The Imperial Camel Corps, formed in January 1916 was a camel mounted infantry. It operated in the Middle East and Africa, and was truly international. The ICC had soldiers from Australia, India, Canada, New Zealand and Britain; among them were six men from The Rocks.
The men of the Imperial Camel Corps were renowned to be a rough bunch and many commanders transferred their more difficult characters to the unit. Of the six Rocks men who served, two ended up in Military Prison and four were charged at some stage of their careers. However, it was tough and independent men that were required for this unusual corps. They participated in at least 18 battles with distinction, including the Battle of Beersheba and operated with TE Lawrence (the legendary Lawrence of Arabia).
Arthur Rupert St Ledger grew up in The Rocks and was 24 working as a station hand when he enlisted in the Light Horse on 16 December 1914. He first saw action at Gallipoli on 6 August 1915 during the Battle of Lone Pine and The Nek.
In September 1915, Arthur had a finger amputated following a bomb wound to his right hand. After leaving the hospital he was transferred to the Imperial Camel Corps.
Arthur, like many in the AIF was not enamoured with military discipline and was occasionally in trouble. His list of indiscretions included:
- a day’s pay fine for ill-treating a camel
- two occasions of Field Punishment for going Absent With Out Leave for a few days
- a Court Martial and a nine-month detention with hard labour for disobeying an order and using insubordinate language. He was remitted 3 months and the rest was suspended
- a second Court Martial for going AWOL for over a fortnight, and a punishment of one year with hard labour at the Military Detention Barracks in Cairo. He served 7 months and was again reprieved and sent back to his unit.
Arthur managed to stay out of trouble for the rest of the war. He was awarded the 1914-1915 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal. Arthur re-enlisted in World War II.