Brigade commander's lance : Brigadier General W Grant, 4 Light Horse Brigade, AIF

Accession Number RELAWM04498.001
Collection type Technology
Object type Edged weapon or club
Physical description Bamboo, Leather, Steel
Maker Unknown
Date made c 1914-1918
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918

Standard British army issue lance with bamboo shaft, steel lance head and pointed shoe, and a leather thong and grip at the centre of the shaft.

History / Summary

National flags were not carried by the light horse regiments, or by any of the Allied units in Palestine, as a matter of policy. The position of the commanding officer and headquarters of a mounted regiment or brigade was marked by a pennant or standard that was borne on a lance carried by a standard bearer. This is the lance used to mark Brigadier General Grant’s position before and during the charge at Beersheba, and during other operations in Palestine.
Born in 1870, Grant was commissioned in the Queensland Mounted Infantry in 1901 but did not serve in the Boer War.
By 1911 he had reached the rank of lieutenant colonel and was in command of 14 Light Horse Regiment (Queensland Mounted Infantry). In March 1915 he was appointed to command 11 Light Horse Regiment with the AIF but the unit was disbanded in Egypt in August and Grant transferred to 9 Light Horse Regiment on Gallipoli. He took over command of this regiment when its commanding officer was killed at Hill 60. When the AIF was reorganised in 1916 the 11th Regiment was reformed, again with Grant in command. He fought in the Sinai campaign and was awarded the Distinguished Service Order (DSO) in December 1916. Grant was promoted to Brigadier General after the Second Battle of Gaza in 1917 and given command of 4 Light Horse Brigade in September 1917. On 31 October 1917 he led his brigade in the attack on Beersheba in an successful effort to break the Turkish defences and seize the wells in the town. Although given the order to do so by General Chauvel, the decision to use the brigade in a mounted cavalry style charge was Grant's alone. He received an immediate award of a bar to his DSO for 'dash and determination' the following morning, which was personally presented by General Allenby. Grant had also been made a Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George in 1917, appointed to the Order of the Nile 3rd class in 1918, and made a Companion of the Order of the Bath for skill in command of the brigade in 1918, especially at Semakh. He was also mentioned in despatches four times. Grant remained active in the militia after the war and retired in 1928. He died in 1939.