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Edward Thomas Cleary


Serial No:
Serial No. 292

12th Light Horse Regiment & 7th Light Horse Regiment


Edward Thomas Cleary - Information

When Edward decided to enlist in the AIF, he was living with his sister and her husband on Campbell St in Picton. He came to the area from Sydney, born in Waterloo c1880. Edward had served for a year during the Boer War, and continued serving in the NSW Mounted Rifles. In Picton, he found work as a railway shunter, before joining the Light Horse Reserve during the First World War. He signed up on the 12th of January 1915 in Liverpool, aged 34. He was then shipped out on the HMAT Suevic from Sydney on the 13th of June 1915 as a Trooper with the 12th Light Horse Regiment.

Edward landed in Egypt and was quickly shipped to the Dardanelles. He was absorbed into the 7th Light Horse Regiment at Gallipoli. Edward and his mates suffered through the horrendous conditions in the trenches. He reported sick on the 6th of October with severe diarrhoea, admitted to hospital at Mudros on Lemnos Island. In November, he was evacuated to England to the 3rd London General Hospital in Wandsworth. Edward was quite ill and it was some time before he recovered from the dysentery. He was appointed Temporary Corporal on the 9th of January 1917, but reverted to Trooper in February. He returned to training in Egypt in July, meeting the 12th Regiment at Marakeb in August. In October, Edward and his unit trotted out towards Beersheba, part of a flanking manoeuvre that would finally capture Gaza. The 12th and 4th Regiments charged Beersheba on their horses with bayonets glaring. Remarkably, they were successful, seizing the citadel, and its all important water wells. This success allowed the Corps a forward position to conquer Gaza in November. In the new year, operations moved into Jordan as the Turks withdrew. By the end of April, the Regiment fought at Es Salt. Later in the year, the Allies focused on Damascus. During operations on the 25th of September, Edward injured his back, most likely falling from his startled horse. He was carried to the 76th Casualty Clearing Station, having fractured his vertebrae. He was admitted to various hospitals before the 14th General Hospital in October. After the war ended and he was fit to travel, Edward was finally sent home. He departed Suez on the 19th of January 1919 on the Orsova.