Lt-Colonel Carew Reynell, 9th Australian Light Horse AIF
The 9th Australian Light Horse Regiment came to Gallipoli in May 1915 and within three months had been reduced to 181 men. Many had been lost to enemy fire and even more to sickness and general debility. Their commanding officer, Major Carew Reynell, commented -
we are all ill to breaking point
Before the ‘August Offensive' he wrote:
I feel I ought to be writing home sort of good bye letters in case of a wash out ... I think I have arranged for every contingency as far as this Regiment is concerned and hope we shall give a good account of ourselves, and in case of accidents - goodbye and may it be some consolation to you to realise that I have been some use here, and Dickaboo [his son Richard] must grow up quick and be a comfort to his mother and grandfather.
On the night of 27 August 1915, 28 year old Lieutenant Colonel Reynell was killed leading a charge at Hill 60. His body, and that of fellow officer Captain Alfred Jaffray, were recovered the following night:
We buried Reynell and Jaffrey under the trees at the far side of our little gully, and had just concluded the service when the enemy, who evidently had seen us from their observation post on Hill 971, opened a heavy shell fire on our position. The parade was quickly dismissed and the men took cover under the hillside.
[Quoted in Major T H Darley, With the Ninth Light Horse in the Great War, Adelaide, 1924, p20]
Lieutenant General William Birdwood, commander of the Anzac Corps, wrote to Major Reynell's father in law, Douglas Byard, two days after the major's death:
He turned out, as you told me he would, a first class soldier... Reynell commanded his regiment with the greatest dash, and at once charged straight for the Turkish trenches into which he led his men. As he was not quite satisfied with the trench they had taken he very rightly decided to gain possession of some further part of the enemy's position. He shouted to his men to follow him, which they at once did, and again charged across the parapets at a further point. You will realise how deeply I grieve as in fact we all do.
[Letter from Birdwood, PR86/388, AWM]
Lieutenant Colonel Reynell's son, Flight Lieutenant Richard (‘Dickaboo') Reynell, met his death in 1940 at the age of 28 years as a test pilot in the Royal Air Force during World War II. He is buried in Brookwood Military Cemetery, Surrey, England.
28 August 1915 killed in action
Image and article courtesy: Anzac Site
IMAGE: Major Carew Reynell, diary, PR86/388, AWM