Person Sheet

Father Thomas HENDERSON
Mother Martha WILKINSON (1859-1902)
Regimental number 2024 
Religion Presbyterian 
Occupation Farmer 
Address Yarragon, Victoria 
Marital status Single 
Age at embarkation 20 
Next of kin Father, Thomas Henderson, Yarragon, Victoria 
Enlistment Date 6 October 1915 
Rank on enlistment Private 
Unit name 4th Light Horse Regiment, 14th Reinforcement 
Formed Egypt February 1917. Supplied reinforcements for the 4th Light Horse Brigade. Disbanded July 1918.
AWM Embarkation Roll number 10/9/3 
Embarkation details Unit embarked from Melbourne, Victoria, on board HMAT A32 Themistocles on 28 January 1916 
Rank from Nominal Roll Private 
Unit from Nominal Roll 22nd A CPS Light Horse 
Fate Returned to Australia 25 January 1919 

4th Light Horse Regiment

The 4th Light Horse Regiment was formed as the divisional cavalry regiment for the 1st Australian Division on 11 August 1914. Belying traditional stereotypes, over 20 per cent of the original regiment were city dwellers from Melbourne. The regiment sailed from Melbourne on 19 October 1914 and disembarked in Egypt on 10 December.

The light horse were considered unsuitable for the initial operations at Gallipoli, but were subsequently deployed without their horses to reinforce the infantry. The 4th Light Horse Regiment landed on 22 and 24 May and its squadrons were initially scattered to reinforce the infantry battalions already ashore. The regiment was not reunited until 11 June. Much of the regiment's time at Gallipoli was spent defending the precarious ANZAC position, most frequently around Ryrie's Post, but its squadrons were involved in several minor attacks. It left the peninsula on 11 December 1915.

Returning to Egypt, a fourth squadron - "D Squadron" - was formed for the regiment and it was promptly detailed, along with B Squadron, for duty as divisional cavalry for the 1st and 3rd Australian Divisions on the Western Front. These two squadrons arrived in France in March and June 1916 and would eventually become part of the II ANZAC Mounted Regiment. 

II ANZAC (XXII Corps) Mounted Regiment

When the infantry divisions of the AIF deployed from Egypt to the Western Front in early 1916, each included a divisional mounted reconnaissance squadron. Three squadrons were drawn from the 13th Light Horse Regiment and two from the 4th Light Horse Regiment. In France, these squadrons were combined to form corps mounted regiments and in July 1916 the two squadrons of the 4th Light Horse joined a squadron from the Otago Mounted Rifles, a New Zealand Unit, to form the II ANZAC Mounted Regiment. When the five Australian divisions were combined to form the Australian Corps in November 1917 II ANZAC was reorganised and became XXII Corps. The Australian personnel of the mounted regiment were the only Australians to remain with the corps.

On the Western Front, terrain and the nature of the war there limited the roles mounted troops could fulfil, but they were still heavily employed. The corps mounted regiments carried out traffic control, rear area security and prisoner escort tasks, and, when the tactical situation permitted, the more traditional cavalry role of reconnaissance. They were most active during the more mobile phases of the war on the Western Front, which included the follow-up of the German retreat to the Hindenburg Line in early 1917, the stemming of the German Spring Offensive of 1918, and the allied offensive of August and September 1918.

The II ANZAC Mounted Regiment was widely employed during the battle of Messines in June 1917, which marked a switch in the emphasis of British and dominion operations from the Somme valley in France, to the Ypres sector in Belgium. The battlefield around Ypres was progressively churned into a quagmire and by the end of the year the regiment, now known by its new title, was manning muddy trenches in a dismounted role.

In the spring of the new year, the Germans launched an offensive to smash through the Allied front, and the XXII Corps Mounted Regiment was heavily engaged around Mont Kemmel - it suffered more casualties in April 1918 than the at any time in the rest of the war combined. After attacking in northern France in April, the Germans struck further to the south during May. The resulting actions became known collectively as the battle of the Marne. On this occasion the XXII Corps Mounted Regiment was attached to French forces, earning high praise.

The Allies launched their own offensive in August 1918 centred on the Somme valley and the XXII Corps commander, Lieutenant General Alexander Godley, was given command of III Corps for the operation. So impressed was he with the skills of his mounted regiment that he took it with him to his new command, and it participated in III Corps' advance to the Hindenburg Line. Godley and the regiment returned to XXII Corps in early September, and ended the war fighting around Cambrai and Valenciennes.

George Henderson was wounded by a bullet in the left leg on the 1st August, 1918 France. He was evacuated to a hospital in England for treatment until the end of the war. Returned to Australia on board the "SS Ceramic" in Jan/Feb. 1919.

Long-serving troopers of the regiment began to return to Australia for discharge soon after the armistice in November 1918. The XXII Corps Mounted Regiment was disbanded in early December 1918 and the Australian squadrons were merged with the 13th Light Horse Regiment.


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