“At a mile distant their thousand hooves were stuttering thunder, coming at a rate that frightened every Turkish defender.

“The Australian Light Horse were an awe-inspiring sight, galloping through the red haze of the desert, knee to knee and horse to horse, the dying sun glinting on their bayonet points.”

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull recalled on Tuesday the words of trooper Ion Idriess, who rode in Australia’s great cavalry charge at Beersheba, 100 years ago.

Speaking at a memorial event at the Anzac cemetery in the modern city of Be’er Sheva, Mr Turnbull said the feats of the Australians who fought, and the 32 who died, would never be forgotten.

Beersheba broke the back of the Ottoman resistance – though a fierce rearguard action by the Ottomans lasted another year – and it set the stage for the creation of the modern state of Israel.

On the same day, October 31, 1917, the British War Cabinet approved the text for the Balfour Declaration, which announced British sympathy for Zionist aspirations, a pivotal part of the chain of events leading to the Israeli declaration of independence in 1948.

On Tuesday political leaders from Israel and Australia, Anzac soldiers’ descendants and others wishing to honour their memory gathered in Be’er Sheva to remember.

Read the story by Nick Miller in The Age.

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