In the lead-up to ANZAC Day, the 3rd Light Horse Regiment – Naracoorte Troop has been invited to take part in two parades later this year to commemorate the centenary of the light horse charge of Beersheba.
Members of the local troop will head to Melbourne and Canberra in October to help pay tribute to the 4th and 12th Light Horse regiments.
Naracoorte Troop Sergeant Mark Watters said being part of the centenary commemorations was a once in a lifetime chance and believes it reflects very well on the local group.
“To be asked to go to Canberra is an extremely high honour which means what we are doing as a troop here in Naracoorte is basically setting an example to a lot of the other troops in Australia that have been going for 20-25 years,” Mr Watters said.
The battle of Beersheba took place on October 31, 1917 as part of the wider British offensive collectively known as the third Battle of Gaza.
The capture of Beersheba enabled British Empire forces to break the Ottoman line near Gaza on November 7 and continue the advance into Palestine.
It’s envisaged that up to 150 riders will march along St Kilda Rd to the Victorian War Memorial ahead of the main event in Canberra.
The local troop which consists of 12 riders and five nurses will then represent the 12th Light Horse Regiment in Australia’s capital as part of the milestone anniversary commemoration at the end of October.
“It will be a very big parade being the centenary of it and it will be held on the day,” Mr Watters said.
He revealed that the Naracoorte troop was one of two regiments to have been given the chance to carry out the commemoration activity with the Australian Army.
The 4th and 12th Light Horse casualties were 31 killed and 36 wounded; they captured over 700 men.
Mr Watters said the group was looking forward to doing the original Lighthorsemen “justice” when reenacting actions, feats and heroics that took place.
They have started monthly practice sessions to perfect a routine and desensitise the horses.
“We’ll be around town (this weekend) practising our form ups, getting the horses used to the traffic,” Mr Watters said.
“There’s a lot of desensitisation of horses that goes on so that when you’re out in the public the horses (are well behaved).”
The Naracoorte Troop members will attend several ANZAC Day services in the region on Tuesday.
With the majority of riders and nurses expected to be at the dawn service in Naracoorte, a select number will attend Bordertown’s dawn service and travel to Apsley and Mundulla for morning ceremonies there.