Sir Harry’s Foreword to ‘Westralian Cavalry in the War’, authored by Arthur Olden and published in 1921 by Alexander McCubbin: Melbourne.

 

It gives me great pleasure to write a few words of introduction to Lieut.-Colonel Olden's History of the 10th Light Horse, a Regiment for which I have the greatest admiration and regard.

 

Drawn from our most typical class, the horsemen of the Australian Bush, this Regiment, after distinguished service on Gallipoli, where it took a prominent part, as Infantry, in one of the hardest fought battles of that historic campaign, early demonstrated its efficiency and peculiar suitability to the conditions of desert warfare and established a standard which it maintained to the termination of the Great War.

Under the skilled and gallant leadership of the late Lieut.-Colonel Todd – from the elimination of the enemy's water supply in the Wadi Mukhsheib to the capture of Damascus – it responded to every call, no matter how arduous and difficult the task.  To this Regiment fell the honour of being amongst the first Allied Troops to enter Jerusalem on the 9th December, 1917, and of being actually the first to enter Damascus on the 1st October, 1918, a record of which any Regiment would be justly proud.

 

This book should not only be of great value to military students and to those who served with Lieut.-Colonel Olden, but it should be of great interest to the General Public, as it gives a graphic description of the whole campaign in which the Egyptian Expeditionary Force was engaged, a campaign of which, though so full of historic interest, so little is yet known.

 

Lieut.-Colonel Olden is well qualified to undertake the work, as, joining the Regiment on its inception, he served with it throughout the War, and, though twice wounded, was never long away from duty.  He temporarily commanded it during the absence (wounded) of Colonel Todd on more than one occasion (notably during the 2nd Battle of Gaza), and finally succeeded to the command after the death of Colonel Todd.  He has modestly omitted his own name from the text, but he was present at all the operations of which he writes, and was the officer who took the surrender of Damascus from the Emir Said on the early morning of 1st October, 1918.  To his energy and initiative the Regiment owes much of its success.  When the insurrection suddenly broke out in Egypt, in March, 1919, Lieut.-Colonel Olden was sent out hurriedly to one of the worst centres of the disturbance, in command of a mixed force of Australians, composed entirely of volunteers from convalescents at the hospitals waiting shipment to Australia.  It was largely owing to his prompt and energetic leadership that a considerable amount of valuable property was saved and the insurrection quelled in that area.

 

He pays a generous tribute to his late commander, Lieut.-Colonel T.J. Todd, C.M.G., D.S.O., whose loss has been a severe one both to his country and to the Australian Military Forces.  A gallant and capable leader – his first thought was always his regiment, which he brought to a state of efficiency which placed it second to none in the Egyptian Expeditionary Force.  His regiment owes him much, and I think his country too.

 

 

HARRY CHAUVEL

Lieut.-General, late commanding

The Desert Mounted Corps

Department of Defence

Inspector-General

Army Headquarters

Melbourne, 11th May, 1921