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Yesterday, Friday the 31st of October, was the 97th anniversary of the famous charge of the Australian Light Horse at Beersheba.

So what? you say. Well the thing is, I had no idea that it was. Also I was not even aware that yesterday’s date was the 31st of October. (being semi-retired I literally often don’t know what day it is).

I had previously, quite some time ago, written a poem about the charge but I was less than happy with it.
Yesterday for some reason, having not written much lately (apart from limericks) I got the idea of writing a whole new Beersheba poem – it just popped into my head from nowhere.

Now, having a military background myself and having had numerous relatives who served in both major conflicts (including my father – an infantry sergeant in WWII) I have always taken an interest in military history, particularly where Australians were involved.

My great grandfather, James Benzie, a Scot from Aberdeen who had arrived in Australia in the 1880’s on a sailing ship, had lied about his age and joined the Light Horse in 1915 and served in Palestine (as it was then) until 1919; he was 50 years old when he sailed for home to rejoin his wife and six children. (the standard family joke was that that was why he joined up).

So back to my poem. Having written it I decided to check when the anniversary was, as it seemed appropriate to publish it then.
Imagine my surprise to find it was that very day – perhaps my long dead great grandfather had whispered in my ear.