Several Lithgow area residents recently made their way across to Israel to mark the centenary of the Battle of Beersheba south of Jerusalem.
Bernadette and David Hicks took the opportunity to honour David’s grandfather who was a member of the Australian Light Horse in World War One.
As they took their seats at the centenary celebrations they coincidentally sat down in front of two other Lithgow residents, Noel and Louise Smith.
The Hicks also met Lyn and Bruce Richardson of Capertee who participated in the street parade and re-enactment as members of the Australian Light Horse Association.
The Richardsons were two of 100 members of the ALHA in the street parade alongside marching bands from Western Australia and Israel.
Mr and Mrs Hicks said attending the Battle of Beersheba Centenary Celebrations in at the Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery was the highlight of their two week trip to Israel.
“It was a very proud moment for them both to be part of the crowd, many of whom were direct descendants of the Australian Light Horsemen and to walk among the headstones of so many young Australians who never returned home to their families,” Mrs Hicks said.
Mr Hick’s grandfather, Thomas Hicks, was a member of the 1st Light Horse and went to Palestine as a replacement trooper following the deaths of so many horsemen at Gallipoli.
Although Thomas was not actually in the Charge at Beersheba on October 31, 1917, he was in the area and was injured in the Battle of Tel El Kwelfi only a few days later.
Members of the tour group visited the Beersheba battle site itself and were given a very clear description of events by one the members of the Military History Tours, a retired officer of the Australian Army.
“This was a very sobering experience as it gave the visitors a feeling for the harsh conditions that our brave soldiers were enduring, particularly the shortage of water that ultimately necessitated the Charge of Beersheba,” Mrs Hicks said.