"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.
11th Light Horse Regiment Colour Patch after February 1917
The 11th Light Horse Regiment was formed as part of the 4th Australian Light Horse Brigade, 1915 , 4th Contingent and attached to the Australian Division. The 11th Light Horse Regiment was a composite regiment with two squadrons made up by recruits from the 1st Military District which incorporated all of Queensland, Darwin and Northern New South Wales while the last squadron, "C" Squadron was composed of men from the 4th Military District [South Australia and the Broken Hill region of New South Wales].
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.
11th Light Horsemen parading through Brisbane, Queensland, June 1915.
[From: The Queenslander, 6 June 1915, p. 21.]
The 11th Light Horse Regiment was formed as part of the 4th Australian Light Horse Brigade, 1915 , 4th Contingent and attached to the Australian Division. The 11th Light Horse Regiment was a composite regiment with two squadrons made up by recruits from the 1st Military District which incorporated all of Queensland, Darwin and Northern New South Wales while the last squadron, "C" Squadron was composed of men from the 4th Military District [South Australia and the Broken Hill region of New South Wales]. The 11th Light Horse Regiment was established at Enoggera Training Camp to the west of Brisbane, Queensland, at the end of March 1915. The South Australian members trained at Morphettville Race Track Training Camp to the west of Adelaide, South Australia.
"A" Squadron recruited from Queensland.
"B" Squadron recruited from Queensland.
"C" Squadron recruited from South Australia.
11th Light Horse Regiment Routine Order No 1, 24 March 1915
[Click on page for larger version.]
The 11th Light Horse Regiment commenced training at Enoggera Training Camp to the west of Brisbane, Queensland, at the end of March 1915. The South Australian members trained at Morphettville Race Track Training Camp and later moving to the Mitcham Training Camp to the south of Adelaide, South Australia. On 2 May 1915, the 11th Light Horse Regiment came together at Fraser’s Paddock Camp, outside Brisbane, and trained as a single Regiment as opposed to previous composite regiments when training occurred at different locations.
Embarkation of the 11th Light Horse Regiment was accomplished in two groups using both the HMAT A7 Medicand HMAT A30 Bordafrom Brisbane, Queensland.
White Star Liner Medicleaving Port Melbourne, 28 October 1899
11th Light Horse Regiment "B" Squadron embarked on the HMAT A30 Bordafrom Brisbane, Queensland, 16 June 1915.
The 11th 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 11th 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 11th 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 11th Light Horse Regiment Colour Patch
The first colour patch for the 11th Light Horse Regiment was a circle with white over red. This was worn by the men from the renamed 11th Light Horse Regiment became the 1st Camel Regiment.
Second 11th Light Horse Regiment Colour Patch
The reformed 11th 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 green unit colour was on the top. This is illustrated with the above presentation.
During the voyage to Egypt, the part of the 11th Light Horse Regiment travelling on the HMAT A7 Medicwas 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 11th 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 11th Light Horse Regiment left the peninsula during December 1915.
Defence of Egypt
After the return to Egypt, on 19 February 1916, the 11th Light Horse Regiment reformed and re-equipped. On 28 February 1916, the 11th 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 11th Light Horse Regiment was redesignated as the 1st Camel Regiment. The Regiment continued to see further service in the Sinai.
On 7 November 1917, while charging at Tel el Sheria, a troop became separated from the squadron and was totally destroyed.
The 11th Light Horse Regiment and then took part in the follow up actions that lasted until early January 1918.
From this time onwards, for the next two months, the 11th 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 11th 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 11th 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 11th Light Horse Regiment moved towards Homs when the Turks surrendered on 30 October 1918.
Return to Australia
After the conclusion of hostilities, the 11th 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 11th Light Horse Regiment was deployed to assist in suppressing the Egyptian Uprising. When the revolt collapsed, the 11th Light Horse Regiment embarked on the 17 July 1919 for the long voyage to Australia where the unit was disbanded.
Lieutenant Colonel William Grant Lieutenant Colonel John William Parsons Lieutenant Colonel Percival John Bailey
Decorations earned by the 11th Light Horse Regiment
4 DSO - Distinguished Service Orders
9 MC & 1 Bar - Military Crosses
6 DCM - Distinguished Conduct Medals
13 MM- Military Medals
27 MID - Mentioned in Despatches
2 foreign awards
Defence of Egypt
Second Battle of Gaza
Third Battle of Gaza
Casualties suffered by the 11th 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 11th 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.
Australian Service Personnel, Photograph Albums, Contents Topic: AAC-Photo Albums
Australian Service Personnel
Trooper Ellis, The Military Force Souvenir Album
At the conclusion of his service in the Light Horse during the Great War, Trooper Ellis self published an album of his photographs. The album was bound by hand tooled leather and contained 90 photographs, all of which were captioned.
The photographs cover the period from Romani to 3rd Gaza. There are additional commentaries on the photographs where they are warranted.
Here are a sample of four pictures which give the range of subjects photographed by Trooper Ellis.
Resting after Stunt
Quite a nicely composed picture of horse and horseman sleeping after the Battle of Romani.
General Kress von Kressenstein Comdr of Gaza Captured by Anzac M Div
This photograph's caption makes a startling claim, that Kress was captured at Gaza. Since Kress was never captured by the Allied forces, the scene is not of Kress but another officer.
French Soldiers camped somewhere
Oddly enough, in Ellis's album, there is not one picture of a British soldier. So the next best thing was the French.
Remains of a Dead Turk
The album does give the grisly side to the war with a few pictures such as this.
The complete photograph album of Trooper Ellis is now available on the Australian Light Horse Studies Centre Site at:
Victorian (Volunteer) Mounted Rifles was gazetted as a Volunteer formation by General Order 559 of 2 December 1885 with the express aim of consolidating all the disparate cavalry units dotted around Victoria into on co-ordinated and single administrative and military unit.
Lieutenant Colonel Tom Price, 1 May 1885.
Lieutenant John Charles Hoad, 4 June 1886.
Captain Thomas Mann, 2 July 1886.
Archibald McDonald, 16 April 1886.
Henry St. John Mitchell, 16 April 1886.
William Francis Sweetman, 16 April 1886.
Henry Ogle Moore, 16 April 1886.
William Cleland Wilkinson, 16 April 1886.
Augustus McManus, 16 April 1886.
Graham Mitchell, 16 April 1886.
Lieutenant Edgar Slee, 16 April 1886.
Lieutenant William Hallett Thomas, 16 April 1886.
Lieutenant William Braithwaite, 16 April 1886.
Lieutenant Walter George Farroll, 16 April 1886.
Lieutenant Martin Joseph Ryan, 16 April 1886.
Lieutenant William Hart Fawcett, 16 April 1886.
Lieutenant Richard Barker, 16 April 1886.
Lieutenant George Francis Nethercote, 16 April 1886.
Lieutenant William Thomas Reay, 16 April 1886.
Lieutenant John Parsons Learmonth, 16 April 1886.
Lieutenant Richard James Howell, 16 April 1886.
Lieutenant Charles Blanchard, 16 April 1886.
Lieutenant Alfred William Crowe, 16 April 1886.
Lieutenant David Alexander Skene, 16 April 1886.
Lieutenant Christopher Richard Smithwick, 16 April 1886.
Lieutenant William Benjamin Pleasants, 16 April 1886.
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