Arresting name for cop horse to honour Diggers
IT was a World War I battle fought 100 years ago made famous by the movie The Lighthorsemen — and now it will be commemorated by a special recruit to the NSW Police Force.
The Mounted Unit is naming its new horse Beersheba to honour the historic battle which helped defeat the Turkish forces.
Beginning at dusk on October 31, 1917, members of the 4th Light Horse Brigade stormed through the Turkish defences and seized the strategic town of Beersheba.
The famous assault is still recognised as the last successful cavalry charge in history.
Former commander of the Mounted Unit Don Eyb said about 800 horses were involved in the fight.
“It was a very successful battle as only 30 men were lost out of 800, which was unheard of in World War I,” he said.
“Naming the horse Beersheba is a fantastic way to publicise such a successful part of Australian military history.”
According to Mr Eyb, the horse’s name is also a fitting means of marking the long military connections of the NSW mounted police force.
“When the Mounted Unit was formed in 1825, it was made up of dispatched military men and recruits from the army so we have a significant tie with the Australian Army,” he said.
Police Sergeant Melinda Duncan said Beersheba was already enjoying its new name.
“Beersheba used to be named Regal and came to us as an ex-dressage horse,” she said. “We have 34 horses in the unit, with most of them patrolling in the city.
“We use them for high visibility policing as it really breaks down a barrier between the public and the force as people love to come and pat them. Beersheba in particular is a real cuddler.”
After excelling in training, Beersheba is expected to be a part of the force for years to come.
Policeman Nathan Towney, as a Lighthorseman, with Beersheba. Picture: Sam Ruttyn