The Battle of Beersheba was a military action fought between Allied forces against troops of the Ottoman Empire in the area in and around the town of Beersheba (now a city), in Palestine. The battle took place on 31 October 1917, during the First World War (1914-1918).
In modern times, the event is commemorated annually, on the 31st of October, as the Battle of Beersheba Day.
For a brief essay about the battle, see: The Battle of Beersheba (1917).
Articles about the Battle of Beersheba:
Various articles relating to the Battle of Beersheba (1917).
(Arranged in chronological order.)
Australian Light Horse engaged [15 November 1917]
Some details from a despatch, from Lieutenant-General Sir Edmund Allenby, regarding the Allied military operations in Palestine.
Our Light Horse regiments [15 November 1917]
An article regarding the Australian Light Horse in Palestine.
Taking Beersheba: Advance in the desert: Roman wells prove useful [letter, 20 January 1918]
A letter, written by an unknown Army officer, regarding the Battle of Beersheba.
Capture of Beersheba: A real Australian charge: Graphic details from Trooper French [World War One letters, 11 February 1918]
Three letters, written by Trooper J. R. French, who recounts his part in Battle of Beersheba.
Not in the text books: How Light Horse fought in capture of Beersheba: Turks’ debacle pictured by Australian trooper [by J. C. Ryan, 16 February 1918]
A letter, written by Trooper J. C. Ryan, regarding the Battle of Beersheba.
Capture of Beersheba: Australians’ great charge: Sydney sailing enthusiast’s letter [letter from Trooper Wal. Keddie, 21 February 1918]
A letter, written by Trooper Wal Keddie, regarding the Battle of Beersheba.
Fall of Beersheba: Charge of the —— Regiment: How Anzacs fight: The sight of a century [letter from Trooper Tom Latimer, 23 February 1918]
A letter, written by Trooper Tom Latimer, regarding the Battle of Beersheba.
Australian Light Horse: At capture of Beersheba [10 April 1918]
A letter, written by an unknown member of the Australian Light Horse, regarding his experiences at the Battle of Beersheba.
Beersheba [poem by Trooper A. Beatty, 21 September 1918]
A poem, by Trooper A. Beatty, regarding the Battle of Beersheba.
Capture of Beersheba, Oct. 31 [report by General Sir Edmund H. H. Allenby, 1919]
An extract, regarding the Battle of Beersheba, taken from the despatches from Sir Edmund Allenby (a British general) to the UK’s Secretary of State for War. Also includes a map of the Palestine campaign area, with some accompanying text.
“Australia in Palestine” [book review, 6 November 1919]
A review of the book Australia in Palestine (1919).
Battle Diary: Light Horse at Beersheba [31 October 1921]
A short article, regarding the Battle of Beersheba.
Charge at Beersheba [8 November 1921]
A short article, regarding “a remarkable photograph of the famous charge by the Australian Light Horse at Beersheba” included in an exhibition of war pictures at the Prahran town hall.
Anzacs’ achievements: Cavalry and Flying Corps eulogized: Lord Allenby’s tribute [13 January 1926]
An article about the visit of Lord Allenby to Melbourne in 1926, which gives some details about Battle of Beersheba (Edmund Allenby was the British general in charge of the Allied war effort in Palestine, including Beersheba).
Beersheba [by Cyril Smith, 1 November 1934]
An article by Captain Cyril Smith, of the Australian Light Horse, regarding the Battle of Beersheba.
“Film is world-wide inspiration” [movie review, 25 January 1941]
A review of the Australian war movie “Forty Thousand Horsemen” (1940). The film was about some Australian Light Horsemen and their adventures in the Middle East during the First World War (1914-1918); it included some scenes involving the Battle of Beersheba (1917).]
Regarding the famous photograph of the charge of the Australian Light Horse
This picture has been described as being a photograph taken of 1) the Beersheba charge on 31 October 1917, 2) some Light Horsemen practising a charge, 3) a re-enactment of the Beersheba charge, or 4) a photo taken by a Turkish soldier (whose camera was seized on the day of the Beersheba charge).
The Australian Light Horse Association has published a statement made by Eric George (Rex) Elliott (Assistant Secretary of the 4th Light Horse Association), who said that the photo was taken by him on the day of the charge (31 October 1917), when he was working as a rangefinder. Elliott said that when he saw the charge taking place, he took his camera out of his haversack, and took a photo.
However, the Australian War Memorial (Canberra) dismisses both the Turkish soldier theory and Elliott’s claim, and says “it was probably taken when two regiments of the 4th Brigade, Australian Light Horse, re-enacted the charge for the official photographer Frank Hurley, at Belah on 7 February 1918”.
Some consider the photo to be the one taken by Rex Elliott in 1917, whilst others believe that it is a photo of a re-enactment staged for Frank Hurley in 1918. The controversy continues. However, either way, it is a photo of Australian Light Horsemen carrying out a charge (real or staged) during the First World War.
1) “The controversial photo of Beersheba”, The Australian Light Horse Association
2) “Eric George Elliott”, Discovering Anzacs [service number 2169, 4th Australian Light Horse Regiment]
3) “Lieutenant William Hopkin ‘Hop’ James MC, 1st Light Horse Regiment, has written on the verso of …”, Australian War Memorial (Canberra) [Accession Number: P12049.007; sepia toned photo; “Lieutenant William Hopkin ‘Hop’ James MC, 1st Light Horse Regiment, has written on the verso of this version of the photograph “This is a snap of some of the 3rd Brigade practicing a charge. … If it was the real thing you would see riderless horses and horses going down. Also shells bursting among the horses.””]
4) “‘Thunder of a light horse charge’. This photograph has been described as one of the charge of …”, Australian War Memorial (Canberra) [Accession Number: A02684; black and white photo; the AWM discounts the Turkish soldier theory and the claim made by Private George Elliott (2169), and says it was a re-enactment staged for Frank Hurley]
5) “‘Thunder of a light horse charge’. This photograph has been described as one of the charge of the …”, Australian War Memorial (Canberra) [Accession Number: P03723.001; a black and white version of the photo, apparently with “shell bursts” (or smoke) added later on, presumably so as to give the photo some added “authenticity”]
6) ““The Charge of the Light Horse at Beer-sheba”. A hand-coloured print of the famous photograph …”, Australian War Memorial (Canberra) [Accession Number: P05380.001; a hand-coloured version of the photo with “shell bursts” apparently added]