Page 31 - Chiron Calling Spring 2021
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                kilometres and Bill completing the gallop safely and delivering the mail riderless but with a bullet lodged in his flank.
During Bill’s stay in the veterinary sick bay Bill received treatment for his wounds and Shanahan claimed
a bond with the Bill through sweet talk, daily walks and liquorice treats. This friendship continued well after the Gallipoli campaign ended and Bill was returned to the remount depot in Egypt.
On his return to Sydney, Paterson applied for remount service and was made a captain, accepting Chauvel’s earlier offer to command the remount depot in Egypt.
Paterson’s directive was breaking, training and preparing tens of thousands of horses for one of
the most vital roles of the war
in the Middle East. He soon had 800 riders and trainers under
his command along with 45 vets and assistants. During this time Shanahan continued to visit Bill at the remount depot working to win his trust through soft talking and liquorice treats.
Shanahan became the first person to ride Bill without being bucked off.
During August 1916, Shanahan persuaded Paterson to let him take Bill into the pivotal Battle of Romani. Paterson agreed and from then on Bill was matched with Shanahan. Bill soon gained
the reputation for being fearless, standing his ground in an ambush and warning his rider of danger ahead, using his keen instinct and sense of smell.
Late on the night 3/4th Shanahan and Bill rescued four Tasmanian troopers, who faced certain death, returned them to safety and earned Shanahan the Distinguished Service Order. Bill had monumental stamina and powered on for six hours that night. One general went through
17 horses in the same time that Bill stayed with Shanahan.
Later in the battle of Romani, Shanahan was shot in the leg but kept fighting until he passed out. Bill, sensing that his rider was unconscious on his back, carried Shanahan three kilometres to the vet, who then passed him on to a medic where his leg was eventually amputated. Shanahan was now
out of the war and Bill continued
to serve as a packhorse, including an impressive effort at the Battle
of Beersheba where he carried machine guns. The end of the desert conflict triggered considerable disharmony when the Anzac force learned the official word was that most of the horses were to be sold wherever the British Government wished.
Officers, including Paterson, turned a blind eye as many troopers took their mounts into the desert
and shot them to stop them from being sold into Middle Eastern markets where they potentially would lead a life of abuse.
Bill, on the other hand, had
the best possible ending. He was smuggled back to Gallipoli as part
of the group of packhorses used on an artefact-gathering trip. There he was left, together with his best mate, a grey mare called Penny, with some villagers who remembered seeing him during battle. It was made clear to the village elder that Bill was only to be used as a packhorse and stud, never to be ridden.
Shanahan’s association with Bill the Bastard caused him to become a permanent part of the Anzac legend. Shanahan died at the age of 92 in 1964.”
340 kilometres south-
west of Sydney, nestled in the undulating hills of Harden- Murrumburrah, Bill the Bastard is being immortalised. This life size model depicting the epic feat of
Bill the Bastard and Major Michael Shannahan saving four Tasmanian troopers during the Battle of Romani, can be viewed by the public in the artist’s studio, cnr Bathurst
St and Burley Griffin Way, Harden- Murrumburrah. history/bill-the-bastard.aspx
 EThailand Remembrance
ach November The Covid restrictions at the time Royal British Legion were minimal and both were well Thailand participate supported and attended.
wife, Wasana, laid wreaths for the RAVC, and posted a poppy against the name of an IAVC soldier on the memorial wall’.
in Remembrance Services and Parades in Bangkok and Kanchanaburi (River Kwai).
Standard Bearer RBL Thailand Richard A Holmes (ex RAVC) paraded at both locations and his
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