Such a relaxed and possibly languid cat lying in the sun’s rays. Her colouring positively glows from that wound ball of golden fluff.
I look down on her from the patio above. She deigns not to notice when I call her name. I ignore her ignoring me and hold a long one-way conversation with her. When I finish, she opens her eyes as if to say: “Are you finished?”
“Not Quite,” I say. “You know you are ruining your father’s rhubarb lying on it, as you are?”
She shuts her eyes again and stretches out like a long swipe of jam, claws bared. The rhubarb leans back to the fence accommodating her expanse.
“You are indulged by all,” I exclaim.
She gives me a cursory wink, then raises herself up on her four legs and stretches again. This time though, her back reaches up forming a Roman arch, until she quivers herself down into normal cat posture.
Majestically, Marmalade struts away to see if her dinner is ready.
B2455, ANDREW CRAWFORD, SERN Major, Tatura Victoria.
Andrew Crawford was a thoroughly patriotic soldier. He served as a volunteer light horseman before World War One, during the war and on his return home to continue with the local light horsemen. This biography will touch on his army life before the war, cover his role in the war and link to his life on return to Australia.
Andrew (known to me as Andy) was born 06 August 1887 to parents Andrew and Rebecca Crawford.He was the 9thchild of 11 and the youngest son.He was a cousin of my mother. His father Andrew Crawford had emigrated from Co. Donegal,and mother Rebecca (nee Shanks) from Co Down,both Northern Ireland counties.
Andy was brought up in a strong protestant family attending the local Presbyterian Church. He worked on the family property ‘Woodlands’ near Tatura, a country town in the Goulburn Valley,167 kilometres (104 miles)north of Melbourne. Andy joined the Citizens Military Forces (CMF) Light Horse Brigade (LHB) as a 20-year-old and served 6½ years there, 3 ½ in commissioned rank.
It was serendipitous that the local Defence Forces were marching through Shepparton at the exact time of the war announcement, on 04 August 1914. Andy as a 2nd Lieutenant was co-leading the 1stAustralian Light Horse section. Three hundred uniformed men performed to the excited applauding public and in a special ceremony, senior cadets were drafted into the Light Horse and Infantry of the CMF. The prominent speakers encouraged the second line defence present to be thoroughly efficient defenders of the Commonwealth, assisting the “mother country” in war.
Earl Gray (a strong imperialist) had visited the Tatura area seven months earlier in January 1914 and spent time talking with the community and spreading his motto: “The Empire my country, Australia my home”. According to the local newspapers at this time, churches, businesses and clubs all backed Australia’s entry to the war and the feeling around the district was one of patriotism, enthusiasm, and excitement.
Andy’s service record provides the details. He enlisted on 21 September 1914 into the 8thLight Horse regiment, A Squadron. He was 27 years old, unmarried, a Presbyterian and a British subject. He met the body requirements, with chest size 33½-36”, height 5’7¼ “, weight 154 lbs and normal eyesight.
Training began at Broadmeadows camp in Victoria on 23 September 1914 with the 8thAustralian Light Horse Regiment (LHR) being part of the 3rdLight Horse Brigade. Here the soldiers were trained in weapon methods for rifles and bayonets and tool use for trench digging. They were then bivouaced for one week prior to embarkation at Altona Bay, Victoria to train their horses on sand and in the sea.
Andy Crawford is in the centre back, 9thfrom left.10
On 25 February 1915 Andy’s Unit sailed from Melbourne, Victoria on board the Transport A16 Star of Victoria– and seventeen days later arrived in Egypt on 14 March 1915.
When Turkey joined Germany in the war Britain decided to attack at the Gallipoli Peninsula (Alexandria) hoping to force the Ottoman Empire out of the war.They needed to safeguard the Suez Canal, a crucial sea link between Europe and Russia. Troops (including 3rdLight Horsemen) were sent from Egypt to join the British soldiers. Horses stayed behind as the steep rugged hills were unsuitable for them. The troops embarked for Gallipoli on HMT Menominee, 16 May 1915 and were attached to the New Zealand and Australian Division.
Andy received his first service promotion to 1stLieutenant on 01 June 1915 at Gallipoli, Turkey. In a letter to his parents he talked of: “doing duty in the trenches”, where they lost senior officers, who were “…killed instantly being struck by large pieces of shell.” He said “whilst I was in the firing line, shells burst all around us. The shells literally shook the ground, besides choking us with smoke and dust. The latter almost suffocated us. We have been supplied respirators in case the enemy use poisonous gases.” He continued:“the supply of fresh water … is gradually increasing, but the flies are a perfect pest”.
His next letter to his parents says: “June 30thwas an exciting night…At 9pm we were attacked by the Turks who vigorously shelled our trenches. About midnight we discovered a few Turks trying to get into our trench. Our men out front attacked with rifles and threw a few bombs… we had some good shooting”.
At daylight they discovered about 200 men were killed and wounded and they had taken quite a few prisoners. Unfortunately, the losses were heavy on both sides. Andy continued: “This is the biggest ‘scrap’ we have been in so far. I was on duty all night and was fairly knocked out by the morning”. 
However, Andy was soon involved in a much bigger ‘scrap’. The day after his 28thbirthday, the Gallipoli charge commenced at 04.30, on 07 August 1915, with a distance of only twenty to sixty yards to the Turkish trenches.
The map above shows the general topography of the area inland from Anzac Cove and North Beach measuring almost 8km N to S and 6km W to EW. Kabatepe is the most southern and western point of the map, and Hill 60 is the most northern point. The peaks in the Sari Bair Range that are between 200-300 metres high are shown in the centre of the map
Charles Edwin Woodrow Bean, usually identified as CEW Bean, was an Australian World War One war correspondent and historian and he records:
‘The first line was to seize the Turkish trenches on ‘The Nek’; the second was to pass over them and take the nearer saps [short trenches] on ‘Baby 700’ [hill]”.
The 3rdLHB attempted against all odds to cross ‘The Nek’, led by the 8thLHR. Four waves attacked with 150 men each, they had no chance and were slaughtered. Andy was in the second wave following over the top just two minutes after the first.
Andy“…was in one of the deepest parts of the front trench and he hauled himself up and over by means of the pegs and notches carved by bayonets in the trench wall”. 
“There was the din of rifles, machine guns and bombs. On mounting the parapet just in front of us was a double row of Turks with bayonets fixed, firing at us. Most of the first wave were down: either killed, wounded or had taken cover. I was soon laid out with a couple of bullets”.
From an Alexandria Military hospital Andy’s letter describes to his sister:
“The crackle was deafening and the smoke of the bombs terrific… We were only a minute or two behind the first line, and when we got up to them there wasn’t a man left standing, so we lay down and took as much cover as we could…I crawled forward a few yards and had a look at the Turks’ trenches. The 10thRegiment formed the 3rdand 4thlines and they came out soon after us. We got up and tried to rush forward with them, but it was no use. I got hit on my thigh as soon as I started to get up and was rolled right over.
My left leg was stiffened a bit with the hit, but I crawled on a bit further. I got right amongst the dead, and it was there I got the one in the back and several grazes on my back and one on my head. These I did not feel. All of the bullets that hit me came from the left flank and I am thankful to say that they went right through. After I was hit I wriggled back as far as I could under cover and lay there for some time. After a while I heard the regiment was retiring”. 
Andy was one lucky soldier when two men took his equipment off him and started to drag him in. Two others – Trumpeter Les Lawry, an 18-year-old carpenter’s apprentice from Geelong and trooper Albert Williams a 19-year-old farmer from Broadmeadows carried him to safety.
Detail from painting: The Charge of the 3rdLight Horse Brigade at the Nek 7 August 1915’ by George Lambert.[
French artillerymen standing next to their Army 75mm gun.
“A French 75 – a gun captured by the Turks from the Servians in the Balkan War – was pouring her shells at the rate of about one in ten seconds into the Nek. … One soldier who had just made it to the Turks trench, arrived back shot through the ankle. But from that man we know all that will probably ever be known of what those Light Horse men found facing them as they ran through the dust haze. The nearer trenches were crammed with troops. The bayonets of the front row of Turks could be seen just over the parapet and behind them there appeared to be two rows of Turks standing waist-high above the parapet emptying their rifles as fast as they could fire them”.
The entry in the War Diary for that day 07 August 1915 reports:
The positions assaulted by 3 LH Bde were impossible to take by frontal attack and the front composed a NEK less than 100 yards across with cliffs on either side, the whole full of Machine Guns. There was no hesitation or falter amongst our officers and men especially of the 8thLH who were practically wiped out.
Andy writing again to his sister tells her that on 08 August he was treated in the trenches by the 10thRegiment Medic and was under fire for 24 hours until he was stretchered to the First Aid post and then the Clearing Hospital. A few days later he was admitted to the hospital ship ‘Gascon’. He had suffered bullet wounds in the buttock, kidney and back and was moved on 15 August to the MH Ras-el-Tin Convalescent Hospital, Alexandria.
Tragically of 300 men in the Light Horsemen, 254 had been killed or wounded.
Captain Bean described how the Nek must have looked on that morning as the day lengthened:
“At first here and there a man raised his arm to the sky or tried to drink from his water bottle; but as the sun of that burning day climbed higher, such movements ceased: over the whole summit the figures lay still in the quivering heat”.
The last ten old Light Horsemen who lived over 100 years all later agreed:
“Gallipoli had been a great mistake and we would never have volunteered to fight there if we had our time over”. 
The 10th Light Horse survivors at the Nek with unclaimed kitbags of fallen fellow soldiers.
“After witnessing the slaughter of two lines of the Victorian 8th Light Horse Regiment, the Commander of the 10th’ tried to have the attack abandoned but was ordered to ‘push on’. Men hurriedly scribbled farewells to their families, then went forward to their deaths”.
“As for the boys,”wrote Captain Bean, “the single-minded, loyal Australian country lads, who left their trenches in the grey light of that morning with all their simple treasures on their backs, to bivouac in the scrub that evening – the shade of evening found them lying in the scrub with God’s wide sky above them. The green arbutus and the holly of the peninsula, not unlike their own native bush, will someday again claim this Nek in those wild ranges for its own. But the place will always be sacred as the scene of two very brave deeds, the first – let us not forget it – the desperate attack made by the Turks across that same Nek in the dawn of June 30 and, secondly, of a deed of self-sacrificing bravery which has never been surpassed in military history – the charge of the Australian Light Horse into certain death at the call of their comrades needs during a crisis in the greatest battle that has ever been fought on Turkish soil”.
8th Light Horse Unit War Diary, Entry: Wounded: Lieut. Crawford, A. (3rd entry)
Andy was discharged 30 September 1915 and after rest was back on duty in Gallipoli by 10 October.
The Australian and New Zealand forces continued in Turkey mainly in a defensive role until the order was given to evacuate. The 3rdLHB left Mudros, sailing on ‘HT Beltana’to Alexandria, Egypt arriving on Christmas Day 1915.
“On their return to Egypt most of the regiments went direct from the transports to their horse-lines. There the men handed in their infantry packs, were given back their riding gear, and jingled very happily again in their spurs. During their absence in Gallipoli their horses had been in the care of a body of public-spirited Australians, most of them well advanced in middle age, who, being refused as too old for active service, had enlisted and gone to Egypt as grooms in the light horsemen’s absence. Many of these men afterwards found employment in the remount depots and continued their useful service till the end of the war”.
The light horsemen’s return was an emotional time re-uniting with their horses after being separated for so long. The Australian Imperial Force (AIF) had returned to Egypt to rest, recuperate, re-supply and re-train. The LHR’s duties included the early morning watering, feeding and grooming of the horses, followed by mounted infantry training, patrols and outpost duties. Most of the troops were then sent to fight on the Western Front except for the Light horsemen and most of them were sent to the Suez area, the land being more suitable for the use of horses.
Members of 8th LHR on the top of a pyramid, December 1915. Their well-worn uniforms and the fact the most of them are wearing emu feathers in their hats may indicate that they are Gallipoli veterans.
At Heliopolis close to Cairo on 28 January 1916, AIF orders promoted Andy to Captain to complete establishment.
A month later the Regiment was marched out to the sandy outpost of Serepeum– adjacent to the Suez Canal.
Pontoon bridge across the Suez Canal at Serapeum.
On 10 March 1916, the ‘Mediterranean Expeditionary Force’ and the ‘Force in Egypt’ (1914-15) were united under the command of General Archibald Murray as the Egyptian Expeditionary Force (EEF) – and it was following that, on 17March, Andy received promotion to Major.
In April 1916, they became part of the ANZAC Mounted Division defending the Suez Canal from the Turks advancing over the Sinai Desert and keeping them away from the main ports and oilfields.
Murray planned to control the Mediterranean coast from Suez to Damascus forming: ‘a series of interlocking defensive posts to the east of the Canal’ with infrastructure of a railway, water pipeline and wire-netted road.
Laying the railway track across the Sinai Desert.
Andy’s parents received word from their son– describing the Australian gifts received – chocolate, paper, tobacco, cigarettes and matches. He reported “the food is much better here than on the Peninsula”. Since leaving Heliopolis he had enjoyed meeting up with soldiers from home. And in another letter, said– that late in July his regiment moved nearer to the Turks and they were busy sinking wells in palm groves called ‘Hods’. These provided water for the horses and sometimes the men, as top-up to their daily camel delivery of rations and water.
Painting of a typical Hod (Oasis or Palm Grove) near Romani by George Lambert.
A major battle occurred between 03 and 05 August 1916 near the Egyptian town of Romani, 23 miles (37 km) east of the Suez Canal.
The Anzac Mounted Division of the EEF was frantically and strategically fighting against the Turks and Germans to secure and control the Suez Canal the key communication link of the British Empire.
The sun was searing hot and the tableland quaked from the attacks that went back and forth between the Turks and the Australians. The artillery barrage never stopped which allowed the Anzacs to push themselves forward and push the enemy back from position to position. The Turks tried desperately to find a weak link, but the line held firm supported by New Zealanders and other Allied troops bolstering the attacks as needed and according to plan. Eventually the enemy was overwhelmed and retreated into Palestine. The Anzac Division had the most losses of the Allies with 1130 casualties. They had however, captured three parties of prisoners, machine guns, camels and a horse.
The following days started very early, 2.30am then 4am and 07 August brought fierce rifle fire with the enemy until mid-afternoon when the artillery arrived and duelled till dark. Meanwhile the horses were fed and watered back in a Hod which had been recently evacuated by the enemy.
This British Empire victory, the battle success of the EEF was the first against the Ottoman Empire in the war and has been called one of the most important and decisive victories of World War One. It ensured the Suez Canal’s safety from ground attacks and control of the strategically important northern approaches to it.
After this great battle of Romani, the EEF’s action focus had changed from defence to attack, and the troops moved steadily through the Sinai desert into Persia.
At Bir el Abd, Sinai, on 09 August, the ANZAC Mounted Division advanced till 8am when hundreds of Turks appeared out front on the sand dunes. A day of heavy fire and lots of shrapnel ensued. Six of Andy’s men died and five wounded, but only one horse was shot. On the 11ththey witnessed an aeroplane duel with a British plane brought down. Next day, Andy’s squadron was under fire and he thought they would be caught with the close shelling, but once more their artillery supported them.
The German and Ottoman forces left Bir el Abd and withdrew to El Arish. Fighting in the heat sometimes up to 35oC was difficult with little water. Boiling hot days and freezing cold nights combined with the regular dust storms (khamsin) that whipped up fine sand into eyes, ears, throat and nose made it very hard to see, under such terrible conditions. The horses were fatigued and had only barley whilst on the move. The soldiers camped near the front line without tents with just tinned meat and bread. Camaraderie helped keep spirits up. Andy met up with ‘cobbers’ from other units and was pleased to find out who had survived ‘the stunts’ safely.
Andy spent 20 days from 08 October at El Maler School of Instruction, then a month later he succumbed to ‘gastro’ on 23 November at Matha. With no improvement three days later, he was moved to Kantara. From there he went by 3rdLH Field Unit Ambulance and was admitted to the Casualty Clearing Hospital. Four days later, on 27 November he was transferred to 14thAustralian General Hospital, Abbassia, Cairo. It was 3 weeks before he was discharged to his unit.
On 19 December, he returned to Duty at El Arish with the 8thRegiment.
The 14th Australian General Hospital ambulances loading men prior to boarding for Australia.
General View of B2 Ward of the 14thAustralian General Hospital (14AGh). NB: The soldiers and nurses are not identified.
The 8th LHR was involved in the fighting to secure the Turkish outpost of Maghdaba on 23 December 1916, which was captured at bayonet point.
“In the Sinai to Palestine Campaign it would appear that the soldiers opted for whatever weapon…would suit, often swords and pistols, though some had rifles and bayonets as did the other ranks. At this time the Mounted Division was leading the battle across the desert to Palestine pushing the Turks further back. In contrast to the defeats at Gallipoli the Light Horsemen were now in their element riding their horses, winning their battles, and forcing the foe to retreat.
In January 1917 troops entered the Holy Land and Syria…the victory of the Desert Column at the Battle of Rafa completed the capture of the Sinai Peninsula and brought the EEF within striking distance of Gaza”.
03 February 1917 Andy re-joined the School of Instruction at Masaid.
Masaid, Sinai. The Headquarters of 3rd Australian Light Horse Brigade and campsite of the 9thLHR near El Arish.[61
The 3rd Light Horse Brigade, now part of the Imperial Mounted Division (later re-named the Australian Mounted Division), was involved in the two abortive battles to capture Gaza directly (27 March and 19 April 1917).
“Gaza had been a gateway for invading armies travelling the coastal route, to and from Egypt and the Levant, for millennia. Its position and natural landscape made it an ideal defensive location. Sitting on a plateau 200 feet (61m) high, separated from the Mediterranean Sea by about 2 miles (3.2 km) of sand hills to the west, it was an important strategic post and both sides fought hard to gain control.
This painting depicts the Light Horsemen gallop across rough ground (from left to right of the image). Two horses fall. Steep hills rise behind.
Action east of Jordan on 30 April 1918, when the Anzac Mounted Division attacked and captured Es Salt, but counter attacks forced a withdrawal when the Arabs promise of support was not kept and they failed to engage in battle.
Around mid-July the regiment was in Abasad, and in the next month on 06 August Andy turned thirty,but there is no record of any birthday celebration!
“Throughout the second half of 1917, the Desert Column fought battles against the Central Powers, in southern Palestine, from Gaza to Jerusalem”.
Andy was away for ten days break from October 3rdat Pt Said Rest Camp.
Although defeated earlier in the two Battles of Gaza, the EEF was determined to achieve victory as the coastal city of Gaza was the heart of the main Turkish defensive position in southern Palestine.The operation that ultimately led to the fall of Gaza began on 31 October. When General Allenby was ready he launched an attack – a large outflanking move via Beersheba broke the Ottoman position there and near Gaza. On 07 November Gaza finally fell, when the Light Horse Brigade charged the distance of 4 miles (6.4 km), overrunning the Turkish trenches and capturing the wells to secure the valuable water they contained.
General Allenby’s victory at Gaza had unlocked the defences of the Turks. In the weeks that followed, the Turks retreated 75 miles.
Following this was the battle for El Burj, 01 December 1917. The troops experienced a bitter winter with very heavy rain in Judea, and the country was extremely steep and rocky. The battle of El Burj was a critical battle to protect the left flank of the infantry which was making the main advance towards Jerusalem. Andy’s C Squadron now with only about 50 men along with B Squadron (also about 50 men), 4th LHB and 9thRegiment made a small composite force who were placed on hilltops and knolls. All hid behind stone sangars (walls) they built for protection against driving rain and the enemy.
Henry Gullett described the scene:
“After an interval of complete silence, which was a greater strain on the nerves of the defenders than the fighting itself, about 500 Turks, with loud shouts of “Allah,” rushed up the hill at Crawford’s sangars. The Australians held their fire until the leading men were within twenty yards, and then shot them down in heaps with rifle and Hotchkiss, and at the same time bombed them effectively. Retaliating with bombs, the Turks pressed bravely forward in a desperate effort to bring their greatly superior numbers into a hand-to-hand struggle with the Australians. But the Victorians fought on with splendid steadiness, and had the enemy soundly held, when forty-eight yeomanry of the Gloucester Regiment (which was at that time attached to the 3rd Light Horse Brigade in place of the 10th Regiment) came up under Lieutenant-Colonel Palmer. A few minutes later a company of the Royal Scots Fusiliers under Lieutenant-Colonel Stewart-Richardson also hastened up the hill and joined in the fight, and the Turks, coining under very severe punishment at a few yards’ range, were driven to cover. At the same time the 9th Regiment on the left and the 4th Brigade on the right enfiladed their rear and cut off their escape”.
Andy played an important role in the battle of El Burj in tactical communications with the other troops, messaging for reinforcements and firing flares calling the artillery. Dawn came and the Turkish survivors – 6 officers including a battalion commander, and 112 other ranks surrendered. More than 100 enemy lay dead by Crawford’s ‘sangars’, and sixty badly mutilated wounded were collected.67
“The booty included large quantities of hand-grenades and eight automatic rifles. Afterwards they learned the enemy was a battalion of storm-troops especially trained by German officers. The Australians believed they were physically the finest Turks they saw during the war. The Australian defence was distinguished by the cool leadership of Major Crawford, and by much excellent individual work by others”. Sadly, Andy lost eight men in his Squadron.
9th LH troopers on El Burj Ridge after the battle.
The 8th participated in the pursuit that followed successfully sweeping north and east, leading to the capture of the noble prize of Jerusalem 07-09 December, described ‘as a Christmas present for the British people’ (David Lloyd George), before moving later into Syria.
The next battle ‘The Battle of Jaffa’ (21–22 December),– was a minor engagement. The port of Jaffa had fallen into British hands on 16 November, in the aftermath of the Turkish defeat at Junction Station. The British planned to use the port as a supply base and intended to build a railway east to Ludd to join the main railway. However, the Turks were only just over three miles north of Jaffa, on the Auju River a strong defensive position. If Jaffa was to be safe, the British would have to push the Turks away from that position.
The Auju River cut across the coastal plain, 40-50 feet wide and 10 feet deep. There were three ways across the river – a ford at the coast, a bridge across a mill dam at Jerisheh in the centre, and a partially demolished stone bridge at Hadrah, on the Turkish left. All three positions were closely guarded.
When the heavy rain swelled the river, the Turks believed it would be impossible to cross apart from at the three guarded points. However, in a surprize move under cover of darkness on 20 to 21 December three British brigades crossed over using rafts and pontoons and then attacked the Turkish positions bringing a complete success. The Turks were caught out and pushed back five miles along their entire front. The new front line was eight miles north of Jaffa, which could now safely be used as a supply base.
Although a clear victory, between October and December 1917, the British and Empire forces lost 19,702 men during the campaign in the Middle East.
On 08 March 1918, Andy left Belah and spent almost 2 weeks as Chief Instructor in Musketry training at Officer’s School, Kelab, returning on 20March. A lot of the time was spent with soldiers being trained to use Hotchkiss Guns.
Since the beginning of 1918 the British operations were concentrated on the Jordan Valley– and pushing the Turks out of Palestine. On 30 April the 3rd LHR scrambled up the rocky eastern hillside battling through the night in an attempt to capture Es Salt. “This track was so steep and narrow that all were forced to lead their horses in single file; making only very slow progress”.
It was here that Andy earned a Mention in Despatches by General E.E.H. Allenby.
The raid of Es Salt was a tactical failure but did help in wrongly convincing the Turks that the next offensive would be launched across the Jordan. Instead, the offensive was launched along the coast on 19 September 1918 with the Battles of Megiddo, Sharon and Nablus.
Andy left Bethlehem 04 July for ten days Cavalry training at the School of Instruction at Zeitoun (the New Zealand Camp). See map below.
Map shows how the troops defending the Suez Canal could be quickly reinforced from the Training Camps near Cairo.
Like many of the soldiers Andy contracted Malaria and he was admitted to 34thCasualty Clearing Hospital (CCH) Jerusalem and then 2 days later to 36thStationary Hospital CCH, Gaza. On 02 September he was shifted to 24thStationary Hospital at Kantara and the next day to No.14Australian General Hospital at Pt Said. He was there for 1 month to recover and then discharged to Cairo and given 14 days leave.
During his leave, Andy toured the ‘Holy City’ Jerusalem and Bethlehem and visited many places he knew from the Bible. He wrote a very detailed account to his mother sharing the thrill of the visits. It was printed in the local paper.(NB: Andy’s letter is an attachment at end of Bibliography- pp 30,31.)
Meanwhile an offensive was launched along the coast on 19 September 1918 andthe mounted forces penetrated deep into the Turkish rear areas severing roads, railways and communications links. This included in the plain of Sharon – the Battles of Megiddo, Sharon and Nablus (19 – 25 September).There were 10,300 men from the Turkish Fourth Army captured. “This was the final Allied offensive of the Sinai and Palestine Campaign of the First World War”.
The advance through Palestine and the Battle of Megiddo: the horse-lines of the Australian Light Horse at Auja ford in Palestine.[84
The 8th Light Horse took part in the capture of Tiberius (Sea of Galilee) on 25 September and Sasa on 29 September persistently forcing the Ottomans back in Syria ending with the entrance and capture of Damascus on 01 October.
“The offensive began at 4.30 a.m. on 19 September 1918 with the most intense artillery bombardment of the war in the Middle East. For a quarter of an hour, up to 1000 shells a minute rained down upon the stunned Ottoman defenders on the Plain of Sharon. Waves of British and Indian infantrymen followed closely behind this surprise bombardment.
The Turkish trenches were quickly overrun. With the infantry attack a total success, the Desert Mounted Corps’ three divisions rode along the coast deep into the enemy’s right flank.84
On 20 September the mounted troops made even more dramatic gains, seizing important road and rail, blocking the escape to the north of the Ottoman forces west of the River Jordan. Meanwhile, the infantry continued to advance from the south and east, rolling up any units that tried to stand and fight. Most of the Ottoman soldiers were already in headlong retreat, the Allied cavalry thrust behind the lines having caused mass panic. The Ottoman Eighth Army had ceased to function as an organised force. Its men were now focused on a futile flight for safety to the north or east. Ottoman soldiers now began to surrender in thousands. By 26 September the Battle of Megiddo was over and the race for Damascus was on.84
The New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade and the Anzac Mounted Division played an important supporting role in the Jordan Valley during this offensive. The objective was the well-worn trail from the east bank of the River Jordan over the Moab Mountains via Es Salt to Amman and the Hejaz railway. Two days after the main offensive began, the Anzac Mounted Division was ordered to attack. The result was the complete opposite of the two raids earlier in the year.84
Es Salt was captured on 23 September, and Amman fell two days later after occasionally defiant but largely isolated Ottoman resistance. The Ottoman Fourth Army was succumbing to confusion, panic and defeatism. General Allenby and the soldiers of the EEF had achieved a stunning and comprehensive victory over their old enemy. The final battle of the Palestine campaign in September 1918 resulted in arguably the most decisive British victory of the war – and one of the most decisive in the history of modern warfare”.
Desert Mounted Corps’ nearly 20,000 men and horses relied heavily on local supplies from 25 September onwards until the French took over the area in 1919. Between 25 September and 14 October Desert Mounted Corps was dependent for forage for their horses or what they could requisition, fortunately, except on one or two occasions, water was plentiful.
Damascus a town of 250,000 inhabitants caused a problem and the troops could not initially enter due to the turmoil and uncertain political situation.
When they did enter on the second day they found thousands of Ottoman sick and wounded lying in six groups of hospitals. There were many illnesses present but no cholera as in Tiberius.
However, typhus, enteric, relapsing fever, ophthalmia, pellagra, syphilis, malaria and influenza were found in the prisoners. Desert Mounted Corps field ambulances treated over 2,000 cases with 8,250 patients admitted to hospitals in Damascus. Evacuations went mainly by motor convoys and train on an arduous journey of 140 miles (230 kilometres) to the nearest ports and then by hospital ships.
“In comparison, at a monastery above the shore of the Sea of Galilee north of Tiberius, monks cared for sick Australians who thought they were at home; the shore for half a mile beyond a little jetty was planted with eucalyptus. They ate freshly picked bananas from a nearby grove, oranges and fresh fish.”(According to Dinning in 1920).86
During the pursuit, the Desert Mounted Corps had travelled around the malarial shores of the Sea of Galilee and fought on the malarial banks of the Jordan. Within a few days of operations in Damascus area, over, malaria and pneumonic influenza(Spanish Flu’) spread quickly infecting the regiments. It assumed startling proportions in Damascus, with almost all sick being serious cases. Medical supplies quickly became short, while supplies of suitable food for a light diet were inadequate and blankets and mattresses ran short as there were no facilities to disinfect them, so they had to be destroyed in many instances.
05 October brought more than 1,246 troopers of the Desert Mounted Corps had reported sick to hospital and another 3,109 cases were reported the following week. Many who had previously suffered malaria in the Jordan Valley, were now in a different climate, tired and worn out from two weeks of almost constant operations, and they relapsed and/or contracted Spanish Flu’, the worldwide influenza epidemic. There were many deaths and one hundred Australian Light Horsemen were reassigned to medical orderly duties.
Medical service personnel became ill at a higher rate than cases from the combat units and no reinforcements were arriving. Australian Mounted Division commanders did what they could from their beds.
By 14 October the position in Damascus was quickly becoming normal and by 16 October the evacuation chain was considered to be working satisfactorily. The Desert Mounted Corps handed over administration of the sick in Damascus to the lines of Communication Headquarters early in November, after the fighting with the Ottoman Empire had finished.
Of the total of 330,000 members of the AIF which left Australia during the four years of war, 58,961 died, 166,811 had been wounded and 87,865 were sick. More cases of malaria were suffered following the advance to Damascus than has ever been suffered by Australian forces.
Andy ‘Returned to Duty’ and re-joined the LHR on 18 October, being very lucky to have missed the peak of the epidemic.  It is hard to believe that he was not one of those who relapsed or contracted theSpanish Flu’ under these circumstances.
The troops were resting in Homs, after the battles and illnesses and long hours assisting with medical duties when’The Armistice of Mudros’ was signed on 30 October 1918 on the ship Agamemnonin the harbour on the island of Lemnos and ended the Ottoman rule of Palestine and Syria. This ensured secure access of the Dardanelles, Bosporus and the Black Sea.
While waiting to embark for home, Andy’s regiment was called back to operational duty to quell the Egyptian revolts that erupted in March 1919. Order was restored in a little over a month.
The state of the horses which had been in the field, even with light condition, had survived the long marches carrying about 20 stone (130 kg) and rapidly picked up afterwards while those which had recently arrived did not do so well.
During the Battle of Megiddo and Capture of Damascus; from 15 September to 5 October, 1,021 horses were killed in action, died or were destroyed. Out of a total of 25,618 horses involved in the campaigns, 3,245 were admitted to veterinary hospitals and mobile veterinary sections. They mainly suffered galls, debility, fever and colic or diarrhoea. After they were cured 904 were reissued.
The worst and saddest thing for the Australian Light horsemen was that they had to farewell their horses, their best friends.
Sadly, returning the horses to Australia had been quickly ruled out, partly because of the disease threat they posed to Australia’s livestock industry. More fundamentally, returning them would cost more than the horses were worth. The horses were assessed whether fit to be transferred to the Indian Cavalry or in such poor condition that they needed to be put to sleep by the vets.
On 16 June Andy left Egypt and disembarked in England to report at Folkstone AIF Headquarters in Kent and then travelled to London on leave until 16 July 1919. Most of the 8th had sailed for home on 03 July 1919, but having leave, Andy left England on 06 September embarking aboard ‘RT Berrima’ for Australia. He reached Melbourne Victoria on 02 November and on 16November his appointment was terminated in the AIF.
The war for Andy was finally over.
Andy received the 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal and a Mention in Despatches(bronze spray of oak leaves).
Andy would have arrived home with mixed feelings. He now faced the reality of his father’s death at home (03 May 1917) when he was somewhere near Gaza. It is unknown when Andy learned of this sad news.
He was re-uniting with his widowed mother and facing the changed dynamics of the family and farm. Andy had inherited the 160-acre farm at the homestead ‘Woodlands’, which would have kept him busy immediately.; 
On 20 June 1921 Andy married Gladys Harper at the Murchison Presbyterian Church.It was a military wedding with special permission from the Defence Authorities due to Andy’s distinguished military careerand that he was the only original 8thLight Horse officer who served right through the war. His best man was Major YH Walker and military escort was Major H. Brisbane.
Andy and Gladys had 4 children – James George in 1922, Gwenneth, Margaret and Andrew. James, VX103908, served in World War Two in the 2ndAIF.
Following the war Andy continued his loyal service locally in the 20th Light Horse CMF, training more keen young volunteers. His obvious love of the light horse work and combat experience in extreme conditions provided him with a sense of duty to pass on his knowledge. He reached the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and commanded the regiment.
Tatura was grieving the loss of dozens of young men from the district in the years immediately after World War One. The need to commemorate their passing found practical expression in a project to build a new memorial hall to supersede the increasingly over-crowded original Mechanics’ Institute building.
A vigorous program of fundraising was undertaken, with football teas, ‘Back to Tatura’ celebrations and other activities raising over £2000. The total cost for the building was £5500 and was designed by architect, A.S. Eggleston. The foundation stone for the hall was laid on 14 September 1925 by Brigadier General H.E. Elliot.
“A hot summer’s day with a trying north wind greeted His Excellency the Governor-General (Lord Stonehaven) on his arrival by aeroplane at Tatura yesterday. Lord Stonehaven was escorted into the town by members of the Light Horse, in the charge of Major Andrew Crawford, a Gallipoli veteran…In the evening he officially opened ‘Victory Hall’.”102
The hall has been erected by citizens in commemoration of victory in the Great War. The building cost £5,500 and seats 750. More than half the money necessary was raised by voluntary effort.
The new building confirmed the Institutes’ role as the centre for community life.102
Andy Crawford attending an ANZAC parade later in life
Andy’s war uniform is at The Army Museum, Gaza Ridge Barracks at South Bandiana, near Wodonga, Victoria. It holds many First World War memorabilia including the … battered stained sun helmet worn by Lt Andy Crawford when he fell wounded at the Nek.
The tunic worn by Second Lieutenant Andrew Crawford 7th Light Horse (VMR). Khaki serge with ACMF 1903-10 metal buttons, white edging to epaulets, gorget patches white with narrow red centre stripe. Brown leather Sam Brownebelt and shoulder strap. Single metal officer star on each epaulet. Object Registration Number: 0106.
When Andy and his wife retired from the farm to live in the town of Tatura he named his house El Burj, most likely in remembrance of his participation in one of the great battles in December 1917.
Andy was 86 when he died in 1974,– his wife Gladys had pre-deceased him in 1962.
Andrew Crawford was no stereotyped ‘rough diamond’ Aussie soldier, he was a fine example of a true soldier – a combatant for the Empire who served his country for his whole life. He survived horrendous wartime battles and yet his commitment never appeared to waver. His letters home are quite graphic, though objective in his mention of soldiers being wounded or killed. Although we do not know what was in his mind, he showed no desire to be out of the war, he carried out the role he signed up for and was trained for.
I knew him as an ‘Uncle’ although he was my mother’s cousin, and as a loving man, a gentle soul who visited us and spent time chatting – not about war but about family and the farm.
Andy Crawford – an Anzac hero.
Toolamba Victoria, Presbyterian Church World War One Honour Roll.
Andrew Crawford’s Letter to his mother Mrs Crawford, as printed in the Kyabram Guardian, 10 September 1918, p. 3.
Just a few lines to tell you about my visit to the Holy City’ Jerusalem and a little about Bethlehem. I went into Jerusalem on a Sunday morning and after finding out a little about the place I commenced my tour with a party of men in the afternoon, and next morning went with a guide by myself so as to see and understand it a bit better. A pass must, be obtained from the Military Governor of Jerusalem to allow an officer to escort 12 other ranks inside the walls of the old city. The walls built by Solomon the Magnificent in 1542 A D., are still standing and about 30-foot-high in almost perfect condition, with just the gates to enter by except the place opened by the Turkish Government for the Kaiser and his escort to enter in the year 1898. A block tower is built alongside it in memory of the event.
Just inside the walls and following the way the guide takes you (as it is necessary to have a guide and they are plentiful) you come to the Tower of David, which appears, to be one of the most reliable of ancient buildings. In front of that, the north side, is where General Allenby read the proclamation just after the recent capture. Leaving there you go along the street of David to the Jewish Wailing Place. The Street of David is very narrow and all smooth cobblestones with a step every few yards. There are shops and dwellings all along the street, all very small and crowded with arches across the street in several places, either to support the buildings or form a passage way across the street. The buildings are all low and built of rock. The Jews Wailing Place is part of the wall of the Temple area, and nearest to the spot where they think the Ark of the Covenant is buried. They pray, worship, put nails between the rocks, also paper in the wall at this place, and it is considered very sacred.
From there you go on to the Temple Area (the place where Solomon’s Temple used to stand) and inside it there are two mosques. Omar and Elahsa. Elahsa used to be a Christian Church but as the Mahomedans you conquered the Crusaders it was turned into a mosque. It is a very large building and Solomon’s stables, with places for 1500 horses in it, are underneath. It cannot be seen unless you get a special pass. Inside the mosque you can see the footprints of Jesus Christ in a rock where he stood after he drove out the money changers. Also, there are two pillars which, if a Mohammedan cannot pass between, he will not go to heaven. From one of the windows you can see the village of Siloam, near where the pool of Siloam was. The words of Jesus Christ, “suffer the little children to come unto me” are there also.
The Kaiser gave new paintings to be put in the dome on his visit, and one of the Sultans gave the carpet for the floor. The Mosque of Omar is opposite and is a large dome 100 feet high by 60 feet wide with lovely windows and mosaic work in the roof. It is built over the supposed rock where Abraham offered up Isaac, and other sacrifices. The finger prints of the Angel Gabriel where he caught the rock and stopped it from ascending to heaven can be seen. Underneath you can see the hole where the blood of the sacrifices ran through, also the places wherethe prophet Elijah, Mohammed, King David and King Solomon stood. It was built by the 10thCaliphs about 1200 years ago. Before entering the mosques you must take your boots off. Then you come to the Golden Gate, all built over with stone and the only entrance from the outside wall to the ‘Temple Area’, is the gate by which Jesus entered Jerusalem when riding on the donkey. Alongside it is Solomon’s throne solomons throne where the people have tied on strips of their clothing for blessings. Then you go out of the Temple Area and come to St Stephens Gate or the ‘Flock Gate’, and from just outside the wall from there you can see the ‘Garden of Gethsemane’, the Mount of Olives, the tomb of the Virgin Mary, Valley of Jehoshaphat, tombs of Absolom and James, as well as the place where the Jews stoned Stephen. I’m coming inside again you come to St Annes church in which is the supposed place where Jesus Christ lived as a child. Close by is the Pool of Bethesda where the angel stirred the water once a year and the first person to enter afterwards was healed.
Then you pass onto Pontius Pilate’s Palace called the first station of Christ and the Cross. This is where Pontius Pilate ordered Christ to be taken to the Judgement Hall, and that is the second station, and the present ‘Ecce Homo’ Church is built on that spot. It is the place whether Jews cried ‘Crucify Him’ and Pontius Pilate washed his hands of him. He commenced to carry His cross from here and they have some stones they show you, that they say were in the street where Christ walked. The third station is about 500 yards up the street where Christ fell the first time from exhaustion carrying the cross. The fourth station is about 500 yards further on where he met his Mother Mary. The fifth station about 50 yards further on Simon helped Jesus to carry the cross. The sixth station 20 yards on was where St Veronica wiped his face with the veil and his image was imprinted on the veil. The seventh station about 50 yards further is where Christ fell the second time and the eighth station is where the virgins wept with Christ. The ninth station is where Christ fell the third time. He was then brought to the supposed place of the Holy Sepulchre, where the ‘Church of the Sepulchre’ stands. The 10thstation is where he was mocked, and scourged by the Jews and crowned with the crown of thorns. Just beside it is the 11thstation where the cross of our Lord stood on Calvary. The crack in the rock is alongside the 11th. The place is now covered with just a small hole to put your hand in. The 12thstation is nearby and is the place where the cross was laid to have him nailed to. In the same chamber there is an image of the virgin, with an enormous lot ofjewels kept in a glass case. She has a dagger through her heart. The Kaiser had given her some of the jewels. They say they are worth £15,000.
The 13thstation is a little down from the top of Calvary, and the place where Christ’s body was annointed before he was put in the tomb. It is just a flat stone. The 14thstation is the tomb of the Holy Sepulchre and surrounded by Beautiful stone work, with a monk inside to guard the place. The actual place is covered with a stone with a crack in it, and they say that once a year a flame comes out of the rock. Near this place where the cross stood is the place where Jesus’ mother stood. It is a small chapel which you can only see through a window.
The 14thstation is the last one and near it they have a piece of the rock that broke off when it was being rolled away from the tomb. Near Calvary is where Queen Hannaford found the three crosses.
That then ends the tour as far as the guide is concerned.
I went to Bethlehem a few days afterwards and visited the ‘Church of the Nativity’, and saw the place where Christ was born, marked by a star, and the stone manger where he was laid. There are several tombs of different saints nearby and chapels of the various churches there. A short distance away is a place called ‘The Grotto’ where Christ was hidden by his mother when a baby, just before his parents took him to Egypt. You are showing the door through which he left. Solomon’s Pools are close by and are big stone reservoirs. I intend to have another look around Jerusalem sometime and hope to see some more sites as there is still quite a lot I have not seen.[
C E W Bean, AWM, The Official History of Australia in the War of 1914-1918, Vol II, ‘Story of the ANZAC’, Chapter XXI, ‘The Feints of August 7th’, p. 608, Accessed: 24 Apr 2018.
Fatal Charge at Gallipoli: The Story of One of the Bravest and Most Futile Actions of the Dardanelles Campaign – The Light Horse at the Nek;John Hamilton, Frontline Books, South Yorkshire, 2015, p. 222.
Lt Andrew Crawford 8th(Victoria) Light Horse 3rdLight Horse Brigade AIF. From Peter Hart, Gallipoli, 2011, Profile Books, London. pp. 314-5.
TROVE: Kyabram Guardian, Victoria, Tuesday 12thOctober 1915, P. 4. Letter to Miss May Crawford by Lieut. A. Crawford from Ras-el-Tin Military Hospital, Alexandria.
Fatal Charge at Gallipoli: The Story in One of the Bravest and Most Futile Actions of the Dardanelles Campaign – The Light Horse at the Nek;John Hamilton, Frontline Books, South Yorkshire, 2015, p. 223. NB: 515 Bugler Leslie Giles LAWRY, a Carpenter from Highton, Victoria. He enlisted on 4 January 1915 with the 8th Light Horse Regiment, A Squadron. At the conclusion of the war, he returned to Australia, 17 July 1919. 514 Trooper Albert James Williams, a Farmer from Broadmeadows. He enlisted on 22 September 1914 with the 8th LHR, A Squadron. He also returned to Australia o 02 Jan 1919. Andy was enlisted in the same regiment and squadron.
UNSW Australia, ‘The AIF Project’, Nominal Roll, Medals for Major Andrew Crawford. https://aif.adfa.edu.au/showPerson?pid=66357, Accessed: 15 Mar 2018. NB: Awarded, and promulgated, ‘London Gazette’ No. 31138 (22 January 1919); ‘Commonwealth Gazette’, No. 61 (23 May 1919). Recommendation date: ’30 April to 04 May 1918’.
TROVE: Kyabram Guardian, Victoria, Tuesday 10thSeptember 1918, Page 3, Australians in Palestine, Letter to Mrs Crawford from Major. A. Crawford.Andrew Crawford to Mrs Crawford, letter. Kyabram Guardian, 10 September 1918, p.3.
Fatal Charge at Gallipoli: The Story of One of the Bravest and Most Futile Actions of the Dardanelles Campaign – The Light Horse at the Nek; John Hamilton, Frontline Books, South Yorkshire, 2015, p. 258.
Public Record Office Victoria; North Melbourne, Victoria; Victorian Wills, Probate and Administration Records 1841-1925; Series: VPRS 7591 – Andrew Crawford.