Not Just Halloween

But also the 95th anniversary of the "last successful cavalry charge".

Published: 31 October 2012


Today is Hal­loween.

Battle of Beer­shee­ba (3rd Battle of Gaza) 31 Octo­ber 1916

But ninety-five years ago today in 1917, while two Brit­ish infantry divi­sions from Chetwode’s XX Corps attacked the strong Otto­man defences dug in around the south-west of Beer­sheba in Gaza, two regi­ments of the Aus­trali­an Light Horse Bri­gade from Chauvel’s Desert Moun­ted Corps charged from the East across more than three miles of open ter­rain in the face of artil­lery, machine gun and small arms fire to over­run the remain­ing Turk­ish trenches and, cru­cially, to cap­ture the vital sur­viv­ing water wells.

Field Marshal Edmund Henry Hynman Allenby
Field Mar­shal Edmund Henry
Hynman Allen­by

The action provided the cli­max for the film The Lighthorse­men. It is said to have been the last suc­cess­ful offens­ive cav­alry charge in his­tory and was part of the open­ing engage­ment of the broad­er action which became known as the Third Battle of Gaza that enabled Allen­by finally to dis­lodged the Turks and Ger­mans from the region and, on 11th Decem­ber 1917, take Jer­u­s­alem for the Brit­ish, Domin­ion and Com­mon­wealth Forces.

Tech­nic­ally speak­ing, the Light Horse Regi­ments were moun­ted infantry, not cav­alry, but that’s prob­ably a split hair too far.