Serial No. 1557
2nd Light Horse Regiment
John Blackley - Information
Drover John Blackey was born in Morchard in South Australia, before coming to Thirlmere with his family. He joined up on the 15th of August 1915 in Chermside in Queensland, aged 23. He embarked Sydney on the HMAT Suffolk on the 30th of November 1915, as a Trooper with the 2nd Light Horse Regiment.
John met his unit in Egypt in early 1916. His training was hindered however, by venereal disease. He joined the 2nd Regiment at Romani in early May. His unit then defended the Suez Canal from a Turkish attack, and participated in the Battle of Romani in August. Later in the year, they chased the Turks across the Sinai Desert and into Palestine. In the new year, John and his unit attempted to seize the Turkish citadel of Gaza, a roadblock to clearing the Palestinian coast. They participated in the Second Battle of Gaza on the 19th of April, an exhausting failure, which pressed not only the men, but also, their horses. Consequently, on the 28th, John reported sick with heatstroke. Then in May, he went AWL for two days. The following month, he was treated for gonorrhoea in Abbassia. Wanting to escape the battlefield, he went AWL again in June and July, and was readmitted for VD. He was released from hospital in mid September under escort. He was back with his Regiment in November. In February 1918, he received treatment for an infected foot and once again admitted for gonorrhoea in April. On the 30th of August, John was arrested for striking a barman at the Piccadilly Theatre, hitting him in the face with a metal tray. He was brought before a Field General Court Martial in Cairo on the 9th of September. He was found guilty and fined 97 days pay. He remained with his unit, leaving for Australia in late January 1919. He eventually relocated to Darwin and found work as a carpenter.