12th Battalion

From Our Contribution

12th Battalion
12th Battalion.jpg

Brief History

The 12th Battalion was raised shortly after the outbreak of World War I as part of the Australian Imperial Force (AIF), an all-volunteer force raised for overseas service. It was raised from Tasmania, South Australia, and Western Australia. Following a brief training period, the battalion sailed aboard HMAT A2 Geelong to Egypt where it undertook four months of intensive training.

As part of the 3rd Brigade it participated in the covering force for the Gallipoli landing. After the initial landing, a stalemate developed around the beachhead and in August the Allies sought to break the deadlock by launching the August Offensive. As a part of this, the 12th contributed two companies to the diversionary attack on Lone Pine. The offensive failed, but the campaign continued and the battalion continued to serve on the Gallipoli Peninsula until early December when it was withdrawn to Lemnos Island for a rest.

In Egypt, during the reorganisation and expansion of the Australian forces, it contributed experienced men to form the nucleus of the 52nd Battalion.

After arriving in France, the 12th Battalion deployed to the Somme. The battalion's first major action in France was at Poziéres in July 1916. Later the battalion fought at Ypres, in Belgium, before returning to the Somme in winter. In 1917, the battalion returned to Belgium to take part the Third Battle of Ypres.

In 1918, the battalion helped to stop the German Spring Offensive that was launched in March and April. The battalion subsequently participated in the last Allied offensive of 1918, launched near Amiens on 8 August 1918. After Amiens, a series of advances followed as the Allies broke through the Hindenburg Line. The battalion continued operations until late September 1918 when it was withdrawn from the line for rest.

Following the end of the war members of the battalion began returning to Australia in November for demobilisation and discharge. The 12th Battalion was disbanded in 1919 having sustained casualties of 1,135 killed and 2,422 wounded.

Battle Honours

  • Anzac
  • Landing at Anzac
  • Defence of Anzac
  • Suvla
  • Sari Bair–Lone Pine
  • Gallipoli 1915
  • Egypt, 1915–16
  • Somme 1916–18
  • Poziéres
  • Bullecourt
  • Ypres 1917
  • Menin Road
  • Polygon Wood
  • Broodseinde
  • Poelcappelle
  • Passchendaele
  • Lys
  • Hazebrouck
  • Amiens
  • Albert 1918
  • Hindenburg Line
  • Epéhy
  • France and Flanders 1916–18

Individual Honours

  • 2 Victoria Crosses (Capt James E Newland, Sgt John W Whittle)
  • 1 Companion of the Order of Bath
  • 2 Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George
  • 5 Distinguished Service Orders, and 1 bar
  • 31 Military Crosses, and 2 bars, 1 second bar
  • 23 Distinguished Conduct Medals, and 1 bar
  • 132 Military Medals with 16 bars and 3 second bars
  • 5 Meritorious Service Medals
  • 59 Mentioned in Despatches and
  • 8 foreign awards


Content for the history and honours sections has come from a combination of Wikipedia and the Australian War Memorial websites.

External Links