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A Light Horse Soliloquy.
A Light Horse Soliloquy. 

Western Mail, Thursday 19 October 1933, page 2

A Light Horse Soliloquy.

I came a Regimental gutzer" on Gallipoli over a scrap of paper.

During the blizzard, in the wee sma' hours, we had an alarm and stood to. The boys turned out and stood shivering and cursing in the dark and rain. So dark was it that a black cat would make a white mark on the scenery and so cold that you couldn't allow a brass monkey out without adequate protection. Lieutenant Buckland came up: "Called the roll yet. Sergeant Major?"

I hadn't, but remembering that the man in the furthest dugout was a pretty sound sleeper, and that if he were on parade the rest most probably were also, I called out: "McGee!"


"Squadron present and correct, sir," I said, and diving my hand into my great coat pocket, "Parade state Sir."

Next morning on going to the regimental orderly room, I found the R.S.M. with a puzzled look on his dial, and the ord. room sergeant, Staff Sergeant MacMahon, sitting behind the table, with a severe look on his usually beaming countenance.

"Your parade state," says the R.S.M., "seems to show that you had no men in the trenches last night. How is that?"

I looked at the state. "My mistake," says I, "I handed Mr. Buckland the wrong state. This is the right one. That one is the state I keep handy to show Staff Sergt. MacMahon that I have no men available for fatigues!"

Mac's face was a study.

I hope McGee sees this. He pulled my leg for three years afterwards about it. I he saw me a mile across the desert he would rise in his stirrups and call out "McGee's here."

Re Staff-Sergeant MacMahon. I wonder if Mac. remembers Colonel Todd's remark a month or two afterwards at Heliopolis, when he saw Mac. and me coming home from the canteen. "The blind leading the blind!"

I reckon it's over the odds "172," Peak Hill, in W.M. of September 14, raking up my hurrying to go on parade in my underpants! However, none of the inspecting heads noticed it, which goes to show how a smart, soldierly bearing and a military seat in the saddle carry things off! - J. Ryder (ex 218, 10th L.H.), Lake Biddy.

Those in the story:

Lieutenant BUCKLAND = 102 Squadron Quartermaster Sergeant Phillip Percival BUCKLAND, a 33 year old Stock salesman from Torquay, Victoria. He enlisted on 5 October 1914; and subsequently was Discharged abroad, 30 August 1919.

McGee = 1109 Private William McGHIE, a 19 year old Labourer from Gwalia, Western Australia. He enlisted on 12 March 1915; and subsequently Returned to Australia, 15 November 1918.

RSM = ?

Staff-Sergeant MacMahon = 31 Private Beresford McMAHON, a 32 year old Farmer from Repertory Theatre Melbourne, Victoria. He enlisted on 1 November 1914; and subsequently Returned to Australia, 14 December 1918.

Colonel Todd = Major Thomas John TODD, a 41 year old Accountant from Subiaco, Western Australia. He enlisted on 2 October 1914; and subsequently Died of Disease, 23 January 1919.

172 = 172 Corporal Evan BAIN, a 22 year old Farmer from Katanning, Western Australia. He enlisted on 6 October 1914; and subsequently Returned to Australia, 11 July 1917.

Narrator = 218 Sergeant James RYDER, a 36 year old Farmer from Maylands, Western Australia. He enlisted on 20 October 1914; and at the conclusion of the war Returned to Australia, 27 January 1919.