In the Footsteps of the First: 1st Australian Light Horse Regiment: The August Offensive Gallipoli 1915


Meanwhile ‘A’ Squadron, seeing that we had been forced to show our hand, went over … in the first ten minutes ‘A’ Squadron was practically put out of action - over 50 per cent were killed or wounded in the first rush. … it was just breaking daylight when we went over the hill to be met by the crescent trench, full of Turks, half out their trench, waiting for us. Machine guns were barking on three sides of us.  I gave the order “Down!” and went to earth just as a bullet hit my shoulder. Sergeant Ellis went down on my right – killed instantly, riddled with bullets at close range …I found a lot of Turkish bombs and secured two prisoners. Five men came up to my support and we had a bomb fight with the Turks for over an hour ... Major Glasgow, Lt. Nettleton, and Lt. Weir with 16 men came up to help us.

At 8a.m. after we had consolidated our position and used up 1100 bombs sent up to us from Brigade, we were ordered to retire as our position was untenable. When we reached our regimental lines I received orders to fall in all men left of ‘A’ and ‘B’ Squadrons and get them into line with ‘C’ Squadron. All I could muster was 32 men of which 24 were wounded. Others came in, but very few. In the morning we went out 199 strong.” [7]

1st Australia Light Horse Regimental Diary [9]

Saturday 7th August 1915



General attack by our forces along the whole line. Our attack was made at 4.30am from Pope’s Hill on the Chessboard and the trenches North of Bloody Angle. The attack was gallantly led by Major J.M. Reid. The storming party rushed the third line of trenches occupied about 30 yards of them and held them for 2 hours but the enemy attacked with great force.


They severely bombed the forward party and forced them to retire. Lt Harris displayed great gallantry in leading the first line of the storming party and although wounded remained in the foremost position gained until the retirement. Corporal Keys,  Private Tancred,  Private Barrow, [all of ‘C’ Squadron that was in reserve],  displayed great bravery in carrying bombs to the storming party over ground swept by machine gun and rifle fire.

Charles Bean captured the events of the early morning: “It is said that the gallant Reid, being hit in the right hand, changed his revolver to his left, and, although entreated to go to the rear, continued to lead his men. He was last seen amid the bomb-smoke in the enemy trench ... for sheer self-sacrifice and heroism this charge of the Australian Light Horse is unsurpassed in history.” [10]

The parade, totalling 38 members of the 1st Light Horse Regiment, who survived the August Offensive. AWM H003568 [8]