11th Field Ambulance

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11th Field Amb.jpg
11th Australian Field Ambulance at Salisbury Plain, prior to their departure for active service in France. AWM photo P01213.001

Brief History

The 11th Field Ambulance was formed at Mitcham, South Australia on 1 Mar 1916 as a part of the Third Australian Division. Once raised the unit commenced training in the hills to the south of Mitcham. The unit embarked for England in four groups on different ships, the Suevic, Berrima, Wandilo and the Afric between 31 May 1916 and 30 Jun 1916. The first group arrived at Plymouth on 21 July 1916 and the unit was united at Salisbury Plain (Lark Hill Camp) for further training. The Unit spent four months in the Salisbury Plains area. On the 24 Nov 1916 the unit embarked at Southampton for France.

On reaching Le Havre they entrained for the forward zone on the afternoon of the 26th, three days later they disentrained at Bailleul. The unit then route marched for two and a half days before they eventually took over the Divisional Rest Station at Steenwerck. From here the unit undertook various duties in support of the Third Division. These duties included running sector medical posts and stations, operating Advanced Dressing Stations and running rest areas. The unit first casualties occurred while in the Le Bizet sector, when the enemy shelled the Advanced Dressing Station. Two cooks were badly wounded, one succumbing to his wounds a few days later on 7 Apr 1917.

During it’s time on the Western Front the Ambulance was involved in numerous areas and sectors including, Ploegsteert, Messines (No carry was less than 3 kilometers over shell-churned and trackless ground), Charing Cross (in this area doctors and personnel were also compelled to work with gas marks on), Ypres (Broodseinde Ridge, Passchendaele and Flanders Ridge), the Somme and Villers Bretonneux. The casualties were numerous, and the bearers had a very strenuous task evacuating them from the various posts.

In the final stages of the war the Ambulance was involved in the last Somme operations in 1918. From the time of its first casualty in April 1917 to the cessation of hostilities the unit experienced 19 killed in action, 56 wounded in action. As well as 41 men were gassed of which one subsequently died. The unit returned to Australia and was demobilized in 1919.


Individual Honours

  • 1 x Officer of the Order of the British Empire
  • 4 x Distinguished Service Order
  • 2 x Military Cross
  • 2 x Distinguished Conduct Medal
  • 31 x Military Medal
  • 2 x Meritorious Service Medal
  • 10 x Mentioned in Despatches


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