12th Light Horse Regiment (Australia)
The 12th Light Horse Regiment was a light horse regiment
A regiment is a major tactical military unit, composed of variable numbers of batteries, squadrons or battalions, commanded by a colonel or lieutenant colonel...

 of the Australian Army
Australian Army
The Australian Army is Australia's military land force. It is part of the Australian Defence Force along with the Royal Australian Navy and the Royal Australian Air Force. While the Chief of Defence commands the Australian Defence Force , the Army is commanded by the Chief of Army...

. It was originally raised in 1915 for service during the First World War, the regiment served in the Middle East
Middle East
The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East...

 against the Turks before being disbanded in 1919. In 1921 the regiment was re-raised as a part time unit of the Citizens Force
Australian Army Reserve
The Australian Army Reserve is a collective name given to the reserve units of the Australian Army. Since the Federation of Australia in 1901, the reserve military force has been known by many names, including the Citizens Forces, the Citizen Military Forces, the Militia and, unofficially, the...

 before being amalgamated with the 24th Light Horse Regiment in 1936.


Raised in 1915 during the First World War for service overseas as part of the Australian Imperial Force
Australian Imperial Force
The Australian Imperial Force was the name given to all-volunteer Australian Army forces dispatched to fight overseas during World War I and World War II.* First Australian Imperial Force * Second Australian Imperial Force...

 (AIF), the regiment served at Gallipoli in a dismounted role before taking part in the Sinai and Palestine campaign
Sinai and Palestine Campaign
The Sinai and Palestine Campaigns took place in the Middle Eastern Theatre of World War I. A series of battles were fought between British Empire, German Empire and Ottoman Empire forces from 26 January 1915 to 31 October 1918, when the Armistice of Mudros was signed between the Ottoman Empire and...

 later in the war. In October 1917 the 12th Light Horse Regiment, along with the rest of its parent formation—the 4th Light Horse Brigade
4th Light Horse Brigade
The 4th Light Horse Brigade was a mounted infantry brigade of the First Australian Imperial Force serving in the Middle Eastern theatre of World War I. The brigade was formed in March 1915 and shipped to Egypt without their horses and was broken up in Egypt in August 1915...

—took part in the Charge on Beersheeba. The following year, the regiment was one the first Australian units to reach Damascus
Damascus , commonly known in Syria as Al Sham , and as the City of Jasmine , is the capital and the second largest city of Syria after Aleppo, both are part of the country's 14 governorates. In addition to being one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, Damascus is a major...

 in October 1918, just prior to the armistice
An armistice is a situation in a war where the warring parties agree to stop fighting. It is not necessarily the end of a war, but may be just a cessation of hostilities while an attempt is made to negotiate a lasting peace...

. Following the end of the war, the 12th Light Horse Regiment remained in the Middle East for a number of months, during which time they were used to help suppress the 1919 Egyptian Uprising
Egyptian Revolution of 1919
The Egyptian Revolution of 1919 was a countrywide revolution against the British occupation of Egypt and Sudan. It was carried out by Egyptians and Sudanese from different walks of life in the wake of the British-ordered exile of revolutionary leader Saad Zaghlul, and other members of the Wafd...

 before being repatriated back to Australia where they were disbanded in late 1919.

During the war, the regiment lost 67 men killed and 401 men wounded.These figures differ slightly from those provided by the Australian War Memorial, which lists: 53 killed and 401 wounded. Members of the regiment received the following decorations: 3 DSOs
Distinguished Service Order
The Distinguished Service Order is a military decoration of the United Kingdom, and formerly of other parts of the British Commonwealth and Empire, awarded for meritorious or distinguished service by officers of the armed forces during wartime, typically in actual combat.Instituted on 6 September...

 and 1 bar
Medal bar
A medal bar or medal clasp is a thin metal bar attached to the ribbon of a military decoration, civil decoration, or other medal. It is most commonly used to indicate the campaign or operation the recipient received the award for, and multiple bars on the same medal are used to indicate that the...

; 5 MCs
Military Cross
The Military Cross is the third-level military decoration awarded to officers and other ranks of the British Armed Forces; and formerly also to officers of other Commonwealth countries....

 with 1 bar; 9 DCMs
Distinguished Conduct Medal
The Distinguished Conduct Medal was an extremely high level award for bravery. It was a second level military decoration awarded to other ranks of the British Army and formerly also to non-commissioned personnel of other Commonwealth countries.The medal was instituted in 1854, during the Crimean...

 with 1 bar; 14 MM
Military Medal
The Military Medal was a military decoration awarded to personnel of the British Army and other services, and formerly also to personnel of other Commonwealth countries, below commissioned rank, for bravery in battle on land....

 and 17 MIDs.

In 1921 the decision was made to perpetuate the honours and traditions of the AIF by reorganising the units of the Citizens Force to replicate the numerical designations of their related AIF units. As a result of this decision, the 12th Light Horse Regiment was re-raised as the 12th Light Horse (New England Light Horse). It remained in existence until 1936 when it was merged with the 24th (Gwydir) Light Horse to form the 12th/24th Light Horse. Together this regiment remained linked until it was disbanded in 1942. At this stage, the 12th Light Horse was re-raised as a motor regiment, known as the 12th Motor Regiment. Today the regiment is perpetuated by the 12th/16th Hunter River Lancers
12th/16th Hunter River Lancers
The 12th/16th Hunter River Lancers is an Australian Army Reserve light armoured regiment. The Regiment was formed on 1 May 1948, although it draws its lineage from units that were originally formed in the 1880s. It is currently a Light Cavalry Scout unit and equipped with Bushmaster Protected...


Commanding officers

The following is a list of the 12th Light Horse Regiment's commanding officer
Commanding officer
The commanding officer is the officer in command of a military unit. Typically, the commanding officer has ultimate authority over the unit, and is usually given wide latitude to run the unit as he sees fit, within the bounds of military law...

s from 1915 to 1919:
  • Lieutenant Colonel Percy Abbott;Following the end of the war, Abbott resumed command of the regiment after it was re-raised as a part time Citizens Forces unit, remaining in command until 1929. Hogan 1979, pp. 2–3.
  • Lieutenant Colonel Jack Royston;
  • Lieutenant Colonel Harold McIntosh;
  • Lieutenant Colonel Donald Cameron;
  • Lieutenant Colonel Phillip Chambers.

Battle honours

The 12th Light Horse received the following battle honour
Battle honour
A battle honour is an award of a right by a government or sovereign to a military unit to emblazon the name of a battle or operation on its flags , uniforms or other accessories where ornamentation is possible....

s for their service during the First World War:
  • Damascus 1918, Suvla, Sari Bair, Gallipoli 1915–1916, Romani, Egypt 1915–1917, Gaza–Beersheba, El Mughar, Nebi Samwill, Jerusalem, Jordan (Es Salt), Megiddo, Sharon, Palestine 1917–1918.This list differs from that of Hollis 2008, p. ii who details the regiment's battle honours as: South Africa 1899–1900; Suvla, Sari Bair, Gallipoli 1915, Nebi, Samwill, Jerusalem, Jordan (Es Salt), Megiddo, Sharon, Damascus, Palestine 1917–1918.
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