Most of the light horse regiments before their
campaigning was over were employed in the unhappy work of
suppressing the rebellion in Egypt, which broke out early in
It had been carefully fostered by the
malcontents, and demonstrations by Cairo students early in March
were the signal for widespread rioting. Native civil servants at
once contributed to the trouble by declaring a general strike;
and the position of the British was made difficult by the
suspension of most of the railway and telegraph services. Within
a few days the outbreak had spread through all the lower
provinces and extended to upper Egypt.
At that time the Anzac Mounted Division (less
the 1st and 2nd Light Horse Regiments) was still at Rafa, but
the Australian Mounted Division had been moved by sea from
Tripoli to Moascar. All units had handed in their equipment, and
were awaiting embarkation to Australia. No. 1 Australian Flying
Squadron and the 1st and 2nd Light Horse Regiments had already
sailed. There were no large forces of British troops in Egypt.
As the efficient organization and the ugly temper of the revolt
were disclosed further embarkations for Australia were arrested;
horses and equipment were rapidly assembled, and within
twenty-four hours the
3rd Light Horse Brigade
under Wilson was
on the march across the desert for Zagazig. The wholehearted
response of the troopers was impressive: they abandoned without
a murmur their dreams of Australia, and went out gaily on a new
enterprise the probable duration and seriousness of which were
All the regiments of the two Dominions, with the
exception of the 1st and 2nd, were soon in the saddle, and their
zone of activity extended from Upper Egypt to the Delta. So
urgent at the outset was the call for the mounted men that
the convalescents from the hospitals were enlisted.
There was no
actual organized fighting, but a few sharp decisive brushes with
cost the Australians about twenty casualties.
of the twelve regiments, under the capable command of Wilson,
were based on Zagazig, three on Damanhur, one at Cairo, and one
in Upper Egypt (Minia)', and other small columns were commanded
by Lieutenant-Colonel W. J. Foster and Lieutenant-Colonel Olden.
lost their nerve
at the sight of
the horsemen, and soon most of the leading spirits were in
prison, while others at the firm bidding of the soldiers were
strenuously mending the broken railways, and generally were as
emphatic in their expression of loyalty as a few days before
they had been turbulent in revolt.
The Australians and New
Zealanders formed the great part of the British force employed,
and owing to their mobility, their reputation, and their
decisiveness, they were undoubtedly the dominant factor in
temporarily restoring tranquillity to Egypt.
Within a month all present danger had passed,
but before embarkation the mounted troops, engaged in patrolling
and other light work, comfortably billeted and with an abundance
of fresh rations, passed several pleasant weeks beside the Nile.
wording from the army history site