"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.
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Sunday, 6 July 2008
1107 Pte Harold Spence Topic: AIF - 4B - 12 LHR
Harold Spence wrote this amusing vignette about his time in the Jordan Valley. It was a tough place for the Light Horse with temperatures hovering around 45C daily, mararia breeding in the rivers and Turks attacking on a regular basis. It was the setting for some larconic humour. This item was penned for the August edition of the Ki-ora Coo-ee.
Ki-Ora Coo-Ee, August 1918, p. 15. [Click on article for larger print version.]
Here are the brief biographical notes on Spence extracted from the ADFA AIF Project.
Religion Church of England Occupation Station overseer Address Cobden, Victoria Marital status Single Age at embarkation 30 Next of kin Mother, Mrs Elizabeth Spence, Cobden, Victoria Enlistment date 17 July 1915 Rank on enlistment Private Unit name 12th Light Horse Regiment, 5th Reinforcement AWM Embarkation Roll number 10/17/2 Embarkation details Unit embarked from Sydney, New South Wales, on board HMAT A32 Themistocles on 5 October 1915 Rank from Nominal Roll Private Unit from Nominal Roll 12th Light Horse Regiment Fate Returned to Australia 23 December 1918
Blackboy Hill Camp, September 1914 Topic: Gen - St - WA
Below are a series of photographs that appeared in the Western Mail detailing activities undertaken by the Light Horse squadron at the beginning.
1. Mounting the guard at the camp.
Western Mail, 25 September 1914, p. 23.
This fellow looks very serious with his rifle and bayonet as he stands guard outside a tent. There is nothing to indicate the value of the tent nor does it look like the camp entrance so I am not quite sure what the fellow is guarding. Possibly one for the camera. The fellow in the photograph is an infantry man.
2. Horseback wrestling.
This was a very popular sport which carried with it the benefit of practising the art of staying in the saddle despite adversity.
Western Mail, 25 September 1914, p. 23.
The horse on the left does not look like it is enjoying the game while the horse to the right seems to be thinking about having a nap.
3. Kitchen duties.
An army marches on its stomach and Blackboy Hill was no exception. This is the ubiquitous scene at every camp. Some poor fellow peeling spuds.
Western Mail, 18 September 1914, p. 24.
Another bag of spuds to go. If you look at the fellow's shirt, you can see a chain lanyard leading to his left breast pocket - I suspect that is his pocket watch.
Diaries of AIF Servicemen, Bert Schramm, 6 July 1918 Topic: Diary - Schramm
Diaries of AIF Servicemen
6 July 1918
2823 Private Herbert Leslie SCHRAMM, a 22 year old Farmer from Whites River, South Australia. He enlisted on 17 February 1916; and at the conclusion of the war Returned to Australia, 10 July 1919.
During part of the course of his military service with the AIF, Bert Schramm kept a diary of his life. Bert was not a man of letters so this diary was produced with great effort on his behalf. Bert made a promise to his sweetheart, Lucy Solley, that he would do so after he received the blank pocket notebook wherein these entries are found. As a Brigade Scout since September 1918, he took a lead part in the September Offensive by the Allied forces in Palestine. Bert's diary entries are placed alongside those of the 9th Light Horse Regiment to which he belonged and to the 3rd Light Horse Brigade to which the 9th LHR was attached. On this basis we can follow Bert in the context of his formation.
The complete diary is now available on the Australian Light Horse Studies Centre Site at:
Nominal Roll, AWM133, Nominal Roll of Australian Imperial Force who left Australia for service abroad, 1914-1918 War.
War Diaries and Letters
All War Diaries and letters cited on this site should be read in conjunction with the Australian Light Horse Studies Centre, War Diaries and Letters, Site Transcription Policy which may be accessed at:
The following entries are extracted and transcribed from the 9th Light Horse Regiment War Diary, the originals of which are held by the Australian War Memorial. There are 366 entries on this site. Each day has entries as they occurred from 1914 to 1919. In addition to the 9th Light Horse Regiment War Diary, when appropriate, entries from the 3rd Light Horse Brigade War Diary and other regiments with the Brigade will also appear. Entries from the unit history, Darley, TH, With the Ninth Light Horse in the Great War, Adelaide, Hassell Press, 1924 will also appear from time to time. The aim is to give the broadest context to the story and allow the reader to follow the day to day activities of the regiment. If a relative happened to have served in the regiment during the Great War, then this provides a general framework in which the individual story may be told.
Aerial Reconnaissance Report, 17 August 1915 Topic: BatzG - Aug 1915
The August Offensive
Gallipoli, August 1915
Aerial Reconnaissance Report, 17 August 1915
Aerial Reconnaissance Report, 17 August 1915
The use of aircraft for scouting and reconnaissance purposes was very much in its infancy. So too was aerial photography.
The above page from an intelligence file is an illustration of an aerial reconnaissance report tendered after a mission.
Pilot - Commander Samson, RN.
Started - 0630
Returned - 0810
Reconnoitred Suvla - Anzac and Krithia Fronts, also in direction of Tursche Keui - Boghali - Maidos - Kilid Bahr.
No movement observed.
Dropped morning reports at Cape Helles.
At Ak Bashi Liman - 5 steamers 300' and 15 small craft.
The note: "Dropped morning reports at Cape Helles" is quite interesting as it is a literal statement. Apart from scouting duties, Commander Samson was also the mailman for the army on that day. To undertake this last duty, Samson would have flown low over a specific point at Cape Helles and dropped his report to the waiting signallers below in a protective canister before departing to fly elsewhere. This seemingly simple task was fraught with danger as it required the aircraft to slow down to almost stalling speed while no more than 200m from the ground. It became an easy target for Turkish guns or an aircraft, should one become available. As it turned out, the Turks did not molest him and it turned out to be an uninterrupted flight.
Charles Rumney Samson (8 July 1883 - 5 Febrary 1931)
DSO - 21 October 1914 and Bar - 19 January 1917;
MiD - 17 February 1915;
LoH, C - 12 January 1916;
MiD - 14 March 1916;
AFC - 1 January 1919;
CMG - 3 June 1919; and,
2nd Prize, 'Gordon-Shephard ' Competition, 1922.
Sub Lieutenant, 15 May 1902
Lieutenant, 30 September 1904
Acting Commander, January 1912
Flying Chronology to the taking of the Reconnaissance Flight
1911: U/T Pilot, Eastchurch
October 1911: Officer Commanding, NAS Eastchurch
1 April 1912: Officer Commanding, Naval Flying School - NAS Eastchurch
May 1912: Commandant, Naval Wing, RFC.
1 July 1914: Officer Commanding, Eastchurch (Mobile) Squadron RNAS (renamed No 3 Sqn RNAS)
1 September 1914: Officer Commanding, No 3 Sqn RNAS (renamed No 3 Wing)
October 1914: Officer Commanding, No 3 Sqn RNAS (renamed No 3 Wing)
March 1915: Officer Commanding, No 3 Wing RNAS. (Gallipoli)
1915: Officer Commanding, HMS Ben My Chree. (Palestine/Red Sea)
Source: Air of Authority - A History of RAF Organisation
Note: The ship, HMS Ben My Chree, played a pivotal role in providing air cover for the Egyptian Expeditionary Force during 1916. Also included were Anne, Raven, and Empress, all of which were dedicated aircraft carriers.
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