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The Middle East
‘A chap’s horse proves his best friend’
‘Throughout history, mounted troops have been known as the elite men of arms and the Australian Light Horse is a part of that legendary tradition.’ https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/LIB100046415
An interpretation centre about the Australian Light Horse in the Middle East during the Great War is beside the Light Horse statue at Freedom Park, Pialba. The statue depicts the famous charge at Beersheba and forms part of the Fraser Coast Military Trail.
Trooper C. M. Edmunds of Tiaro, 1st Composite A. L. H. Regt. … our regiment being the first Australian horsemen (mounted) to go into action since the Boer War. Well, we haven’t done much fighting yet but we have been under fairly heavy fire for a few hours, and not one of my troops got hit, but I think all of us were very close to it, and you would be surprised to see how cool we were. We put in a long day, rising at 3 am and arriving back at 9 pm. We mostly live on bully beef and biscuits. We haven’t had bread for two weeks now but I am as right as rain. M.C., Letters from the Front Line, MWBB Historical Society.
Pte F. T Slocomb: I have received my commission as a master mariner, that is the skipper of a ship, and the ship is a ‘ship of the desert’, more commonly known as a camel. I am attached to the Australian Imperial Camel Corps. You can put your mind to ease for a good time when I get back for I will bring my camel with me and will give you all a joy ride on him and you can even tell the mater I will harness him to the buggy and drive her to church on Sunday, and you can also give Darkey a spell for a week. M.C. Letters from the Front Line, MWBB Historical Society.
Pte D. G. Crawford: We have had some very hot weather. It tries the best of them out here. The scarcity of water on long trips is the biggest difficulty; it is nothing to see men and horses drinking out of the same bucket. June 1st is a day I shall never forget. A Turkish aeroplane bombed our camp, killing several horses and a few men. M.C., Letters from the Front Line, MWBB Historical Society.
Pte Alf Payne: I am well in amongst the hard stuff now and one never knows when his turn is going to come. I am getting some boy in the saddle now, or at least I ought to be, as I get enough of it and a chap’s horse proves his best friend. Our troops (Light Horse) accounted for about 4000 prisoners during the first fortnight, and this was mainly due to the fine horse work of the Australian Light Horse. M.C., Letters from the Front Line, MWBB Historical Society.
Sgt Jack Kelleher: Wild gallops over the desert have plenty of excitement connected with them. This country is almost as flat as a billiard table … when we first arrived here covered in crops … now inches deep in dust. M.C., Letters from the Front Line, MWBB Historical Society.
L/Cpl Tom Grey: I suppose you have read all about our big win here. I suppose you know more about it than we do. Anyhow the main thing is that we shifted ‘Jacko’ in pretty good style. The casualties were not very heavy considering some of the things we did, although a big percentage were fatal. I had two horses shot under me. M.C., Letters from the Front Line, MWBB Historical Society.