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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

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Monday, 10 August 2009
The Volunteer Movement in Western Australia, Perth Volunteer Rifles
Topic: Militia - LHW - WA

Western Australian Militia

Perth Volunteer Rifles


The following is an extract from the book written in 1962 by George F. Wieck called The Volunteer Movement in Western Australia 1861-1903, pp. 26 – 29:

Perth Volunteer Rifles

A meeting of citizens held on 13/9/1861 decided to seek authority to raise a corps of Infantry volunteers of a nominal strength of 100 all ranks, to be designated the "Perth Volunteer Rifles". Authority was given, enrolment commenced, muskets were borrowed from the Colonial Store, and training and organization took shape under the personal supervision of Lt-Col. Bruce. By-laws were approved on 5/10/1861, revised in June 1862, and finally, under the direction of the Military Commandant, amalgamated with those of other corps in one general code.

There was no difficulty in raising and maintaining the designed strength of 100. Civil servants and ex-members of the British Army enrolled freely.

The Gazette of 6/8/1862 which created the corps also carried the appointment of Mr F. S. Leake as Captain Commanding and a few days later Mr M. Dyett was appointed Lieutenant and Mr J. B. Roe Ensign. On the day of gazettal the roll bore the names of three officers, 95 other ranks, 13 bandsmen, 12 honorary members, and 20 cadets. 100 new Enfield muzzle-loading percussion rifles recently sent from England were issued on 1/6/1862, and by means not recorded the corps became possessed of a Regimental Colour. A sketch drawn in 1863 depicts the members wearing long tunics, white trousers, and shakoes-a similar uniform to that worn at the time by Infantry of the British Army.

As early as March 1862 it was found that Government assistance was necessary in connection with administration and cost of providing uniform, as well as an allowance for a drill instructor. Government agreed to assist to the extent of ten shillings per annum for each efficient Volunteer. Good progress was made. Drills were frequent and the corps paraded in conjunction with the Fremantle corps on such occasions as the Presentation of Colours at Fremantle in 1862, the Presentation of Officers Commissions at Government House in 1863, and a Birthday Review in May 1864. At Mount Eliza in 1864 the corps participated in the first annual rifle meeting held in the Colony (incidentally the prizes were donated by private citizens).

Then trouble arose in 1872. On top of the chronic shortage of public funds a form of financial depression prevailed. Among the drastic economies proposed by the Executive Council was the withholding of the annual grant then due to the Volunteer corps. The original grant of ten shillings had been increased to fifteen shillings and the prospect of losing this was most unpalatable to the Volunteers. Captain Leake vainly protested against the Executive Council's proposal and as a result resigned his commission on 9/2/1872. Lieut. Roe declined promotion to the vacant position whereupon the Governor appointed Capt. B. H. Burke, Staff Officer for Enrolled Pensioners, to Command. The corps elected committee then took over conduct of the battle, the Secretary calling a mass meeting of members for the night of 21/2/1872. An invitation was sent to Capt. Burke to attend and occupy a seat on the platform - he attended but refused the platform seat. During the course of the meeting several speakers violently berated the Executive Council, the most violent being a member of the Civil Service. The whole proceedings were extremely subversive and an immediate report thereon was made to the Military Commandant, who early next morning conferred with the Governor. On the same day, i.e., 22nd February, 1872, the Government Gazette carried an Extraordinary Proclamation disbanding the corps for "Insubordination."

The result was not due to any lack of loyalty to the Crown. It was due to the ultra-democratic nature of the Rules and By-laws which permitted soldiers with a grievance to meet and openly criticize their superior officers, the presumed authors of their discomfiture. The self-same Bylaws etc. soon were made inoperative.

The Fremantle corps having been disbanded at an earlier date, the Volunteer Force now consisted solely of two small mounted corps with a total strength of well under 100 all ranks.

Officers of Perth Volunteer Rifles

Captain S Leake - 6 August 1862
Captain M Dyett - 15 August 1862
Lieutenant JB Roe - 15 August 1862
Ensign WH Knight - 7 June 1864


Previous:  The Plan in Operation

Next: Fremantle Volunteer Rifles


Further Reading:

Western Australian Militia, Light Horse

Western Australian Militia, Infantry


Citation: The Volunteer Movement in Western Australia, Perth Volunteer Rifles

Posted by Project Leader at 12:01 AM EADT
Updated: Friday, 14 August 2009 12:07 PM EADT
Australian Light Horse, Roles within the Regiment, Marching Reliefs
Topic: AIF - Lighthorse

Australian Light Horse

Roles within the Regiment

Marching Reliefs


The following entries dealing with the roles and duties within the hierarchy of a light horse regiment are extracted from a very informative handbook called The Bushman’s Military Guide, 1898. While written in 1898, the information contained in the entries held true for the next twenty years with only minor modifications with the principles remaining as current then as now.


Marching Reliefs


(1.) A relief will march with supported arms. If it consists of less than four men it will march in line; if of four men or more, in files, etc., according to its strength; but in streets or narrow places reliefs should always be marched in single file or files. When marching in line, the corporal (who will march with shouldered arms) will be on the right; when in fours, sections, etc., on the inner flank of the leading men.

(2.) When the first relief of anew guard is sent out, a corporal of the old guard will accompany it, to bring in the relieved sentries. If the relief moves in line, he will be on the left flank; if in fours, files, etc., on the outer flank of the leading men. When all the sentries are relieved, the corporals will change places, and the corporal of the old guard will take command.



Previous: Relieving and Posting a Guard 

Next: Relieving and Posting a Sentry 


Further Reading:

Australian Light Horse

Militia 1899 - 1920


Citation: Australian Light Horse, Roles within the Regiment, Marching Reliefs

Posted by Project Leader at 12:01 AM EADT
Updated: Wednesday, 2 September 2009 11:24 AM EADT
Western Australian Militia, Pinjarrah Mounted Volunteers, Nominal Roll
Topic: Militia - LHW - WA

Western Australian Militia

Pinjarrah Mounted Volunteers, Nominal Roll


The following is the first Nominal Roll of the Pinjarrah Mounted Rifles as at 14 August 1867:


41 Trooper James ARCHDEACON


13 Trooper Bernard BEDINGFELD


42 Trooper John CHAMBERS

25 Trooper Henry CLARKSON

43 Trooper Waller CLIFTON

20 Trooper James COOPER

19 Trooper Joseph COOPER, and appointed Farrier

14 Trooper Thomas COOPER

12 Trooper Andrew CORNISH, and appointed Trumpeter

33 Trooper Hamlet CORNISH

11 Trooper William CORNISH


45 Trooper Joseph EACOTT

44 Trooper William EACOTT


40 Trooper Tom FARMER, and appointed Troop Sergeant Major

1 Captain Theodore FAWCETT, and appointed Captain


Trooper William HAINES

16 Trooper Henry HALL, and appointed Sergeant

34 Trooper John HAMMOND

27 Trooper William HUMUS

28 Trooper John HYDE


35 Trooper Tommy JENKINS

24 Trooper Joseph JOHNSTONE


47 Trooper P. KEEN


48 Trooper B. LANE

18 Trooper Joseph LOGUE

7 Trooper Thomson LOGUE, and appointed Sergeant

26 Trooper William LOGUE


9 Trooper Edward McLARTY

31 Trooper Hector McLARTY

8 Trooper John McLARTY, and appointed Corporal

4 Trooper David MURRAY

36 Trooper George MURRAY

3 Trooper John G. MURRAY, and appointed Lieut.


2 Sergeant Tom OAKLEY


23 Trooper Charles PATERSON

22 Trooper George PATERSON

21 Trooper William PATERSON

37 Trooper John POLLARD

10 Trooper Michael POLLARD

15 Trooper Stewart PRICE

38 Trooper Joseph PUMPHREY


30 Trooper Alfred ROBINSON


46 Trooper William SPRATT

50 Trooper George STINTON

17 Trooper Henry SUTTON

39 Trooper James SWEENEY, who was not elected

Trooper Alexander SWEENY, who subsequently resigned)


5 Trooper Frederick THOMAS, and appointed Corporal

49 Trooper George THOMAS

6 Trooper Joseph THOMAS

32 Trooper Alexander THOMSON


29 Trooper William WALDECK, who subsequently left the district



Previous: Pinjarrah Mounted Volunteers

Next: Union Troop of W.A. Mounted Volunteers 


Further Reading:

Western Australian Militia, Light Horse

Western Australian Militia, Infantry


Citation: Western Australian Militia, Pinjarrah Mounted Volunteers, Nominal Roll

Posted by Project Leader at 12:01 AM EADT
Updated: Friday, 14 August 2009 12:12 PM EADT
Sunday, 9 August 2009
Bir el Abd, Sinai, 9 August 1916, General Staff Headquarters, Anzac Mounted Division, AIF, War Diary Account
Topic: AIF - DMC - Anzac MD

Bir el Abd

Sinai, 9 August 1916

General Staff HQ, Anzac MD, AIF, War Diary Account


War Diary account of the General Staff Headquarters, Anzac Mounted Division, AIF.


The transcription:


9 August


At 0218 a message was received from the 3rd Light Horse Brigade to say that their scouts had found the enemy holding Ras and Hod el Homossia.


Royston’s Column arrived at Hod el Khirba being joined by the Ayrshire Battery on the road; they marched north east form Hod el Khirba towards Hod Hamada.


At 0400 the New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade left their bivouac and marched on Bir el Abd; the 5th Mounted Brigade remained in Divisional Reserve at Oghratina and the 3rd Light Horse Brigade moved forward to the south in the direction of Ho el Bada.


Divisional Headquarters left Oghratina at 0430.


Royston’s Column struck the enemy in position on a line with the right on the Sabkhet el Bardawil, thence one mile west of Hod el Hisha, and thence towards Bir el Abd. The Ayrshire Battery came into action and dispersed a small body of enemy, but the advance of the column was checked.


At 0510 the New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade moved on Bir el Abd and encountered and drove in their advanced patrols and pushing on, occupied the high ground overlooking Bir el Abd by 0615.


Division Headquarters arrived at Hod ed Debabis at 0600.

0615 - 0630

A counter attack was made by the enemy in two columns some 5-600 strong each. These were dispersed by the fire of the Somerset Battery and rifle fire, and some prisoners were taken. By 0630 the New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade were engaged all along the line, with the enemy holding a position 2 miles south east of Hod Hamada. The 1st Light Horse Brigade on the left facing south east with the right on the second “d” in “sand dunes” and connected with the 2nd Light Horse Brigade on their right whose right in turn extended towards the left of the New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade, but was separated by a gap of 800 yards. Both Brigades had a Regiment in reserve. The Ayrshire Battery were in action firing south east. To the south the 3rd Light Horse Brigade were meeting opposition and were in touch on their right with patrols of the Mobile Column No. 2 Section near Hod el Muhammam.


At 0730 the enemy were reported to be working round the right of the New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade. Their objective apparently being the long ridge running north and south across the telegraph line. The Brigadier reinforced his right. A general movement of camels out of Bir el Abd continued and the Somerset Battery made good practice on them. A patrol sent round the north side of Bir el Abd was held up. Other patrols began working round to the south. The 3rd Light Horse Brigade could be seen to the south moving north east.


At 0825 the Leicester Battery and the remaining gun of the Somerset Battery were ordered forward to the New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade Headquarters.


At 0830 the 3rd Light Horse Brigade were ordered to get close touch with the New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade and make Bir el Abd their objective instead of Salmana.


By 0850 it seemed probable that the New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade would get into Bir el Abd as they were able to advance and were immediately west of it and the enemy seemed to be retreating. They were ordered to report directly they occupied the high ground immediately east of the place.


Meantime the 3rd Light Horse Brigade had reached a point slightly west of Likbirdeh, where they were strongly opposed. The 8th and 9th Light Horse Regiments were attacking, supported by the fire of the Inverness Battery. They reported a redoubt in their immediate front. Colonel Royston on the left also reported strong enemy opposition and that several guns were in action against him.


By 1035 the enemy’s guns ere showing great activity. As the artillery were unable to locate them a request was made for an aeroplane to try and locate them by dropping smoke balls. The request was granted.


At 1130 the New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade asked for reinforcements and the Warwickshire Yeomanry were sent up. They were put in between, Royston’s Column and New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade left.


By 1140 our advance had been completely checked. Our line was in a semicircle facing south east, east and north east, and from 2 to 3 miles distant from Bir el Abd. The enemy had brought a large number of guns into action. Parties could be seen removing stores, and these were shelled by our batteries.


From 1147 onwards the enemy made several counter attacks against the Canterbury Mounted Rifles, which was in advance on the left of the New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade. At mid day he opened high explosive shells from one of his heavy pieces on the wagon teams of the Ayrshire Battery. 4 men and 37 horses were killed and 7 men and 7 horses wounded before they could get to other positions.


At 1257 the enemy were made out moving north east in large bodies; the dump of stores were seen on fire and lit up by the enemy.


At 1255 very heavy shell fire both high explosive and shrapnel was opened on Royston’s Column. Casualties took place particularly among the led horses and the enemy began to advance on the centre of his line.


At 1258 the enemy made a determined counter attack on the centre of the New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade. Heavy firing was going on all along the line. Our guns were turned on the enemy columns and the counter attack broke, the enemy retreating hurriedly. The enemy’s heavy guns were firing on our line the whole time.


At 1310 Colonel Royston reported that he had joined with the New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade and was moving forward south east. He was being heavily shelled. The enemy begun to press his left.


At 1330 the enemy delivered an attack on the New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade left with 5 Battalions. The gap which had existed here had been filled by the Warwick Yeomanry which met the attack, the Leicester Battery being also turned on to it and the pressure was relieved. One Squadron Composite Regiment was sent to report to the New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade.


At 1350 the 3rd Light Horse Brigade reported that all troops except the reserve were in the firing line. A slight advance had been made on the right; but this had been opposed by rifle and machine gun fire. The enemy were very strong along the whole line, and the pressure obliged the Brigadier to draw back to the right a little. He reported that he did not think he could shift the enemy from where he was.


Royston’s right was now forced back and at 1400 a determined counter attack on his column began, supported by heavy artillery fire. The Ayrshire Battery was ordered back, but owing to casualties in horses could not move.


All reserves were called up and put in the fight so that the guns could be withdrawn. The 3rd Light Horse Brigade received orders from Division Headquarters to hold on where they were unless otherwise ordered.


By 1427 the left flank of Royston’s Column began a gradual retreat. At the same time the enemy pressure forced back the 3rd Light Horse Brigade for nearly a mile, and the enemy concentrated about Umm Dirk making apparently for the ridge which runs from the “H” of Hod umm Zaghliya to Hod ed Darabis.


The attacks on Royston’s left were also pushed on and he reported at 1448 that he was just holding on but would have to probably retire. All men were now in the firing line.


By 1650 his left was forced right back, the enemy to the number of 2-3,000 strong were pressing on the centre, and about 1,000 strong against his left. The shell fire all along the line was very heavy, and the whole line was gradually going back. He succeeded however in getting all the wounded away.


At 1700 a counter attack was made on the 3rd Light Horse Brigade but was repulsed by the 8th Light Horse Regiment. By forcing back of both forces on their flanks the New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade became very exposed.


Preparations were made to withdraw, the Leicester Battery being sent to a position 1,000 yards in rear. Orders were then sent to the Regiments in front to begin a gradual withdrawal.


At 1850 as the withdrawal was taking place the enemy delivered an attack on a front of about 2½ miles. The rifle and machine gun fire was intense and continued up till dark; but the enemy was held off and the withdrawal was completed. During the day the Leicester and Somerset Batteries fired 1,000 rounds between them, and the Inverness 455.

Orders for bivouac had already been issued. New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade was to bivouac at Hod ed Dababis, one Brigade of Royston’s Column at Bir Abu el Afein, 3rd Light Horse Brigade at Hod Abu Dhahab, and the remaining Brigade of Royston’s Column, 5th Mounted Brigade less 1 Regiment, and Division Headquarters at Oghratina.

In view however of the large number of fresh enemy troops which had appeared, the General Officer Commanding Division after a consultation with Brigadier General Chaytor decided it was inadvisable to bivouac at either Hod ed Debabis or Bir Abu el Afein and after rations had been distributed and horses watered orders were issued for the whole of the Anzac Mounted Division, less 3rd Light Horse Brigade, to be concentrated at Oghratina for the night, having an outpost line covering the north east, east and south east sides of the camp. The 3rd Light Horse Brigade to bivouac at Hod Abu Dhahab, also with an outpost line. Officers patrols kept a watch on the enemy during the night.

Arrangements for next day were:-

New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade to move to Hod ed Dababis at 0650, send out reconnoitring parties, water and await orders.

2nd Light Horse Brigade to move to Hod el Khirba at 0650, send out reconnoitring parties, water, and await orders.

The other Brigades to water at Oghratina wells;

wells at Hod Minshla should be left to the Field Ambulances.

Royston’s Column to cease from now on, and the 1st and 2nd Light Horse Brigades to come under their own Brigadiers.


All moves to Oghratina were made and outpost line posted by 2330.


Further Reading:

Anzac Mounted Division, AIF

Bir el Abd, Sinai, 9 August 1916, Roll of Honour

Battle of Romani, Sinai, August 4 to 5, 1916 

Bir el Abd, Sinai, 9 August 1916

Battles where Australians fought, 1899-1920


Citation: Bir el Abd, Sinai, 9 August 1916, General Staff Headquarters, Anzac Mounted Division, AIF, War Diary Account

Posted by Project Leader at 12:01 AM EADT
Updated: Monday, 21 September 2009 11:41 PM EADT
The Volunteer Movement in Western Australia, Fremantle Volunteer Rifles
Topic: Militia - LHW - WA

Western Australian Militia

Fremantle Volunteer Rifles


The following is an extract from the book written in 1962 by George F. Wieck called The Volunteer Movement in Western Australia 1861-1903, pp. 29 – 30:

Fremantle Volunteer Rifles

The public meeting held in Fremantle in September 1861, recommended an Infantry corps of 100 all ranks, to be designated the "Fremantle Volunteer Rifles". Approval was given, and training, organization etc. proceeded under the direction of Captain C. Finnerty, Staff Officer for Enrolled Pensioners at Fremantle. Formation was "gazetted" on 6/8/1862, as was the appointment of Mr R. S. Price as Captain Commanding.

It is difficult to justify the optimism of the citizens of Fremantle in supposing that their district could supply 100 Volunteers, the population being small and employment uncertain. The objective was never attained. The highest strength gained was in 1864 when the roll bore the names of 69 members, 22 honorary members, and 19 cadets. The recruiting potential seems to have been grossly overestimated.

The corps was armed with obsolete muzzle-loading muskets, presumably those taken over from the War Office stocks held in the Colony. It is understood that the uniform adopted was similar to that of the Perth corps. By-laws were approved on 18/12/1861, and later embodied in the general code.

By 1869 the strength had dwindled to one officer and 50 other ranks, much of it on paper only. After careful inquiry the Military Commandant recommended disbandment of the Corps on the grounds of "Inefficiency". Disbandment was gazetted on 8/2/1870.

Officers of the Fremantle Volunteer Rifles

Captain RS Price - 6 August 1862

Lieutenant M Brown - 22 October 1862

Lieutenant A Francesco - 22 October 1862

Captain CA Manning - 16 November 1864

Lieutenant LW Clifton - 1 June 1866


Previous: Perth Volunteer Rifles

Next: Pinjarrah Mounted Volunteers


Further Reading:

Western Australian Militia, Light Horse

Western Australian Militia, Infantry


Citation: The Volunteer Movement in Western Australia, Fremantle Volunteer Rifles

Posted by Project Leader at 12:01 AM EADT
Updated: Friday, 14 August 2009 12:08 PM EADT

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