8th Light Horse Regiment (Australia)

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8th Light Horse Regiment
8th light horse badge.jpg
8th Light Horse Regiment hat badge
Active 1914–1919
Country  Australia
Branch Australian Army
Type Mounted Infantry
Size Regiment
Part of 3rd Light Horse Brigade
Engagements First World War
North African Campaign
Gallipoli campaign
Sinai and Palestine Campaign
Insignia
Unit Colour Patch 8th Light Horse Regiment.jpg

The 8th Light Horse Regiment was a mounted rifles regiment of the Australian Army during the First World War. The regiment was raised in September 1914, and assigned to the 3rd Light Horse Brigade.

During the war the regiment fought against the forces of the Ottoman Empire, in Egypt, at Gallipoli, on the Sinai Peninsula, and in Palestine and Jordan. After the armistice the regiment eventually returned to Australia in March 1919. For its role in the war the regiment was awarded fifteen battle honours.

Formation[edit]

The 8th Light Horse Regiment was raised at Victoria in September 1914, originally as the 6th Light Horse Regiment, but following a reorganisation in October was renumbered the 8th Regiment,[1] and comprised twenty-five officers and 497 other ranks serving in three squadrons, each of six troops.[2] Each troop was divided into eight Sections, of four men each. In action one man of each section, was nominated as a horse holder reducing the regiments rifle strength by a quarter.[3] Once formed the regiment was assigned to the 3rd Light Horse Brigade, serving alongside the 9th and 10th Light Horse Regiments.[1]

All Australian Light Horse regiments used cavalry unit designations, but were mounted rifles armed with rifles, not swords or lances,[4] and mounted exclusively on the Australian Waler horse.[5]

Operational History[edit]

Lieutenant Carthew 8th Light Horse Regiment, Egypt

Gallipoli[edit]

In December 1914, the 8th Light Horse Regiment left Sydney for Egypt, arriving on the 1 February 1915.[1] When the Australian infantry units were dispatched to Gallipoli, it was thought the terrain was unsuitable for mounted troops, and the light horse regiments remained in Egypt. However casualties resulted in the deployment of the 3rd Light Horse Brigade as reinforcements in May 1915.[1] On arrival the regiment was attached to the New Zealand and Australian Division. The regiment was heavily involved in the battle of the Nek, suffering several casualties including the commanding officer Lieutenant Colonel White who was killed leading the first wave.[6] The regiment were mostly used in a defensive role, until being withdrawn back to Egypt in December 1915.[1]

Sinai and Palestine Campaign[edit]

8th Light Horse at Romani

On their arrival back in Egypt, the 3rd Light Horse Brigade was assigned to the newly raised ANZAC Mounted Division, at first given responsibility for the defence of the Suez Canal.[1]

Following their minor role in The Jifjafa Raid, the regiment did not take part in any of the early battles in the Sinai, but were instead used to patrol the large open area of the region, until the British advance into Palestine. Becoming involved in the battle of Maghdaba in December 1916.[1] The regiment and brigade were then transferred to the Imperial Mounted Division, later renamed the Australian Mounted Division. Their next battles were the unsuccessful first and second battle of Gaza, then the successful battle of Beersheba in October 1917.[1]

With the Ottoman Empire forces in retreat, the regiment was part of the pursuit into Palestine, resulting in the capture of Jerusalem in 1917, and raid across the River Jordan in 1918, at Amman and Es Salt.[1] The regiment then took part in the capture of Tiberius and Sa'sa' in September, and entered Damascus on 1 October.[1]

The war in the Middle East ended shortly afterwards when the armistice of Mudros was signed in October 1918. The regiment, had to return to Egypt to assist in putting down a revolt, then sailed for Australia in July 1919. The war had cost the regiment almost 200 per cent casualties, 302 killed and 675 wounded.[1]

Commanding officers[edit]

Battle honours[edit]

Defence at ANZAC · Suvla · Sari Bair · Gallipoli 1915–1916 · Egypt 1915–1917 · Romani · Magdhaba-Rafah · Gaza-Beersheba · El Mughar · Nebi Samwill · Jerusalem · Jordan (Es Salt) · Megiddo · Sharon · Palestine 1917–1918.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "8th Light Horse Regiment". First World War, 1914–1918 units. Australian War Memorial. Retrieved 29 November 2011. 
  2. ^ "Official History of Australia in the War of 1914–1918 – Volume Vol7". Australian War Memorial. p. 54. Retrieved 29 November 2011. 
  3. ^ Horner and Williams, Chapter Setting up the Light Horse
  4. ^ "Official History of Australia in the War of 1914–1918 – Volume Vol7". Australian War Memorial. p. 29. Retrieved 29 November 2011. 
  5. ^ "Official History of Australia in the War of 1914–1918 – Volume Vol7". Australian War Memorial. p. 38. Retrieved 29 November 2011. 
  6. ^ "Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Henry White, MID". Australian War Memorial. Retrieved 17 December 2011. 
  • Horner, David; Williams, Dr Peter (2010). Australia's Military History For Dummies. Milton, Queensland: John Wiley and Sons. ISBN 978-1-74246-894-5. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Simpson, Colin (1998). Maygar's Boys: A Biographical History of the 8th Light Horse Regiment AIF 1914–19. Moorooduc, Victoria: Just Soldiers, Military Research and Publications. ISBN 9780646325248.