The History of the 4th Light
Horse Regiment AIF during World War One. One of the most comprehensive
books about the regiment who gained fame in recent years for their
involvement in the Charge at Beersheba.
Limited Edition of 513 (the number of other ranks in the original regiment).
Order your copy from Regimental Books:
The 4th Light Horse Regiment
was formed as the divisional cavalry regiment for the 1st Australian
Division on 11 August 1914. Belying traditional stereotypes, over 20 per
cent of the original regiment were city dwellers from Melbourne. The
regiment sailed from Melbourne on 19 October 1914 and disembarked in
Egypt on 10 December.
light horse were considered unsuitable for the initial operations at
Gallipoli, but were subsequently deployed without their horses to
reinforce the infantry. The 4th Light Horse Regiment landed on 22 and 24
May and its squadrons were initially scattered to reinforce the
infantry battalions already ashore. The regiment was not reunited until
11 June. Much of the regiment’s time at Gallipoli was spent defending
the precarious ANZAC position, most frequently around Ryrie’s Post, but
its squadrons were involved in several minor attacks. It left the
peninsula on 11 December 1915.
to Egypt, a fourth squadron – “D Squadron” – was formed for the
regiment and it was promptly detailed, along with B Squadron, for duty
as divisional cavalry for the 1st and 3rd Australian Divisions on the
Western Front. These two squadrons arrived in France in March and June
1916 and would eventually become part of the II ANZAC Mounted Regiment.
new B Squadron was formed for the 4th Light Horse in Egypt, and the
regiment spent the remainder of 1916 engaged on rear area security tasks
in the Suez Canal Zone. In April 1917 it moved up into the Sinai desert
in the wake of the main British and dominion advance, but continued to
undertake security duties.
regiment’s first major battle would also become that which made it
legendary. On 31 October 1917 an attack was launched to outflank the
Turkish bastion of Gaza, against which two previous attacks had failed,
by capturing another heavily defended town to the east – Beersheba. A
deteriorating tactical situation late on the first day of the operation
caused the 4th and its sister regiment, the 12th, to be unleashed on
Beersheba at the gallop – an action which has gone down in history as
the charge of Beersheba.
Gaza fell on 7 November 1917, Turkish resistance in southern Palestine
collapsed. The 4th Light Horse participated in the pursuit that
followed, and then spent the first months of 1918 resting and training.
It moved into the Jordan Valley in time to participate in the Es Salt
raid between 29 April and 4 May.
August, the regiment was issued with swords and trained in traditional
cavalry tactics in preparation for the next offensive against the Turks.
This was launched along the Palestine coast on 19 September 1918 – its
objective, Damascus. The mounted forces penetrated deep into the Turkish
rear areas severing roads, railways and communications links. On 1
October 1918, a patrol of the 4th Light Horse, commanded by Sergeant
Frank Organ, were the first allied troops to enter Damascus. The
regiment was soon involved in the next stage of the advance and was on
its way to Homs when the Turks surrendered on 30 October. Some
long-serving troopers began to embark for home soon after and while the
rest awaited their turn, the 4th Light Horse were called back to
operational duty to quell the Egyptian revolt that erupted in March
1919; order was restored in little over a month. The regiment sailed for
home on 15 June 1919.
Includes Nominal Roll and Roll of Honour