Light Horseman takes a stand in Beersheba
Martin Chulov, Beersheba
April 29, 2008
AN Australian Light Horseman returned to the deserts of the Holy Land last night, 90 years after his famous forebears created the stuff of legend. A bronze bust of an Australian Light Horseman was unveiled as the centrepiece of an Australian peace park just outside Beersheba in southern Israel, near the scene of the cavalry charge on October 31, 1917, that changed the course of World War I. The Australian 4th Light Horse Brigade charged across the desert, overrunning the Turkish trenches and capturing Beersheba.
The park, named the Park of the Australian Soldier, was opened by Governor-General Michael Jeffery and Israeli President Shimon Peres. Five years in the planning, the park is an initiative of the Melbourne-based Pratt Foundation, which has worked with the City of Beersheba council in an effort to produce a facility that taps into the legacy of the Australian campaign and builds on what Mr Peres described as a bilateral relationship "without any bad weather".
Major-General Jeffery, who visited Australian troops in Afghanistan and Iraq before travelling to Israel, said: "Some 773 of the 100,000 Australians who have fallen in the defence of freedom across two world wars have fallen here." He praised the Desert Mounted Corps, among them the 4th and 12th Light Horse that fought in the Holy Land, as being among history's finest warriors, renowned for "courage, initiative and a pervasive sense of humour".
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