The battle of Beersheba took place on 31 October 1917 as part of the wider British offensive collectively known as the third Battle of Gaza. The final phase of this all day battle was the famous mounted charge of the 4th Light Horse Brigade. Commencing at dusk, members of the brigade stormed through the Turkish defences and seized the strategic town of Beersheba.

The capture of Beersheba enabled British Empire forces to break the Ottoman line near Gaza on 7 November and advance into Palestine.

Ballarat had 10 soldiers and 1 nurse who took part in the this battle, and following research by Ballarat local Garry Snowden, it was found that a member of the 4th Light Horse Regiment who took part in this historic battle, Joseph Edward Mannion, was at rest in an unmarked grave at the Ballarat New Cemetery.

Following a successful fund raising campaign, the Sebastopol RSL Sub Branch in partnership with Ballarat Cemeteries, achieved the $5000 goal to restore the grave site of Mr Mannion.   His memory, and the 100th anniversary of ‘The Last Great Cavalry Charge’ will be commemorated with a service on Sunday the 29th October 2017, commencing at 11am.

RSVP FOR THIS EVENT IS THE 25 OCTOBER 2017. Call (03) 5332 1469 or email enquiries@ballaratcemeteries.com.au
Assembly will be at the crematorium carpark shortly prior to the event & please advise if you wish to lay a wreath.

MANNION Joseph Edward (SN 1499) from Smythes Road in Sebastopol, attended the Redan State School but was a 20 year old slaughterman when he enlisted in Ballarat in July 1915. He trained with the 12th Depot Battalion at Ascot Vale before sailing from Melbourne on the Palermo on October 29th as a Light Horse Reinforcement.

After his arrival in Egypt he was attached to the 4th Light Horse Regiment with whom he served right through the war. In June 1916 he was hospitalised for two days due to an unspecified illness but the high point of his service came on October 31st 1917 when his regiment, together with the 12th Light Horse Regiment, took part in the successful charge at Beersheba in Palestine. He came through this charge uninjured and remained so until the war ended.

Immediately after the war, in late 1918 and early 1919, he was hospitalised on several occasions for various illnesses including influenza and a middle ear infection. He returned to Australia on the Essex, disembarking at Melbourne on July 25th 1919 before settling back into civilian life residing in Sebastopol. He died in June 1951 at the age of 59.  Area: Roman Catholic D  Section: 7  Row: 2  Grave: 32