Gallipoli – 100 Years ago today

Today is the 100th anniversary of the landing of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps at what is now known as Anzac Cove, as part of the attempt to seize the Gallipoli Peninsula in order to suppress the Turkish defences guarding the Dardanelles.  It was the first major military action fought by Australian and New Zealand forces during the First World War.  This post is not about that event or the centenary celebrations, but to record that six months later that my father embarked from Adelaide to fight in the middle east desert as a member of the 3rd Light Horse regiment.  The photo above shows my father in uniform on his horse, and is from the State Library of South Australia web pages.

3rd Australian Light Horse Regiment

The 3rd Light Horse Regiment was raised in Adelaide on 17 August 1914. Although most of its recruits were enlisted in South Australia, one of the regiment’s three squadrons was composed of Tasmanians and was raised and trained in Hobart. The two components sailed from their home ports in late October 1914 and arrived in Egypt in the second week of December. Here, they joined the 1st and 2nd Regiments to form the 1st Light Horse Brigade.

The 1st Light Horse Brigade deployed to Gallipoli without its horses and landed there on 12 May 1915, joining the New Zealand and Australian Division. The 3rd Light Horse played a defensive role throughout the campaign and was in reserve when its sister regiments attacked as part of the August offensive. It left Gallipoli on 14 December 1915.

Back in Egypt, the 3rd 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ensuing days the regiments of the brigade participated in the immediate follow-up of the defeated Turks, but were soon withdrawn to rest.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 3rd Light Horse 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 3rd’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 3rd 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 3rd Light Horse Regiment sailed for Australia on 16 March 1919 without their horses, which were either shot or transferred to Indian cavalry units.

The above quote is from the Australian War Memorial website.  You can view the whole page with additional information here.

Click on an image in the above gallery to open it in the lightbox. The colour photo of my Father on his horse is the same photo as the B&W feature photo shown above, but Jared Enos of Rhode Island, USA, has colourized it in Photoshop and posted it on his Facebook pages on 21 November last year.  You can see the photo and comments at his Facebook page here (scroll down to 21 November 2014 – with lots of interest on the way).  But the photo that finally inspired me to write this post is the photo (with an X in the top right corner to see it full size in my Gallery) that came from Jared’s Flicker pages here along with many other fascinating and amazing historic photographs he has colourized..  Thank you Jared.

The original B&W photograph and many other studio photographs of South Australian soldiers in World War I can be see on the State Gallery of South Australia web site here 

The AIF Project image is a screen grab.  The page has two typos, perhaps from the old official records.  It shows Portes Street in two places, but it should be Porter Street.

Clement Edward Hill

Service Number: 1457
Rank: Private
Roll title: 3 LHR [Light Horse Regiment] – 11 to 14 Reinforcements (October 1915 – February 1916)
Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918
Date of embarkation: 27 October 1915
Place of embarkation: Adelaide
Ship embarked on: HMAT Benalla A24

My father was discharged from the Army for medical reasons.  He was ill as a result of being in the desert, in Egypt I think he said, and drinking water from a well which had been poisoned by the Arabs (he said).  I don’t have further details as it was not something he liked to talk about, except so angrily that it discouraged me from raising the subject.  He suffered all his life with intestinal problems as a result of being poisoned.

In its issue this morning, The Times, the London newspaper, featured an editorial commemorating the day:

Times Editorial - Anzac 100 years

Today, the Prince of Wales and Prince Harry attended the dawn service at Gallipoli.  The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh and Duke of Cambridge attended an 11.00am ceremony at the Cenotaph, and then a service at Westminster Abbey.  Prince Albert attended the service at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, and the Princess Royal (Princess Anne) attended the dawn service at Wellington Arch in London.

2 thoughts on “Gallipoli – 100 Years ago today”

  1. This is a credit to you John … and your father.

    I had all my usual good intentions to produce something meaningful about my mother’s father’s WW1 Gallipoli & Western Front participation but I lack the necessary commitment and talent you have in putting it all together in a readable and informative manner such as this.

    This is certainly the first ‘movie star’ photo I have seen of your father. Was it taken on his own horse in Adelaide or on Army issue in the field in the Middle East?

    I have been reviewing my extended family WW1 records on AWM website and discovered that two of F’s relatives (one from each side of her family tree) were in the 32nd Battalion well before they became ‘related’ … I guess that might not have been as unusual as it first appeared.

    And that colourized photo is really something special for your family album. Can you really get the same quality from Photoshop?

    The Times article alludes to a oft repeated observation on several NatGeo & History Channel doco’s about why we find it so fundamental to weave a ‘great’ defeat into our National psyche, whereas the English post all references to it into their miliary oblivion archives.

    Well done,

    • Hi Ralph,

      Thanks for your comments

      I’m sure you would do a great job with producing something about your grandfather’s participation in WW1 if you put you mind to it. They was I do it these days is just it all down as I think of it and not worry about order, grammar or anything else. Just get my thoughts down. Then I find it a lot easier to start putting them into order and revising them – deleting some part s here and adding new parts there. Finally it is all finished and I publish it, and that’s when I start revising again when I see better ways of expressing myself and so on. Give it a try.

      I presume photo was taken in Adelaide at the training camp or parade ground. I expect it’s the Adelaide Hills in the background (but not the view from the city. The horse in the photo would be Army issue and I think all the training was done before the men and their horses were shipped overseas to the desert regions.

      Yes, the colour photo has an authentic colourized look as if the B&W were hand painted. But Jared Enos, who did the colourization, assures me he did it in Photoshop. He is obviously very experienced at doing it.

      There was an article in The Age (Melbourne paper) at the weekend in which the writer said that all the fuss about Gallipoli these days does not seem to have the true spirit of Anzac Day which was to remember all those who fought in WW! and wars since.




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