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BATTLE OF BEERSHEBA - Keith Trestrail's Blog

About Keith Trestrail
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I am an International Man of Mystery - born in Trinidad, raised in New Zealand, and living in Australia. My earliest influences lyrically were those of the Calypsonians of the 1960s, the greatest being old Birdie himself the Mighty Sparrow as well as the joyful songs of The Merrymen. Later in my teens I was struck by the power of words and language from the mercurial pen of Bob Dylan. The first poem I ever wrote was in 1975 at the age of 14 for a class assignment. I copied the lyrics from the Pink Floyd song "Money" and got a great mark from my teacher, Mrs Laird. She congratulated me on my effort and creativity (something I possessed very little of in school) and so I eventually came clean and had to re-write it. She did commend me on my honesty and choice of lyric though and did what good teachers do...engage and encourage. It could have been worse - I nearly chose a Frank Zappa song that would have been highly inappropriate! My poetry is very much like me - a work in progress! I often revisit and revise my catalogue as I grow as a writer and am grateful for any constructive advice. The real writer and talent in my family is my wife who is more an author than a poet, but she is far too sensible to bare her soul to the world. I, however, am not! I love my golf, my cricket and my Rugby League (that's a similar sport to Rugby for all my non-European/Australasian readers) and support Russell Crowe's team, the mighty South Sydney Rabbitohs and the North Queensland Cowboys in the Australian NRL (National Rugby League). Go the Bunnies and go the Cowboys!


BATTLE OF BEERSHEBA


Blog Posted:10/30/2017 8:34:00 PM

Tuesday 31st October is the centenary of the Australian Lighthorsemen's famous charge at the Battle of Beersheba in what was then known as Palestine. It was the last great cavalry charge in the annals of warfare and changed the course of World War 1. To be more accurate, they were not cavalry but in fact mounted infantry. The wells at Beersheba were critical to the Allied effort and had to be captured before the Germans and Turks could destroy them as the men and horses were desperate for water. 

These men did what a thousand plus years of crupoems/sad'>sades couldn't and were pivotal in the recapture of the Holy Lands from the Ottomans. Six weeks later the Allies marched into Jerusalem. Their heroics and bravery are legendary in Australia and in Israel where there will be a commemorative celebration and re-enactment of this great occasion. Eight hundred Lighthorsemen charged the Turkish lines that day against heavily fortified trenches and artillery with the loss of only thirty one.

NOTE: The Lighthorsemen rode "Walers" - an Australian bred horse suited to the desert requirements of battle. Approximately one hundred thousand Walers were sent overseas but only one ever returned. Of those which didn't perish in battle, many were sold to the British Army, many were left behind to locals who used them to work the land, and some were shot by their riders who couldn't bear the thought of leaving them to a life of pulling a plough for the rest of their days. 

 

 

This is my tribute to these men with a little help from Alfred Lord Tennyson:

 

             Battle of Beersheba

"Charge!" they said, and charge they led

 from out of a dry desert wadi.

 Every man of the Light Horse Brigade

 out of the falling sun thundered!

 Their pulsing veins - their loosened reins -

  toward the wells of Beersheba

  rode the brave eight hundred

 

 In gallop stride they fought and died

 on mighty Walers champing!

 Every man in the Light Horse Regiment

 faced a foe greater numbered.

 Their rifles cocked - their bayonets locked -

  onward the wells of Beersheba

  rode the brave eight hundred

 

 Again and again the Lighthorsemen

 the Turkish lines outflanked.

 Every man of the Mounted Infantry

 of horse and rider wondered.

 In squadron raid - in great crusade -

 forward the wells of Beersheba

 rode the brave eight hundred

 

 And across the sands into their hands

 the Ottoman guns fell silent.

 Every man in the Desert Mounted Corps

 the battle trenches plundered!

 With martial force - on valiant horse -

  toward the wells of Beersheba

  rode the brave eight hundred

 

 With God they strode, to victory rode

 with emu plumes in their hats.

 Every man of the Expeditionary Force

 sat his saddle or lay sundered.

 Like Gideon of old - their trusty fold -

  onward the wells of Beersheba

  rode the brave eight hundred

 

 On horizon's red light, an heroic sight

 in clouds of smoke and dust.

 Every man of the Light Horse Brigade

 across the desert thundered.

 The legend tells of Beersheba's wells -

  how the march on Jerusalem

  to glory led all eight hundred.

 

----------------------------------------------

 

Please Login to post a comment
Date: 11/1/2017 5:49:00 AM
When I was back living in Australia in 2003 I happened on a small division still active on the outskirts of the Gold Coast. I have always admired this legend and wrote one poem titled, “Lest We Forget the Horses.” Thanks for honoring them in your blog. Here is a link to read more: http://www.lighthorse.org.au
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Date: 11/1/2017 4:11:00 AM
Great 'texturalist ' form here Keith,would make a good action fi!m.
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Date: 10/31/2017 3:35:00 PM
So well portrayed Keith and yes, Tennyson in the Charge of the Light Brigade but you actually pulled more Tennyson in with your rhythm here more like Lady of Shallot. Enjoyed.
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Date: 10/31/2017 1:55:00 PM
Thank you for the blog, a reminder of lives that came before and the bravery that was real
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My Past Blog Posts

 
BATTLE OF BEERSHEBA
Date Posted: 10/30/2017 8:34:00 PM
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Date Posted: 8/15/2017 10:36:00 PM
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