97th anniversary of the Light Horse charge at Beersheba, 31st October 1917.
The author’s Great Grandfather was a trooper in the Light Horse in Palestine.
Three lines of Light Horse on the plain stark and wide;
“Three miles to the wells of Beersheba!” they cried,
As the Turks, from their trenches, they fearfully stared,
As the troopers, their bayonets from scabbards they bared.
On their backs, loaded ready, their rifles were slung,
As this gamble with fate, in the balance it hung.
From a trot to a gallop, the colour of rust,
Like a storm cloud approaching, the red desert dust
From the hooves of the walers rose high as they thundered;
This charge into hell – would it fail? Had they blundered?
The guns, from redoubts, how they rattled and roared
And the shrapnel red hot from the bursting shells poured
Like a hail on the riders and horses below
As now near to the trenches they closed with the foe.
And the Turks fired their guns till the barrels glowed red,
While the plain there before them lay littered with dead,
But the horses came on like a torrent in flood
And their riders with bayonets hungry for blood,
And the Turks turned and fled from this vision of hell,
And the brave who remained – by the victors they fell.
Now the battlefield silent – the hundreds lay dead,
But was barely a mark on the dust where they bled
As the wells of Beersheba the horsemen had won
Gave up their life-blood to the sword and the gun.