5th Australian Light Horse Regiment

Battle Honours
Commanding Officers
Decorations 1 CB; 3 CMG; 4 DSO; 9 MC; 1 CBE; 6 DCM; 18 MM; 1 MSM
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918
  • L.C. Wilson & H. Wetherell, History of the Fifth Light Horse Regiment (Australian Imperial Force) from 1914 to October 1918, (Sydney: The Motor Press of Australia, 1926).
  • AWM4/10/10/1-10/10/55
Category Unit
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918
Unit hierarchy

The 5th Light Horse Regiment was raised in Brisbane in September 1914, entirely from men who had enlisted in Queensland, and became part of the 2nd Light Horse Brigade. Sailing from Sydney on 21 December 1914, the regiment disembarked in Egypt on 1 February 1915.

The light horse were considered unsuitable for the initial operations at Gallipoli, but were subsequently deployed without their horses to reinforce the infantry. The 2nd Light Horse Brigade landed in late May 1915 and was attached to the 1st Australian Division. The 5th Light Horse played a defensive role for most of the campaign but was involved in several minor attacks. It left the peninsula on 20 December 1915.

Back in Egypt, the 2nd Light Horse Brigade became part of the ANZAC Mounted Division and in February 1916 joined the forces defending the Suez Canal from a Turkish advance across the Sinai Desert. The 5th Light Horse's main activity in the Sinai was long-range patrolling, but it was involved in several small engagements during August, as the Turks retreated after their defeat at Romani.

The ANZAC Mounted Division advanced into Palestine in late December 1916. The 5th's work predominantly continued to be patrols and raids until the advance stalled before the Turkish bastion of Gaza. The regiment participated in all three battles aimed at capturing the town, most notably the first abortive attempt on 27 March 1917. On this occasion the 5th attacked Gaza from the rear and was fighting its way through streets and gardens when ordered to withdraw.

With the fall of Gaza on 7 November 1917, the Turkish position in southern Palestine collapsed. The 5th was involved in the pursuit that followed, and then spent much of the first half of 1918 holding the west bank of the Jordan River. During this time it was involved in the Amman (24-27 February) and Es Salt (30 April-4 May) raids, both of which were tactical failures but helped to convince the Turks that the next offensive would be launched across the Jordan.

Instead, the offensive was launched along the coast in September 1918, with the 5th taking part in a subsidiary effort east of the Jordan. It attacked at Amman on 25 September, and on 29 September 4,500 Turks surrendered to just two squadrons from the regiment at Ziza. Turkey surrendered on 31 October 1918, but the 5th Light Horse was employed one last time to assist in putting down the Egyptian revolt of early 1919. It sailed for home on 28 June 1919.