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November 2, 2017
Cpl Mark Doran
A VICTORIAN cavalry soldier learned
to ride a horse in preparation for the
commemoration of the centenary of
the Battle of Beersheba.
The charge of the 4th Australian
Light Horse Brigade at Beersheba on
the afternoon of October 31, 1917, is
remembered as the last great cavalry
Cpl Rob Conway, of 4/19PWHR,
joined about 200 members of the
Australian Light Horse Association
for a planned re-enactment, including
a three-day march through the Negev
Desert in Israel.
Lt Ryan Abil, of 2/14 LHR (QMI),
will also take part in the re-enactment
of the famous charge owing to the his-
toric links of his unit to the 4th Light
The riders also plan a parade of the
horses through the town along with a
service at the British War Cemetery
followed by a visit to the Turkish
memorial before the charge across the
Cpl Conway said it was humbling
to be selected to follow in the steps of
the Australian Light Horse and expe-
rience a small fraction of what they
dealt with during WWI.
"I first needed to learn how to ride,
which was a steep learning curve, but
I was taking lessons once a week," he
"It's not a natural skill for me and
I learn something new about a horse
every time I jump on.
"I'm developing a lot more respect
The commemoration at Beersheba
will remember and honour the cour-
age, strength and sacrifice during this
significant all-day battle, which was
part of the wider British offensive
known as the third Battle of Gaza.
The Battle of Beersheba and Sinai-
Palestine Campaign Centenary Service
is to be held at the Commonwealth
War Graves Commission Beersheba
There will also be a ceremony
to open the Anzac Soldiers
Commemoration Centre, a museum
dedicated to the history of the Battle of
Cpl Conway said he planned to
visit other areas in the region, but he
ARMY members are encouraged
to participate in White Ribbon Day
White Ribbon Day is a global
event held on November 25 to cam-
paign against men's violence against
women and girls.
Defence supports White Ribbon's
vision and will hold its annual White
Ribbon Day Walk on November
24 in Canberra. This will involve a
bridge-to-bridge walk around Lake
Burley Griffin from 7.15am.
Units hosting an event to sup-
port White Ribbon Day can include
the event on the Defence Corporate
events and campaigns page by email-
Defence participants walking around
Lake Burley Griffin last year.
was most excited to see the Beersheba
"It is considered to be the last suc-
cessful cavalry charge and a bold move
because mounted charges against
entrenched infantry with machineguns
and artillery were ending in disaster,"
"Horses and men were cut down en
masse and most cavalry chargers were
"The Turks and Germans expected
the Australians to dismount and fight
through on foot and a lot of the sights
on the Turkish weapons were set too
high, which also resulted in fewer
The reservist is based at Latchford
Barracks in Bandiana as a section
commander in light cavalry scout
troop. He deployed to Afghanistan
with Reconstruction Task Force 2 in
In his civilian role he is a firefighter
with the Country Fire Authority.
Cpl Conway said there was a
clear link between the modern-day
Army reservist and the lighthorsemen
because both were citizen soldiers.
"We held civilian jobs and came
together to train and work for the com-
mon purpose of defending our country,
or in the case of the lighthorsemen, a
sense of Empire," he said.
"Lighthorsemen were generally
from farming communities and were
already accomplished horsemen and
good marksmen -- they didn't need a
lot of training."
Both Cpl Conway and Lt Abil are
excited to represent their units and the
Army at the commemorations.
"I'm looking forward to what will
be an amazing experience while com-
memorating the centenary of Anzac
and riding the actual path of the
Lighthorse brigade before we do the
charge," Lt Abil said.
He, too, is not an experienced rider.
"I did a trail ride last year during
my cavalry training, and I had a few
lessons this year when I found out I
was joining the Australian Light Horse
Association for the re-enactment," he
"It was definitely a challenge to
learn the new skills as I think I have
more of a mind for mechanical rather
than animal transport.
"While here I've noticed how much
respect and admiration the Israelis
have for Australia. Everyone I speak to
Read the next edition of Army News for full
coverage of centenary commemorations in
our special Battle of Beersheba lift-out.
'I first needed to
learn how to ride,
which was a steep
but I was taking
lessons once a
-- Cpl Rob Conway,
Cpl Rob Conway will saddle
up for a re-enactment of the
famous charge during the
Battle of Beersheba.
Photo: Cpl Nunu Campos
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