|Mills, Arthur James
|2 DSO; 2 DCM; 4 MM; 6 MID
|First World War, 1914-1918
First World War, 1914-1918
15th Australian Light Horse Regiment
The 15th Light Horse Regiment was formed in Palestine in June 1918 from members of the Australian companies of the Imperial Camel Corps (ICC). The ICC had been disbanded because camel-mounted troops, a valuable addition to the British forces in the deserts of Egypt and the Sinai, were not suitable for the conditions being encountered in Palestine. Although many former light horse troopers were to be found in the ranks of the ICC, large numbers had also been recruited from infantry battalions and so several months of training were needed before the 15th was fit to commence operations as a horse-mounted regiment. The new regiment, along with another regiment of former cameleers - the 14th - and a regiment of French colonial cavalry, formed the 5th Light Horse Brigade, which became part of the Australian Mounted Division.
The 5th Light Horse Brigade fought in only one major operation - the great offensive launched by the battle of Megiddo on 19 September 1918. On this morning British infantry opened a gap in the Turkish front to the north of Jaffa, allowing mounted forces to penetrate deep into their rear areas, severing roads, railways and communications links. In ensuing days the Turkish front collapsed and as the Turks retreated into Syria they were harried by mounted troops, supported by aircraft, in close pursuit. In ten days from 19 September, the 5th Light Horse Brigade advanced over 650 kilometres. The Brigade entered Damascus on 1 October 1918, and carried out mopping-up and garrison tasks in the vicinity of Damascus for most of October. The Brigade was moving forward to join the drive on Aleppo when Turkey surrendered on 30 October.
While waiting to embark for home, the 15th Light Horse were called back to operational duty to quell the Egyptian revolt that erupted in March 1919; order was restored in little over a month. The men of the 15th Light Horse sailed for home without their horses, which had either been shot or transferred to Indian cavalry units, on 24 July 1919. As a successor to the ICC, the 15th Light Horse inherited its battle honours.