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Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Pattern 1903 - 90 Round Bandolier: B Squadron, 12 Light Horse Regiment, AIF

ID Number    EQUI001

Title               Pattern 1903 - 90 Round Bandolier: B Squadron
                      12  Light Horse Regiment, AIF

Maker           Holden & Frost

Object Type  
Field Equipment

Place made     Australia, South Australia, Adelaide

Date made      1915

Physical          Leather, brass, copper and steel

Nine pocket, brown leather ammunition bandolier. The leather band supporting the ammunition pouches is cut in a curve and is in two pieces joined by three steel rivets. Each side has a cut out strip in the centre where the pouches are attached top and bottom by steel and copper rivets. There are five pouches on the front side and 4 on the rear. Each pouch carries 2 charging clips of 5 rounds each for a total capacity of 90 rounds. Each pouch has a flap fastened by a brass stud. Inside each pouch is a leather divider so that only one charger may be removed at a time. The pouches of this particular bandolier have been modified by cutting a slit in the pocket body to act as a further means of securing the pocket flaps. The length of the bandolier can be adjusted by brass buckles at either end. The bandolier is stamped with manufacturer ‘Holden & Frost 1915’, unit ‘12 ALH, B SQUADRON, 53’ and also with the initials ‘RBW’.

This particular bandolier was used by a member of B Squadron of the 12 Light Horse Regiment. When it was found it had been stored since the period 1918/19. It had pieces 1918 dated newspaper folded and stored in the pockets to make sure that they would keep their shape.

The following information on the 12 ALH is from the AWM website:

The 12th Light Horse Regiment was raised, as part of the 4th Light Horse Brigade, at Liverpool, New South Wales, on 1 March 1915. It sailed from Australia in two contingents in June 1915. The first contingent put in at Aden on 12 July to reinforce the British garrison there against a predicted enemy attack; they only left their ship for a single route march, and sailed again on 18 July without having seen action.

The regiment was reunited in Egypt on 23 July 1915 and began training as infantry, having been ordered to leave its horses in Australia. A month later it deployed to Gallipoli. The regiment was again split up, to reinforce three light horse regiments already ashore - A Squadron went to the 1st Light Horse Regiment, B Squadron to the 7th, and C Squadron to the 6th. It was not reunited until 22 February 1916, by which time all of the AIF troops from Gallipoli had returned to Egypt.

Returning to its mounted role, the 12th Light Horse joined the forces defending the Suez Canal on 14 May 1916. In ensuing months it conducted patrols and participated in several forays out into the Sinai Desert. In April 1917 the regiment moved into Palestine to join the main British and dominion advance. It joined its first major battle on 19 April when it attacked, dismounted, as part of the ill-fated second battle of Gaza.

With two frontal attacks on Gaza having failed, the next attempt to capture the Turkish bastion was a wide outflanking move via the town of Beersheba, launched on 31 October 1917. A deteriorating tactical situation late on the first day of the operation caused the 12th and its sister regiment, the 4th, to be unleashed on Beersheba at the gallop - an action which has gone down in history as the charge of Beersheba.

After Gaza fell on 7 November 1917, Turkish resistance in southern Palestine collapsed. The 12th Light Horse participated in the pursuit that followed, and then spent the first months of 1918 resting and training. It moved into the Jordan Valley in time to participate in the Es Salt raid between 29 April and 4 May. The regiment subsequently manned defences on the west bank of the Jordan.

In August, the regiment was issued with swords and trained in traditional cavalry tactics in preparation for the next offensive against the Turks. This was launched along the Palestine coast on 19 September 1918 - its objective, Damascus. The mounted forces penetrated deep into the Turkish rear areas severing roads, railways and communications links. The 12th Light Horse was one of the first Australian units to enter Damascus on 2 October 1918. The regiment was soon involved in the next stage of the advance and was on its way to Homs when the Turks surrendered on 30 October. While awaiting to embark for home, the 12th Light Horse were called back to operational duty to quell the Egyptian revolt that erupted in March 1919; order was restored in little over a month. The regiment sailed for home on 20 July 1919.


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