While most of the Australian Imperial Force went to France in 1916, the bulk of Australia’s mounted forces remained in Egypt to fight the Turks threatening the Suez Canal. After 1916 the threat to the canal was over, and with victory at Romani in August 1916, the Light Horse advanced into Turkish territory. In 1917 they entered Palestine and in 1918 advanced into Jordan and Syria. The campaign ended on 31 October 1918, a few weeks after the capture of Damascus.
With the main focus on the Western Front, the Middle East campaign was regarded as a sideshow. Despite this, the campaign had an air of romance and created the legend of the Australian Light Horse.
Kangaroo feathers and wallaby fur
The slouch hat with its emu plume, jokingly called “kangaroo feathers”, became a symbol of the style and romance of the Light Horse. The plume was originally used by the Queensland regiments, but was gradually adopted by most other regiments as well. Among the units that did not wear the emu plume was the 6th Light Horse Regiment, which wore a band of wallaby fur.