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‘He would have loved to see this day’

Mudgeeraba Light Horse marks the centenary of the Beersheba charge. Troopers Peter McLaughlin, Katie Jones, and Chris Kennedy training with bayonets at Merrimac. Picture Glenn Hampson
Mudgeeraba Light Horse marks the centenary of the Beersheba charge. Troopers Peter McLaughlin, Katie Jones, and Chris Kennedy training with bayonets at Merrimac. Picture Glenn Hampson

THE 100th anniversary of World War I's Battle of Beersheba holds special meaning for Trooper Peter McLaughlin.

The Mudgeeraba Light Horse Museum president will pause to not only remember the fallen in the famous charge by Australian forces, and also his friend Harold Johnson.

Mr Johnson, the museum's long-time caretaker, was the son of a light horseman veteran of the October 31, 1917 charge and died this year at age 96.

'Thunder of a light horse charge'. This photograph has been described as one of the charge of the 4th Light Horse Brigade at Beersheba on the 31st October 1917. It's now believed to have been taken by photographer Frank Hurley in February 1918. (AAP Image/ Australian War Memorial)
'Thunder of a light horse charge'. This photograph has been described as one of the charge of the 4th Light Horse Brigade at Beersheba on the 31st October 1917. It's now believed to have been taken by photographer Frank Hurley in February 1918. (AAP Image/ Australian War Memorial)

His death came just months short of marking the centenary of his father's actions, something Mr McLaughlin said made the anniversary bitter-sweet.

"We lost Harold this year due to cancer but he would have loved to see this day," he said. "His father was there at the battle."

 

The Light Horse Museum will unveil a memorial commemorating the battle next week. Picture Glenn Hampson
The Light Horse Museum will unveil a memorial commemorating the battle next week. Picture Glenn Hampson

The battle was part of the Palestine campaign in the latter stages of the war and saw Allied forces tasked with seizing the city.

The charge was the focal point of the battle and helped break the Turkish lines, allowing the Australians to enter Beersheba and secure its water supply.

Troopers Peter McLaughlin says securing water supply was a major objective of the battle. Picture Glenn Hampson
Troopers Peter McLaughlin says securing water supply was a major objective of the battle. Picture Glenn Hampson

Mr McLaughlin said the battle was an important moment in Australia's war history.

"There were 100,000 men and 60,000 horses there that day and plenty of men would have perished had they not seized the water," he said.

"It proved to be the most successful charge of the modern era."

The monument to the light horse will be unveiled at the museum at the Mudgeeraba Showgrounds on October 31.

Battle of Beersheba

* The one-day conflict occurred on October 31, 1917 between British Empire forces and those of the Ottoman and German empires.

* Took place at Beersheba in modern-day Israel.

* Australian soldiers from the 4th and 12th Light Horse regiments conducted a mounted infantry charge using bayonets rather than rifles.

Topics:  light horse



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