Time out in Egypt

Banjo Paterson, captain with the 2nd Remount Unit in Egypt, organised morale boosting activities for the men of the Australian Light Horse.  In a letter to his publisher, George Robertson, he explained:

I got the idea of giving a rough-riding display in public.  We won five out of seven events open to all troops in Egypt at a show the other day.  In the wrestling on horseback, one of my Queenslanders, a big half-caste named Ned Kelly, pulled the English Tommies off their horses like picking apples off a tree.  You say what does this do towards winning the war?  Well, it shows that we are up in our work and are doing it and it is not too easy.  At the present moment I have two men with broken legs, one with a fractured shoulder blade, two with badly crushed ankles, and about seven others more or less disabled.  I have never had to tell a man twice to get on a horse, no matter how hostile the animal appeared; in fact, they dearly like to do a bit of ‘grandstand’ work even though they risk their necks by it.

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