51st Battalion

From Our Contribution

51st Battalion
51st Battalion.jpg
Shoulder patch
51st Bn.jpg
Sheepskin vests worn to ward off the cold of 1916/17 winter. AWM photo P10550.056

Brief History

The 51st Battalion, Australian Imperial Force was raised at Tel-El-Kabir, Egypt, on 1 March 1916 from half of the 11th Battalion (veterans of the Gallipoli landing) and reinforcements of the 11th and 28th Battalions, all personnel being Western Australian volunteers. The Battalion was granted the colour patch chocolate brown over saxe blue.

The new Battalion was allotted to the 13th Infantry Brigade, 4th Australian Division with the 49th, 50th and 52nd Battalions, disembarked at Marseilles, France on 11 June 1916 and moved into the front line at Fleurbaix three days later.

The 51st Battalion's first major engagements with the enemy occurred at the ruins of Pozieres and Mouquet Farm during the period August - September 1916. During these engagements, the Battalion reached its objectives but was unable to hold the captured positions. In less than three weeks the Battalion had suffered in excess of 650 casualties. The Battalion then shifted to the quieter section of the battlefield in Belgium. There its major battle was with the rain and the mud and at one stage the Battalion was down to approximately 300 men due to the shocking conditions they fought in.

On the morning of 2nd April,1917, the Battalion along with the 50th Battalion attacked Noreuil, an outpost village near the Hindenberg Line. The attack was a success, but the Battalion suffered 239 casualties during the assault and subsequent defence of the village. The next major engagement of the 51st Battalion was the counter-attack at Villers Bretonneux on 24/25 April 1918, during which action the Battalion lost 389 men in just two days. Lieutenant C.W.K. Sadlier won the Victoria Cross for his valour during the engagement. For the action, the Battalion was awarded a total of 4l decorations. The depleted 52nd Battalion was incorporated into the 51st Battalion to make up the numbers for the rest of the war.

Battalion Personnel




















Battle Honours

  • Egypt 1915-1916
  • Somme 1916
  • Somme 1918
  • Pozieres
  • Bullecourt
  • Messines 1917
  • Ypres 1917
  • Menin Road
  • Polygon Wood
  • Passchendaele
  • Ancre 1918
  • Villers-Bretonneux
  • Hamel
  • Amiens
  • Albert 1918
  • Hindenburg Line 1
  • Hindenburg Line 2
  • Epehy
  • France and Flanders 1916-1918

Individual Honours


Information obtained from 51st Battalion Association[1]

For further information on the role played by this battalion during the war, see:

  • For King and Cobbers - 51st Battalion AIF 1916 - 1919 by Neville Browning

External Links