9TH INFANTRY BRIGADE HISTORY
16th November 1916.
A MESSAGE To The Men of the Third Australian Division
You are about to embark for France in order to take your place by the side of our Australian kinsman who in Gallipoli and France by their valour have made Australia famous throughout the world.
In the name of our Commonwealth I call upon every one of you to resolve that in the task that lies ahead you will endeavour to display the highest qualities of self-sacrifice, discipline, devotion to duty and self-restraint under all temptations; in order that the reputation you may earn may rank you second to none.
You have undergone training in the arts of modern fighting and in the conduct of disciplined soldiery. Remember to apply everything that you have learned at all times and in all places; for on the manner in which you do this you will be judged.
While your future renown will rest chiefly on your fighting qualities, your courage in the face of the enemy, and your perseverance under hardships, it will depend also on your soldierly behavior, weather on or off duty, your prompt obedience, your respect for military superiors, your smartness of appearance and bearing, and, particularly your regard for the welfare and property of the woman and children of France whose men-folk are away from their homes helping us to fight our common enemy.
Keep in mind the crimes of that enemy against our Empire, our Allies, and humanity, and be determined, now that the opportunity for which you have waited so long has come at last, to work and to fight with all the strength and all the skill of which you are capable.
Major General: Sir John MONASH Commanding the 3rd Australian Division. Salisbury Plain.
22nd November 1916.
Larkhill. Troops en trained at Amesbury Station in three trains. 1st Train 7:47 am Compliment-Officers 11 and 327 others, 19 horses, 8 hand carts, 3 4 wheeled wagons and 9 bicycles. Lieutenant Colonel: James William Albert SIMPSON. Officer Commanding. A Company Lieutenant: Herman Augustus ARNOLD. B Company Lieutenant: 3 Harry WOODHAMS. C Company Lieutenant: James Michael JULEFF.
2nd Train 9:15 am-Compliment-Officers 11 and 327 others. 20 horses, 2 two wheeled, 5 four wheeled vehicles. Major: Archibald Clifford BLACKLOW. Officer Commanding. A Company Lieutenant: Richard Henry DOYLE..
3rd Train 11:am- Compliment-Officers 10, 326 other ranks, 20 horses, 2 two wheeled, 5 four wheeled vehicles. Major: Archibald Leeson PRINCE. Officer Commanding. B Company Lieutenant: 1376 William James GORDON.
22nd November 1916
Embarked "Caesarea" 24 Officers, 811 others. Embarked "African Prince" 8 Officers 168 others, 59 horses, 15 four wheeled vehicles, 12 two wheeled vehicles and 9 bicycles. Total 32 Officers, others 979 left Southampton 6:00 pm. 1 Officer 75 others detailed as sentries and boat guard. 1 Sergeant, 1 Corporal and 20 detailed as Firing Party. 5 Sanitary Police and 10 men as Sanitary Party.
23rd November 1916.
Arrived at La Havre 1:40 am. Disembarked 7:25 am. Marched via town to No:1 Rest Camp arrived 11:40 am. Remained at Rest Camp, Le Harve, till 6:30 am 24th November 1916.
24th November 1916.
36th Battalion, less 8 Officers 250 Other Ranks marched via town to point 3 Railway Station, Le Harve at 8:00am. En trained and left Le Harve at 10:30 am. Proceeded via Montcrolier Buchy, Abbeville 6:10 am. 10 hours late via Boulogne Calais and Bailleul. Arrived at Bailleul at 4:25 pm 25th November 1916.
25th November 1916.
Detrained at Bailleul marched to billets at Merris district. Arrived at billets 10:45 pm. Quartered in 12 billets. Headquarters at Hameur Farm.
26th November 1916.
4 Officers 100 men "A" Company arrived at Merris at 8:30 am. Remainder of Battalion arrived at Merris 4:00 pm. Hostile aircraft shelled overhead 2:15 pm.
27th November 1916.
8 N.C.O's detailed to attend Gas School for 4 days. All Officers instructed in Box Respirator by Divisional Gas Officer. General: Alexander John GODLEY and General: Sir John MONASH visited billets at Hameur Farm at 2:30 pm. Captain: John Martin HAWKEY. and 1 N.C.O. per Company visited forward billets at Armentiers.
28th November 1916.
Battalion left for Armentieres in 16 Motor Lorries. Whole Battalion reported in billets at Armentieres at 5:30 pm. Headquarters established at 6:00 pm Rue De Strasburg.
29th November 1916.
Whole Battalion still in billets-supply Working Parties Only.
30th November 1916.
Visited the front line on left sector of Defenses at Armentiers.
22nd January 1917.
Armenteries. Enemy started light shelling at 10:00 am. At 2:00 pm locality 16 & 17 was heavily bombarded also locality 14 which ended in a box barrage being put on at 4:10 pm and an attack by the enemy from Pimple Salient. They entered our trenches but were only in 10 minutes. Our casualties 11 killed, 36 wounded, 4 missing. It is quite possible the 4 missing have been buried by Minnies.
17th February 1917
On the night of 17th-18th February last. Lieutenant: Clarence William BODDY 36th Bn when on patrol in NO MAN'S LAND, crawled close up to a Machine Gun emplacement in the enemy wire when the Gun therein suddenly Opened fire. Sergeant: 731 Gordon Mott COX who was hit and their presence became known to the enemy who thereupon opened up a concentrated fire on them. Lieutenant BODDY who was carrying a demolition charge which was hit by a bullet without causing it to explode, thereupon crawled backwards to within about six yards of the gun, with the charge under him, fired it and he and the Sergeant both dashed away and sheltered in a crater. The charge exploded and the gun at once ceased fire and it is probable that it was destroyed. Corps, Divisional, and Brigade Commanders desire to congratulate Lieutenant BODDY on his successful and hazardous enterprise.
(36th Battalion War Diary)
4th 6th March 1917.
(1) HOUPLINES. 34th Battalion relieved by 36th Battalion- Working Parties and Training started.
7th March 1917.
Orders received to relieve 42nd Battalion in EPINETTE Sector. All arrangements made. Advance Parties sent into trenches. Orders cancelled late at night.
8th March 1917.
Working Parties of 35th Battalion taken over as well as our own. Major: John Alexander MILNE. promoted to Lieutenant Colonel as from 24th February 1917.
9th to 11th March 1917.
Very busy with Working Parties. No Training possible.
12th March 1917.
TRENCHES. Took over the whole of the HOUPLINE Sector from locality 8 to RIVER LYS. S.O.S. went up from locality 16 that night. Enemy raid possibly avoided.
13th to 16th March 1917.
Intermittent Artillery dual throughout course of tour of duty.
17th March 1917.
HOUPLINES. 34th Battalion relieved 36th Battalion. Took up quarters as "C" Battalion-Working Parties.
18th - 20th March 1917.
Working Parties - These were excessive on the the night of 20th. When 240 men worked from 5.00 am to 1:00 pm and again from 6:00 pm to 10:30 pm. Rest given the next day.
22nd to 25th March 1917.
Battalion engaged as Working Parties. Took over Trenches on 25th.
26th March 1917.
TRENCHES. Heavy Artillery fire over whole Sector. Enemy working at night in front line C.29.
27th to 28th March 1917.
Intermittent shelling during two days. Snow falling. Cold intense.
29th March 1917.
Artillery dual progressing. Enemy heavily shelling our front line. Heavy and medium Trench Mortars carried out a shoot with good effect. IRISH AVENUE heavily strafed with 77 m.m.
30th March 1917.
TRENCHES, HOUPLINES. Patrols state enemy front line held very lightly. Enemy shelling HOUPLINES with 4.2 howitzer. Light Trench Mortars got on to a working Party of enemy and inflicted loss.
31st March 1917.
Light Trench Mortars again scored a Working Party. Heavy Trench Mortar fired with good effect damaging enemy support line. Enemy considerably shelled our front line.
1st to 2nd April 1917.
TRENCHES. HOUPLINES. Considerable shelling all over Sector. Nothing important. 34th Battalion relieved 36th Battalion on morning of 2nd April. Battalion moved to Billets in ARMENTIERES.
3rd to 8th April 1917.
ARMENTIERES. Battalion supplied Working Parties for HOUPLINES Sector.
(36th Battalion War Diary)
7th April 1917.
Our Artillery fairly active. Trench Mortars fired in retaliation for pineapples from locality 16.13 and behind J Gap, No Mans Land as usual. Patrols, a number of Enemy covering parties discovered but disappeared on fighting patrol sending shot. Aircraft Patrol of 8 Planes passed over enemy lines returning in 1 hour. Enemy reconnaissance, a plane which flew low over our lines, it would appear likely that enemy anticipate some action. Killed 1 Evacuated 3.
Private: 1801 Albert Joseph CLARK was Killed in Action in the Houplines Armentieres, France on the 8th of April 1917. Albert was the only man from the 34th who was Killed in Action during April 1917.
(34th Battalion War Diary)
9th April 1917.
Battalion under orders to proceed to ST OMER District for Training.
(36th Battalion War Diary)
9th April 1917.
On the 9th the 33rd once again took over the front line, again at L'Epinette. They moved to Senninghem on the 12th where they were headquartered until the 25th. Then once again they were on the march, via Renescure and Pradelle to Armentieres, Where, on the 28th they gained a well earned rest. On the 21st May the men of the 33rd were moved to Le Touquet to Ploegsteert Wood for the usual working parties, trench maintenance being high on the agenda for the coming offensive. Three days later they were at St Vyes for more of the same, relieved on the 26th May by the 34th Battalion and moved back to billets at Nippe.
(Never a Backward Step; Edwards 1996)
10th April 1917.
Left ARMENTIERES at 10:00 am Marched to STEENWRECK and en trained for ST OMER. Marched from ST OMER to WIZERNES.
11th April 1917.
WIZERNES. Marched to JOURNY (2nd Army Training Area)
12th to 24th April 1917.
JOURNY. Battalion engaged in Training.
25th April 1917.
Battalion marched to ARQUES.
26th April 1917.
ARQUES. Battalion marched to Gd. Sec. BIOS.
27th April 1917.
Gd.SEC BOIS. Battalion marched to ERQUINGHAM.
28th April 1917.
29th April 1917.
TRENCHES. LE TOUQUET. Battalion took over Le Touquet Trenches from 11th CHESHIRE REGIMENT. Relief being completed by midnight.
30th April 1917.
At 4:10 am enemy opened a heavy bombardment on our on our front line from RIVER LYS to LOWNDES AVENUE, being particularly heavy on left Company Sector. At this point enemy dropped a curtain of shrapnel and H.E. on Supports and Communication Trenches. S.O.S. was at once sent up. Artillery responded at once. Enemy evidently attempted to raid but did not reach our parapet. Barrage slackened at 6:35 am. Enemy used light and heavy Minnewerfere together with all sizes of H.E. Our casualties, 5 killed, 15 wounded, including 1 Officer Lieutenant: Clarence William BODDY slightly wounded.
Private: 2383 John SLATER. 36th Battalion. Killed in Action 30th April 1917.
9th May 1917.
Informant; Lieutenant: 1205 William Alexander McLEAN. At 1:00 am I reached the bombing post and the left of "D" Gap. We were observing down the gap and saw movement 70 yards down the gap. We then saw three crouching figures with round caps making for our support line. I ordered the men to get there rifles and bombs ready and told them to fire. The three Germans dropped flat. Private: 5043 Albert Francis LANE of his own accord jumped out of the bay and got to a point 15 yards down the gap and commenced to throw bombs. The Lewis Guns then commenced to fire at the place where the men had been seen. We then saw 25 Germans making back to their own line. The Lewis Guns then fired three separate bursts at them and we saw at least 6 Germans fall, in NO MAN'S LAND 70 yards from our own front line. The Lewis Guns continued firing and were sweeping perfectly. We then saw a German limping 30 yards from our own trench; the Lewis Gun was turned on him and he fell.
Three men and myself went out immediately and found a German sitting in a shell hole. We brought him in although he was screaming with pain. The stretcher bearers were sent for and the German was taken to Company Headquarters, then to the Aid Post. Our party threw 24 bombs and fired 50 rounds from their rifles. The Lewis Gunners fired 10 magazines. The Germans made their entrance by means of the old trench which runs from our lines through NO MAN'S LAND. From the point where Private: 5043 Albert Francis LANE threw bombs the gap is heavily wired and we could make no progress to attack them. The Germans also left in a diagonal direction so it was impossible to get in NO MAN'S LAND and cut them off.
Officer of the Watch.
LE TOUQUET 1:00 am. Enemy silently raided our trenches and were driven off with Lewis Gun fire and bombs leaving 1 prisoner in our hands. Trench maintenance and repairs were carried out over the next 4 days.
33rd Battalion Unit Diary
17th May 1917.
On the 17th of May the Germans tried to raid the 34th Battalion at Le Touquet. The enemy this time employed the British method of a very short, though heavy, preliminary bombardment. The preliminary registration however had been observed and the Australian counter-barrage came down within 10 seconds of the S.O.S signal fired by Lieutenant: 4559 Frederick Murchison WAUGH. M.C. 34th Battalion. A party of Bavarians attempted to enter by a gap in the front line. One climbed the parapet and said "Hands Oop!" He was at once shot, and fell dead into the trench. Lewis Guns, in particular that of Private: 1416 Joseph Edward KIRK. M.M 34th Battalion, drove the enemy off.
On the 18th of May the previous night's attempt against the 34th Battalion was repeated after a short heave bombardment. On the S.O.S. being fired by Lieutenant: 1118 William Wright EDMONDS. M.C. 34th Battalion, the protecting barrage again came down instantly, but the enemy entered a gap near a sector in which cylinders had been installed for an impending release of gas. Working alone the line, they bombed a Lewis Gun Team, wounding three. The remaining men, Lance Corporal: 1530 James HAM D.C.M. 34th Battalion and Private 1248 Bertram Guy TAYLOR M.M. 34th Battalion, continued to fire, and killed all five intruders.
Lieutenant: Benjamin Greenup BRODIE and the scouts afterwards went out, driving back the German covering party and stretcher-bearers, brought in a wounded Baverian Pioneer, and evidence and identification from 11 Germans who had been killed.
( History of World War 1. Vol IV. Bean) Charles Edwin Woodrow BEAN
7th June 1917.
THE BATTLE OF MESSINES
The 3rd Australian Divisions first major offensive was at Messines Ridge on the 7th June 1917. The Australian 3rd Division was a part of the II Anzac Corps which was allotted to the first assault. The 25th New Zealand, 3rd Australian Division with the 4th Australian Division in reserve. The 4th Division were battle hardened troops who had fought many major battles.The 3rd Australian Division were having problems getting to the "jump off" point. The day before the 9th and 10th Infantry Brigades were bombarded by German Gas-Shells around Hill 63 and Ploegsteert Wood. Many of the Aussies were not wearing gas masks, but despite this they pressed on even though they received 500 casualties.
They made it to the "jump off" point but only just with some of the men from the 9th and 10th going straight over the top without stopping. The mines went up and the attack commenced behind a protective barrage. The II Anzac Corps were attacking on the right with their objective being the southern shoulder of the ridge which included Messines, the Dover and St Yves areas as far south to the east of Ploegsteert Wood.
Major General Sir John MONASH's 3rd Division had to contend with a tricky 3 mile approach out of Ploegsteert Wood and after the German gas attack, but they were not deterred. The 9th Infantry Brigade under Brigadier General: Alexander JOBSON and the 10th Infantry Brigade under Brigadier General W R NICHOLL had just made the jumping off point but some of the men did not stop, going straight into the assault from the approach march.
Their objective lay between St Yves and the Douve. The mines at Trench 127 and Trench 12 at Factory Farm were laid to aid this task. The explosions erupted a few seconds before zero hour and created craters of 200 feet in diameter, completely obliterating the German defense line as the 9th and 10th Infantry Brigades went over the top. The mine crates forced the 9th and 10th Brigades to veer to the left and right which caused some confusion with the main assault. It is testimony to the quality of training that every man knew the ground, tasks and objectives so well.
Private: 1804 John CARROLL 33rd Battalion, rushed the enemy's trench and bayoneted four of the German occupants. He then noticed a comrade in difficulties and went to his assistance, killing another German. He then attacked single handed a German Machine Gun Team, killing all three of them and capturing the gun. He later rescued two of his comrades who had been buried alive by German Shell Fire, and in spite of heavy shelling and machine gun fire he dug them out alive and saved them from certain death. John was awarded the Victoria Cross.
The German forward zone was completely engulfed and taken by the main assault. The two supporting battalions of each brigade then passed the leading battalion to continue the advance. The men were constantly re-supplied and the ridge was taken. There were many German prisoners taken during the offensive. The 3rd Division was well ahead with the 9th Infantry Brigade pushing on beyond Grey Farm, and on the right the 10th Infantry Brigade were veering left towards Septieme Barn north of Douve.
The German resistance was heavy but was generally brushed aside by tanks and artillery before the infantry had to become too involved.The 4th Bavarian Divisions Artillery had made little impact, but as the day wore on the 3rd Division and later the 4th Australian Division received many casualties from German artillery. (70% of all casualties during WW1 were from artillery).
By 9:00am nearly 6 hours after the assault began the Germans were in dissaray, but there was a major problem as the Australians received less casualties as anticipated and when ordered to dig into the ridge they had so many men, that some could not find shelter. the 35th battalion were dug in around Seaforth Farm.
The second phase of the operation was to take the Oosttaverne Line. The 3rd Australian Division would now be in reserve with the 4th Division attacking. The 9th Infantry Brigade (33-34-35-36Bn) were near Thatched Cottage facing Warneton. The river Lys was to their right and the Ploegsteert Wood was now behind them.
Once their objectives were taken the troops consolidated. A barrage to stop and counter attack was shortened and caught three battalions which had to retire. By 9:00 pm this part of the Oosttaverne Line was abandoned. At 10:45 pm General: Alexander John GODLEY ordered the 3rd and 4th Divisions to retake it. This they did by the early hours of the 8th of June.
The Battle for Messines Ridge during May-June 1917 saw 35 officers and 1,631 other ranks loose their lives.
9th Infantry Brigade Casualties.
|33rd Battalion. AIF||8 Officers||382 Other ranks|
|34th Battalion. AIF||10 Officers||378 Other ranks|
|35th Battalion. AIF||5 Officers||431 Other ranks|
|36th Battalion. AIF||9 Officers||421 Other ranks|
|9th Machine Gun Company. AIF||2 Officer||17 Other ranks|
|9th Light Trench Mortar Battery.||1 Officer||2 Other ranks|
FIELD DRESSING STATION, MESSINES 7th June 1917.12th June 1917
Nueve Eglise was the billeting area for the battle-weary remnants of the 33rd Battalion, when finally they were relieved from Messines on June 12th 1917. After 2 short days of rest they were again marched to new billets at Douleu, where they stayed for the next ten days. By then Command must have considered them sufficiently rested for they were ordered back into the front line, to relieve the 10th Cheshire Battalion on June 23rd.
(Never a Backward Step; Edwards 1996)
Military Medal was awarded to Private:Private Donald Cranston MURRAY 33rd Battalion on the 28th June 1917.
1st-7th July 1917. MESSINES.
35th Battalion occupied Support Trenches just S West of MESSINES (The Brigade being in Support) The Battalion HQ was established in our old front line. Enemy was fairly quiet except for Counter Battery work which was very constant. During this time men were constantly employed digging and improving communication trenches towards the new front line. On 1/7/17, 2 Lieut: Mortimer Eustace LYNE was wounded by a shell entering his dugout. Captain: Frank Harold JARRETT was wounded on the 5/7/17 by a piece of shell entering his dugout. He died of wounds received at 2:00 pm in the Main Dressing Station on the same date.
7th July 1917.
33rd Battalion AIF relieved by the 35th Bn AIF in Support Trenches MESSINES SECTOR 35th Bn went to Billets at NEUVE EGLISE. Casualties during the tour of duty in MESSINES SUPPORTS 28 including 4 killed.
7th-11th July 1917. NEUVE EGLISE.
Rested and Trained whilst in Billets and also supplied small working parties.
11th July 1917. MESSINES.
Relieved 43rd Bn AIF in Case of Supports Messines Sector. (RIVER DOUVE to STIGNASTFARM) Brigade Relief. Supplied working parties while in Supports. We were at times subjected to fairly severe enemy shell fire while in Close Supports Casulties from 11-7-17 to 17/18-7-17 were 34 including 6 killed.
17th July 1917.
Relieved 35th Bn AIF in front line Messines Sector. 19th Lieutenant: Wynter Wallace WARDEN wounded whilst supervising transport of rations over Messines Ridge.
(35th Battalion War Diary)
12th July 1917.
MESSINES Relieved 41st Battalion in Sector u.11.b to u-5-b as per Bn 0.0.47 d/9/7/17 and Intelligence summary d/127/17. Enemy Shelled road south of MESSINES and caught tail of relief Killing two. Two men killed and others wounded. Trenches found to be in very bad condition. They had been very badly sited no attention having been paid to conformation of ground. The first principles of trench siding had not been observed and no attention paid to drainage. Communication trenches were straight, shallow and through not having been duck boarded when dug had become quite impassable in places an account of mud. Front Line had rifle on us field of fire and both it and the Support line were crude observation from WARNETON from whence they were directly exploded in places.
(33rd Battalion War Diary)
19th July 1917.
Casualties 1 killed "Private: 2097 John Henry JAMIESON" and 5 wounded in WELLINGTON TRENCH. Enemy firing gas shells intermittently all night.
(34th Battalion War Diary)
23rd July 1917.
Relieved by 33rd Bn AIF and 35th move back to Close Support position. Casualties during tour in front line 45 including 12 killed. 2nd Lieut: Thomas Laurence GRAY was wounded 25/07/17.
26th July 1917. MESSINES.
Relieved 33rd BN in front line, Captain: Hugh John CONNELL was buried by a shell in the front line 28/07/17 and evacuated. On night of 28/07/17 enemy placed a heavy barrage on the 35th Bn front line (Douve River to Steicnvast Farm) and finally attempted to raid our Right Company "A Coy" on the River Douve. They were successfully repulsed with considerable loss to themselves. Our counter barrage, both Machine-Gun and Artillery being excellent. Captain: Henry Charles Dight CADELL was in command of A Coy. Our trenches were badly damaged but no entrance was affected, our men though very tired and worn fought splendidly.
35th Bn AIF was relieved by 41st Bn (Brigade Relief) 35th moved back to Douve River Camp. Casulties during 27-30/07/17, 41 including 13 killed. This month was the most strenuous in the history of the Battalion (not including the big offensive of June) as the new ground in front of Messines was in a very wet and muddy state, and hastily constructed trenches combined with long tours in the line and the natural desire of the enemy to prevent us settling down made conditions very trying for all ranks.
1st August 1917.
NEUVE EGLISE Battalion at rest in DOUVE RIVER CAMP after comming fom MESSINES SECTOR. 3/8/17. 7:00am Battalion leaved DOUVE RIVER CAMP and marches via NEUVE EGLISE and STEENWERET to YIEUX BERQUIN AREA. Battalion arrives at billets at 10:30am Battalion Headquarters at Le YERRIER.
(35th Battalion War Diary)
1st October 1917.
ZONNEBKE; Good visibility the Boshe put a heavy Barrage of 5.9 and 4.2 H.E. on our right Support Company (A Company) from 7 am to 9:30 am. The half made trenches were badly knocked about vicinity of 2nd Lieutenant: 11921 Stanley Robert CALLAGHAN. who was killed and 53 other ranks. Airplane activity 2 Huns flew low over front line at 4:00 pm machine gunning out trenches.
34th Battalion War Diary.
1 September 1917.
A sports day for the 9th Brigade was held on 1st September 1917 at Campagne Lez Bournais. Sports started but was put off on account of the rain. He won a sports medal running in a relay.
9th Infantry Brigade Sports Medal presented to Lance Corporal: 1500 Daniel George SMITH. 33rd Battalion War Diary.
4th-5th October 1917.
Zouelecke. 35th Battalion relieved and go by motor to Winnezeele Camp. Casualties during period at Zouelecke 81- including 18 Killed.
Private: 3142 Cyril ELLIOTT. 35th BN AIF. Killed in Action Belgium. 05/10/1917.
35th Battalion War diary
12th October 1917
THE BATTLE OF PASSCHENDAELE I
At 1:30 am rain showers began. By 2:30 am it was raining lightly but steadily, by 3:30 fairly heavily. the infantry moved through the pitch dark in single file. In some battalions each man held on to the equipment of the man ahead of him; if touch was broken, those in front had to come back. The news that the line as reported by the 66th division was not held only just reached the incoming troops. Accordingly, in the right brigade (9th) the leading Company Commanders Captain: Clarence Smith JEFFRIES. V.C. and Captain: Telford Graham GILDER M.C. both of the 34th Battalion stopped their men at the entrance to Broodseinde railway cutting, and themselves went to make sure that their column might not run into the enemy.
At Keerselaarhoek Cemetery they found the tape duly laid, and met the officer of the 36th Battalion who had laid it, and by 3:00 am the time set, the 34th battalion was extended on its jumping-off position. But during the previous halt and afterwards, as it lay on the tape, the battalion was persistently shelled and suffered many casualties.
The first shell killed three signallers. Lieutenant: Albert Leslie WATSON. a signal officer of the 34th Battalion, a brave and enterprising leader who also was at the head of the column was severely wounded and all his staff hit. After establishing a forward command post Lieutenant: Thomas Fraser BRUCE 36th Battalion was also killed. Lieutenant Colonel: John Alexander MILNE. 36th Battalion supervising the assembly was knocked down by a shell but continued to command. Captain, Chaplain: Charles MURPHY was also wounded.
(BEAN; History of World war 1 Vol IV p911) Charles Edwin Woodrow BEAN
Only one Australian Division, the 3rd, was wholly employed in the days offensive. but the division was to capture Passchendaele an in spite of the depressing conditions, it was eager to achieve the distinction of doing so. One unit carried the Australian flag,to be planted in Passchendaele, and although officers and men in general were not enthusiastic concerning such "stunts" the Commander-in-Chief had been informed, and had told General: MONASH that, when this flag was planted, the news would be immediately cabled to Australia.
Some keen spirits looked on the operation simply as a dash for Passchendaele. One young company commander of Monash's reserve battalion, the 33rd, in face of a strict prohibition, led on his company as soon as the barrage fell. Starting from a line 350 yards in rear of the general alignment, the 3rd Division was out of touch with its neighbours from the outset. The heavy shelling on the tapes had made orderly disposition there almost impossible, as German Machine-Guns, undisturbed by the barrage now opened immediately, no opportunity offered of restoring proper formation.
The 9th Brigade went forward in the utmost confusion and a terrible mix up as reported by Captain: Robert Derwent DIXON D.S.O 35th Battalion at 6:40 am and "Great Confusion" was the description given by Captain: Henry Vince CARR 35th Battalion. Even on the ridge, the mud was difficult, the hope, if there ever was one, of catching up before the quick barrage finished.
The 9th Infantry Brigade's intendered direction lay not along the ridge and the Passchendeale road, but diagonally across them, and parallel to the railway, which most of the brigade could not see. As the jumping-off line was practically at right angles to the ridge, the brigade tendered to advance alone the heights. The Machine-Gun fire at the start came, on the 9th Brigade's right, from the ruined house near Defy Crossing; on its centre from, "Hillside Farm"; and on its left from Augustus Wood.
The pillbox opposite the centre was supported from the rear by a trench in which were Germans with Machine-Guns, and here occurred a delay which threatened to wreck to whole attack. it was not until an hour after the programme time that these places were rushed by the neighbouring portion of the line under Captain: Henry Vince CARR and Captain: Robert Derwent DIXON. D.S.O of the 35th Battalion. The trench contained 35 Germans and 4 Machine-Guns. Part of the line was also held up by a pillbox close to Passchendaele road near the highest point of the ridge.
Here there was practically no shelter from attack, but Captain Clarence Smith JEFFRIES. V.C. of the 34th Battalion managed to organise a party, with Sergeant: 21 James BRUCE and another N.C.O Corporal: 2036 Vere Cummings STEVENSON and a dozen men, and outflanking it, charged the place from the rear, capturing 25 Germans and 2 Machine-Guns. These actions set free the advance. The pillbox captured by Captain Clarence Smith JEFFRIES. V.C. being not far short of the first objective, the 34th Battalion dug in there.
Great loss had been uncured; the 34th Battalion had only three officers left and there were wide gaps in the line. The right flank had swung far away from the railway, along which the 4th Division was attacking, but on the left Captain: Telford Graham GILDER M.C. of the 34th Battalion who had been wounded by a Machine-Gun bullet, but was carrying on found the 10th Brigade digging in slightly to his left under Captain: LATCHFORD, 38th Battalion, and fell back seventy yards to join it.
The Advance to the second objective was to begin at 8:25, the low clouds had opened, and fleecy cirrus with patches of blue were widening overhead and the sun had come out. The 9th Brigade had been so late in reaching the first objective that, while most of the 34th Battalion dug in, the 35th Battalion, allotted for the second phase, moved straight on. Standing on the Passchendaele road, Captain: Henry Vince CARR and Captain: Robert Derwent DIXON. D.S.O of the 35th Battalion endevoured to decide where the barrage then was; at first Carr thought it may be behind them, but finally decided that it was ahead.
The confusion at the start had split the brigade into mixed parties of all battalions and many of the 34th went on with the 35th, the main body of which, about 100 in all, now advanced along the south-eastern side of the ridge in order to catch the barrage. The hour was probably a little before that for the second advance. A German Machine-Gun in the gap between the brigade's right and the railway immediately opened with deadly effect.
Major: John Bruce BUCHANAN 36th Battalion, the senior forward officer was killed. At this critical juncture Captain: Clarence Smith JEFFRIES. V.C. of the 34th Battalion, again accompanied by Sergeant: 21 James BRUCE, led out a few men from the first objective and made for the gun. it was shooting in short bursts, and he was able to work up fairly close. Seizing a moment when it was firing to the north, he and his men rushed at it from the west. It was switched round, killing him, and sending his men to the ground.
But when its fire eased they worked round it, rushed the position, seized 25 Germans and 2 Machine-Guns. This gallant and effective action Captain: Clarence Smith JEFFRIES. V.C. was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross for removing the chief danger to the advance along the crest, but as soon as the 35th Battalion crossed to the eastern side of the hill it became the target of a number of field and heavy guns which, from the hedges and other cover in various parts of the landscape, fired over open sights.
After passing a corpse on its right, the 35th Battalion settled down on what its officers took to be the second objective, although on the extreme right they were actually short of the first. Captain: Henry Vince CARR, now the senior officer on the spot, reported; 8:35. On objective, with about 100 Captain: Robert Derwent DIXON. DSO and three officers. Casualties 25 or 30 per cent. Captain: Henry Charles Dight CADELL M.C Lieutenant: Charles Teesdale MAIN Lieutenant: Keith Maitland DAY reported killed and Lieutenant: Frank HORNE Lieutenant: Christopher Kyffin MEARS Lieutenant: Charles John HENRY were wounded. Prisoners sent back 400-500. Contact on flanks uncertain, being heavily shelled.
Three posts were established under surviving officers, right Lieutenant: Norman Beade D'ARCY M.C centre Lieutenant: Joseph Francis ADAMS left Lieutenant: Harold Sydney WYNDHAM. In this brigade the battalion for the final objective was the 36th, and a report came along that it had gone through. Actually, it had advanced with the 35th, but, on the left, penetrated to the second objective, which bad been reconnoitered during the previous halt by the commander of the company Captain Robert Austin GOLDRICK. M.C.
He went up the road towards Passchendaele. The barrage, he said afterwards was no hindrance to him, although he left the line lying as close to it as possible "or where he thought it was." He was unable to detect the intensification of the barrage for the second phase, but led his men forward at the proper hour.
As no other battalion was there, he now established the line with its left on the road 600 yards from the church, about the point reached by the 66th Division's troops on October 9th. In front of the position Captain: Robert Austin GOLDRICK. M.C. and Lieutenant E.H FLEITER (39th Battalion) found hidden in a shell hole men of the 66th Division. One had a broken arm, the other trench-feet. They took the Australians at first for Germans. When reassured,"we knew the Australians would come," they said, 'We prayed hard."
From the direction of the church, which lay straight down the highway, no fire came. two Germans ran up the road and surrendered. South-east of the village, along the Moorslede road, were the Germans who seemed "very windy," and near the road two 5.9-inch howitzers began to blaze at the troops digging in.
The 9th Brigade had taken its second objective and the 10th its first, but the position of the officers in charge of these advanced lines was full of anxiety. On the eastern slope Captain: Henry Vince CARR 35th Battalion, the senior officer in this part of the 9th Brigade's front, could see the 4th Division somewhat ahead of its right, and by 10:55 he had discovered that the 36th was on the left, but farther left than the 10th Brigade was far behind on its first objective . The German Guns ahead were sniping with dreadful accuracy. Carr on the western slope, sent back for instructions: "what am I to do?"
Word of the true situation reached headquarters slowly. As on the 9th, the first news was all encouraging. General: MONASH in the Ypres ramparts heard shortly after 7 that both brigades were "well away"; but by 8:26 he had ample evidence that the first objective was taken. At 9:25 the intelligence officer examining prisoners (Lieutenant: Frederick Morley CUTLACK Official War Correspondent) reported having heard from the wounded men that the second objective had been reached.
At 10:28 headquarters was informed of a statement of a wounded man, that the 38th Battalion had gone through. A further report that Australians had been seen at Crest Farm although quickly contradicting but probably true nevertheless. Which confirmed Monash's impression that his division was succeeding. Concerning the New Zealand brigade on his left, however, there was no word until, at 10:50, there arrived the tragic information that the New Zealand Division was stopped by the enemy alone the entire front.
Monash has already heard at 9:55 that the 10th Brigade was held up by fire from Bellevue Spur. Believing that his division was still advancing, he asked that every gun that the New Zealand Division could spare should be turned upon that ridge to suppress the fire. Meanwhile, he would order the reserve (39th) battalion of the 10th Brigade to be ready to assist in holding the ground already won. The reserve battalion the (33rd) of the 9th Brigade he was still keeping back to assist in the capture of Passchendaele.
Shortly after noon news of the true situation arrived. Lieutenant Jackson of the 40th Battalion had established at Waterfields pillbox near the Ravebeek a forward report-centre from which a series of messages, admirably accurate, was flashed by lamp to the headquarters of Lieutenant Colonel Lord of the 40th Battalion. Thus Brigadier General McNicoll of the 10th Brigade was able to inform Monash of the precise position of Giblin's Line. He added that the situation was very serious and the casualties very heave. At the same time from the front line of the 9th Brigade arrived a pigeon message, sent by Captain: Richard GADD of the 36th Battalion.
We are on the Blue Line (second objective) with composite force all three battalions, both flanks in the air.
The New Zealand Division was to make a second attempt at 3:00 pm, and Monash was of the opinion that from the 9th Brigade, well forward on the ridge, patrols might still work northward around Crest Farm. His reserve, the 33rd Battalion (9th Brigade), was accordingly ordered to attempt this at 4:30 pm and the 10th Brigade's forward line being meanwhile reinforced by its own reserve, the 39th Battalion.
These orders went out, but none of them were fulfilled. The New Zealand Division had been defeated by obstacles which no hastily renewed bombardment could have overcome. no infantry in the world could have crossed the Ravebeek mud, penetrated the dense wire, and attacked the crowded pillboxes of Bellview with the assistance of a barrage which did not even screen the advance. No blame can attach to the artillery. Its commander, according to the New Zealand official history, had reported on the previous day that his guns might be unable to give efficient support.
This magnificent division, which lost nearly 3,000 men, had been held up in almost exactly the same position as the 49th three days before-the left brigade penetrating half-way to the first objective, the right stopped almost at the start.The Germans were reinforcing. The New Zealand battalion commanders knew that their men had no chance of succeeding by renewed attack, and the order was eventually cancelled.
As for the Australians, of the two battalions that MONASH had now ordered to participate, the 39th had already to a large extent been involved in the fighting, and the 33rd, endevouring to reach its position of readiness for outflanking Passchendaele,had suffered great loss. No less than 6 of its Officers were killed or mortally wounded. Captain: Wilfred Frank HINTON in command of the forward company, Lieutenant Leonard Rockley BROWNLOW Lieutenant: Thomas Acheson ARMSTRONG Lieutenant: Albert George KILPATRICK Lieutenant William REES-REYNOLDS and Lieutenant: Norman Francis GOBLE.
By the time Lieutenant Colonels Henderson DSO 39th Battalion and MORSHEAD attempted to carry Monash's orders, they found that the attacking force of both brigades was back almost at its starting point. What had happened was as follows.
Neither Major: GIBLIN near the Ravenbeek nor Captain: Henry Vince CARR on the ridge had received their messages sent several hours earlier. The 9th Brigade's line was still being battered by the German Guns. Captain: Richard GADD 36th Battalion, whose troops were being wiped out, informed Captain: Henry Vince CARR 35th Battalion that Lieutenant Colonel: John Alexander MILNE D.S.O 36th Battalion had now come forward to Hillside Farm. CARR accordingly sent Captain: Robert Derwent DIXON. D.S.O with GADD to explain to Milne the desperate nature of their situation. Milne said that he would try to get their troops relieved after dark, but till relieved they must hold on.
(BEAN; History of Word War 1 Vol IV page 921) Charles Edwin Woodrow BEAN
Meanwhile, however, the German artillery was annihilating some parts of their line. All leaders of Carr's three posts were out of action. Lieutenant: Joseph Francis ADAMS was Killed in Action and Lieutenant: Norman Beade D'ARCY M.C and Lieutenant: Harold Sydney WYNDHAM were wounded. Of the remaining officers of the 36th Battalion, Major: John Bruce BUCHANAN and Lieutenant: Fredrick William PUTNEY had been Killed in Action and Captain: Robert Austin GOLDRICK M.C wounded. Farther back Lieutenant: Sydney COOK had been Killed in Action and Lieutenant: William WAND and Lieutenant: Herbert Reginald MAILER were wounded.
At 3 o'clock rain began to fall steadily. at 3:15 pm Captain: Richard GADD 36th Battalion, thought agreeing with Captain: Henry Vince CARR 35th Battalion that to hold on meant annihilation, refused, in view of his Colonel's orders, to retire. Carr consented to wait while Gadd again sent word to Lieutenant Colonel: John Alexander MILNE D.S.O. Carr himself at 12: 30 had sent Captain Robert Derwent DIXON. D.S.O to the headquarters of the 35th Battalion at " Seine", from which no word had been received all day.
At 3:45 pm, no reply having come from Milne, and Dixon not having returned as he had been kept at 35th Battalion headquarters awaiting the arrival of an order from brigade headquarters concerning the projected operation by the reserve battalion, Gadd agreed to withdraw and Carr sent along the line a note: The 35th Battalion will retire.
When visiting Gadd, Carr had warned the troops of the probable order to withdraw, and he now saw that the left had already begun to retire. He told men whom he passed to get back as fast as they could to the 34th Battalion (which he believed to be on the first objective). Captain: William James GORDON M.C 36th Battalion, strongly dissatisfied with the order, went straight to Lieutenant Colonel: John Alexander MILNE D.S.O urged that the forward position was tenable, and with Milne and Major: John Martin HAWKEY M.C rushed out to stop the withdrawal. But it was too late.
The 34th was not, as Captain: Henry Vince Carr 35th Battalion, believed, on the first objective. The Commander of the line, Captain: John William RICHARDSON 34th Battalion, on hearing of the extreme weakness of the force at the second objective, had reinforced it. He and his only remaining officer's Lieutenant: James Clement BURGES Lieutenant: Bruce Gray McKENZIE Lieutenant: John Abbott LONGWORTH had all been Killed in Action while organising on the first objective, and the first objective now lay empty. The retiring troops, being without orders as to the position to be taken up, streamed back past Milne's headquarters.
All that Hawkey, Gordon, Gadd, and others could then do was to lead a fraction of them forward again to the first objective, where they remained during the night. Captain: Robert Derwent DIXON. D.S.O. with Captain: John Grieve PATERSON adjutant of the 35th, went up to organise the 35th there, but could find none of it's men. When eventually re-formed the remnant of the 35th was temporarily attached as a Company to the 33rd Battalion.
9th-12th October 1917 saw the 3rd Division, 9th and 10th Infantry Brigade in action during the Battle of Passchendaele, which saw massive losses and suffering in the Australian ranks. The casualties numbered 3,199 men in 24 hours during the height battle. The 34th Battalion lost every officer that day, either killed or wounded including their Medical Officer, Major: Gother Robert Carlisle CLARKE and some of his staff were killed while dressing the wounded. The spirit of some of the wounded is illustrated by the case of Corporal: 3170 Winsleigh Alexander MURRAY 35th Battalion, (formerly a Methodist Minister from Newcastle) gave up his place in a queue waiting for stretcher bearers and was never heard of again.
The Battle of Passchendaele saw 60 Officers and 1,322 other ranks loose their lives.
9th Infantry Brigade Casualties.
|33rd Battalion. AIF||11 Officers||273 Other ranks|
|34th Battalion. AIF||15 Officers||323 Other ranks|
|35th Battalion. AIF||18 Officers||296 Other ranks|
|36th Battalion. AIF||15 Officers||383 Other ranks|
|9th Machine Gun Company. AIF||1 Officer||36 Other ranks|
|9th Light Trench Mortar Battery.||- Officer||11 Other ranks|
13th October 1917.
Received instructions to take command of the front line. Issued instructions to C.O's 34th and 35th Battalions to re-organize at dawn and to hold as follows; 35th Battalion Right Battalion. 36th Battalion Center Battalion. 34th Battalion Left Battalion. This was done and consolidation proceeded with shelling of our position immediately in rear of it was at times very heavy. 5.9-4.2 and 77 mm being used. Our bombardment of enemy points appeared to be very light and our barrages throughout the battle much lighter than any yet experienced by this battalion.
On the other hand the Boche bombardment was the heaviest I have ever experienced and only the very soft ground smothering the shell bursts very few men would have got through it. This Battalion was relieved by the 44th Battalion 11th Bde A.I.F. Relief commenced about 7:00 pm and was complete about 11:00 pm. The Battalion moving back along Railway Line to BOSTON FARM. The Battalion to up a shell hole position near JACOB'S HOUSE. All ranks very exhausted.
14th October 1917. Resting
15th October 1917.
Moving up to front line and relieved 42nd Battalion in support at AUGUSTUS WOOD relief being complete by 7:00 pm. Enemy heavily shelled our position and ABRAHAM HEIGHTS with 5.9-4.2 and wizz bang a few 8" being noted and much Gas Shell (Mustard)
16th October 1917.
Consolidation position. Heavy shelling still continues with much Gas Shell during hours of darkness. A few men led back practically blind from the Gas effect.
17th October 1917.
Heavy shelling during early hours of morning with conditions much the same as 16th. Very few casualties considering weight of Boche shelling. New Zealand troops caught it heavy on ABRAHAMS HEIGHTS.
(36th Battalion War Diary)
17th October 1917.
Brigade Transport Lines near CAVALRY FARM were bombed by enemy earoplanes. Two horses were killed and three wounded. Enemy shelled Batteries near Brigade Headquarters constantly throughout the afternoon. On the 18th of October Brigade Transport Lines were again bombed by enemy planes. Two grooms wounded, 1 horse killed and 1 horse wounded.
(9th Infantry Brigade War Diary)
5th December 1917.
While defending the LE TOUQUET Sector, between 3 & 4:30 pm, 7 pear shaped balloons passed over the Sector travelling from South to north. Various bundles of paper were seen to fall from them. The balloons were coloured (black and yellow vertical stripes). One balloon came to earth in the enemy lines near HOUPLINES. Another appeared to be suddenly relieved of its load and immediately shot up vertically in the air and disappeared in the direction of PLOEGSTEERT WOOD. None of our anti aircraft guns fired on them. Through glasses they appeared unoccupied and apparently had some automatic device for releasing the papers.
7th December 1917.
The Battalion was relieved in the LE TOUQUET Sector by the 33rd Battalion, and moved back to the billets of the Support Battalion at PONT de NIEPPE. The casualties sustained during our recent tour of duty were; 1 man Killed and 2 wounded.
(35th Battalion War diary)
13th February 1918.
KORTEPYP Dull day. Working Parties supplied as per works No:20 Report. Remainder of Battalion sectional training. In the afternoon the Battalion played a football match against the 35th Battalion. The ground was wet and heavy but a good result in a win for the 35th Battalion 6 -Nil. In the evening the Battalion Pierotts gave their opening concert in the YMCA Hall. The party was under the direction of Lieutenant E.E.WALLACE.
33rd Battalion War Diary
3rd March 1918.
9:00 am. Weather dull and very cold. Our Artillery fairly active throughout the day, Enemy Artillery quiet. 11:45 am. 9th Infantry Brigade Raiding Party of 300 strong racked enemy trenches opposite 33rd Battalion Sector on our right. Raid very successful 1 Officer 11 other ranks being brought back prisoners. 34th Battalion casualties in the raid were 1 other ranks Killed 3 other ranks Wounded. There was no Artillery retaliation on our Sector.
(34th Battalion War Diary)
30th March 1918.
CACHY Orders were received during the early hours of the morning that the Battalion was to move its position in BOIS D'AQUENNE in order to launch a counter attack if required. Either in the direction of VILLERS BRETONNEUX or CENTELLES. The Battalion moved off to the wood at 10:30 a.m. and arrived safely. Rain came on but Companies were served with a good hot meal during morning, thus keeping the men warm and in good spirits. At 2:15 p.m. the order came that the Battalion was to move up and take the line (as per Operation Orders) The B Teams were to be left behind. The 34th Battalion was to be in reserve. Everybody was bust getting ready for the next half hour and then the Companies were formed up in mass and the C.O. spoke to them. 5 minutes afterwards at 3:14 p.m. the Battalion started off in great spirits for the scene of action.
The Battalion had the support of 4 squadrons of Cavalry who moved up with them, and it was a "Never to Be forgotten" sight to see the long column of infantry with the Cavalry on their right moving up together. Gradually the Cavalry outpaced the infantry and on their arrival at the BOIS D'HANGARD found the British Infantry retiring. They at once dismounted and advanced taking the retiring infantry with them drove the advancing Bosche back and re-established the line thus clearing the unnamed wood east of BOIS D'HANGARD before the infantry came up. In the meantime the Battalion came on in a column of threes (the visibility being bad) and deployed when they got behind BOIS D'HANGARD at 3:50 p.m Here they rested till the attack was launched at 5:00 p.m.
33rd Battalion War Diary
COUNTER ATTACK OPERATION. AFTERNOON AND EVENING MARCH 30TH, 1918.
33RD BATTALION A.I.F
At 10;30 a.m. on March 30th the 33rd Battalion moved from billets in CACHY to a position of readiness on the south Western edge of the BOIS D'AQUENNE. The enemy shelled CACHY from 10 a.m. but we suffered no casualties. At 2;15 p.m I reported to you at the Brigade Report Center at H.33,0,35,40 and received your orders to capture and establish a line from the Copse immediately South of the first c in MARCELCAVE to AUBERCOURT, and to capture AUBERCOURT which was in possession of the enemy. The 33rd would work in conjunction with the 12th Lancers, who were 400 strong, and would have the 34th in support.
The following orders were issued by me verbally to Company Commanders at 2;45 P.M. "B" Company Lieutenant: 5017 John Graham Antill POCKLEY will establish a line from the Oppue just South of the first C in MARCELCAVE to a point 100 yards east of the Crossroads to V.14.b. "A" Company Captain: John Lovelock FRY will establish a line from 100 yards East of the Cross Roads in V.14.b. to V.20.b.20.00. "D" Company Captain: James William SHREEVE. will capture AUBERCOURT and establish a line on the Eastern and Southern sides of the village. As DEMUIN is held by the enemy particular attention is to be paid to the roads loading over to do LUCE from BEMUIN and COUXCELLES. "C" Company Captain: Walter John Clare DUNCAN will be in reserve in the valley South East of the BOIS DE HANGARD and to be ready to capture DEMUIN.
Battalion Headquarters will be the Reserve Company "D" Teams, according to S.S. 156, will not take into action but will be sent to BLANCY TRONVILLE. At 3;10 p.m the Battalion marched under the command of Major: Francis George GRANT. from BOIS D'AQUENNE and moved across country to the West of VILLERS-BRETONNEUX - AUBECOURT road in U.12. This position was reached at 4;35 p.m. At 3;00 p.m I sent forward two patrols from the Platoon of the 9th Corps Cyclists to reconnoiter North and South of the wood East of BOIS DE HANGARD and then as far forward towards AUBERCOURT and MARCELCAVE as possible. I regret to report that the Platoon Commander Lieutenant: Phillip Charles GRATWICKE was killed.
Lieutenant: Phillip Charles GRANTWICKE. 9th Corps, Cyclist Battalion. Killed in Action 30th March 1918.
The 12th Lancers proceeded the Battalion and reached the wood East of BOIS DE HANGARD at about 4;15 p.m.(This wood was in future be referred as LANCERS WOOD) My Adjutant, Scout Officer and Cavalry Liaison Officer went ahead with the Cavalry and reconnoiter the position. On our way to LANCER WOOD we passed several bodies of troops particularly had recklessly entrenched in queer places and large parties of stragglers. On reaching the wood we found the whole front line garrison East of LANCER WOOD withdrawing although there was no hostile fire of any kind and no signs of attack. I met two Brigadiers and a Battalion Commander in the wood and informed them what was happening at once. This they promised to do. The Cavalry Commander also helped in this matter by sending a Squadron dismounted to re-establish the line. The infantry went forward with the cavalry but in a reluctant manner. During the whole time we sore forward men constantly leaving the line. The seemed to be no effort to check this straggling.
It was a proud privilege to be allowed to work with such a fine Regiment as the 12th Lancers. Their approach march instilled in the mementos confidence and enthusiasm and I am glad to say greatly counteracted the effect of so much straggling. They lost no time in effectively clearing LANCERS WOOD and get there just in time as the enemy had obtained a footing on the southern and South Eastern edges. The Lancers protected the edges and allowed us to move forward to the attack. On seeing the cavalry there the enemy shelled LANCER WOOD very heavily, chiefly with 5.0s. paying particular attention to our fringes. Fairly heavy casualties to horses were inflicted there, the horses were soon led from the wood to a position West of the VILLER-BRETONNEUX - AUBERCOURT Road. The discipline during the heavy shelling was a subject lesson. During the attack the cavalry protected both our flanks, the left with two Machine Guns. They withdrew at about 7.00 p.m.
All ranks were eager to give every possible help to us, throughout there was whole hearted cooperation. The experience gained in this our first operation with cavalry was invaluable. One was able too judge of the splendid work they are doing for the Army at this present time and they cannot be too highly praised. The 33rd Battalion moved forward from the position of assembly at 3:00 p.m. The formation adapted by Companies was as follows; One Platoon in extended order, followed by two Platoons in line in Artillery formation; the fourth Platoon in reserve also in Artillery formation.
"B" Company moved along the Northern edge of LANCER WOOD and widened its front on clearing the wood. "A" Company moved throughout the wood. Owing to enemy shelling while moving through, the whole company was extended into three lines and resumed normal formation on clearing the wood. No casualties were sustained in the wood. "B" Company worked in single file along the brindle track near the Southern edge of the wood and formed up under cover of the terraced bank on the South East edge. Three casualties were sustained on entering the wood. "C" Company formed up on the sunken road in U.18.a. and not where was first ordered, owing to the hostile shelling.
The movement forward was splendidly carried out. On the right slight opposition was en counted but easily disposed of. no real opposition was not until we were about 200 yards clear of the wood when all three Companies came very heavy machine gun and rifle fire. They deployed at once and moved forward without flinching. All ranks displayed the greatest determination and eagerness to get to the Bosch with the bayonet, this eagerness was to some extent responsible for the heavy casualties as the principle of advancing under covering fire was not sufficiently observed. On the Left most progress was made in spite of heavy losses, and the enemy hurriedly retired but on discovering later in strength he reformed.
The enemy was well entrenched and in strong force as we had no artillery support his fire was consequently extremely heavy and unfortunately very accurate. Owing to such strong opposition we were not able to reach our objectives. The attached map shows approximately the line we established. The line is well sited and is a very good defensive position. With determined troops the enemy could easily be held, and any advance he attempted would be very expensive. Owing to casualties and to the wide front the Reserve Company to reinforce the right flank. This Company made good the gap between the right and centre Companies. At the same time I requested the 34th Battalion which was in support in U.18.a. and U.12.c. West of the VILLERS-BRETONNEUX - AUBERCOURT Road, to send a Company to reinforce the left flank. I instructed Company Commander Captain: Telford Graham GILDER. to reconnoiter the position first and then move forward at 6.00 p.m. This Company advanced in two lines of two Platoons each and took the newly-made enemy trenches about 250 yards East of the line then held by us, capturing two light machine guns one of which was damaged, and four prisoners belonging to 91st Oldenburg Regiment.
Wilhelm CONZE; Company-Leader in the 91st Infantry-Regiment (03 Apr 1917-14 Oct 1917) Wounded, in Reserve Hospital in Gotha (23 Mar 1918-22 May 1918) Transferred to the Replacement-Battalion of the 91st Infantry-Regiment (22 May 1918-01 Jul 1918) Company-Leader in the 91st Infantry-Regiment (01 Jul 1918-30 Sep 1918) In French Captivity (30 Sep 1918-14 Feb 1920) Released from Captivity and back with the Processing-Office of the 91st Infantry-Regiment (14 Feb 1920-29 Mar 1920)
Captain GILDER withdrew and made good the gap between the left and center Company's. At 10:00 p.m. I requested the C.O. 34th Battalion to send two company's forward, one to the sunken road in U.18.a the other to a position 300 yards North East of LANCER WOOD. At 11:00 p.m. the enemy attempted a local counter attack against my left company but was repelled. Heavy rain fell from early in the afternoon till late at night. Walking over the plowed fields under such conditions affected the Lewis guns and rifles. Every man was drenched to the skin and very cold, but this did not dampen his ardor. All maps were soon rendered useless and the writing of messages was extremely difficult. Our flanks were somewhat in the air, on our left the Warwicks were about 600 yard behind. The 66th Division were on our right, but touch with them was not obtained.
In order to secure my right flank the right Support company, of the 34th Battalion supplied a Platoon for patrolling and also to establish a post South of LANCER WOOD on the VILLERS-BRETONNEUX - AUBERCOURT Road. Our front was well protected by Vickers and Lewis Guns. We had five Vickers guns from the 9th Australian Machine Gun Company - two covered either flank and one the center, and we had 25 Lewis guns. We were relieved by the 10th ESSEX and the ROYAL WEST SURREY Regiment of the 18th Division this morning; the relief Battalion Headquarters were established at V.7.d.30.95. The Pre-arranged position was untonable.
Commanding 33rd Battalion A.I.F.
30th March 1918.
9:30 am: weather wet, Battalion left CACHY and marched to BOIS LE ABBE, where they bivouac ed in readiness to go forward as Counter attack troops. "B" Teams were sent to BLANGY-TRONVILLE. Battalion moved up as support Battalion to 33rd Battalion AIF who were attacking on north side of BOIS DE HANGARD and LANCERS WOOD. Battalion moved West and south of CACHY when approaching BOIS DE HANGARD advanced in Artillery formation. Battalion halted just north of BOIS DE HANGARD in position of readiness to support 33rd Battalion AIF.
6:00 pm: About 6:00 pm A Company 34th Battalion was detailed to go forward to report to Commanding Officer 33rd Battalion AIF who were on left flank of attack. In moving up A Company extended into 4 lines of skirmishes and laid down with cover fire from line near 33rd Battalion Headquarters. Officer Commanding A Company Captain: Telford Graham GILDER went forward to reconnoiter 33rd Battalion's line. B Company 33rd Battalion was found to have suffered heavy casualties and enemy were still holding the top of ridge. It was therefore decided to attack enemy's position on ridge.
Shortly before 8:00 pm A Company 34th Battalion moved forward in two waves each of two platoons. When 100 yards in rear of 33rd Battalion Head Quarters the 2nd wave inclined to the left and came up on the left of the leading wave and the whole Company attacked the ridge in one line. The enemy were driving out of what apparently was there Picquet Line where two Machine Guns were captured. The line extended its advance and drove the enemy out of his continuous line at the point of a bayonet, and advanced a further 50 yards at this point 7 prisoners were captured, 4 of whom actually went prisoners rage.
The number of enemy casualties was estimated at 60 killed and wounded. Machine Gun fire was very heavy from enemy lines on the left flank and was responsible for the death of 2nd Lieutenant: 1973 Reuben PARKES a very gallant officer and most of the casualties were suffered by this company. The enemy continuous trench system was then occupied for about 2 hours. In the meantime patrols were sent out to the right flank to try to establish communication with the 33rd Battalion AIF. These patrols encountered enemy posts behind our own line on this flank. Touch was eventually gained through a patrol of the 33rd Battalion under Captain: Telford Graham GILDER. On information received from Lieutenant: 916 Robert Cecil KING That it was impossible for the 33rd Battalion to push forward on to the line which the 34th Battalion were holding, it was decided to move back to the line which the 33rd Battalion had then dug in on about 250 yards to our rear.
We then dug in our men filling a gap of about 650 yards in the 33rd Battalion line apparently the enemy did not discover our tactical withdrawal until sometime later at about 1:30 am, the enemy appeared on the sky line advancing in extended order. This apparent counter attack was completely broken up by our Machine Gun and Lewis Gun fire. About 3:00 am "A" Company 34th Battalion were relieved by a Survey Regiment Company then moved to CACHY. "B" Company 34th Battalion also occupied a position in 33rd Battalion line but did no actual fighting and had no casualties.
34th Battalion War Diary
30th March 1918
2:00 am, Arrived at CACHY and billeted in Aerodrome. 9:00 am, assembled for counter-attack and remained in formation till 5:00 pm then returned to billets. 10:00 pm, received instruction to move into the line.
(35th Battalion Diary)
4th April 1918.
North of the railway cutting Sayers company of the 35th Battalion advanced with equal success. The Germans immediately ahead of it numbered not more than 100. As the company approached some of them ran. Lieutenant: Thomas Edward THOMPSON was wounded by a German at fifteen yards range.
(BEAN; History of World War 1 Vol V page 345) Charles Edwin Woodrow BEAN
4th April 1918.
A heavy burst of shelling occurred at CACHY and on some 6" Howitzer Batteries situated under cover of the S.E. corner of the BOIS D'AQUENSE, at about 3.30 am. At 5.30 am the fire thickened to heavy and general shelling, counter battle work and harassing fire suggestive of preparations for an attack. Just before 6.00 am shells fell in the wood near our bivouacs. The troops were hastily got out into the open. The shelling continued to be very heavy for about two hours, in the course of which two men were killed, and Lieutenant: 927 John LANG and 8 other ranks were wounded.
At 9:00 am orders were received to "Stand To" as it was expected the enemy would attack.At 11.45 am orders were received to proceed to position of readiness at U.5. central (South of VILLERS-BRETONNEUX) for defense of the village. Moved at 11.55 am and arrived at position of readiness without casualty despite general shelling of the area crossed. Lieutenant: Sydney Horace NEWELL (Scout Officer) reported direct to C.O. 35th Battalion, who was defending the line in part of the attack area. As the position of readiness the Battalion took up a position on the reverse slope of the hill on the east side of the VILLERS-BRETONNEUX - HANGARD ROAD, with "A" and "B" Companies just below the crest, "C" Company in close support, and "D" Company in reserve.
At 1.45 pm the C.O. and Adjutant reported to the C.O. 35th Battalion, at VILLERS-BRETONNEUX the village was being heavily bombarded. At 2.30 pm the Adjutant returned with the preliminary instructions to the 2nd in Command and the C.O. awaiting developments. At 4.45 pm the C.O returned with information that the Bosch had broken through the English line and was advancing on the village. While he was speaking heavy bursts of Machine Gun fire sprayed over the hill. English troops had been retiring for half an hour through our line but efforts to stop them were in vain.
The C.O ordered "A" Company and "B" Companies to immediately counter-attack. They did so with great spirit and in fine style sweeping along the southern end of the RAILWAY LINE. A party of English troops were seen to be reforming on our right. The Adjutant was sent with an invitation to their C.O to join in a Counter-Attack. Brigadier General: WOOD of the 55th Brigade was found to be Commanding in person and he immediately agreed, and went forward on the right flank of our "C" Company. In the advance great progress was made by "A" Company on the left under Captain: John Edward Wallace BUSHELLE who imbued them with wonderful Spirit and Confidence by his gallant leadership.
Owing however to organized opposition from special M.G. strong points in an orchard and two hay stacks "B" and "C" Companies were not able to keep up to the line of "A" Company's advance and wide gaps were left between all the Company frontages by reason of the extended front on which it was necessary to deliver our Counter Attack. The Reserve Company was however sent up to reinforce the centre, link up the Companies, and, as far as possible, straighten out the line. Two small Companies of the 6th London Regiment who appeared at the time were also sent into the gap between "A" and "B" Companies and our gain was consolidated. Tools and ammunition were hastened forward by a small party from Headquarters - signallers, batman, police and gas personnel, - and this party brought back wounded on the return trip, doing excellent work.
36th Battalion War Diary
4th-5th April 1918
The First VILLERS-BRETONNEUX
The Strength of the 9th Infantry Brigade was about 2,250 but their casualties during the 2 days of fighting numbered 30 Officers and 635 men either killed in action or missing.
9th Infantry Brigade Casualties.4th-5th April 1918
|33rd Battalion. AIF||3 Officers||82 Other ranks|
|34th Battalion. AIF||5 Officers||120 Other ranks|
|35th Battalion. AIF||9 Officers||282 Other ranks (including 44 missing)|
|36th Battalion. AIF||12 Officers||133 Other ranks (including 1 missing)|
|9th Machine Gun Company. AIF||1 Officer||18 Other ranks (including 4 missing)|
12th April 1918.
Just after dawn (at 6:00 am) the enemy opened a barrage along our front and to our right on the French. The French S.O.S. went up immediately and was answered by a heavy barrage. Very soon the whole of the forward areas and the immediate rear was screened by heavy smoke from the enemy barrage which consisted principally of 5.9's and 4.2's. At about 7:00 am the fire slackened and it was learnt that the French had been pushed back on our immediate right and partly out of HANGARD. Reinforcements for the French came along the slope of the hill on our right flank till almost level with our line and then went half right over the hill into HANGARD. Enemy Machine Gun's attempted enfilade fire on those troops from the BOIS de HANGARD, but "C" Company on the left stopped this by rifle and Lewis Gun fire.
The line was shelled heavily several times during the day. At 7:30 pm the French, West Kent's and Essex counter attacked on our right. The barrage was lighter than in the morning. Fire died away about 8:30 pm and it was learnt that the line on the right had been re established and in some parts had gone further than the position lost in the morning. The Battalion was relieved by the 18th Battalion AIF commencing about 10:00 pm and was completed at 1:30 am, the Battalion then moved to billets in the BOIS de BLANGY where a hot meal awaited them.
At 1:09 pm a 5.9 Howitzer Shell landed in Battalion Headquarters and killed Lieutenant Colonel: John Alexander MILNE. D.S.O., Captain: Thomas Rodger MacNEE, also the Adjutant of the 5th Essex Regiment and 6 other ranks; the same shell wounded Major: John Ambrose McDOWELL. and 3 other ranks.
(36th Battalion War Diary)
Private: 2179 Denis "Denny" SHERRY. 36th BN AIF. Killed in Action 12/04/1918. Villers-Bretonneaux, France.
Private: 1257 William Halkyn WESTWOOD. 36th BN AIF. Killed in Action 12/04/1918. Villers-Bretonneaux, France.
Major: Francis George GRANT. D.S.O. 33rd Battalion and Major: Albert DUNLOP of 9th Brigade Headquarters, brought the Battalion out the billets above mentioned and "handed over" to Lieutenant Colonel: Harold Fletcher WHITE. C.M.G. D.S.O. Croix de Guerre
13th April 1918.
Private: 1155 Claude Hastings KERRISON. 36th BN AIF. Died of Wounds 13/04/1918. Villers-Bretonneaux, France.
16th April 1918.
’On the 16th April, the rumors of a new German Offensive against Amiens seemed to be definitely confirmed. A German prisoner, taken by the French, volunteered the that Villers Bretonneux was to be attacked the next day. The 5th Australian Division, which had come line on the night of the 6th/7th April, and held the sector from Villers Bretonneux (inclusive) to the Somme canal was warned to be ready to retake the town, if captured by attack from the north ; and other preparations and counter-preparations were made. About 4 A.M. on the 17th, Villers Bretonneux, Bois d'Aquenne, to the west of it and the village of Cachy, to the south, were heavily drenched for three hours with phosgene, mustard and irritant gasses. But no assault followed. As soon as possible the local garrison, consisting of the 6/London(58 Devon) and the 33rd Australian Battalion, was got out of the shelters in the town into the trenches around it. The gas shelling was repeated in the evening from 4 to 7 P.M., next morning and on the following days, being increased so as to include Bois I'Abbe, but with greatly reduced results. Nevertheless it was impossible for anyone to move that area without feeling some ill-effects from the mustard gas, and there were, in all, 1,074 gas casualties.’
’The gassing of Villers Bretonneux seemed to point to the probability of its not being attacked, but by this time air photographs had revealed the signs of imminent operations; an increase in the number of enemy batteries had also been noticed, while the roads were being registered by German artillery. There were, however, also indications that the Albert sector might be the objective of an attack which might extend to Arras and Vimy Ridge. On the 21st there was much air fighting near the Somme, and the famous airman Richthofen was brought down.1. That night a man of the 4th Guard Division, captured by the 8th Dvn , disclosed the fact that his formation had just relieved the 9th Bavarian Reserve Division in front of Marcelcave , and would attack Villers Bretonneux at 3 A.M. on the 23rd. Counter-preparations were continued, and the German railway centers were bombed, particularly Chaulnes .2 'No infantry assault materialized on the 23rd, two deserters came in from the 77th Reserve Division, just arrived from Russia, which had entered the line on 20th, south of the 4th Guard Division, opposite Cachy, and the French captured a gunner of the Guard Ersatz Division opposite Hangard. All these men said that the relief of the line divisions by " storm " divisions had been completed the infantry were ready to advance; the bombardment would begin early on the 24th and. last two and-a -quarter hours: and the attack would be assisted by new German tanks, which were already in position near the front line. 2 It is from the fact that tanks were used to punch a hole in the British line on either side of Villers Bretonneux, and that, in consequence, the Germans gained possession of the town and ground on either side for a short time, that the fighting on the 24th derives its interest.’
24th April 1918.
3:30 am Heavy Bombardment heard on front. 10:30 am Instructions received to be ready to move immediately. 12:00 noon Instructions are now to move on 1 hours notice. Enemy attacked at Villers-Bretonneux at 6:30 am and at 1:00 pm. Was in position of the town and the ground to the South as far as HANGARD. By midnight the 13th and 15th Brigades and re taken the lost ground and captured 1200 Prisoners, 100 Machine Guns and 2 Field Guns.
(35th Battalion War Diary)
25th of April 1918.
"Dull in the morning, but fine in the Afternoon. Owing to most of the fit men being on guard or other duties, no parade was held. A number of men are still sick with gas. Enemy seems to be very quiet on this front. Further South at Villers-Bretonneux the 15th Brigade, A.I.F who counter-attacked last night repulsed a strong enemy counter-attack. The counter-attack was very successful, the captures being roughly 1000 prisoners, 100 machine-guns, a field gun and 2 tanks. This is the first time we have heard of the enemy using tanks."
(35th Battalion War Diary)
14th July 1918.
Weather showery at intervals. Our artillery carried out harassing fire throughout the night. Our aircraft was fairly active. consistent hostile shelling of SAILLY-le-Sec and Support Areas by enemy. 7;15 pm. Parties of 3's and 4's, about 50 in all of enemy were observed entering TAILLOUX WOOD at P.23a. Artillery were notified and wood was shelled. 3 Enemy Planes flew low over our lines during the day. "B" Teams (Nucleus of Battalion) cancelled and all men Bandsmen included were brought up the line. Casualties for the day 1 Officer. K.I.A. Lieutenant: 2036 Vere Cummings STEVENSON. M.M and 14 O/R's.
16th July 1918.
8:00 am. Trenches in very bad condition owing to continues rain. Wellington and Owl Trenches 2" to 2.6" of water. 10:55 am. Enemy put a heavy barrage 4.25 & 5.95 arraigned and along Wellington and Owl Trenches. No casualties but great deal of material damage to trenches Desultory fire continues all day. 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm. Our 4.5" Hows & 6" Hows were turned on to destroy 3 German Strong Points, which were causing considerable trouble to A Company and several casualties from bombs & small calibre minerwerfers thrown into front line from these positions.
Arrangements had been made for a minor enterprise to capture these strong points at 10:00 pm tonight. At 9:00 pm the C.O rang up Brigade and informed the Brigadier that the artillery had failed to hit the strong points and requested that a minor operation be postponed. Instructions were received at 9:15 pm to go on with the enterprise. At 10:00 pm Lieutenant: Edward George HODGES and 45 men and 2 Lewis Guns attacked the Strong Points. Immediately this party left out trench, they were met with a barrage of Machine-Gun fire, bomb and grenades from the Strong points. The party pushed on with great determination until they came to CINEMA ROAD.
Here they were exposed to enfilade Machine-Gun fire, and found that the Strong Points were filled with the enemy standing shoulder to shoulder awaiting the attack. Lieutenant HODGES successfully arranged the withdrawal of his party under very difficult circumstances. At 10:58 pm Captain: Robert Joseph STEWART. reported the enemy heavily bombarding front support lines of A (Right) Company and there was early indications of an attack by the enemy. He fired the S.O.S. and our answering barrage prevented the development of the enemy's attack. Casualties for minor enterprise were Killed 2, Wounded 10.
(34th Battalion War Diary)
Friday 19 July 1918.
The Argus (Melbourne, Victoria)
LONDON, July 17. 1918.
S.S. BARUNGA SUNK. ON WAY TO AUSTRALIA. Passengers and Crew Saved.
The steamer Barunga has been sunk while on a voyage to Australia. Only one casualty has been reported. Former German Steamer the Navy Office announced yesterday that the Barunga was torpedoed in English waters on July 16. The passengers and crew, it was added, have been landed, so far as could be ascertained, without casualties. The Barunga was formerly the Sumatra, a well known unit of the German Australian Line. She was launched in June 1913, at Flensburg, Germany, and was one of a group of steamers which at that time were regarded as being unsurpassed in the world as cargo carriers, each of them having a capacity for 12,000 tons of general freight, and possessing engines capable of developing a speed of over 13 knots. When the war broke out the Sumatra was discharging at Sydney, and was seized by the Commonwealth authorities. She was renamed the Barunga, and since has been employed continuously as a transport and a cargo carrier.
8th August 1918.
The approach was made in two stages. The 33rd Battalion moved from VIEW SECTOR on the night of August 6th/7th to AUBIGNY and rested there for 24 hours. On the night of August 7th/8th the Battalion passed the starting point at C.3.C.70.20 at 10.20 pm. "A" track was used. The marking of the route was not sufficient, consequently it was picqueted by 30 men, including the band, under an officer. The march was made without incident or interruptions and we suffered no casualties. the head of the column reached the jumping-off line at 1.10 am. The march discipline throughout was excellent.
"A" track was laid to our left flank, consequently a tape line was laid to the center of the Battalion front. "A" and "B" Company's wheeled in single file to the right, and "C" and "D" Company's to the left. As shown in the attached map, the jumping line was in rear of our outpost line in places. There was plenty of room in the front line (BARRABOOL TRENCH) for the whole Battalion to be under cover. The original plan was to remain in this trench until zero minus 5 minutes. But the situation was so quiet that the Companies were able to take up their dispositions in their ordered formation, and so rest in the open.
This assembly was completed at 2.10 am. We had no casualties before zero hour. Lieutenant: 129 Walter Gilligan MASON. (A Company Scout Officer) had charge of laying the tapes and did this work very well. Six direction tapes each 100 yards long were laid, one on each flank of the Battalion and one in the centre of each platoon front. These proved of the greatest value owing to the fog. The 33rd Battalion Scouts relieved those of the 38th Battalion who were holding the sector at 10.00 pm. At 10.30 they encountered an enemy post at P.21.B.30.20; the enemy threw bombs and wounded five of our men. Ten minutes later the 38th Battalion had an Officers patrol in NO MAN'S LAND but no further trace of the enemy could be found.
The Assault at about 4.00 am, as a dense fog arose, so dense was it that it was impossible to see more than 10 feet ahead. The whole artillery opened fire with great precision, and the barrage was very accurate. The fog made it extremely difficult to keep direction and to maintain formation, consequently the advance resolved itself into small parties moving on their own initiative. Only the first of the special ACCROCHE WOOD Signals could be seen, the smoke accentuated the fog. Even the barrage could not be seen.
ACCROCHE WOOD was strongly garrisoned and contained an abnormally large number of machine guns, but the garrison offered no resistance and readily surrendered. The attack was quite unexpected, and the fog was certainly to our advantage. The enemy remained in his dugouts during the bombardment. He gave us very little occasion to use bombs as he readily came forward with his hands extended above his head, one would almost think this was one of his favorite P.T. exercises.
Most of the guns in LONE VALLEY got away they were aided by the fog and all that we could do was to open fire on them. We captured only three guns in this valley, three 4.2's south of RAT WOOD. HAZEL WOOD was captured without difficulty. The GREEN LINE was reached according to schedule and consolidation immediately commenced. On the left protective barrage at 8.20 am when the 4th Division passed through us to the second phase of the attack, this line was re-sited and ran from Q.25.B.40.80; to Q.20.A.40.10; We were in touch with the 35th Battalion on our left and the 18th Battalion who did not occupy their allotted front. The sector was organised into four Company Sub Sectors each with two Platoons in the front line and two in support. Battalion Headquarters were established at P.23.D.50.50; The re-organisation and refitting of the Battalion was carried out without delay.
The barrage was excellent, not a single short being reported. All ranks are most enthusiastic in their appreciation of the exceedingly fine work of our artillery. The movement forward of our batteries to assist in the second phase was splendidly carried out. Special mention too must be made to the good work of the 10th and 9th A.L.T.M. Batteries and the 5th and 6th A.M.T.M. Batteries. One expected to see many more enemy dead in the area, not more than 50 were seen. The enemy's resorting to deep dugouts and his good form in athletics accounted for this.
The enemy's artillery was surprisingly feeble. At no time was his fire effective. When he eventually did learn something of the situation he lost no time in beating a hasty retreat. In the early stages the tanks were no assistance, being behind our troops most of the time. When the visibility allowed the tanks to go forward they did excellent work. Only one tank reached the green line with our troops. When they did get in front they were handled to great advantage. Their effect on the enemy's moral greatly delighted our men. The supply tank formed our dump 300 yards in rear of our line. The value of getting such large supplies forward so early and saving of infantry carrying parties cannot be overestimated.
The work of our machine guns could only be heard. Their fire appeared to be well concentrated and undoubtedly must have been accurate. Only one means of communication was possible, namely runners, and they had very great difficulty in finding their way; On the fog lifting viability and telephonic communication was established. The liaison patrols with the 5th Brigade on our right did not function.
Seven officers, 500 other ranks were captured. This is a conservative estimate and much below the totals submitted by the Companies. 457 can be definitely accounted for these having passed through Battalion Headquarters. 4 x 4.2 Howitzers and 6 x 77 MM Guns. These were captured by Lieutenant: 3072 Frank Albert HUTCHINGS M.C. and party and were marked and tagged. This party worked in the Second Division's area and captured these guns just north of LA MOTTE-en-SANTARRE. On returning in the afternoon to ascertain the number they found, that the guns had been taken away. The remaining there were captured at LENA WOOD. 30 machine guns. Of these 16 have been sent to the HAMELET dump. We have not the numbers of the remaining 14, but the total of 30 is a low estimate. a number of our guns were removed by other units which did not take part in the attack. 1 x Anti-Tank gun. 10 light Minenwerfers, 2 medium minenwerfer, 1 horse, 2 typewriters, large quantity of shells, rifles, equipment, documents and war material.
Casualties 10 Killed in Action, 50 wounded.
(33rd Battalion Unit Diary)
8th August 1918.
Report of the Operation Conducted by the Battalion This Day. Headquarters 34th Battalion AIF. 8-8-18 ASSEMBLY. The Assembly March passed without incident and there were no casualties. The Battalion was in position for the assault at 3:25 am.
BARRAGE. The barrage opened at 4:20 am and was accurately placed. The enemy immediately fired single and double Red and Golden Rain Light Signals. The enemy's reply to our barrage was very ineffective but his Machine Gun fire was considerable during the early stages of the advance, but caused very few casualties.
LOCATIONS. Battalion Headquarters was located at P.16.c.1.7 before Zero, after Zero a temporary Headquarters was established at the Quarry at P.16.b.2.8 pending the report and the capture of ACCROCHE WOOD, from the two flank Companies.
THE ADVANCE. Owing to the dense fog observation was impossible and the tanks appeared to have great difficulty in keeping in touch with the direction. Runners were sent forward at 4:45 am to get in touch with the assault parties and at 5:15 am they brought back word from Captain: Albert Edward YATES 35th Battalion that his Company was through the Wood. Battalion Headquarters then moved forward through the wood towards CERISY VALLEY.About 150 stragglers of all Battalions including 3 Lewis Gun Teams were collected during the advance and formed into a Company.
Owing to the density of the fog and the obscurity of the forward position forward I deployed the Company and took them forward as far as GAILLY Line arriving there at 5:45 am. We later met a detachment of prisoners and were told by the escort that CERISY VALLEY was partially mopped up and most of the Units were moving forward to their objective. I than ordered all men of the 33rd and 35th Battalions to go forward to join their respective Units, and organised two posts with the men of the 34th Battalion, placing one in the enemy trench at P.24.b.3.3 (approx) and the other at P.18.d.0.7 (approx).
This latter post shortly afterwards established liaison with the 11th Brigade. The remainder of the Battalion assisted the 33rd and 35th Battalions in capturing and consolidating the GREEN Line. They were released from the GREEN Line between 9:45 am and 10:15 am and proceeded then to consolidate the GAILLY and RESERVE Lines as shown on map forwarded.
BOOTY. Owing to the conditions existing it was impossible to estimate the number of prisoner's captured by the Battalion as prisoners from the 3 Battalions were grouped to reduce the number of men required for escort. So far no estimate has been made of the number of Trench Mortars and Machine guns etc, captured in the area. Salvage operations are in progress and as soon as they are completed a detailed report will be forwarded. In the CERISY VALLEY one 21 cm and eight 7.7 cm guns were captured together with large quantities of ammunition.
Commanding Officer 34th Battalion AIF. (34th Battalion War Diary)
8th August 1918.
1: At about 1:00 am a halt was made a few hundred yards in rear of the assembly tape and hot cocoa was served out to the men. The approach march was over and the Battalion on the tape, which had been ably laid by Lieutenant WARLAND and his scouts by 2.30 am. The enemy was very quiet and we suffered no casualties before Zero hour which was at 4:20 am when the barrage opened and the advance commenced as per App 11. At 6:45 am the objective was reached by the most advanced troops and consolidation commenced. Tanks from the rear came forward and and formed up at the rear with the 4th Australian Division in artillery formation. At 8:20 am as the barrage lifted the whole line went forward through us as if on parade.
(35th Battalion War Diary)
18th August 1918.
Weather threatening but clearing, following project bombardment on our right, heavy bombardment followed. C.O. called on left headquarters. Our planes brought down enemy plane in flames but it dropped behind BRAY. C.O. visited posts. 3 O/Rs Killed 1 Officer Lieutenant: 10480 Robert WIGHT and 6 O/Rs wounded.
(34th Battalion War Diary)
21-22 August 1918.
"Zero Hour, August 21st, at thick fog lay across the front. The allied 3rd Army's Guns were clearly audible to the north. As reports filtered to the waiting Diggers, they learned that the Germans had been surprised, all objectives had been achieved and 2,000 prisoners had been taken. Because of the comparative ease of the victory of that first phase, it was decided to extend the second phase of the objectives. Gellibrand issued orders to continue the assault if the British 47th, on the Australian left flank, were successful and Bray was cleared. Unfortunately these orders, being last-minute, did not arrive at all units.
For the Australians their first active involvement in the action was planned for dawn on the 22nd August, at 4:45 am. Zt 2:20 am the Germans, possibly anticipating an attack, opened up with a barrage of artillery which went for an hour. The 33rd was being held in old trenches near Tallis Wood. It was a bright moonlit night, and officers and scouts laying tapes to mark the jumping off point could plainly see the advancing Battalions 800 yards away. A second enemy barrage fell at 4:00 am. This time the 33rd were caught on the Meaulte-Etinechem Road where they had assembled. The men flattened themselves as shells landed around them on the road., continually showering them with dirt. For some reason a forward German post asked their Gunners to lift their range, to the great relief of the 33rd, but it wasn't such a good move for the 3rd Division Machine Gunners who were formed up in the rear ready to cover the flanks, nor for the reserve 11th Brigade. Both reported casualties from the shelling. The 33rd had been lucky to receive only twenty casualties, the 35th a mere six.
The road, well behind the forward posts, had been chosen as the starting point for the simplicity's sake. These posts were withdrawn just before the opening barrage, which began on schedule. From there the 'creep' was slow, the barrage advancing only a hundred yards in four minutes. A number of phosphorous shells were dropped along the way to form a smoke screen, and this, combined with the dust and early morning mist, cut visibility to only ten yards. The enemy counter barrage was fired within two minutes of the opening, but before the area was taken the Germans had cleared out. The 33rd met with a few enemy Machine-Gun posts in the valley bottom, but these were quickly outflanked and subdued. A forward German Battalion Headquarters, of the 124th Imperial Reserves , was also captured, along with its commander, liaison officers, forty men and four Machine-Guns.
Shortly afterwards our own wounded commenced to arrive at the Dressing Station and the Regimental Medical Officer Captain: William Johnstone BINNS. and staff commenced to get busy. He was assisted by Battalion Pardre Chaplain: 12991 Walter Emra Kingscote BIRKITT who was an old field ambulance man. Lieutenant: 2559 Robert Horner FLETCHER- wounded by an aerial bomb - was the first officer to appear and he was able to give us some idea as how things were going. About this time word was received that Captain: Thomas William TOLLIS of C company and Lieutenant. Alfred Gordon FARLEIGH of B Company had been killed by shots from our own barrage".
(Never a Backward Step; Edwards 1996)
21st August 1918.
Midnight. Fighting Patrols out to exploit Green Area. Plenty of Machine gun Fire. Heavy Fog. Shelling increased, apparently enemy very nervous. 10:am Wire received French captured 10,000 Prisoners and was communicated to all ranks. 12:15. Our planes brought down a hostile balloon. Shelling lighter during the day, at night 10 minute shoot every 30 minutes till midnight. Casualties 5 Other Ranks.
22nd August 1918.
4.45 am. Operation commences, vide report on operation (B.M.33/259/2) of 23.8.1918) vide Appendix 10. Enemy counter attack commences and continues with the result that the English troops on our left (47th Division) and 12th Division farther to the North retreated before the enemy who was making only a half-hearted attempt to gain ground on their front. The Enemy's attitude during this advance was one of hesitation. He was apparently surprised at the English withdrawal for no apparent reason and seemed to suspect it as being somewhat in the nature of a ruse to draw him on. This is the observation of the C.O. Right Battalion who viewed the course of the action from his command post at L.18.a.2.3. The result of these operations was to leave the left flank of the Brigade entirely "in the air" as the English troops became very demoralized during the process of the counter attack - App.10
2.30 p.m. Verbal Orders received from 3rd Australian Division for the Brigade to undertake an operation involving the capture of Bray-sur-Somme and the subsequent exploitation to the Western bank of the Somme running North and South through Squares L.18. and 24.
4.p.m. Above operation postponed until tomorrow morning for the following reasons - Our line is within 150 yards of the Western outskirts of Bray which are known to contain many machine guns. The ground on which our front line lies is a glaces slope running Eastwards towards the village. Any movement of even an individual in the vicinity of our front line and for some distance in rear of our front line immediately provokes enemy small arm fire. It would be impossible to rush BRAY without a barrage. It would be equally impossible to barrage the Western outskirts of BRAY without the same time bombarding the area in which our front line lies.
If the operation were performed during the hours of daylight out troops emerging from the Eastern outskirts of the village would come under the direct observation and fire of all arms from the high ground in L.11. L.17. and L.23. and would undoubtedly be held up in the low ground in L.16.a.&c. There would be no advantage in holding a line in L.16.a.& c. and our troops would in all probability be compelled to evacuate it after having suffered many unnecessary casualties.
This operation is now to be undertaken tomorrow morning early under cover of darkness and with the assistance of an artillery barrage which will start on the Western outskirts of BRAY and creep through to the Eastern outskirts whilst the high ground in L.17. and L.23. is being bombarded by Heavy Artillery. The 11th Brigade will co-operate by conforming to our advance on our Northern Flank. This operation finally cancelled owing to enemy counter attack referred to in Appendix 10.
9th Infantry Brigade War Diary.
22nd August 1918.
3:45 am. Evacuated to Reserve Position in K.12.d., k.18.a and b. Enemy started to shell our lines with all calibers. 6:00 am. Three prisoners arrived and stated that the enemy expected out attack and were standing to since midnight. Identifications were normal and forwarded on to Brigade. 7:30 am O.K. received from front line. English troops on the Left Flank. 8:00 am Weather clear and hot. Prisoners 2 Officers and 40 Other Ranks put on stretcher carrying. Enemy artillery fire still very active. All objectives gained and troops on left in position. 9:00 am Artillery slackening and then temporarily ceased. Planes over our lines machine gunning. Men feeling effects of gas, severe abdominal pains.
7:00 pm. Order received from Brigade to move up as Imperial Troops were retiring on our Left Flank. 7:10 pm. Message received from 33rd Battalion asking for assistance and "C" Coy were sent along, "A" and "D" Coy's moved forward to Forward Support Line and got in touch with "B" Coy. The C.O. went forward to original Jumping Off tape but could not get any information. 9:00 pm "B", "C" and "D" Coy's arrived at 33rd. Forward Battalion Headquarters then went forward to reconnoiter, got in touch with the Coy's who had got in position. 10:30 pm Guides went back to Battalion Headquarters and Limbers came up with hot meals. Situation obscure as and retired to first objective. Our Left Flank 500 yards in the air "C" Coy linked up with our Support Coy on Left and Front Line on Right forming a Front Line.
23rd August 1918.
4:45 am Weather fine. Barrage fire on other side of the River. 10:00. Enemy bombarded Road at L.9.a. 11:10 am. Artillery fired on our Left Flank many falling short. 12:30 am. C.O. went to Brigade Headquarters informing Brigade of situation. 4:00 pm. Word received that the Brigade would be relieved that night. 6:30 pm. Colonel: HAMILTON of 39th Battalion, AIF came for particulars of relief. 7:00 pm. Machine Guns very active. 11:30 pm. 39th Battalion arrived, guides supplied but no Lewis Guns to hand.
(34th Battalion War Diary)
30-31st August 1918
On the northern flank the 3rd Division's attack had been arranged at short notice after a day exhausting to both infantry and artillery, and in the face of other particular difficulties. The timing of the attack was to be taken from the left where the 58th Division, somewhat further back than the 9th Brigade, started at 5:10 am behind a very slow barrage to attack Marrieres Wood. The 9th Brigade using the 33rd Battalion, started at the time arranged, 5:40 am, but the artillery had not yet received its orders and though it fired, the barrage was thin and machine-guns in the south-west corner of Road Wood stopped the 33rd.
One Company was late, but Captain: Walter John Clare DUNCAN. M.C. had swung his Company into its place. Major: Cedric Errol Meyer BRODZIAK. D.S.O. was now killed while referring to his map.But within twenty minutes the artillery greatly increased its fire. The 33rd were able to raise their heads. A private Private: 726 George CARTWRIGHT. V.C. stood up and from the shoulder fired at the troublesome German gunner and then walking forward shot him and the two men who took his place.
Next, covering his run by exploding a bomb shot of the trench, he rushed the gun and captured 9 Germans. The 33rd stood up and cheered him, and then advancing by two's and three's entered the wood. Private: 792 William Allan IRWIN. D.C.M an Australian half-caste, after attacking like Cartwright, was mortally wounded and Died of Wounds on the 1st of September 1918.
The 33rd was now considerably behind the 6th London (58th Division), having chased the Germans from Marrieres Wood, was held up by fire from Wary Alley which curved up the gully between the woods. Coming through the south Company Sergeant Major: 967 Louis John MATHIAS. D.C.M & Bar. cleared the Germans by fire from a Lewis Gun.
The 33rd now set to bombing up the old trenches leading up to the upper end of the 1916 Spur where the Peronne-Bapaume Road also ran through. On the nearer side of the road a German battery commander with his gun crews and some infantry was blazing with six field-guns into the Australian groups everywhere they left shelter.
From the southward side Lieutenant: 559 Edward Allen TURNBULL. and Lieutenant: William Alexander McLEAN. M.C. of the 33rd-the latter greatly helped by the leaders of the 10th Brigade Sergeant 1007 E E Walters. D.C.M, 39th Battalion and Corporal 5024 A V GRINTON. D.C.M, 38th Battalion, worked up and presently rushed the guns, the German Battery Commander fighting to the last with his revolver. He was shot by Lieutenant: 559 Edward Allen TURNBULL.
Captain: Walter John Clare DUNCAN. M.C. reaching realised that the old quarry beyond it was a commanding position and accordingly took it and 40 German prisoners and placed a post on its eastern rim. He then went back to Wary Alley, and finding some of the 6th London Regiment, got Captain: S T COOKE M.C, and 20 men to garrison the quarry while the 33rd lined the Bapaume Road on the right.
24 September 1918.
ST RADEGONDE Fine day. Working hours having been increased from three to four - the Battalion went for a two hour route march on the completion of the platoon tactics laid down in the syllabus of training. In the afternoon a cricket match was played between Headquarters and "B" Company, the former winning. "B" Company went in first, and after losing the first 4 wickets for 1 run knocked up 54 runs. Sergeant: P McMLEAN (30 Not Out) and Company Quartermaster Sergeant: 504 Hubert George McCROSSIN. (11) being the chief scorer. Headquarters then batted making 72. Corporal: 1432 William John FINNEY. M.M. (20), Lieutenant: 916 Robert Cecil KING. (12) and Private: 552 Frederick SHERWOOD. (11) being the principal contributors. Headquarters also defeated "A" Coy at Football by 14 to nil, and "B" Company defeated "D" Company by 11 - 6.
25th September 1918.
Fine day but very windy. In the morning the Adjutant, Signal and Intelligence Officer attended a lecture at Brigade Headquarters, on play fair code - the lecture being given by the Brigade Signals Officer. Training was carried out as per syllabus. A.C.O's Conference was held at Brigade Headquarters at MONT St QUENTIN at 8:30 p.m. when instructions were issued as per Battalion Operation Order No:109A.
27th September 1918.
Fine day. Preliminary Instructions were issued for the Battalion to move to CAPRONCOPSE and a billeting party under Lieutenant: 559 Edward Allen TURNBULL left on bicycles for the new area at 9:00 a.m. All day was spent in getting things packed up and ready for the move. At 7:30 p.m. the Battalion passed the starting point at L.26.d.8.7. Lieutenant: 559 Edward Allen TURNBULL met the Battalion at 8:15 p.m. and guided it to the new Battalion area at CAPRON COPSE -E.17.a.8.6. which was reached at 12:30 a.m. German Bombing Planes were overhead at work but no bombs were dropped sufficiently close to cause casualties. Only 5 shelters were available per company and the men had to make themselves as comfortable as possible in the COPSE which was chiefly composed of low scrubby bushes and barbed wire. On arrival an issue of Rum was served out and the tired men were very soon asleep.
28 September 1918.
CAPRON COPSE Cold showery day. The Commanding Officer and adjutant attended a Brigade Conference at E.12.c.7.5. at 11:00 a.m, but very little new information could be gained. It was learned however that the 27th AMERICAN Division had lost the ground they had gained the previous day and that the jumping off line for the coming operation was now in enemy hands. A Company Commanders conference was held at 3:00 p.m, after which the Company Commanders made a reconnaissance of the approach route for the following day, going as far as LEMPIRE ROAD. At 10:00 p.m. a large German Bombing Plane came over and was very soon caught by our search lights. Finding it could not get out of the rays it dropped it's Bombs and made for home, closely chased by one of our fighters. Private: 2271 Oliver ANDREWS "C" Coy was wounded in the hip by a falling machine gun bullet.
29 September 1918.
CAPRON COPSE & DOLEFUL POST Fine day. The barrage opened at 5:40 a.m. for the AMERICAN hop over. The Battalion was astir early and had breakfast at 7:00 a.m. The Approach march was commenced at 7:15 a.m. and operations were carried out as per c.o's Report on operations - September 29th - October 2nd 1918.
30 September 1918.
BENJAMIN POST & TRENCH SYSTEM Showery day. Operations were carried out as per C.O's Report on operations 29th September - 2nd October 1918. Duplicate Report, messages and maps in connection with this operation will be included in the October Diary.
(33rd Battalion War Diary)
10th October 1918.
The 3rd Division troops, some facing the Hindenburg Line, and others like the 9th Brigade still facing the southern flank, found their front strangely quiet. At 2:00 am the 33rd Sent out a patrol under Lieutenant: Harold James COLE to the edge of the Bony, but failed to find any Germans. At daybreak parties of the enemy were seen retiring. The Hindenburg Line was vacated. At this point the 33rd was relived and took no further part in the action. The troops were billeted at Citerene for a well earned rest while the war raged on, but the end of the conflict was in sight before the relentless, unstoppable allied advance.
The fighting 33rd had fought it's last battle.
24th October 1918. France: Picardie, Somme, Hallencourt.
Group portrait of the 9th Australian Infantry Brigade School.Identified left to right, Back Row: Sergeant (Sgt) B. Dowling; unidentified; Lance Corporal (L Cpl) H. H. Lambert; Sgt W. Tipping; Corporal (Cpl) W. Locke, 35th Battalion; Sgt R. Waddingham, 35th Battalion; Cpl G. McGilvay.
Third Row: Cpl J. ?McGovern; Cpl E. J. Patterson; L Cpl H. Hoffan; unidentified;unidentified; Corporal: 2133 Henry RANDALL, 35th Battalion; Sgt G. S. Johnson, 35th Battalion; Sgt H. M. York; unidentified; 148 Sgt Charles Henry Nunn MM, 34th Battalion.
Second Row: Sgt C. Kundsen, 35 Battalion; Lieutenant (Lt) Harold F. Wheen, 35th Battalion; Lt N. M. Timbrell, 35th Battalion; Lt Holdsworth, 35th Battalion; Lt W. L. Simpson, 35th Battalion; Major J. M. Hawkey MC, 33rd Battalion; Lt R. M. Shannon, 35th Battalion; Lt J. R. Paul, 33rd Battalion; Lt R. Matthews, 35th Battalion; Sgt Worrell, 35th Battalion.
Front Row: L Cpl O. Delamnic; L Cpl H. C. Cowan; unidentified; Cpl R. Cochran; L Cpl E. Rudolph; L Cpl E. A. Walkenhar; unidentified; Sgt Cummins, 35th Battalion.
24 October 1918. France: Picardie, Somme, Yonville
Group portrait of the Officers of the 9th Australian Infantry Brigade.Identified: Lieutenant (Lt) D. McNeill, 33rd Battalion (1); Lt H. G. Hayman, 33rd Battalion (2); Lt G. E. Hodges, 34th Battalion (3); Lt R. T. Kerslake, 34th Battalion (4); Lt L. R. O. Stahle, 34th Battalion (5); Lt W. Stewart, 34th Battalion (6); Lt C. S. Brandreth, 34th Battalion (7); Lt H. R. Mailer, 9th Trench Mortar Battery (8); Lt C. Parkes, 34th Battalion (9); Lt E. Fallick, 35th Battalion (10); Lt A. N. Jenkin, 34th Battalion (11); unidentified member of the 33rd Battalion (12); Lt R. C. King MC, 33rd Battalion (13); Lt E. A. Clarence, 33rd Battalion (14); Major (Maj) M. H. Cruickshank, 33rd Battalion (15); Captain (Capt) R. Sayers MC, 35th Battalion (16); Lieutenant Colonel L. J. Moorshead DSO, 33rd Battalion (17); Colonel (Temporary Brigadier General) H. A. Goddard CMG DSO, General Officer Commanding the 9th Brigade (18); Maj H. L. E. D. Wheeler, 34th Battalion (19); Capt R. C. Nowland, 9th Trench Mortar Battery (20); Lt G. J. P. Finlayson, 35th Battalion (21); Lt B. M. O'Connor MC MM, 35th Battalion (22); Lt E. A. Phillips, 34th Battalion (23); Lt H. J. Cole, 33rd Battalion (24); unidentified (25); Lt L. J. Jobson, 33rd Battalion (26); Lt H. C. Bale, 33rd Battalion (27); Capt A. S. McLean, 33rd Battalion (28); Capt J. L. Fry, 33rd Battalion (29); Capt H. H. Dixon, 9th Australian Infantry Brigade Headquarters (30); Capt S. A. Jackson MC, 3rd Divisional Headquarters (31); Capt J. G. Paterson MC, 9th Brigade Headquarters (32); Chaplain J. Calder, 9th Brigade (33); Capt R. V. Lathlean MC and Bar, 35th Battalion (34); Lt M. E. Lyne, 35th Battalion (35); unidentified (36); Capt N. S. Cains MC, 34th Battalion (37); Capt T. G. Gilder MC, 34th Battalion (38); Capt R. A. Goldrick, 33rd Battalion (39); Lt G. Halford, 9th Brigade Headquarters (40); Lt A. S. H. Gifford, 3rd Division Signals Company (41); Capt A. C. Carmichael, 33rd Battalion (42); Lt F. W. Howie, 3rd Division Signals Company (43); Lt E. D. Redfern, 35th Battalion (44); Lt D. L. McKenzie, 35th Battalion (45); Lt H. S. Wyndham, 35th Battalion (46); Lt A. Murray MC, 35th Battalion (47); Lt H. M. Buntine, 35th Battalion (48); Lt C. R. Cox MC, 35th Battalion (49); Lt F. Borrows, 35th Battalion (50); Lt E. J. Mountain MC, 33rd Battalion (51); Lt J. Garrett, 33rd Battalion (52); unidentified (53); Lt K. P. Stutchbury, 33rd Battalion (54); Lt H. R. McLeod MC, 34th Battalion (55); Capt C. E. Watson MC, 34th Battalion (56); Lt A. Gibson Farleigh, 34th Battalion (57); Lt D. F. Granter, 34th Battalion (58) ; Lt S. R. Nicklin, 34th Battalion (59); Lt T. B. Norman MC, 34th Battalion (60); Lt G. Barclay, 34th Battalion (61); Lt S. H. Hubbard, 34th Battalion (62); Lt C. J. Henry, 35th Battalion (63); Lt N. B. D'Arcy MC, 35th Battalion (64).
Marshal Ferdinand Foch's train arrives at Compiègne for the talks with German representatives, 6 November 1918. The next day, mistaken reports flashed around the world that an Armistice had been signed (Photo © IWM Q 58432)
11th November 1918.
We could now tell by the news in the papers that the war was practically over although we (The Third Division) was told to hold ourselves in readiness to proceed to the line again – the 1st, 4th, and 5th Australian Divisions being already on their way back to the line. On Monday 11th November 1918 (the day the Armistice was signed) we marched to Alleray for a hot steam bath and on passing through Airaides found all the houses decorated with tri colours and the church bells pealing and the Frenchies running about like madmen. We wondered what was wrong and halted in the main street for a rest. The Captain then told us (he had interviewed the Mayor who had received a telegram saying that the Armistice was to be signed) that the Armistice was to be signed at 11 a.m. that morning – it was then about 10 a.m. We gave three cheers and could scarcely realize that the war was over. When we arrived back at Warlus the news had already reached there and the town was decorated &c. Next day we had a holiday from drill to celebrate Peace. The bells of the old French church chimed day and night for several days. Most of us attended the Victory Mass at the Roman Catholic Church and we also had a great Thanksgiving service out on the parade ground. Some of the men broke camp and went to the neighbouring cities and some got as far as Paris. Many were "pinched" and put in clink (gaol) as they had no leave passes – others were caught and sent back to the Battalion.
I discovers a "Literary Work" record only for the 35th Battalion AIF, but that is all.
AUTHOR: Lieutenant: Mortimer Eustace LYNE : ADDRESS Sydney : TITLE OF WORK Deeds of the 35th Newcastle's Own : TYPE OF WORK Literary Work : APPLICANT Mortimer Eustace Lyne : DATE OF APPLICATION 8 Mar 1920 : DATE COPYRIGHT REGISTERED Not Registered : WORK ENCLOSED? No
D Harrower 2015.
No Man's Land