Height overall: 15cm (6in)
Nickel plated steel cavalry spur with multi-pointed rowel and bearing the name ‘Gerald’. Mounted on a leather covered base applied with a silver plaque inscribed ‘Aleppo to Beirut via Homs Hama Tripoli / November 1918 - January 1919 / Poona Horse, 5th Cavalry Division.’
A relic of the army of occupation’s stay in Palestine at the end of the First World War, the present spur is presumed to have belonged to a British officer of The Poona Horse. Despite there being much sickness amongst the troops, the regiment was noted by a commander who later became a Field Marshal for ‘being the strongest in men and horses in the Desert Corps after having pursued the enemy for over 600 miles’.
Hitherto the regiment had served on the Western Front. It was withdrawn in April 1918, and sent to Egypt and brigaded with the Deccan Horse and the Sherwood Rangers, in the 5th Cavalry Division, itself part of the Desert Mounted Corps, with which General Allenby mounted his final offensive against the Turks.
In June 1918, the Corps was moved to the Jordan Valley. Lances were issued in response to reports from deserting Turks that there was great fear of the weapon among their troops. On 19 September 1918 Allenby’s infantry broke through the Turkish defences; the Desert Mounted Corps reached the gates of Damascus, and the Poona Horse, along with rest of the 14th Cavalry Brigade were directed onto the Homs-Damascus Road. Here a party of Arabs being mistaken for the enemy was charged. The Arabs fled leaving a European sitting in a large car, whose surrender was immediately demanded by Risaldar Major Hamir Singh. The European turned out to be T.E. Lawrence.