It would be difficult these days to find an Australian who hasn't heard of Gallipoli. What many Australians fail to realise is that after this bitter and bloody campaign against Turkey many of these same troops were sent to France to fight on the Western Front of World War I. It is here that they made a significant contribution to the defeat of the German forces who had invaded France in 1914.
It is hoped that in some small way the information presented here can provide a better idea of the contribution that these men and women made. Now that many Australians are visiting the battlefields of northern France we hope that it also serves as an informative guide to the locations and the history of the region. For those who are interested in the touring the area please see the 2001 and 2009 travel diaries. You can support this site by purchasing our 120+ page PDF eBook for only AU$7.95
|Anzacs in France (PDF eBook) -|
If you are planning on visiting the Australian battelfields of northern France we recommend the tours provided by Colin Gillard of www.anzac-tours.com.
For many that never returned may their memory live on through their deeds.
Lest We Forget.
Grave of Unknown Australian Soldier
Background to Australians on the Western Front
June 28, 1914 - Arch Duke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the throne of Austria- Hungary and his wife, were assassinated in Sarajevo the capital of Bosnia.
August 4, 1914 - Germany invades Belgium in plans to encircle and cut off Paris. Doing so they move through Belgium and northern France. The invasion of Belgium causes England to declare war on Germany.
August 12, 1914 - 100,000 troops of the British Expeditionary Force ( BEF ) are rushed to France. They are deployed in the North of France and Belgium ( near Ypres ). They stop the German advance at Mons and Le Cateau.
( Right-mouse click to zoom )
All sides are now forced to dig in on what became known as the the Western Front. It ran from the North Sea, at the port of Nieuport Belgium, 800 kilometres south to Switzerland.
The cost of these encounters was horrific. The British lost 2,368 officers and 55,787 men in the first battle of Ypres.
April 25, 1915 - Australian troops land at Gallipoli
December 19, 1915 - Australian commence withdrawals from Gallipoli
Victoria Cross awarded to 9 Australians during the Gallipoli campaign.
December 20, 1915 - At 4.10am last Australian leaves Gallipoli.
Australian = 8,709 Killed, 664 Officers and 17,260 enlisted wounded
New Zealand = 2,500 Killed, 5,000 Wounded
Prisoners < 70
Commander in Chief of British Expeditionary Force, Sir John French, replaced by General Douglas Haig.
Australians deployed to the Western Front
After escaping the horrors of Gallipoli, the Anzac troops were redeployed to France to fight the Germans. The only units not sent to the Western European front were the light horse which remain in the Middle East. By July 1916 there were more than 90,000 Australians on the Western Front, another 90,000 training in England while about 25,000 remained in the Middle East.