'It was the bravest, most awe inspiring sight I've ever witnessed, and they were. . . yelling, swearing and shouting. There were more than 500 Aussie horsemen . . . As they thundered past my hair stood on end. The boys were wild-eyed and yelling their heads off'.
Trooper Eric Elliot
Good morning to the R.S.L, I have come today to provide details about the charge of Beersheeba. The charging force comprised of the 4th Victorian and 12th New South Wales Light Horse Regiments. They formed the 4th Light Horse Brigade under Brigadier General William Grant. Australian General Sir H. G. Chauvel had been ordered to capture Beersheeba, in order to secure water and take prisoners. Chauvel had other units available including British troops, but directed the 4th Brigade forward. 'Put Grant straight at it', he ordered.
History's last great mounted charge was then hastily organised in an atmosphere of urgency.
Dwindling supplies of water demanded that the water wells at Beersheeba be taken at once. Any delay, while large British forces gradually assembled nearby, would only lead to demolition of the wells by the Turkish defenders. Without water, the whole Sinai-Palestine campaign would be halted perhaps for months, and the Gaza-Beersheeba line would remain unbroken. A victory here over the Turkish defenders would help avenge the disasters of gallipoli.
The 4th Light Horse Brigade had spent a quiet day till then. Widely scattered as a precaution against any surprise aircraft attack, the men and horses rested in small clusters. It took an hour anda half to assemble the brigade behind a ridge overlooking Beersheeba. The Victorians were on the left, the 12th Regiment on the right. It was 4.30 pm on 31 October 1917. Without swords, the light horsemen drew their long bayonets to flash in the setting...