liverpool Training Camp to the west of Sydney, New South Wales, from 1 March 1915. The recruits were drawn from throughout New South Wales. Many of the men went from the Light Horse Militia formation into the AIF Light Horse.
12th Light Horse Regiment Routine Order No 1, 23 February 1916
[Note: Earlier Routine Orders were destroyed. Click on page for larger version.]
Training for the 12th Light Horse Regiment commenced at the Liverpool Training Camp to the west of Sydney, New South Wales, from 1 March 1915. In addition to this depot, training also occurred at the Holdsworthy Training Camp to the south of Sydney.
Embarkation of the 12th Light Horse Regiment was accomplished in two groups using both the HMAT A29 Suevicand HMAT A44 Vestaliafrom Sydney, New South Wales.
An assortment of men from the 12th Light Horse Regiment took part in a second embarkation on the HMAT A44 Vestaliafrom Sydney, New South Wales, 22 June 1915.
The 12th Light Horse Regiment sailed to Egypt and disembarked on 23 July 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 12th 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 12th 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.
First 12th Light Horse Regiment Colour Patch
The first colour patch for the 12th Light Horse Regiment was a downward facing oblong with white over red. This was worn by the men from the renamed 12th Light Horse Regiment became the 2nd Camel Regiment.
Second 12th Light Horse Regiment Colour Patch
The reformed 12th Light Horse Regiment as part of the 4th Australian Light Horse Brigade, Australian Mounted Division, carried the blue 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.
During the voyage to Egypt, the part of the 12th Light Horse Regiment travelling on the HMAT A29 Suevicwas diverted to Aden and landed on 12 July 1916 to bolster the defences of the British garrison which was under pressure from Yemeni tribesmen who were threatening an attack. By 18 July no attack had occurred and the threat diminished allowing the Regiment re-embarked to Egypt.
As mounted troops, the Light Horse was considered to be unsuitable for work in Gallipoli. The mounted troops volunteered to operate as infantry. Because of the level of casualties at Gallipoli, the 12th Light Horse Regiment was broken up on 26 August 1915 with squadrons being allotted to other Regiments as reinforcements.
The various squadrons of the Regiment were deployed on primarily defensive activities throughout the stay at Gallipoli. The various squadrons of the 12th Light Horse Regiment left the peninsula during December 1915.
Defence of Egypt
After the return to Egypt, on 19 February 1916, the 12th Light Horse Regiment reformed and re-equipped. On 28 February 1916, the 12th Light Horse Regiment moved to the Suez Canal taking part in its defence. The work was hot and monotonous.
After many months service in the Sinai, during September 1916 the 12th Light Horse Regiment was redesignated as the 2nd Camel Regiment. The Regiment continued to see further service in the Sinai.
The 12th Light Horse Regiment took part in the Second Battle of Gaza on 19 April 1917 and suffered the heaviest casualties since Gallipoli.
The 12th Light Horse Regiment, the Regiment took part in the Battle of Beersheba. Fame for the Regiment was achieved when, in conjunction with the 4th Light Horse Regiment, charged and took Beersheba, thereby sealing victory on that day for the Allied forces.
The 12th Light Horse Regiment then took part in the follow up actions that lasted until early January 1918.
From this time onwards, for the next two months, the 12th 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 12th 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 which was being defended by 4th Light Horse Brigade, 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 12th 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.
After a rest in Damascus, the 12th Light Horse Regiment moved towards Homs when the Turks surrendered on 30 October 1918.
Return to Australia
After the conclusion of hostilities, the 12th 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 12th Light Horse Regiment was deployed to assist in suppressing the Egyptian Uprising. When the revolt collapsed, the 12th Light Horse Regiment embarked on the 17 July 1919 for the long voyage to Australia where the unit was disbanded.
Lieutenant Colonel Percy Phipps Abbott Lieutenant Colonel John Robinson Royston Lieutenant Colonel Harold McIntosh Lieutenant Colonel Donald Cameron Lieutenant Colonel Philip Arthur Chambers
Decorations earned by the 12th Light Horse Regiment
3 DSO - Distinguished Service Orders
5 MC & 1 Bar - Military Crosses
9 DCM & 1 Bar - Distinguished Conduct Medals
14 MM- Military Medals
17 MID - Mentioned in Despatches
Defence of Egypt
Second Battle of Gaza
Third Battle of Gaza
Casualties suffered by the 12th 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 12th 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.
The Battle of Anzac Cove, Gallipoli, 25 April 1915, 3rd Field Artillery Brigade War Diary Topic: BatzG - Anzac
The Battle of Anzac Cove
Gallipoli, 25 April 1915
3rd Field Artillery Brigade War Diary
War Diary account of the 3rd Field Artillery Brigade, AIF.
The following is a transcription of the War Diary of the 2nd Field Artillery Brigade, AIF, of their role in the landings at Anzac on 25 April 1915.
24 April 1915
At anchor. Queen Elizabeth and another man o' war came out of Mudros Bay.
Special service for men from ship with evening. I said a few words of encouragement to them and wished them well in tomorrow's venture.
25 April 1915
Left anchorage at Mudros at 1.25 am.
At 5.15 am I went on deck and heard the firing of heavy guns at Gallipoli. We watched the bombardment at Cape Helles till 8.30 am then steamed into position at Gaba Tepe beside HMS Queen. At 9.30 heavy shells from the enemy guns commenced falling round us. The first four shells, apparently ranging rounds, fell about 500 yards from us, then three single rounds then two salvos of three. One shell fell under our bow 20 yards away, while two groups of thee fell about 10 yards on either side of our ship and one fell 5 yards from a torpedo boat.
No damage was done but anchor was lifted and we steamed out at 10.15 and stood under way till 12 noon - HMS Triumph and Bacchaute carried on a heavy bombardment of Gaba Tepe. We moved into anchorage at 1 pm. I at once disembarked in a ships boat (not waiting for a naval picket boat) with 18 NCO's and men of my Headquarters staff, my Medical Officer and Orderly Officer. The Adjutant had gone ashore earlier with Colonel Hobbs. Heavy rain of shrapnel fell round us but no one was hit. One of the boat party however on returning to the ship was wounded by shrapnel.
I reported to Officer Commanding Divisional Artillery on landing and was informed no artillery was to land during the day. Colonel White, General Staff then commandeered me, gave me an officer as adjutant and instructed me to collect all Infantry stragglers of whom where were some hundreds and form them up. This I did and with them unloaded ammunition from barges and sent it forward to firing line. At 5 pm I reconnoitred the right flank and at 8 pm made a special artillery reconnaissance reporting to Officer Command and General Bridges that I could use two batteries effectively on right flank. General agreed to give me two batteries but later instructed me I could only have two guns. I waited with my Adjutant on the beach all night for the guns to land and during the night my Headquarters Staff made a road from the beach to admit of ready moving of guns.
26 April 1915
This morning I got one gun of 1st Battery under Major Sweethead and one gun of 4th Battery under Lieutenant Siddall into action on Low Scrub Hill (now known as Rosenthal Point). 4th Battery gun did excellent work against Infantry targets firing around 400 rounds. Later in the day four guns and wagons of 7th Battery came ashore and I got two of that Battery's guns in position. There also came ashore two guns of 3rd Battery and four guns of 8th Battery. These had evidently come ashore in error and were ordered back to their ship by Colonel Hobbs as also 1st Battery gun and 4th Battery gun. I replaced them with two remaining guns of 7th Battery then having the Battery complete on the position. Infantry very happy to see Artillery. Spent night digging gun emplacement. Flank bombarded enemy's position during the evening. I am in a tactically unsound position, by guns being actually in the infantry firing line - factors of country would not permit of guns being placed behind infantry.
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