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Light Horse ride again

Saturday, 25th April, 2015

Starchie and Kerry Brown will be leading the parade today in honour of the Light Horsemen. PICTURE: Emily Roberts Starchie and Kerry Brown will be leading the parade today in honour of the Light Horsemen. PICTURE: Emily Roberts

A new addition to the traditional Anzac Day ceremonies will be a horse and rider dressed in the Light Horse regiment uniform.

Broken Hill RSL representative, Des Kennedy, said the Light Horse regiment was steeped in history and was something that should be honoured.

“We had a meeting for Anzac Day and it was suggested that we get a horse and dress someone up like the Light Horse,” he said.

“It came together really quickly.”

The horse that will be front and centre at today’s services is Starchie, who belongs to 14-year-old Angus Harrison and has been going through some training to get used to the sounds of bands and marching crowds.

“He is a nice, docile horse,” Des said.

“Geoff Cullenward donated the saddle, which he had refurbished. It was his grandfather’s saddle.

“We borrowed the gun, and the uniform came from the city.”

Des said Kerry Brown will ride Starchie at the Dawn service and the 11am service.

“We’ve put it together for a bit of fun and it is a little bit of history.”

According to the Australian Light Horse Association, in 1914 when Australia joined the war there were 23 Light Horse regiments of militia volunteers.

Australia promised four regiments of Light Horse, 2000 men, to fight with the British but by the end of the war, 16 regiments saw action. 

They wore the famous Australian slouch hat and a distinctive leather bandolier that carried 90 rounds of ammunition.

Each horse was fitted with a special military saddle, designed to carry a remarkable array of equipment with the least possible discomfort.

When the Light Horse went to Egypt, Queenslanders, Tasmanians and South Australians wore splendid emu plumes in their hats (small squares of emu hide with the long, brown-tipped white feathers still attached).

Even when a Regiment did not wear the plume on parade or in battle, the men kept one in their kit and tucked it in the hat band when they went on leave.

One local trooper, James Patterson, was a part of the 9th Light Horse Regiment.

Patterson was just 19 in 1916 when he enlisted but was discharged at his own request six months later.

He re-enlisted in Broken Hill but was considered medically unfit.

At his third attempt, he joined the 9th Light Horse Regiment and went to war on October 16, 1918.

He spent 10 months abroad and returned home in August 1919.

Patterson, the grandfather of former city councillor Alan Tucker, always attended Anzac Day ceremonies up until his death in 1989 at the age of 92.

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