The 2nd Light Horse Regiment was raised at Enoggera in Queensland on 18 August 1914. Its recruits came mainly from Queensland but some hailed from the northern rivers district of New South Wales. The 2nd was one of three regiments of the 1st Light Horse Brigade - the first Australian mounted formation raised by Australia during the First World War. The regiment sailed from Brisbane on 25 September and disembarked in Egypt on 9 December.

The 2nd Light Horse Regiment deployed to Gallipoli without its horses and landed there on 12 May 1915, joining the New Zealand and Australian Division. It played a defensive role for most of the campaign but did attack the Turkish trenches opposite Quinn’s Post, one of the most contested positions along the ANZAC Line. The first assault wave was mown down and fortunately the officer commanding the attack had the wisdom and courage to call it off. The 2nd was withdrawn from the front line in September and left the peninsula on 18 December.

Back in Egypt, the 2nd Light Horse joined the ANZAC Mounted Division. Between January and May 1916, the regiment was deployed to protect the Nile valley from bands of pro-Turkish Senussi Arabs. On 18 May, as part of its parent brigade, it joined the forces defending the Suez Canal. The 1st Light Horse Brigade played a significant role in turning back the Turkish advance on the canal at the battle of Romani on 4 August. In ensuing days the regiments of the brigade participated in the immediate follow-up of the defeated Turks, but were soon withdrawn to rest.

The 2nd Light Horse Regiment rejoined the Allied advance across the Sinai in November and was subsequently involved in the fighting to secure the Turkish outposts on the Palestine frontier - Maghdaba on 23 December 1916 and Rafa on 9 January 1917. A stint of protective duty along the line of communications through the Sinai followed. The 2nd’s next major engagement was the abortive second battle of Gaza on 19 April. Gaza finally fell on 7 November, after a wide outflanking move via Beersheba, in which the 1st Light Horse Brigade played a part.

With the capture of Gaza, the Turkish position in southern Palestine collapsed. The 2nd Light Horse Regiment participated in the advance to Jaffa that followed, and was then committed to operations to clear and occupy the west bank of the Jordan River. It was involved in the Amman (24-27 February) and Es Salt (30 April-4 May) raids and the repulse of a major German and Turkish attack on 14 July 1918.

The final British offensive of the campaign was launched along the Mediterranean coast on 19 September 1918, with the ANZAC Mounted Division taking part in a subsidiary effort east of the Jordan aimed at Amman. Turkey surrendered on 30 October 1918. The 2nd Light Horse Regiment sailed for Australia on 13 March 1919 without their horses, which were either shot or transferred to Indian cavalry units.

Glossary

Battle Honours

Battle Honours source: Australian Army Orders (112), 1927. Army Head-Quarters, 9 March 1927. 'Award of Battle Honours for the Great War to Cavalry and Infantry Units.'

Casualties

  • 203 killed, 472 wounded

For more information please see the Roll of Honour, Wounded and Missing, First World War Nominal Roll and Embarkation Roll databases.

Commanding Officers

Decorations

  • 1 CMG
  • 8 DSO
  • 10 MC
  • 6 DCM
  • 15 MM
  • 1 MSM
  • 34 MID
  • 3 foreign awards

For more information please see Honours and Awards database

Collection Items

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References