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"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.

Contact: Australian Light Horse Studies Centre

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Friday, 8 May 2009
The Australian Light Horse, Part 3
Topic: Militia - LH

 The Australian Light Horse

Part 3

 

2nd Lancer Draft for South Africa, 17 June 1900.

 

The following is an extract from the book by Hall, RJG, The Australian Ligth Horse, Melbourne 1967, pp. 24 - 28.

 

South African War

The hostilities in South Africa were to have a profound effect upon the emerging military organization in Australia. This was to be her first practical lesson in the military arts. There was no lack of students. Australia sent 16,175 combatants to the theatre with 16,314 horses. Apart from the valuable introduction to the "new warfare", conducted without the pomp and colourful panoply of scarlet uniforms, white accoutrements, polished helmets and geometric formations, the War Office in London realized that the colonies possessed tremendous potential in the provision of soldiery.

By the end of the War in June 1902 Australia had shown not only her capacity to provide willing and enthusiastic soldiers, but already the reputation of her mounted men, their resourcefulness, initiative and courage had left a lasting impression with the more perceptive British leaders.

A young major of the lnniskillians named Allenby commanded a group of NSW Lancers and spoke highly of their operations. He was to speak out again, fifteen years later, in Syria and his opinions of the Australian Light Horse were recorded as follows:

"I knew the New South Wales Lancers and the Australian Horse well in the Boer War and I was glad to meet some of my old friends of those days when the Light Horse came under my command just two years ago. The Australian Light Horseman combines with a splendid physique a restless activity of mind ... on every variety of ground - mountain, plain, desert, swamp or jungle the Australian Light Horseman has proved himself equal to the best. He has earned the gratitude of the Empire and the admiration of the world".

To return to the days prior to the declaration of War, the Australian public demonstrated an acute interest in the preliminary manoeuvring between Britain and the South African States. Three months prior to the outbreak of War, Queensland made an offer of 250 mounted infantry to the British Government. This was followed in turn by Victoria and New South Wales.

When the state of war was proclaimed on 11 Oct 1899, the enthusiasm of the volunteers knew no bounds. In the first eighteen months of the War, 2,900 regular recruited soldiers were dispatched from the various States. In addition, 3,637 "Citizen Bushmen" sailed for South Africa as the result of public subscription and material assistance.

The standards set for the enlistment of men for service in the South African War were published in the press and State gazettes

"Men to be good shots and proficient swordsmen, of superior physique not under 5 foot 6 inches or 34 inches chest; good riders and bushmen, accustomed to find their way about in strange country."

Whether all the conditions were met or proved; the acceptances are shown in the table below.

State Cavalry-Mounted Rifles etc. Contingent  Officers Other Ranks Horses
NSW Lancers (a)      
  1 NSWMR       
  2 NSWMR       
  3 NSWMR      
  1 Australian Horse      
  1 Australian Commonwealth Horse (b) (3 squadrons)      
  5 Australian Commonwealth Horse  
Total NSW    314 5,796 5,872
 
Victoria   
  2 Mounted Rifles (VMR)   
  5 Mounted Rifles (VMR)  
  2 Australian Commonwealth Horse (3 squadrons)  
  4 Australian Commonwealth Horse (2 squadrons)  
  6 Australian Commonwealth Horse (A, B, C and D squadrons VMR)  
Total Victoria    193 3372 3825
 
South Australia   
  1 Mounted Rifles (SAMR)   
  2 Mounted Rifles (SAMR)  
  2 Australian Commonwealth Horse (half squadron)  
  4 Australian Commonwealth Horse (1 squadron)  
  8 Australian Commonwealth Horse (A and C squadrons)  
Total South Australia   89 1,437 1,444
 
Western Australia   
  1 Mounted Infantry (WAMI)   
  2 Mounted Infantry (WAMI   
  4 Mounted Infantry (WAMI)   
  5 Mounted Infantry (WAMI)   
  6 Mounted Infantry (WAMI)  
  2 Australian Commonwealth Horse (half squadron)  
  4 Australian Commonwealth Horse (one squadron)  
  8 Australian Commonwealth Horse (one squadron)  
Total WA    67 1,162 1,183
 
Queensland  
  1 Mounted Infantry (QMI)  
  2 Mounted Infantry (QMI)   
  3 Mounted Infantry (QMI)  
  1 Australian Commonwealth Horse (one squadron)  
  3 Australian Commonwealth Horse (one squadron)  
  7 Australian Commonwealth Horse  
Total Queensland    149 2,739 3,207
 
Tasmania   
  1 Mounted Infantry (TMI)  
  1 Australian Commonwealth Horse (one squadron)  
  3 Australian Commonwealth Horse (one squadron)  
  8 Australian Commonwealth Horse (one squadron)  
Total Tasmania   36 821 783
 
TOTAL    838 15,327 16,314
         


NOTE (a) - A squadron of New South Wales Lancers, having attended tournaments and training in England, arrived at Cape Town on heir return to Australia. With a fine sense of duty and little regard for the legal niceties, the majority of the squadron disembarked for operations, thus becoming the first overseas troops to land in any of the bases of the war.

NOTE (b) - The Australian Commonwealth Horse is not to be confused with the Militia Regiment of Australian Horse (1897). The Commonwealth Horse was raised as the first mounted unit of the newly named Commonwealth of Australia. It is of interest to note that the First Australian Commonwealth Horse battalion displayed for the first time the Australian General Service Badge (Rising Sun).

As the result of the contribution to the South African War by the various States of the Commonwealth of Australia, the Battle Honour SOUTH AFRICA was authorized in Military Order 123/1908. The award was made in such a way that any future regiments of:

New South Wales Lancers,
New South Wales Mounted Rifles, Victorian Mounted Rifles,
Queensland Mounted Rifles,
South Australian Mounted Rifles,
Western Australian Mounted Infantry,
Tasmanian Mounted Infantry, and
Australian Horse.


could all bear the Distinction held on their behalf by the above regiments.

As far as the Commonwealth Forces in general and the Light Horse in particular, were concerned, the South African War provided the militia with a large number of officers and NCO's with battle experience. Units were to lean heavily upon this experience for a number of years until war again called Australians to fight upon foreign soil.
 


Previous: The Australian Light Horse, Part 2

Next: The Australian Light Horse, Part 4

 

Further Reading:

The Australian Light Horse

 


Citation: The Australian Light Horse, Part 3

Posted by Project Leader at 12:01 AM EADT
Updated: Friday, 15 May 2009 9:42 AM EADT
Thursday, 7 May 2009
The Australian Light Horse, Part 4
Topic: Militia - LH

 The Australian Light Horse

Part 4

 

Light Horsemen, 1914.

 

The following is an extract from the book by Hall, RJG, The Australian Ligth Horse, Melbourne 1967, pp. 29 - 32.

 

Federation to 1914

The new Commonwealth Government's reaction to her defence responsibilities was to organize the former State forces into a number of brigades on a territorial basis.

The Light horse brigades in 1905 were as follows:

1 LH Brigade - NSW
2 LH Brigade - NSW
3 LH Brigade - Victoria
4 LH Brigade - Victoria
5 LH Brigade - Queensland
SA Brigade - South Australia
WA Brigade - Western Australia


This represented 18 Light Horse regiments (see Appendix 6) covering districts from Townsville in the North (15ALH) to Warrnambool in the South (11 ALH ) and Perth in the West (18ALH).

Additional regiments were added to the ALH order of battle as follows:

1905 - Total of 18 regiments
1910 - Total of 19 regiments
1914 - Total of 23 regiments


To date, frequent use has been made of the term Lancer, Light Morse, Mounted Rifles, Mounted Infantry and Cavalry. The correctness of title prior to 1901 is open to question in some cases. However, a noticeable contribution to Australian Military Forces written doctrine was published under the title of The Mounted Service Manual for Australian Light Horse and Mounted Infantry on 1 July 1902 and authorized by Major General E. T. H. Hutton, Commanding Military Forces of the Commonwealth of Australia. In the preface to the Manual, General Hutton indicates the direction to be taken be Mounted units in regard to tactical operations and defines the nature of the mounted units to be found in the Australian Order of Battle.

Regardless of the territorial titles, then in limited use and soon to become a general feature of the units, Mounted Troops were divided into two categories:

(a) Horsemen, trained to fight on foot, e.g.-Light Horse.
(b) Infantry soldiers temporarily provided with increased powers of locomotion, e.g.- Mounted Infantry.


In further detail the Manual describes the roles of these units as follows:

“Light Horse are required to:

(a) Fight on foot both in the offensive and defensive;

(b) To perform the duties classed under "Information", viz. reconnoitring and screening, and;

(c) Afford "protection" from surprise for all bodies of troops both halted and on the march.


Mounted Infantry are required to perform only the duties pertaining to infantry, who are temporarily provided with increased means of mobility".

Reference to the "Marching or Service Order-Field Kit" (see Table 1 to this chapter) shows that the Australian mounted units were in fact of the former category, i.e. Light Horse.

Table 2 shows the organization of the regiment. This organization, with minor amendments, was to prevail until 1940.

The question of compulsory part time training occupied the early parliament during the period 1902-1908. The results of such arduous labour was the birth of the first Defence Bill of 1908. Before being made law, Mr. Deakin went out of office and his successor, Mr. Andrew Fisher, introduced a more strenuous bill, then the returning akin finally introduced legislation late in 1909. It provided for Compulsory training as a part time commitment.

Junior cadets - 12-14 years

Senior cadets - 14-18 years

Citizen forces - 18-20 years


Before this Bill began to operate, Lord Kitchener, at the invitation of the Commonwealth Government, made an inspection of Australian defences. Recommending that the forces be brought up to 80,000, he also suggested that compulsory training of the Citizen Forces be extended to the trainee's 25th year.

These recommendations were incorporated into the bill and further drastic changes took place. The militia men, not covered by the 18-25 year compulsory citizen force training, were permitted to complete their current 3 year engagement, but were not permitted to re-enlist. Officers and NCO's were the exception.

It can be seen that despite the increase in Light Horse Regiments, the majority of other ranks in the 23 regiments would be in their 19th or 20th year. The implications of this are discussed in the next chapter. The importance, however, of having 23 regiments on the home forces order of battle lay in the increasing association of the mounted soldier with the civil community.

The Mounted Service Manual again had a great deal to say on this subject and the parade card of the 4th Australian Light Horse in 1910 devoted three pages to quoting the relevant provisions.

"Each troop should be composed of men raised in the same locality, or, if detachments from existing corps, of men belonging to the same regiment or battalion. The permanent sections similarly should be made up by men who live in the same vicinity in civil life, or who will have some association in common.

It will be found that the permanent section or comrade system, if carefully and intelligently adhered to in principle no less than in letter, will produce the highest form of discipline. Men will naturally fight better and with more confidence among those whom they know and trust rather than among strangers".


Such principles lent themselves ideally to the rural distribution of the troop centres. Regardless of how often the number of the regiment changed or the number of "linkings" they experienced, the territorial title identified the soldier with his district.

Seymour, Victoria, so familiar to soldiers of all arms and service for a number of years, first saw a mounted rifle troop in 188 (Seymour Mounted Rifles). Later the Seymour Troop was to appear with 7 ALH, Victorian Mounted Rifles (1905), 15 LH Victorian Mounted Rifles (1912), 14 LH (1919) and 20 LH (1935).

No less familiar to today's recruits is Wagga-Wagga (NSW), which raised its own light horse in 1885 and continued to have representation in 12 LH and 12/24 LH until 1940.

Many of the territorial titles were derived from unit names of pre-federation days. For example in South Australia, the 18 LH Adelaide Lancers called upon the early formation of the Lancers in 1892. Others adopted "State" titles, as with Queensland Mounted lnfantry and Western Australian Mounted Infantry. The "district" titles such as Hunter River Lancers, Northern River Lancers remained for over 50 years.

Within regiments, squadrons and troops became known by their territorial title and as such were recorded upon the many cavalry trophies available in pre 1939 days.

By 1913 all the light horse regiments had adopted their territorial titles.

A notable feature of the period 1902-1914 was the confusion in the numerical identification of the regiments brought about by the redistribution of brigades under the military district system. Brigades were changed as follows:

Old Designation - New Designation - State
5 LH Bde - 1 LH Bde - Qld
1 LH Bde - 2 LH Bde - NSW
2 LH Bde - 3 LH Bde - NSW
3 LH Bde - 5 LH Bde - Vic
4 LH Bde - 7 LH Bde - Vic
SA Bde - 8 LH Bde - SA
WA Bde - 12 Mixed Bde - WA
Tas Bde - 13 Mixed Bde - Tas


Within the brigades, the regiments changed numbers to such an ;tent that the territorial titles provide the only means of locating the line of descent.

Examination of Appendix 6, 7 and 8 will show the considerable expansion and redistribution of unit areas, particularly in the districts from which the divisional cavalry regiments were raised. The total strength of the light horse in 1914 appeared formidable with approximately 9,000, all ranks.

 

Previous: The Australian Light Horse, Part 3

Next: The Australian Light Horse, Part 5

 

Further Reading:

The Australian Light Horse

 


Citation: The Australian Light Horse, Part 4

Posted by Project Leader at 12:01 AM EADT
Updated: Friday, 15 May 2009 10:18 AM EADT
Thursday, 30 April 2009
The Loyd Lindsay Competition
Topic: Militia - LH

The Loyd Lindsay

A Cavalry Competition

 

Colonel Sir Robert James Loyd-Lindsay

 

A brief Military Biography

Colonel Sir Robert James Loyd-Lindsay, Baron Wantage of Lockinge

Born - 16 April 1832

Died - 10 June 1901 at Lockinge House, East Lockinge, Berkshire

 

Details of decorated service

On 20 September 1854 at the Battle of the Alma, Crimea, Captain Lindsay, with a few men, charged a large party of Russians, driving them back in hand-to-hand fighting and killing one of them himself.

He was later involved in the volunteer movement, serving as Colonel of the Royal Berkshire Volunteers, and subsequently Brigadier-General of the Home Counties Brigade.

 

Victorian Mounted Rifle Team demonstrating principles of the Loyd Lindsay Race, c. 1900.

 

The Competition

In 1873 Colonel Loyd Lindsay introduced a prize for mounted riflemen. The initial experimental competition was a great success and it was for many years a feature of the various shooting programs. The conditions in 1873 required that sections of four mounted men were to ride about three quarters of a mile, taking two flights of hurdles in the course, and were, while dismounted and their horses either linked or held by alternate files, each to fire five shots at 200 yards standing, and the same number at 400 yards in any position. There was a time limit of twelve minutes, and the rifle, of any Government pattern, had to be carried on the back or slung to the saddle.

 

The Confusion

Often the name is incorrectly spelled as "Lloyd Lindsay". This mistake comes from utilising the Welsh name "Lloyd" rather than the Berkshire name "Loyd" and hence the confusion.

 

Further Reading:

Australian Light Horse Militia

Militia 1899 - 1920

 


Citation: The Loyd Lindsay Competition

Posted by Project Leader at 12:01 AM EADT
Updated: Sunday, 21 March 2010 10:01 PM EADT
Sunday, 28 September 2008
3rd Military District Staff Roster and Allocations, 1914, Part 5
Topic: Militia - LH
3rd Military District

Staff Roster and Allocations

Staff and Regiment Lists, 1914, p. 28

[Click on page for a larger print version.]



After dealing with the structure of the 3rd Military District, the next task is to fill in the headings with people. This page from the Staff and Regiment Lists, 1914 details the permanent commissioned staff who were appointed to oversee the implementation of the training schemes for Tasmania. One quick look at the list and the reader will discover numerous names of people who served with distinction in the AIF after war was declare some seven months after this list was prepared.

 

Further Reading:

For the Victoria Light Horse Militia establishment, see:

Light Horse structure 1903

1903 Reorganisation, Victoria

Light Horse structure 1914

Militia Distribution in Australia, 1914, 3rd Military District, Part 1
Militia Distribution in Australia, 1914, 3rd Military District, Part 2
Militia Distribution in Australia, 1914, 3rd Military District, Part 3

Individual Light Horse Regiments

13th (Gippsland) Australian Light Horse Regiment
13th Light Horse
15th (Victorian Mounted Rifles) Australian Light Horse Regiment
15th Light Horse
16th (Indi) Australian Light Horse Regiment
16th Light Horse
17th (Campaspe Valley) Australian Light Horse Regiment
17th Light Horse
19th (Yarrowee) Australian Light Horse Regiment
19th Light Horse
20th (Corangamite) Australian Light Horse Regiment
20th Light Horse
29th (Port Phillip Horse) Australian Light Horse Regiment
29th Light Horse

Port Phillip Light Horse Officers, 1914


Peacetime and Wartime Regimental Establishments

Peace establishment of Australian Light Horse, 1903-14

3rd Military District Staff Roster and Allocations

3rd Military District Staff Roster and Allocations, 1914, Part 1
3rd Military District Staff Roster and Allocations, 1914, Part 2
3rd Military District Staff Roster and Allocations, 1914, Part 3
3rd Military District Staff Roster and Allocations, 1914, Part 4
3rd Military District Staff Roster and Allocations, 1914, Part 5

1914 Infantry, Artillery and other service arms distribution

Militia Distribution in Australia, 1914, 3rd Military District, Part 3
Militia Distribution in Australia, 1914, 3rd Military District, Part 4
Militia Distribution in Australia, 1914, 3rd Military District, Part 5
Militia Distribution in Australia, 1914, 3rd Military District, Part 6
Militia Distribution in Australia, 1914, 3rd Military District, Part 7
Militia Distribution in Australia, 1914, 3rd Military District, Part 8
Militia Distribution in Australia, 1914, 3rd Military District, Part 9
Militia Distribution in Australia, 1914, 3rd Military District, Part 10

 

Additional reference:

RK Peacock, Evolution of Australian Light Horse Regiments 1841-1935,  Unpublished MSS, c.1936. 

 


Citation: 3rd Military District Staff Roster and Allocations, 1914, Part 5

Posted by Project Leader at 1:14 PM EADT
Updated: Sunday, 28 September 2008 4:21 PM EADT
3rd Military District Staff Roster and Allocations, 1914, Part 4
Topic: Militia - LH
3rd Military District

Staff Roster and Allocations

Staff and Regiment Lists, 1914, p. 27

[Click on page for a larger print version.]



After dealing with the structure of the 3rd Military District, the next task is to fill in the headings with people. This page from the Staff and Regiment Lists, 1914 details the permanent commissioned staff who were appointed to oversee the implementation of the training schemes for Tasmania. One quick look at the list and the reader will discover numerous names of people who served with distinction in the AIF after war was declare some seven months after this list was prepared.

 

Further Reading:

For the Victoria Light Horse Militia establishment, see:

Light Horse structure 1903

1903 Reorganisation, Victoria

Light Horse structure 1914

Militia Distribution in Australia, 1914, 3rd Military District, Part 1
Militia Distribution in Australia, 1914, 3rd Military District, Part 2
Militia Distribution in Australia, 1914, 3rd Military District, Part 3

Individual Light Horse Regiments

13th (Gippsland) Australian Light Horse Regiment
13th Light Horse
15th (Victorian Mounted Rifles) Australian Light Horse Regiment
15th Light Horse
16th (Indi) Australian Light Horse Regiment
16th Light Horse
17th (Campaspe Valley) Australian Light Horse Regiment
17th Light Horse
19th (Yarrowee) Australian Light Horse Regiment
19th Light Horse
20th (Corangamite) Australian Light Horse Regiment
20th Light Horse
29th (Port Phillip Horse) Australian Light Horse Regiment
29th Light Horse

Port Phillip Light Horse Officers, 1914


Peacetime and Wartime Regimental Establishments

Peace establishment of Australian Light Horse, 1903-14

3rd Military District Staff Roster and Allocations

3rd Military District Staff Roster and Allocations, 1914, Part 1
3rd Military District Staff Roster and Allocations, 1914, Part 2
3rd Military District Staff Roster and Allocations, 1914, Part 3
3rd Military District Staff Roster and Allocations, 1914, Part 4
3rd Military District Staff Roster and Allocations, 1914, Part 5

1914 Infantry, Artillery and other service arms distribution

Militia Distribution in Australia, 1914, 3rd Military District, Part 3
Militia Distribution in Australia, 1914, 3rd Military District, Part 4
Militia Distribution in Australia, 1914, 3rd Military District, Part 5
Militia Distribution in Australia, 1914, 3rd Military District, Part 6
Militia Distribution in Australia, 1914, 3rd Military District, Part 7
Militia Distribution in Australia, 1914, 3rd Military District, Part 8
Militia Distribution in Australia, 1914, 3rd Military District, Part 9
Militia Distribution in Australia, 1914, 3rd Military District, Part 10

 

Additional reference:

RK Peacock, Evolution of Australian Light Horse Regiments 1841-1935,  Unpublished MSS, c.1936. 

 


Citation: 3rd Military District Staff Roster and Allocations, 1914, Part 4

Posted by Project Leader at 1:12 PM EADT
Updated: Sunday, 28 September 2008 4:21 PM EADT

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