B SQN 8th LIGHT HORSE

Hello Ray

Your Daily Recap Message of 9 Oct (below) includes a reference to the 10th Light Horse being re-raised as a full regiment in Western Australia.  It also includes the link

The 10th Light Horse will be re-raised as a full regiment Western Australia.

Without wishing to detract in any way from the justifiably proud record of 10 LH, whose feats during the Great War are well-recorded, I feel I should point out that the information given supports a commonly-held misapprehension that may have started with CEW Bean, but certainly was perpetuated by the 1985 Peter Weir movie ‘Gallipoli’.  The assault depicted in the dramatic climax of the movie was represented as having been carried out by the unit of the central characters, which in turn was represented to having been raised in Western Australia.  The specific incident depicted was one of many ‘charges’ carried out by LH units along Walkers Ridge on 7 Aug 1915, as part of the ‘August Offensive’ and designed to be a distraction from the landing by the British Corps in Suvla Bay.

The incident depicted in the movie was actually the first assault wave at a point known as ‘The Nek’ and was carried out by B Sqn 8th LH, which was raised in Western Victoria.  The Squadron Commander was Major Thomas Redford, whose part was played by the actor Bill Hunter.  Redford’s great dilemma was whether he should wait until what he believed to be the correct time, or go now while the Turks were still recovering from the preparatory bombardment from RN Ships.  The horrifying realisation that dawned on those about to charge to a certain death was very well depicted.  Two of those who did take part in that first wave and survived the day were Paul McGinness – one of the founders of QANTAS – who later was one of a small party who went out that night to recover Redford’s body, and Tpr David McGarvie, a noted marksman who was wounded and (from ‘No Man’s Land’) personally accounted for the majority of the (very light) Turkish casualties.

While the 10th took part in those assault waves carried out that day and was involved in one of the later (equally vainglorious) assault waves at The Nek, they were not those depicted in the Movie.  In the interests of the truth and the largely unsung achievements of B Sqn, perhaps this misunderstanding should be corrected.  It may be best also to advise Andrew Hastie MP to consider correcting his press release before someone else does it for him.

Many Thanks

Doug Heazlewood

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