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Brigadier General John Robinson Royston, CMG, DSO (29 April 1860 – 25 April 1942) was a South African-born military officer who commanded a brigade of Australian Light Horse during the First World War.

John Robinson Royston
Colonel John Royston (AWM photo H13630).jpg
Royston as a colonel, c. 1916–17
Nickname(s)Galloping Jack
Born(1860-04-29)29 April 1860
Durban, South Africa
Died25 April 1942(1942-04-25) (aged 81)
Durban, South Africa
Years of servicec. 1879–1917
RankBrigadier General
Commands heldNatal Light Horse
12th Light Horse Regiment
3rd Light Horse Brigade
Battles/warsZulu War
Second Boer War
First World War
AwardsCompanion of the Order of St Michael and St George
Distinguished Service Order
Mentioned in Despatches (3)
Order of Saint Stanislaus, 3rd Class (Russia)

A farmer and citizen soldier, during the late 1870s and early 1880s, Royston served in the Natal Mounted Rifles as an enlisted soldier and fought during the Zulu War. During the Second Boer War he was commissioned in the Imperial Light Horse, and fought at the Siege of Ladysmith, before later commanding a contingent of the Western Australian Mounted Infantry. He was appointed a Companion of the Distinguished Service Order (DSO) for his service during the war, and received the decoration from the Prince of Wales during a large coronation parade of colonial troops in London on 1 July 1902.[1] Later he served during the Zulu Rebellion before organising the Natal Light Horse—made up primarily of Australians who had remained in Africa after the Boer War—upon the outbreak of the First World War. After seeing action against the Germans in South-West Africa, Royston was transferred to Egypt and placed in command of the 12th Light Horse Regiment, commanding them through the Battle of Romani in 1916. He was later promoted to command the 2nd Light Horse Brigade temporarily, before taking command of the 3rd Light Horse Brigade, and leading them in the Sinai and Palestine campaign against the Ottoman Empire until October 1917 when he returned to South Africa having been relieved of his command due to medical reasons.[2]


  1. ^ "The Prince and the Colonial Contingents". The Times (36809). London. 2 July 1902. p. 12.
  2. ^ Jones, Ian (1988). "Royston, John Robinson (1860–1942)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Volume 11. Melbourne, Victoria: Melbourne University Press. pp. 472–473. Retrieved 19 December 2011.

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