By the start of the 20th century,mounted
infantry was believed to provide a mobile, effective force in modern warfare.
Australian mounted infantry served superbly during the Anglo-Boer War of
1899-1902. Australian bushmen, used to the rigours of drought, endless dry
plains and heat, and confidently self-reliant, won the respect of the
Boers. Victoria sent eight contingents of mounted infantry to the Boer
War. Such units later were transformed into the Australian Light Horse
regiments of WW1.
BOER WAR UNITS
Victoria also provided 250 recruits for the Marquis of Tullibardine's
the Second Battalion Australian Commonwealth Horse, the Fourth Battalion
Commonwealth Horse and the Sixth Battalion Australian Commonwealth Horse.
Victorians served with the Commonwealth Army Medical Corps.
Victoria's proud cavalry, dragoon and light horse traditions reached far
into the State's European history. The Prince of Wales Light Horse, with troops
at Bacchus Marsh, Kyneton and Geelong to begin with, began in 1860, but there
were smaller, earlier mounted units. The Victorian Mounted Rifle Regiment
commenced in 1885. The regiment's soft felt hat turned up on one side started
the tradition of the rakish slouch hat which is worn with such pride by
Australian soldiers today.
It was from these traditions--and the blooding gained in the Anglo-Boer
War--that Victoria's strong contribution to formation of the the Australian
Light Horse Regiments, when they were formed after Federation, began.
Light Horse at Flemington, Victoria, during the 1908 Military
Charles Edward Williamson
enlisted in the 8th Australian Light Horse Regiment
on 8 September 1914, aged 30. A British subject,
he had already served in the Lancashire Hussars
and Royal Welsh Fusiliers. He was promoted
Corporal in 'A' Troop within a month of joining-up.
On his enlistment papers, Charles Williamson
accepted that as a married man he was not entitled to any special
allowance. Required to allot not
less than two-fifths of his pay to his wife (Ada), he
altered the figure to read
three-fifths of his pay. Williamson may have been
a medical casualty of Gallipoli. The 8th Australian Light Horse
were landed there on 20
May 1915, and he was admitted to hospital on the
24th June with influenza. The
next day he had contracted myalgia and was
admitted to No 15 MS hospital at Mudros on the nearby island of
Lemnos. In early July, he had developed enteric
(typhoid), and was transferred to No 17 General Hospital at
Alexandria, Egypt, ending up at an English
hospital near Birmingham in September. He was finally returned
duty in August 1916.
hospitalisation, he joined the 3rd Light Horse Training Regiment in Egypt
in 1917, receiving a
gunshot wound to the left knee barely a month
later. Photo and enlistment/service records provided by his proud
grand-daughter Loraine Padgham.
Alfred James 'Snowy' Sutton of the 13th Australian
Light Horse Regiment in 1914. He served in Egypt
and France where he later joined the Field Ambul-
ance. He was wounded by a bomb and repatriated.
He died in the 1950s. (Right) a closeup of his boot
and spur. Photo provided by his proud grand-nephew,
1935 Xmas card of the 13th Australian Light Horse
Regiment Association to its members. War comrades shared special bonds that
lasted a lifetime.Photo provided by Lee Power.
A 13th Light Horse team displays its prowess in
saddle over jumps at the Royal Melbourne Showgrounds in the 1930s. Photo
provided by Lee Power.
This photo is supposed to show the famous charge of
the 4th Light Horse Brigade at Beersheeba on 31
October 1917. But some historians consider it to be a
re-enactment staged for a movie cameraman after
the event. In any event, the title of the photograph
-- `Thunder of a Light Horse Charge' -- captures the
power and shock of a mounted charge. Photo courtesy
of the Australian War Memorial (AWM AO2684).
Albert George Owen was so upset
at seeing injured soldiers disembarking after returning from Europe that
he enlisted as a reinforcement in the 2nd Australian Light Horse
Field Ambulance. Bert left for the Middle East on board the troopship
Commonwealth in November 1917. On arrival in Egypt three weeks
were spent in the isolation camp before travelling in open train wagons to
Gaza. Until the end of the war Bert and his pal Bridget (his horse), above
right, traveled throughout Palestine and Syria and at some point was
promoted to corporal. After returning to Australia in 1919 Bert discovered
that a local bank was displaying a photograph of his unit posing for the
camera in Richon, Syria. He could not remember the photograph being taken
but obviously obtained a copy of it. Although the 2nd Light Horse (and its
Field Ambulance) had been raised in Queensland, Bert Owen, born
and raised in Victoria, enrolled as a member of the June
Cpl. Albert George Owen. All photos provided by his
proud grandson, John Rogers.
During World War One, the Australian Light Horse,
many members of which had served during the searing battles of the Boer War,
performed prodigious feats in WW1 at Gallipoli and
in the Holy Land at Beersheba, and during the
struggle for Damascus. The 4th, 8th, (part of the 9th) and 13th Regiments of
Light Horse were raised in Victoria. Machine Gun Squadrons formed part of each
Light Horse Regiment. Part of the 3rd MG Squadron (attached to the 3rd Light
Horse Brigade, ANZAC Mounted Division) and part of 4th MG Squadron (attached to
4th Australian Light Horse Brigade, Australian Mounted Division) comprised
Without Farriers and Vets the Light Horse would have been unable to
for long on the far-off battlefields of the Holy Land and the Western
Farrier and Quartermaster Sergeant Daniel McNaughtan of the 4th Light
(centre) posed for this photo at Heliopolis in 1916. He was transferred
Headquarters in July 1916. Daniel later served in the 2nd ANZAC Mounted
Born at Rupunyup, Victoria, in 1876, he enlisted for WW1 at
Photo kindly provided by his proud grandson, John Forster
VICTORIAN LIGHT HORSE REGIMENTS, A. I.
(in 3rd and 4th Light Horse
4th Australian Light Horse
8th Australian Light Horse
9th Australian Light Horse
13th Australian Light Horse
* A combined
Victorian/South Australian unit
1st & 2nd REMOUNT REGIMENTS,
Raised Melbourne, 1914. Served in Australia and