Pictured: the Imperial Camel Corps. On October 31, 1917, Australian and New Zealand mounted troops were part of the Allied attack on the Turkish defenses at Beersheba, which was considered the key to taking Gaza due its strategically vital water wells. The hill known as Tel el Saba was New Zealand’s objective in the battle and was key to taking Beersheba. It had to be taken by the Anzacs before a frontal attack on the town could take place, as the Turkish defenders and machine guns were well dug-in, over-looking all the approaches to the township and its trench defenses. After six hours of hard fighting Tel el Saba was finally captured. With the New Zealand attack succeeding not long before sunset, the attack on Beersheba was in a critical state and in desperate need of water for the horses and men. Australian General Harry Chauvel ordered a mounted charge across the open ground straight through the Turkish trenches and into the town. With their bayonets in hand and rifles slung over their shoulders, the 4th Australian Light Horse Brigade charged and captured the fortified town before the sun had set. The epic charge is now regarded as the last great cavalry charge in history.
Imperial Camel Corps/Archives New Zealand