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1st Light Horse Brigade
Active 1914–1919
Country Australia
Allegiance Australian Crown
Branch Australian Army
Type Mounted infantry
Role Light horse
Size cavalry brigade
Part of 1st Australian Contingent (1914–15)
Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) New Zealand and Australian Division (1915–16)
ANZAC Mounted Division (1916–19)
Equipment Horse, rifle and bayonet

World War I

Unit Colour Patch Australian 1st Light Horse Brigade colour patch.jpg

The 1st Light Horse Brigade was a mounted infantry brigade of the First Australian Imperial Force which served in the Middle Eastern theatre of World War I. In 1914 the brigade formed part of the New Zealand and Australian Division but during the Dardanelles Campaign in the Battle of Gallipoli served in the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC). After being withdrawn to Egypt they served in the ANZAC Mounted Division from March 1916 as part of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force during the Sinai and Palestine Campaign until the end of the war.

Formation[edit | edit source]

The 1st Light Horse Brigade was raised in response to a promise made by the Australian Government to supply a division of 20,000 Australians comprising infantry, artillery and cavalry to be used at the discretion of Britain. The 1st Light Horse Brigade was part of the 1st Contingent that was hastily put together in the middle of August 1914. The 1st Light Horse Brigade was primarily raised from recruits currently serving in the various militia light horse formations created as a consequence of the Kitchener Report 1910 and the introduction of Universal Training.

The Brigade[edit | edit source]

1st Light Horse Regiment[edit | edit source]

This Regiment was recruited exclusively from the various New South Wales militia regiments. "A" Squadron was recruited mainly from 5th Australian Light Horse (31 men) and 6th Australian Light Horse (59 men). "B" Squadron came mainly from 7th Australian Light Horse (41 men) and 11th Australian Light Horse (62 men). "C" Squadron was recruited mainly from 9th Australian Light Horse (49 men). During the course of the war, this Territorial connection was maintained regarding the reinforcements.[1]

Middle Eastern Theatre during World War I

2nd Light Horse Regiment[edit | edit source]

This Regiment was recruited exclusively from the various Queensland militia regiments. "A" Squadron recruited mainly from 2nd Australian Light Horse (50 men); "B" Squadron recruited mainly from 3rd Australian Light Horse (34 men); and "C" Squadron recruited mainly from 4th Australian Light Horse (64 men) and 27th Australian Light Horse (30 men).[2]

3rd Light Horse Regiment[edit | edit source]

This Regiment was a composite formation recruited from various militia regiments with South Australia providing two squadrons and Tasmania one squadron. "A" Squadron recruited mainly from the 23rd Australian Light Horse Regiment; "B" Squadron recruited mainly from 24th Australian Light Horse; "C" Squadron recruited exclusively from the 26th Australian Light Horse within Tasmania.[3]

71 Pte W.H.R. Woods, 1st LHR, Died of wounds 15 May 1915.

1st Light Horse Machine Gun Squadron[edit | edit source]

Initially, each Regiment within the Brigade raised their own Machine Gun Section which consisted of two troops and two Maxim machine guns. This situation remained from 1914 until in July 1916, when all Regimental Machine Gun Sections were excised and brigaded to form a Machine Gun Squadron. The 1st, 2nd and 3rd Machine Gun Sections were combined to form the 1st Machine Gun Squadron under the command of the Brigade. The 1st Light Horse Machine Gun Squadron was armed with 12 machine guns.[4]

1st Light Horse Signal Troop[edit | edit source]

The 1st Signal Troop was composed exclusively from the Victorian Militia 10th and 21st Signal Troops.[4]

1st Light Horse Field Ambulance[edit | edit source]

The 1st Light Horse Field Ambulance was formed with two sections: "A" Section recruited in Melbourne which included some 20 students from the Richmond Agricultural College; and, "B" Section recruited in Sydney and composed to a greater extent by Militia members from the 28th Light Horse Field Ambulance.[4]

1st Light Horse Brigade Train[edit | edit source]

The 1st Light Horse Brigade Train was primarily recruited around Brisbane and trained at Enoggera. After Gallipoli, this unit underwent some name changes from 1st Supply Section in February 1916 to 32nd Australian Army Service Corps Company in February 1917.[4]

6th Mobile Veterinary Section[edit | edit source]

Prior to 1916, each Regiment maintained their own Veterinary Section, usually consisting of half a troop. After the formation of the ANZAC Mounted Division in 1916, the three individual Regimental Veterinary sections were brigaded to form the 6th Mobile Veterinary Section.[4]

Artillery[edit | edit source]

After the formation of the ANZAC Mounted Division in 1916, artillery support was provided by British batteries. The first British battery attached to the Brigade was the 3rd (Territorial Force) Horse Artillery Brigade, Leicester Battery. This battery remained until the re-organisation of February 1918 when the Leicester Battery was replaced by the British 18th Royal Horse Artillery Brigade, Somerset Battery.[4]

1st Light Horse Training Regiment[edit | edit source]

The 1st Light Horse Training Regiment was formed in Egypt during March 1916, tasked with training incoming reinforcements while allowing the wounded and sick a place to recover before returning to active service. The Training Regiment contained three squadrons, each duplicating the Regiments within the Brigade to whom it supplied the reinforcements. The Training Regiment was disbanded in July 1918 to be replaced by the Anzac Light Horse Training Regiment when recruits were no longer tied to a Regiment but placed in a general pool of reinforcements called the General Service Reinforcements.[4]

1st Light Horse Double Squadron[edit | edit source]

Formed Egypt 6 July 1916 from 1st Light Horse Brigade reinforcements. It was officered and administered by the 1st Light Horse Brigade. This Double Squadron was broken up in November 1916 with the men being transferred to the newly formed Imperial Camel Corps Battalions.

Embarkation[edit | edit source]

The Brigade embarked to Egypt during the months of September and October 1914. In Egypt additional training occurred at the Mena Camp. Subsequent embarkations of reinforcements occurred as and when sufficient recruits were gathered and prepared for movement to a war theatre. See: Troop transport ships for information and photographs about the various ships employed in transporting the troops to Egypt.

Commanders[edit | edit source]

Brigadier General Henry George Chauvel 15 August 1914 to 6 November 1915
Brigadier General Charles Frederick Cox 6 November 1915 to 13 March 1919.[4]

Campaigns[edit | edit source]

Disbandment[edit | edit source]

The Brigade was disbanded at Kantara, March 1919 when the various regiments within the Brigade embarked for Australia.

References[edit | edit source]

Other Australian Light Horse Brigades[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]

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