16th Battalion

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16th Battalion.jpg
Shoulder patch
16th Bn.jpg
16th Battalion men cleaning out a Gird Trench

Brief History

The 16th Battalion AIF was raised from 16 September 1914, six weeks after the outbreak of the First World War. Three-quarters of the battalion were recruited in Western Australia, and the rest in South Australia. With the 13th, 14th and 15th Battalions it formed the 4th Brigade commanded by Colonel John Monash.

When the 4th Brigade arrived in Egypt it became part of the New Zealand and Australian Division. The 4th Brigade landed at ANZAC late in the afternoon of 25 April 1915.

A week after the landing the 16th was thrown into the attack on Bloody Angle suffering many casualties. From May to August the battalion was heavily involved in establishing and defending the front line of the ANZAC beachhead, and in August the 4th Brigade attacked Hill 971. The hill was taken at great cost, although Turkish reinforcements forced the Australians to withdraw. The battalion served at ANZAC until the evacuation in December.

After the withdrawal from Gallipoli, the battalion returned to Egypt. While there the AIF expanded and was reorganised. The 16th Battalion was split and provided experienced soldiers for the 48th Battalion. The 4th Brigade was combined with the 12th and 13th Brigades to form the 4th Australian Division.

Its first major action in France was at Poziéres in the Somme valley. The battalion spent much of 1917 in Belgium advancing to the Hindenburg Line. The battalion, along with most of the 4th Brigade, suffered heavy losses at Bullecourt in April 1917, when the brigade attacked strong German positions without the promised tank support. In March and April 1918, the battalion helped to stop the German Spring offensive. The battalion participated in the great allied offensive of 1918, fighting near Amiens on 8 August 1918. This advance by British and empire troops was the greatest success in a single day on the Western Front, one that German General Erich Ludendorff described as '..the black day of the German Army in this war'. The battalion continued operations until late September 1918.

Battle Honours

  • Anzac
  • Landing at Anzac
  • Defence of Anzac
  • Suvla
  • Sari Bair
  • Gallipoli, 1915
  • Egypt, 1915-16
  • Somme, 1916-18
  • Pozières
  • Bullecourt
  • Messines, 1917
  • Ypres, 1917
  • Menin Road
  • Polygon Wood
  • Passchendaele
  • Arras, 1918
  • Ancre, 1918
  • Hamel
  • Amiens
  • Albert, 1918
  • Hindenburg Line
  • Epéhy
  • France and Flanders, 1916-18

Individual Honours

  • 3 Victoria Crosses (Pte Martin O'Meara, LCpl Tom Axford, Lt LD "Fats" McCarthy)
  • 2 Companion of the Order of Bath
  • 1 Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George
  • 12 Distinguished Service Orders and 1 bar
  • 25 Military Crosses and 5 bars, one second bar
  • 30 Distinguished Service Orders and 1 bar
  • 163 Military Medals and 12 bars
  • 5 Meritorious Service Medals
  • 50 Mentioned in Despatches and
  • 7 foreign awards.


History sourced from the AWM website. Accessed 29 Dec 2017.

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