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Australians travel to Israel to remember our greatest Light Horse victory

Staff writers, October 25, 2017 6:05PM News Corp Australia

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Members of the Australian Light Horse unit attend a memorial ceremony on October 23. Picture: AFP media_cameraMembers of the Australian Light Horse unit attend a memorial ceremony on October 23. Picture: AFP

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Hundreds of Australians have arrived in Israel to mark the 100-year anniversary of one of the Anzacs’ greatest victories at the Battle of Beersheba.

Current members of the Australian Light Horse unit, including relatives of those who fought in the war, have travelled to the city in the Negev desert of southern Israel in the Middle East to remember those who fought in the decisive* World War I battle.

The group will attend commemoration* services at the British War Memorial and Turkish Memorial in Beersheba, the official opening of the new Light Horse Museum in the city and a reception.

The Australian Light Horse units were made up of troops on horseback. They served in multiple wars, including World War I, and played an important role in 1917.

The Battle of Beersheba was part of a campaign in the latter stages of the war and saw Allied forces* tasked with seizing the heavily fortified city 43km from Gaza.

The one-day conflict occurred on October 31, 1917 between British Empire forces, including Australians, and those of the Ottoman and German empires.

A re-enactment of the charge itself will be held on the official anniversary date, October 31.

The historic charge was the focal point* of the battle and helped break the Turkish lines, allowing the Australians to enter the city and secure its water supply.

Allied victory led to the conquest* of the city and the eventual fall of the Ottoman Empire.

The 4th, 8th, 9th, 11th and 12th Australian Light Horse Regiments were employed in the attack, in which soldiers used their bayonets* as ‘swords’ with their rifles on their back, and the Imperial Army Corps.

The surprise nature of the attack overwhelmed the Turkish defence who had more than 1000 killed or wounded. The Allies lost 171 men and captured about 2000 prisoners.

GLOSSARY

decisive: resulting in an outcome

commemoration: remembrance

Allied forces: Britain, Australia, New Zealand, France, Russia, Italy, Us and others

focal point: main part

bayonets: swordlike stabbing blade

conquest: defeat

LISTEN TO TODAY’S STORY

CLASSROOM ACTIVITIES

Activity 1.

Read or listen to the article and then answer the following questions.

What is the Light Horse?

Which battle is being remembered in Israel?

When did the battle take place?

In which war did this battle happen?

Why is this important for Australians?

What was the result of this battle?


Extension:

Imagine that it is 1917 and you are a reporter for Kids News.
Write a news report about the Battle of Beersheba.
Use the information in the story to help you.

Time: allow 45 minutes to complete this activity

Curriculum links: History, English

Activity 2.
Why is it important to remember the Battle of Beersheba?
Write down as many reasons as you can think of or that you can find in today’s article.

Extension:

Find out more about the Battle of Beersheba.
Use this information to design a special memorial for your local community about the battle.
The memorial can be anything that you think is appropriate. Write an explanation of your design choices.

Time: allow 80 minutes to complete this activity

Curriculum links: History, English

VCOP ACTIVITY

(Vocabulary, Connectives, Openers, Punctuation)

Synonym Scavenger Hunt

Look at the glossary terms and create a list of synonyms for each word.
Earn a point for each synonym you think of.

If you change the context of the word, can you come up with more synonyms?

Time: allow 15 minutes to complete this activity

Curriculum links: English, Big Write, VCOP- Vocabulary

EXTRA RESOURCES

TRUE STORY BEHIND LOST TREASURE

ANZAC DIARY SHEDS NEW LIGHT ON WWI

ANCIENT HUMAN SPECIES DISCOVERY

AUSTRALIA DAY’S FUTURE DEBATED

OUR CITY’S FORGOTTEN ARCHES

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