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Australian Light Horse in the Middle East

The Australian Light Horse Regiments are almost legendary, although accounts of their actions may be more myth than fact. This film shows some of the 6,1000 horses embarking from an AIF transport ship, along with troops. The footage also shows the Imperial Camel Corps, established in January 1916 and made up of British, Australian and NZ battalions, entering the town of Beersheba, with General Edmund Allenby who headed the British Empire’s Egyptian Expeditionary Force. He is seen here after Jerusalem’s fall into Allied hands on 9 December 1917, reading his proclamation of martial law in the nine languages of the city.

Year:1916 - 1917

Location:Middle East, Beersheba, Jerusalem

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Australian Light Horse in the Middle East

The Australian Light Horse Regiments are almost legendary, although accounts of their actions may be more myth than fact. This film shows some of the 6,1000 horses embarking from an AIF transport ship, along with troops. The footage also shows the Imperial Camel Corps, established in January 1916 and made up of British, Australian and NZ battalions, entering the town of Beersheba, with General Edmund Allenby who headed the British Empire’s Egyptian Expeditionary Force. He is seen here after Jerusalem’s fall into Allied hands on 9 December 1917, reading his proclamation of martial law in the nine languages of the city.


Year: 1916 - 1917

Length: 03:00

Source: National Film and Sound Archive of Australia

Catalogue Reference: NFSA title: 14054


People: General Edmund Allenby

Location: Middle East, Beersheba, Jerusalem

Tags: Beersheba, Jerusalem, Middle East, Camels, Citadel, General Bridges, General Edmund Allenby, horses. Light Horse

Subject: Light Horse in Middle East


Australian Light Horse Regiments served in the South African War in the late 19th century. In the following years a number of regiments were raised to form a part-time militia. During World War One these became an unconventional cavalry regiment, operating more like infantry on horseback since they usually dismounted to fight and used their horses mainly for transport. They did, however, mount charges at Magdhaba (in 1916) and Beersheba (1917) during the Sinai-Palestine campaign. 

The Australians favoured the Waler horse (a name derived from New South Wales). This breed had been developed during the early years of Australia as a colony, and was known for its strength and endurance, qualities needed for the harsh desert conditions.  

For quarantine reasons the Walers could not be returned to Australia at the conclusion of the war. Only one horse out of thousands returned. This was Sandy, the horse of General Bridges, who was killed at Gallipoli and whose remains were also repatriated. 

This footage also shows the Imperial Camel Corps, established in January 1916 and made up of British, Australian and NZ battalions, entering the town of Beersheba. The Mosque of Beersheba can be seen in the background. General Edmund Allenby headed the British Empire’s Egyptian Expeditionary Force. He is seen here after Jerusalem’s fall into Allied hands on 9 December 1917, reading his proclamation of martial law in the nine languages of the city.  

The British Prime Minister sent his appreciation: “War Cabinet wishes to congratulate you on the capture of Jerusalem, which is an event of historic and world-wide significance and has given the greatest pleasure to the British and other Allied people”. Years later, T. E. Lawrence, known as ‘Lawrence of Arabia’, said he believed the capture of Jerusalem was the supreme moment of the First World War.

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Australian Light Horse in the Middle East

  • Middle East, Beersheba, Jerusalem

  • 0:00

    Light Horse move across the desert

  • 0:27

    Light Horse negotiate sand dunes

  • 0:38

    Light Horse move across the desert

  • 0:50

    Light Horse negotiate sand dunes

  • 1:03

    Soldiers fire artillery

  • 1:13

    Shot of artillery explosions

  • 1:27

    Soldiers in trench fire mounted machine gun

  • 1:33

    The Imperial Camel Corps

  • 2:12

    View of Jerusalem

  • 2:29

    General Edmund Allenby and other officers

  • 2:41

    Australian soldiers boiling as billy

  • 2:50

    Soldiers walking the streets of Jerusalem