Charge of the Light Horsemen at the Battle of Beersheba remembered on Australian proof silver coin
The commemorations of the First World War have continued through this year and will do so through 2018 as well and there have been numerous coin issues emanating from the worlds major mints. The Antipodean mints in particular have been remembering the efforts of the ANZAC forces, particularly related to the infamous Gallipoli operation against the Ottoman Empire. There were multiple campaigns by the British aganst the Turks that were far more successful and the Battle of Beersheba is a stirring one.
Much like the famed Charge of the Light Brigade in the Crimean War, the Battle of Beersheba is known in Australia for a mounted charge, this time by the Australian 4th Light Infantry and that is exactly the event chosen by the Royal Australian Mint to adorn its latest silver release. Depicting three riders in formation charging with bayonets in hand, it’s certainly an action-packed piece of design. The title, denomination and composition are inscribed here – we’d like to see one of the latter two moved to the obverse face as it’s a little crowded down there.
The obverse features the inscribed issuer and date surrounding the usual Ian Rank Broadley effigy of Queen Elizabeth II. Struck in an ounce of fine (0.999) silver, the coin comes with a certificate of authenticity and in one of the neat RAM coin boxes, all of which is packaged inside a good-looking themed shipper. The mintage is set at 5,000 pieces and the coin has a recommended price of $100.00 AUD. Available to buy now.
The Battle of Beersheba was fought on 31 October 1917, when the Egyptian Expeditionary Force (EEF) attacked and captured the Yildirim Army Group garrison at Beersheba, beginning the Southern Palestine Offensive of the Sinai and Palestine campaign of World War I. After successful limited attacks in the morning, by infantry from the 60th (London) and the 74th (Yeomanry) Divisions of the XX Corps from the south-west, the Anzac Mounted Division (Desert Mounted Corps) launched a series of attacks. These attacks, against the strong defences which dominated the eastern side of Beersheba, eventually resulted in their capture during the late afternoon.
Shortly afterwards, the Australian Mounted Division’s 4th and 12th Light Horse Regiments (4th Light Horse Brigade) conducted a mounted infantry charge with bayonets in their hands, their only weapon for mounted attack, as their rifles were slung across their backs. While part of the two regiments dismounted to attack entrenchments on Tel es Saba defending Beersheba, the remainder of the light horsemen continued their charge into the town, capturing the place and part of the garrison as it was withdrawing.
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