Personal items such as rings or pins bearing a unit’s colours were not issued by the military but were frequently acquired by men themselves or received as gifts from family and friends. This gold ring bearing traces of the colours of the 1st Light Horse Regiment was once worn by local man Private Duncan Thomas Hutchinson, who enlisted at Cootamundra NSW in July 1915, aged 26 years. Hutchinson spent the war with his unit in Egypt, except for a month in late 1918 when he was detached to serve with the Royal Air Force. He returned to Australia in March 1919.
Harden-Murrumburrah has a long association with cavalry units, being the birthplace of the 1st Australian Horse in 1897, when James Alexander Kenneth Mackay recruited men from country areas. These men served in the Boer War, and a significant number re-enlisted in the Australian Light Horse regiments during the Great War, including Duncan Hutchinson’s brother John, who served with C Squadron, 1st Light Horse.
In late August 1914 a large street-wide procession formed as the men from the Murrumburrah Light Horse made their way to the railway station, pedestrians filling the footpaths. Led by local farmer 2nd Lieutenant Albert David Reid, the nine men boarded the train to enlist in Sydney. They served with the 1st Light Horse Regiment at Gallipoli and two – John Pope and Russel Gibson – were killed in action during that campaign. Their commanding officer, Albert Reid, was wounded at Gallipoli and invalided to Australia as ‘unfit for general service’, but rejoined his unit in Egypt in January 1917. Transferred to the 4th Light Horse Regiment on active service in Palestine, he was promoted to the rank of Captain.
On 31 October he earned his place in military history at Beersheba, south of Damascus, when he led B Squadron in a successful cavalry charge against the Turkish trenches to secure the water supply for the men and their horses. He was awarded the Military Cross ‘for conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty’ and later promoted to the rank of Major, and mentioned in despatches when he led his squadron in a charge against a German-held position.
The Harden-Murrumburrah Light Horse Memorial is located in Albury Street, Murrumburrah.
Service Record for Private Duncan Thomas Hutchinson: http://recordsearch.naa.gov.au/SearchNRetrieve/Interface/ViewImage.aspx?B=4377976
Mackay, James Alexander Kenneth (1859–1935), Australian Dictionary of Biography: http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/mackay-james-alexander-kenneth-7379
1st Australian Horse: http://www.awm.gov.au/unit/U52001/
Service Record AD Reid, First and Second World Wars: http://recordsearch.naa.gov.au/SearchNRetrieve/Interface/ViewImage.aspx?B=6181738
Honours and Awards – Albert David Reid: http://static.awm.gov.au/images/collection/pdf/RCDIG1068801--14-.PDF
REID, Albert David (1886–1962), Senator for New South Wales, 1950–62 (Australian Country Party): http://biography.senate.gov.au/index.php/reid-albert-david/
The Boys In Green: A Centenary History of the 1st Australian Horse and Light Horse Units of Harden and Murrumburrah, New South Wales, Brian Dunn and Peter Blundell, Alexandria NSW, 1971
‘Comforts for the Troops: Harden’, Sydney Morning Herald, 24 August 1914
Australians in World War I: Australian Light Horse, Department of Veterans’ Affairs, Canberra, 2007.
Harden-Murrumburrah Historical Society Inc.
PO Box 35 Murrumburrah NSW 2587
Phone 02 6386 2555