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Media releases & speeches

The Hon Dan Tehan MP
Minister for Veterans' Affairs
Minister for Defence Personnel
Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Cyber Security
Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Centenary of ANZAC

31 October 2016

Anniversary of the Battle of Beersheba

Today marks the 99th anniversary of the Battle of Beersheba, and the historic charge of the 4th Light Horse Brigade.

Australia suffered 67 casualties, including 31 killed in the attack on Beersheba, a heavily fortified town 43 kilometres from the then Turkish stronghold of Gaza.

The light horsemen charged the Turkish lines at a full gallop in three waves, 500 metres apart. Using their bayonets as swords, the momentum of the surprise attack carried them through the Turkish defences and the Australians took more than 700 prisoners.

Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Dan Tehan acknowledged the battle as one of the great cavalry charges in military history.

“The Light Horse Regiments were largely made up of men from small towns across rural Australia, mounted on horses known as ‘walers’. The actions of the Light Horse at Beersheba became legendary, as they charged over open ground towards entrenched enemy positions,” Mr Tehan said.

“Today we remember the Australians who were killed or injured in the battle and we are grateful for the service and sacrifice of the men who served in the 4th Light Horse Brigade and of every man and woman who has served in defence of our country.”

Next year is the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Beersheba in Be’er Sheva, Israel, and planning for a number of commemorative activities is underway.

A registration process for Australians wishing to attend commemorations will be conducted. Details of the service and how to obtain an attendance pass will be announced on the DVA website when planning is completed.

Media enquiries:

Minister Tehan’s Office: Byron Vale, 0428 262 894
Department of Veterans’ Affairs Media: 02 6289 6203

Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service (VVCS) can be reached 24 hours a day across Australia for crisis support and free confidential counselling. Phone 1800 011 046 (international: +61 8 8241 4546). VVCS is a service founded by Vietnam veterans.