Australian Lighthorsemen Remembered

November 3, 2010 Agencies
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Descendants have laid wreaths at the British War Cemetery in Israel as a tribute to the soldiers of the Australian and New Zealand Light Horse on the 93rd anniversary of the charge that resulted in the capture of Beersheba and the beginning of the end of Ottoman rule in the Holy Land.Queenslanders Barbara and Norman Miller and  Joanna Moss and Vicki Francis sent images to Peter Werthem, executive director of The Executive Council of Australian Jewry.

Barbara Miller lays her wreath does Joanna Moss

Wertheim replied to the descendants saying:  “I am sure you know that the taking of the machine gun posts at Tel es Saba to the north/northeast of the town was a  really hard-fought battle that lasted for many hours. The men who took it were one tough bunch.  I guess all of those mounted troops were a hardy lot and, more importantly, pure of spirit.  The attack on Tel es Saba was originally intended to draw away Ottoman and German forces from the south-west of Beer Sheva which were facing the main British and Dominion force.  This main British-led force was supposed to capture the town (and get all the glory), but even with the diversion, they were  unable to break through the Ottoman/German line.  When Tel es Saba was finally taken, the area to the east and south east of Beer Sheva was opened up and this paved the way for the Australians to charge into the history books and deliver the final blow.

I am so pleased that you will also be visiting the other storied scenes of battle of the Australian and NZ forces in the Holy Land and re-tracing the route of The Great Ride.  It sounds to me like you are having a great time re-living this fabulous history.  What a pity that the extraordinary feats of Australian and NZ soldiers in this miraculous campaign seem to be almost completely unknown to most Australians today.  They know something about what happened at Gallipoli and in France and maybe they have heard of the charge at Beer Sheva, but they know nothing about The Great Ride which Wavell called “the greatest exploit in the history of horsed cavalry”.

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