'Bill the bastard' mentioned by Prime Minister at the commemoration of the Battle of Beersheba.

Chairman Rhys Gray
Chairman Rhys Gray

The inaugural meeting of the directors of Bronze, Bill the Bastard Limited was held recently as part of a plan to recognise the heroics of the iconic horse.

The company was formed to raise enough funds to have the life-size statue of Bill the Bastard sculpted by Carl Valerius, cast in bronze and mounted in Murrumburrah as a memorial to the waler horses who fought so bravely in World War I.

This meeting came just days before the commemoration to mark 100 years since the Battle of Beersheba, where Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gathered in southern Israel to watch as descendants of the original Anzacs paraded on horseback and performed a scaled down re-enactment of the charge.

"The leaders of our three nations are here assembled because we are honouring an extraordinary battle, an extraordinary campaign, which made history, which fulfilled history," Mr Turnbull said.

“A tale of incredible courage, of men and horses.”

“Bill the Bastard - that was a horse, that was a horse, I hasten to add - he was unrideable. He was a rogue and one Michael Shanahan managed to ride him, managed to break him in.”

The battle was a crucial victory in the Middle East campaign that enabled the Allies to break the Turkish line in what is now southern Israel and capture Jerusalem weeks later. Bill was a part of that battle.

The company, Bronze, Bill the Bastard Limited, was incorporated on June 13, 2017, and Dr Rhys Gray was elected chairman of the board of directors.

“I am delighted that Bill and the Light Horse were referred to by the Prime Minister during his speech at the re-enactment of the Battle of Beersheba,” Dr Gray said.

“The Bronze, Bill the Bastard Limited board of directors are committed to bronzing this sculpture and giving Bill the recognition he deserves.”