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12th Light Horse, Australian Imperial Force in the Great War - The Wartime Memories Project -

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12th Light Horse, Australian Imperial Force

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Those known to have served with

12th Light Horse, Australian Imperial Force

during the Great War 1914-1918.

  • Chambers MID.. Philip Arthur. Maj.
  • Varney Albany Thomas Frederick. Pte.

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Dec 2017

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Pte. Albany Thomas Frederick Varney 12th Light Horse Regiment

Albany Thomas Frederick Varney was born near Coonabarabran, New South Wales, in 1891. The 24-year-old contractor enlisted with the Australian Imperial Force on 29 March 1915 and departed Sydney with the other reinforcements for the 12th Light Horse Regiment aboard HMAT Chilka on 7 June 1915.

Soon after arriving in Egypt Varney was transferred to the 6th Light Horse Regiment in Gallipoli and served there until the evacuation in December. While on the peninsula he wrote of an amusing incident where the sauce bottle in his bag was pierced by shrapnel and leaked all over everything in the bag. He considered it another thing the Turks had to pay for.

The following February Varney was transferred back to the 12th Light Horse Regiment and travelled with it across the Sinai, Palestine, and Jordan Valley. During this time he documented his service regularly in letters and postcards home, with detailed descriptions of the conditions and places encountered. In October 1917 he participated in the battle of Beersheba and in May 1918 sustained a gunshot wound to the leg. Varney sailed for Australia in July 1919 with the remainder of the 12th Light Horse.

He later enlisted for service in the Second World War and was assigned to part-time duty with the 25th Battalion of the Volunteer Defence Corps. Albany Varney survived the war and died at Coonabarabran in 1981.

S Flynn


Maj. Philip Arthur Chambers MID. 12th Light Horse Regiment

Philip Arthur Chambers was born in Wellington, New South Wales, on 12 September 1876. He was educated at Kelly College in Devon, England, and then attended St Edward's School at Oxford. On leaving school Chambers returned to Australia and enlisted with the Australian Light Horse of the Citizens' Forces. He qualified for an appointment as a second lieutenant in 1908 and married his wife, Ethel, in 1911. The 38-year-old grazier enlisted with the Australian Imperial Force on 12 May 1915 and departed Sydney with the 12th Light Horse Regiment aboard HMAT Vestalia on 22 June 1915.

Chambers was deployed to Gallipoli in August and was evacuated to Egypt a couple of months later due to a severe case of paratyphoid. Invalided due to this disease, he was sent back to Australia in January 1916, but returned to Egypt in August 1916 and was made temporary commanding officer of the 12th Light Horse Regiment. His diaries from this time provide an officer's observations of the regiment as well as noting various troop movements, sporting matches, courts martial, and training undertaken.

In April 1917, Chambers sustained shrapnel wounds to both his right shoulder and his left hip. During July he distinguished himself as a leader of his unit and on December 1917 was Mentioned in Despatches by General Sir Edmund Allenby. Chambers continued to serve with the 12th Light Horse Regiment for the remainder of the war, noting in his diaries such battles as the second battle of Gaza in 1917, the raid on Es Salt in 1918, and the battle of Samakh in 1918. After having briefly been made commanding officer again in March 1919, Chambers returned to Australia and was officially discharged from the AIF on 20 October 1919. Philip Arthur Chambers died at Petersham, New South Wales, in 1950.

s flynn

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