J Hurst & M Garvie: The unpublished diary of Roy Garvie MC – 1st MG Sqn, 3rd Light Horse

Posted on: Mon 21 Oct 2019

Join Roy Garvie’s Grandson Michael Garvie and Military Historian/Author Dr James Hurst as they fill in some of the missing pages of Roy Garvie’s diary, explore the history of the 1st Machine Gun Squadron, and try to gain an insight into one of the otherwise “anonymous many” recalled by Ion Idriess.

Roy Garvie, of Crafers, South Australia, was a 19-year-old law clerk when he and his brother enlisted In the Australian Imperial Force, soon after the outbreak of World War 1. They were among the first to enlist in the 3rd Light Horse Regiment, with service numbers 49 and 50, trained in the newly established camp at Morphettville, and left South Australia’s shores when they sailed to war on 22 October 1914.

A number of things set Roy’s story apart. He served through the war, from beginning to end,  surviving the Gallipoli, Egypt and Sinai-Palestine Campaigns. He was a machine gunner from start to finish, was awarded the Military Cross, and his story provides a rare insight into the history of the light horse’s 1st Machine Gun Squadron. Significantly for our generation, tantalysing fragments of his diary have survived.

Ion Idriess, of the 5th Light Horse Regiment of Garvie’s Anzac Mounted Division, would later write that ‘The dearest memory, the memory that will linger until I die, is the comradeship of my mates, these thousands of men who laugh so harshly at their own hardships and sufferings, but whose smile is so tenderly sympathetic to others in pain.’


Research by Dr James Hurst.  Producer Helen Meyer.

Main photo:  Dr James Hurst with photo containing Roy Garvie




The AIF Project, University of New South Wales at the Australian Defence Force Academy, Canberra,

Jean Bou, Light Horse, A History of Australia’s Mounted Arm, Cambridge university Press, Port Melbourne, 2010.

Commanders’ and Unit War Diaries, Australian War Memorial.

Hunphrey Kempe, Participation, Hawthorn Press, 1973.

Ion Idriess, The Desert Column, ETT Imprint, Exile Bay, 2017.

Service Records, First Australian Imperial Force 1914-1920, B2455, National Archives of Australia.


Michael Garvie with a photo of his Grandfather, Roy Garvie MC. Photo provided by M Garvie.


Roy Garvie front right.

The medals of Roy Garvie MC

Service Voices

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