WHILE last year's Stephen Spielberg movie, War Horse, may have raised awareness of our four-legged heroes, a Noosa man will be playing his part this Saturday in a moving tribute to one of Australia's real equestrian battle epics.
Fifth Australian Light Horse recruit Niall Coburn and his horse, Judge, will be part of the dress parade through Maleny at 11am to commemorate the 95th anniversary of the Australian Light Horse charge of Beersheba.
According to Mr Coburn, an international polo player and High Court barrister, this amazing piece of Anzac gallantry was the last of great mounted cavalry charges in the world, and on that deserves to be honoured on a regional basis.
Mr Coburn, who has sold up locally and will soon be moving to Singapore to work, has enjoyed his recent stint in the saddle with the Coast-based 5th.
Although Mr Coburn was born in England, his father served in the British Army and moved to Australia after the war and he feels a special pride in being able to help salute the raw courage of both horse and man.
He said the legendary Battle of Beersheba in the Sinai Desert saw the 800 mounted soldiers of the 4th and 12th Australian Light Horse charge the Turkish stronghold with their bayonets held as swords. The Turks began to inflict casualties with their heavy guns, but the audacity of the charge took them by surprise and they forgot to lower their sights.
As the horses closed in, the fire went mostly over their heads.
The 4th Regiment swarmed into the trenches and forced the Turks there to surrender, while the 12th fought a pitched battle for control of the town.
"If they had not taken Beersheba, which had the only water in the area, the horses would have died of thirst," Mr Coburn said.
Mr Coburn said he commemorated his first Anzac Day as a member the 5th Light Horse this year and found it to be an incredibly moving service.
Although he has not served in combat, Mr Coburn was in the Middle East during the Iraq War as a corporate investigator tracking down Al-Qaeda accounts used for arms and working with the likes of Scotland Yard. Mr Coburn said one of his neighbours was a captain in the Australian Army whose father was part of the 5th Australian Light Horse formed on the Coast.