Title: First to Damascus – The Story of the Australian Light Horse and Lawrence of Arabia
Author: Jill, Duchess of Hamilton
Condition: Near Mint
Edition: 1st Edition
Publication Date: 2002
Cover: Soft Cover without Dust Jacket – 230 pages
Comments: In 1918, 12,000 Australian Light Horsemen advanced across the Middle East, covering nearly 450 miles of treacherous desert and mountains. After twelve days the Great Ride climaxed in the taking of the fabled city of Damascus. The Ride was praised by the Allies’ Chief of Staff Earl Wavell as ‘The greatest exploit in the history of horsed cavalry…’.
Few people today have heard of the Great Ride, let alone remember it as the last triumph using massed cavalry. What most people remember is Lawrence of Arabia’s version – that it was this romanticised figure who virtually single-handed led the Arab troops to victory and took Damascus in the name and authority of Arab army chief Prince Feisal. The truth is different.
Jill Hamilton tells how Damascus was defended by the same Turkish general who had blocked the Australians at Gallipoli in 1915, and how for many of the troops, the taking of Damascus was a ‘getting even’ for that defeat. She describes the courage, endurance and mateship that made the desert crossing possible, and pays homage to the deep and important bond between horse and rider that enabled so many men and animals to survive.