Regimental Standard of the Turkish 80th Infantry Regiment captured at Magdhaba, 1916

Accession Number RELAWM15159
Collection type Heraldry
Object type Colour
Physical description Silk; Gold bullion thread; Gold bullion wire
Maker Unknown
Place made Ottoman Empire: Turkey
Date made c 1914-1916
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918

Crimson silk regimental standard with a gold bullion fringe on the upper and lower edges, and on the fly. One side of the standard is embroidered in gold bullion thread with the toghra (personal cypher) of the Ottoman Sultan Mehmet V (1909-1918) within a circle. The circle is surrounded by embroidered representations of four regimental flags and various military symbols, including pikes, double-headed axes and trumpets. Beneath is a scroll of leaves from which are suspended embroidered representations of five medals. The other side of the standard is also embroidered in gold and shows two texts from the Koran written in arabic script. They translate as 'There is no god but God' and 'Mohammed, the Messenger of God'. The standard would originally have been attached to a pole surmounted by a nickel plated crescent moon and brass star. Two gold bullion and crimson silk cords and tassels would also have been attached to the pole. The side of the standard bearing the sultan's toghra has been severely damaged by over-exposure to light.

History / Summary

This standard was captured by 404 Squadron Quarter Master Sergeant Dennis Ramsay Needham Walker, of 2 Light Horse Regiment, AIF, during the Battle of Magdhaba, on 23 December 1916. Magdhaba, a village in the northern Sinai desert was occupied by Turkish forces blocking the route to Palestine, was attacked by the ANZAC Mounted Division and the Imperial Camel Corps. After a night march of 22 miles from El Arish the hard fought action was secured by a bayonet assault by 1 Light Horse Brigade, of which 2 Light Horse Regiment was a part, just as the entire Division had been ordered to withdraw. Walker captured the standard of the 80th Turkish Infantry Regiment from a Turkish officer who was struggling to remove it from it from its elaborate pole and cords. In the process the standard was torn and Walker repaired it with black thread the following night. Dennis Walker, a 23 year old auctioneer, enlisted in the AIF at Goondiwindi, Queensland, on 24 August 1914, as trumpeter with 2 Light Horse Regiment. After service on Gallipoli he was promoted to Corporal in January 1916, and to Squadron Quarter Master Sergeant the following month. He was appointed Squadron Sergeant Major in November 1917. Apart from service on Gallipoli, Walker took part in the battles of Romani and Magdhaba, and served in Palestine, Syria and Trans-Jordan. He returned to Australia on 15 November 1918.