‘A’ Squadron, 3rd/9th Light Horse (South Australian Mounted Rifles)

The 3/9 SAMR has the oldest surviving military title in South Australia. It can trace its ancestry back to 1854 when a regiment was formed under the Volunteer Forces Act as the Adelaide Mounted Rifle Corps. The Year Book of South Australia for 1854 state – ‘Adelaide Forces Rifles, enrolled under the 15th Clause of the Volunteer Military Forces Act, finding their own horses, arms, etc and receiving no pay, shall consist of one captain, one lieutenant, one surgeon and 27 troopers’.

By 1867 the unit had progressed and was selected to provide guards and escorts for HRH The Duke of Edinburgh on his visit to South Australia. After this the unit was dubbed the ‘Dukes Own Cavalry’.

In the Boer War an equivalent of a squadron saw service in South Africa withe the ‘Bushman’s Contingent’. They first saw action on 6th February 1900 and on the very same day three troopers were decorated with Distinguished Conduct Medals. The GOC in South Africa, General Methuen, wrote of the – “The Regiment did splendid work and all ranks were cheerful under hardships. I cannot conceive any body of men of whom a commander had greater reason to be proud.”

After the Boer War the unit expanded into two Regiments called the 16th and 17th Australian Light Horse Regiments. In 1904 the King’s Colour was presented to the 16th. This colour was carried for many years but in 1926 it was presented to St Augustine’s Church of England, Victor Harbour. A silver plate on the staff of this colour still carried the original inscription ‘Presented by His Most Glorious Majesty, the King Emperor to the 16th Light Horse Regiment in recognition of services rendered to the Empire in South Africa’.

During the 1914-1918 War there was a change in the number of the Regiments. The 16th became the 3rd and the 17th became the 9th Australian Light Horse Regiment. Later another change saw them as the 22nd and the 24th. The 3rd and 9th Light Horse served with outstanding valour during the first World War and it is in remembrance of their bravery and sacrifice that we today are designated 3rd/9th.

The 9th Light Horse Regiment has one very unique distinction. It captured a battle standard of a Turkish Regiment and was the only unit to capture such a standard during the first World War. This trophy now hangs in the Australian War Memorial, Canberra.

In subsequent years new numbers were bestowed on the Regiments of Light Horse and some fresh units were formed but throughout most of them bore the old title ‘South Australian Mounted Rifles’ which was a direct link with the original unit of 1854.

These units continued as Light Horse until 1940 when they were reformed into Armoured Regiments, some of which saw active service in the Islands during World War II. In 1948 with the formation of the CMF, these units were incorporated as one regiment, the 3/9 South Australian Mounted Rifles. This unit is now part of the Royal
Australian Armoured Corps (RAAC).

Today the Rifles operate with M113 armoured vehicles. Apart from our camps, weekend bivouacs, home training, some of the unit activities in the past few years have included: the laying up of the Queen’s Colour in St Peter’s Cathedral, selection as Sovereign Guard to Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II in 1954 and Vice Regal Guard to the Governor of South Australia. On Sunday 7th February 1960 the new 3rd and 9th Light Horse Regiments Guidons were presented to the unit by our then Honorary Colonel, LT GEN Sir Sydney F. Rowell, KBE, CB. A ceremonial parade was held on 14 May 1961 when the regiment trooped the old 3rd and 9th Light Horse Guidon for the last time, laying them up in St Peter’s Cathedral. Members of these Light Horse regiments mounted a cavalry escort to the Guidons. It was probably the last parade in Australian for the Light Horse.

The history of the unit is a proud one. As the only armoured unit in South Australia the 3rd/9th South Australian Mounted Rifles carry on the traditions of the 3rd, 9th, 18th and 23rd Australian Light Horse Regiments as well as the earlier volunteer regiments.

Battle Honours

3rd Light Horse 

9th Light Horse

SOUTH AFRICA, 1899-1902 SOUTH AFRICA, 1899-1902