ROSEVEAR, CAPT. George – 2, 10th Light Horse Regiment-

Long term commitment to the Australian Light Horse Brigades, leader of men, dedicated, loyal and caring to all those who served with him. Sadly, the Army did not have similar compassion when ROSEVEAR was desperately needed back home by his wife and family in September 1917.

Trooper George ROSEVEAR, of Wittenoom Street Bunbury , enlisted for service in the Great War on 11 November, 1914, at Guildford W.A.  He was allocated Regimental Number 2 in the Australian 10th Light Horse Regiment, and promoted to SERGEANT , whilst at Guildford,on 12 November, 1914.  He had a previous long volunteer history ( 1 year VIC Mounted Rifles, 5 years RAA ) and 11 years with Instructional Staff, from where he enlisted for War Service.

SGT. ROSEVEAR was appointed the ship’s Quarter Master Sergeant for the voyage to Suez on the troop ship ” Mashobra “, embarking Fremantle on 8 February, 1915.  He and his men disembarked at Alexandria, Egypt on 4 March 1915, before spending ten (10 ) weeks of training at the Overseas Training Base. On 16 May 1915, SGT. ROSEVEAR and the 1oth Light Horse Regiment embarked from Alexandria with the Mediterranean Expeditionary Forces, bound for the Gallipoli Peninsula. .  Unfortunately,during action at Quinn’s Post, Monash Valley, Gallipoli on 29 May, 1915, ROSEVEAR was wounded in action, when a pellet passed through the fleshy part of his neck. He received treatment for the wound, however remained on duty.

Whilst in action at Gallipoli, SGT. ROSEVEAR was firstly appointed Acting Regimental Sergeant Major on 19 August, 1915, then due to loss of another officer, was promoted to the rank of Second Lieutenant on 14 September , 1915, then to Temporary Adjutant  on 5 October, 1915.  Some weeks later, he suffered an attack of Jaundice , which necessitated his evacuation for treatment to Mudros, Lemnos on 21 November, 1915. He remained at Sarpi Rest Camp, Mudros until shipped to Alexandria, Egypt, where he disembarked on 27 December, 1915.

Second Lieutenant ROSEVEAR was promoted to LIEUTENANT on 20 February 1916, when with the 10th Light Horse Regiment in the field at Serapeum, Egypt as part of the Egyptian Expeditionary Forces.  on 29 February, 1916 the 10LHR entrained from Helmieh, accompanied by their horses, reaching Serapeum on 1 March, 1916. They then crossed the canal via pontoon bridge , to take up a position in the front line at Serapeum Railhead, in relief of the 11th Infantry Battalion.

At 9.30 p.m. on 9 June, 1916, ROSEVEAR and his men moved out from Railhead , reaching Wadi Mukhsheib at about midnight on 10 June, to link up with other fighting troops. They attacked Turkish water supplies the following day, pumping them almost completely dry. When they returned to Railhead Camp three ( 3 ) days later, they found the site had been bombed by enemy aircraft, in their absence.

On 5 August, 1916, the 10LHR were sent forward to engage the Turks at Bir Hamisah. Despite heavy enemy machine gun fire, the Regiment forced the Turks to surrender, capturing three hundred ( 300 ) prisoners and four ( 4 ) machine guns.  Additionally, on 9 August, 1916, the 10LHR overcame a formidable Turkish trench system at Mushalfat to kill many enemy soldiers and force their overall retreat.  These actions were part of the end of the first phase of the Sinai Campaign , in which the Anzac Mounted Division had captured the great waterway and taken three thousand five hundred ( 3500 ) prisoners.

In September, 1916, the 10LHR were moved out of the front line  to a rest camp at Hod Amara, before spending approximately four ( 4 ) weeks each at Romani and Bir Etmaler. LIEUT. ROSEVEAR was further promoted to the rank of CAPTAIN/ADJUTANT, when at Marakeb, Egypt, on 1 November 1916 ( After Discharge, CAPT. ROSEVEAR wrote to the Army requesting his appointment as Temporary Adjutant from 5th October 1915 on Gallipoli, until his Promotion to rank of Captain and Adjutant on 1st November 1916, be noted on his record. The Army approved and noted his Record accordingly ).

On 23 November, 1916, the 10LHR marched out to Hod Malha, which they used as a base for four ( 4 ) weeks. On 20 December, 1916, the Regiment was involved in an offensive  to clear the Turks from Wadi-El- Arish. Shortly after this success, they set up at Hod Masaid, a large oasis, just a few miles from El Arish. On 9 January, 1917, the 10LHR began their march to Rafa, where they over ran the Turkish trenches to capture the Rafa Garrison, acquiring guns and ammunition and taking captured enemy soldiers as prisoners.

In early March, 1917, the Turks had evacuated El Shellal, to establish a straight line linking Gaza and Beersheba. CAPT. ROSEVEAR and his 10LHR men joined the Anzac Mounted Division on 26 March, 1917 to take part in the First Battle of Gaza.  The 10LHR was deployed  to dismount and occupy  a chain of low hills one and a half miles East of Anzac Ridge. This location placed ROSEVEAR and his men directly in the path of the advancing six thousand ( 6000 ) Turks.  Due to insurmountable odds, after dark, all troops were ordered to withdraw to the location of Belah.

By mid April, the Turks had severely strengthened their Gaza stronghold. They had constructed immense  extensions to their trench system, installed additional rifle pits, added gun emplacements and numerous wire entanglements. Their troop numbers were estimated to have expanded to twenty-three thousand ( 23,000 ) men. On 19 April, 1917, the Second Battle of Gaza began with a midnight attack on the Gaza-Beersheba Line.  At 3.15 a.m. on 20 April, 1917, ROSEVEAR and the 10LHR moved forward on foot over very rough ground. The Turks observed their advance at dawn, opening fire from six hundred ( 600 ) yards. Furious enemy fire of shrapnel and heavy explosives , rapidly increased 10LHR casualties. CAPT. George ROSEVEAR was recommended for award of a Military Cross on 16 September, 1917 for his actions during the Second Battle of Gaza. The citation follows:-

” During the Second Battle of Gaza on 19th April 1917 , this officer behaved in a gallant manner  and displayed great coolness under trying circumstances and was responsible in a great degree in re-organizing the Regiment and meeting the counter attack of the enemy . He is an officer of high moral character and much experience and the Regiment owes in no small degree its present standard of efficiency to this officer “.

On 7th September, 1917  CAPT. George ROSEVEAR made application for long leave in Australia and attached the following statement:- ” In support of my application for long leave in Australia I beg to state that my children are young and that I am anxious on account of my wife’s delicate health and nervous disposition, to remove them from Western Australia to Victoria, in order that they may be near their relations in that State, till the termination of the War “.

This application was forwarded, for consideration, to the Headquarters Australian Mounted Division Egypt on 12th September, 1917.  Captain ROSEVEAR had also signed a Statement, which read- ” I certify that if Leave is granted I will apply for no extension.  The Army also verified that there were no other Officers from the Unit on long leave and there were 25 Officers remaining with the Unit, if leave was granted. The following recommendation of his C. O. accompanied the request for leave:- ”  Reference above application, Captain ROSEVEAR has served with this Unit continuously since October 1914 and I should be pleased if he could be granted the leave applied for.  There is no Officer in the Regiment who has worked harder and certainly not one who has prior claim for Leave “. Signed Thos.J. Todd, Lieut-Col. 10th A.L.H. Regiment.  This recommendation was supported by W. Grant Brigadier-General Commanding 3rd Australian Light Horse Brigade, who added:-  ” I recommend 4 weeks from date of disembarkation in Australia “.

On 12 September, 1917, H.W. Hodgson , Major General Commanding Australian Mounted Division, wrote :- ” Forwarded for favourable consideration, and recommended that four weeks leave from date of disembarkation in Australia, be granted this officer “.

In a travesty of lack of support, compassion nor understanding, on 14 September, 1917, W.Coates, Captain, D.A.A. & Q.M.G.Desert Mounted Division replied as follows :- ” The Corps Commander considers that the reasons put forward in the attached application are insufficient to warrant the grant of furlough at the present time “.

Eventually, it appears that a letter from Captain ROSEVEAR’s wife Ruby, must have pricked the decision-makers conscience, and an extract from her letter follows :-  ”  If they want documentary evidence let them come and look at my thin face and white hair and the ‘acking cough I’ve got. Well it is over 2 Months now so I suppose you won’t get it- We will just live in hopes “.   (CAPT. ROSEVEAR was detached to the 3rd Light Horse Brigade in Egypt , in the role of Staff Captain Trainee, on 14 January, 1918 ).

On 13th January 1918, Lieut-Col. Thos. J. Todd Commanding 10th Australian Light Horse Regiment re-submitted Captain ROSEVEAR‘s application for long leave as follows:-  ” In view of the fact that the Regiment is presently resting, and that the services of this Officer are not now so necessary, the attached application for leave is resubmitted at Capt. ROSEVEAR’s request and strongly recommended for favourable consideration.  A short extract from one of Mrs. ROSEVEAR’s letters is attached as documentary evidence of the reason on account of which leave is applied for.  Only one Officer of this Regiment is at present on leave in Australia and is due shortly to return “.

On 17th January, 1918 this leave request was supported by L.C. Wilson, Brig. Gen. Commanding 3rd. L.H. Brigade, who wrote:- ” Attached application from Capt. G. ROSEVEAR, 10th A.L.H.Regt., for four weeks furlough in Australia is re-submitted and strongly recommended for consideration “.

On 19th January 1918, this request was supported by H.W. Hodgson. Major General Commanding Aust. Mtd. Divn., who added :- ” Re-submitted and recommended for favourable consideration “.

On 22nd January 1918, W.F. Farr, Liet-Col wrote :- ” Forwarded and recommended as a special case for a period of 4 weeks from date of disembarkation “.

On 29 January, 1918, the request was formally approved as follows :- ” 4 weeks leave in Australia is approved for CAPT. G. ROSEVEAR on the return of the officer at present on leave in Australia. Report date embarking “.

This process is clear evidence of the myriad of  hierarchical controls in the Army which unnecessarily delayed  approval of a genuinely compassionate request from a loyal, decorated Captain/Adjutant of the 10th Australian Light Horse Regiment , whose Service Record deserved so much better.

On 18 March 1918 Captain George ROSEVEAR embarked from Suez, Egypt on the ‘ Durham “, for the return voyage to Australia, disembarking on 15th May 1918.

ROSEVEAR was swiftly Discharged from Service on 19th May, 1918, officially completing his period of enlistment.

SERVICE MEDALS AWARDED

Military Cross

1914/15 Star – No. 2588

British War Medal – No. 1934

Victory Medal – No. 1932

 

NOTIFICATIONS FOR AWARD OF MILITARY CROSS

Commonwealth of Australia Gazette- No. 57, Dated 18 April, 1918, Page 847, Position 114.

London Gazette – Supplement No. 30450,  Dated 28 December 1917, Page 51, Position No. 100.