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Albert Whitmore, 102; Last of Australia's WWI Light Horsemen

July 29, 2002|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Albert Whitmore, 102, the last known member of Australia's World War I Light Horsemen cavalry, died Friday at a nursing home in Barmera, South Australia.

Whitmore enlisted in the Australian army to fight in World War I when he was 17.

Because of his farming background and natural ability with horses, he was assigned as a reinforcement to the 9th Australian Light Horse Brigade, which was operating in the Middle East.

Whitmore served for nearly three years before returning to South Australia in the fall of 1919. He reenlisted during World War II as a staff sergeant with the army's engineers.

The brave acts of the Light Horsemen were portrayed in Peter Weir's 1980 film "Gallipoli."

Australia's Veterans Affairs Minister Danna Vale called Whitmore's death "the end of an era.... The Light Horsemen have grown to legendary status for their deeds and daring, and Mr. Whitmore is a part of that legend," Vale said Saturday.

Whitmore's death leaves 12 known Australian World War I veterans.

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