9th Light Horse Regiment (SA) 3rd Light Horse Brigade, Australian Mounted Division, AIF

About This Unit

9th Light Horse Regiment

Following the outbreak of WW1, the 9th Light Horse Regiment was formed in Adelaide and trained in Melbourne between October 1914 and February 1915. Approximately three-quarters of the regiment hailed from South Australia and the other quarter from Victoria. As part of the 3rd Light Horse Brigade, it sailed from Melbourne on 11 February and arrived in Egypt on 14 March 1915.

Light Horse were considered unsuitable for the initial operations at Gallipoli, but were subsequently deployed without their horses. The 3rd Light Horse Brigade landed in late May 1915 and was attached to the New Zealand and Australian Division. The 9th was fortunate to be the reserve regiment for the Brigade’s disastrous attack on the Nek on 7 August, but the Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Albet Miel and several soldiers were killed in their reserve position.  The Regiment was committed to the last phase of the August offensive battles (its sister Regiments the 8th and 10th having been decimated at the Nek),  The 9th Liht Horse subsequently suffered 50 per cent casualties, including its new Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Carew Reynell, attacking Hill 60 on 27 August. Exhausted and under-strength, the 9th then played a defensive role until it finally left the peninsula on 20 December 1915.

Back in Egypt, the 3rd Light Horse Brigade became part of the ANZAC Mounted Division and, in March 1916, joined the forces defending the Suez Canal from a Turkish drive across the Sinai Desert. The Turks were turned at Romani. Although it didn’t take part in the actual battle, the 9th Light Horse was involved in the advance that followed the Turks’ retreat back across the desert.

By December 1916, this advance had reached the Palestine frontier and the 9th was involved in the fighting to secure the Turkish outposts of Maghdaba (23 December) and Rafa (9 January 1917), both of which were captured at bayonet point. The next Turkish stronghold to be encountered was Gaza. The 3rd Light Horse Brigade, now part of the Imperial Mounted Division (later re-named the Australian Mounted Division), was involved in the two abortive battles to capture Gaza directly (27 March and 19 April 1917) and then the operation that ultimately led to its fall - the wide outflanking move via Beersheba that began on 31 October.

With the fall of Gaza on 7 November 1917, the Turkish position in southern Palestine collapsed. The 9th participated in the pursuit that followed and led to the capture of Jerusalem in December. The focus of British operations then moved to the Jordan Valley. In early May 1918 the 9th was involved in the Es Salt raid. It was a tactical failure but did help to convince the Turks that the next offensive would be launched across the Jordan.

Instead, the offensive was launched along the coast on 19 September 1918. The mounted forces penetrated deep into the Turkish rear areas severing roads, railways and communications links. The 9th Light Horse took part in the capture of Jenin on 20-21 September and Sasa on 29 September. It entered Damascus on 1 October, and was on the road to Homs when the Turks surrendered on 31 October. While awaiting to embark for home, the 9th 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 10 July 1919.

History provided by 3/9th SAMR Association 


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Origins of the 9th Light Horse Regiment

The 9th L.H. Regiment owes its origins to the formation, in 1895, of two troops of 'South Australian Cavalry (Lancers)'. by 1899 these troops had evolved into the 'South Australian Mounted Rifles' (active) and (reserve). The Active part was composed of No 1 Squadron, Adelaide; No 2 Yankalilla, Second Valley, Inman Valley and Port Victor; No 3 Squadron, Jamestown, Port Germain and Spalding. The reserve Squadron (No 4) was raised at Mt Gambier and Wallaroo. In 1901, No's 2 and 7 Squadrons formed the reserve portion of the South Australian Mounted Rifles until the Federal re-organisation of 1903 when No's 3, 6 and 7 Squadrons became the '17th Australian Light Horse Regiment (South Australian Mounted Rifles)' under which they were know until 1912. In that year No's 1, 2 and 3 Squadrons of the 17th were designated the '24th Light Horse (S.A.M.R.)' remaining as such until 1913 when the territorial title was altered and they became know as the '24th (Flinders) Light Horse'. They were subjected to another change in 1918 when the 24th became the '9th (Flinders) Light Horse', carrrying this nomenclature until 1930, they again altered their designation to the '9th Light Horse Regiment (Flinders Light Horse)'. The 9th formed part of the 6th Cavalry Brigade, allotted to the 1st Cavalry Division and had Squadrons located at Clare, Pt Pirie, Keswick, Gladstone, Crystal Brook, Wirrabara, Jamestown, Orroroo, Peterborough, Blyth, Snowtown, Burra, Hamley Bridge, Balaclava and Kadina.

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