The History of the Fifth
Australian Imperial Force
From 1914 to October 1917
by Brigadier General LC Wilson
From October 1917 to June 1919
by Captain H Wetherall
Unit history of the 5TH Light Horse Regiment
which covers operations in the First World War.
Reproduction of the book includes
photos, charts and maps from the Unit history.
The history covers the monumental activities of
this unit as a member of the ANZAC Corps at Gallipoli and as part of the Desrt
Mounted Corps in Palestine (where the unit took part in the last great cavalry
action in history - The Battle of Bersheeba)
The 5th Light Horse Regiment of
the 2nd Light Horse Brigade was raised in Brisbane in September 1914, entirely
from men who had enlisted in Queensland . Sailing from Sydney on 21 December
1914, the regiment disembarked in Egypt on 1 February 1915.
The light horse were considered unsuitable for Gallipoli, but were eventually
deployed without their horses to reinforce the infantry. The 2nd Light Horse
Brigade landed in late May 1915 and was attached to the 1st Australian
Division. The 5th Light Horse played a defensive role for most of the campaign
but was involved in several minor attacks. It left the peninsula on 20
In Egypt, the 2nd Light Horse Brigade joined the ANZAC Mounted Division and in
February 1916 was busy defending the Suez Canal from a Turkish advance across
the Sinai Desert. The 5th Light Horse's main activity in the Sinai was
long-range patrolling, but it was involved in several small engagements during
August, as the Turks retreated after their defeat at Romani.
The ANZAC Mounted Division advanced into Palestine in late December 1916. The
regiment participated in battles aimed at capturing Gaza, most notably the
first abortive attempt on 27 March 1917. On this occasion the 5th attacked
Gaza from the rear and was fighting its way through streets and gardens when
ordered to withdraw.
With the fall of Gaza on 7 November 1917, the Turkish position in southern
Palestine collapsed. The 5th was involved in the pursuit that followed, and
then spent much of the first half of 1918 holding the west bank of the Jordan
River. During this time it was involved in the Amman (24-27 February) and Es
Salt (30 April-4 May) raids, both of which were tactical failures but helped
to convince the Turks that the next offensive would be launched across the
Instead, the offensive was launched along the coast in September 1918, with
the 5th taking part in a subsidiary effort east of the Jordan. It attacked at
Amman on 25 September, and on 29 September 4,500 Turks surrendered to just two
squadrons from the regiment at Ziza. Turkey surrendered on 31 October 1918,
but the 5th Light Horse was employed one last time to assist in putting down
the Egyptian revolt of early 1919. It sailed for home on 28 June 1919.
All picture examples at reduced scale