55th Battalion

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55th Battalion
55th Battalion.jpg

Brief History

Formed in Egypt in February 1916 when it received approximately a half of the 3rd Battalion's experienced troops. The battalion was then made up with new men, recently arrived from Australia. It was assigned to the 14th Brigade of the 5th Division.

In June 1916 it was transferred to France and in mid-July they entered the trenches. Their first major action occurring at Fromelles where they served as a rearguard for the withdrawal of attacking elements.

They spent the winter of 1916-17 rotating in and out of the lines on the Somme before taking part in attacks on the Hindenburg Line when German troops withdrew to shorten their front lines. After providing defensive support for the second attack on Bullecourt in May, they moved north to the Ypres salient and took part in the Battle of Polygon Wood on 26 Sep 1917.

In early 1918 they were moved south from Messines to assist in the defence of Amiens, and they took up defensive positions north of Villers-Bretonneux. While the town fell to the Germans briefly, the 55th Battalion had held their ground. With the start of the Hundred Days Offensive, the battalion was not used until late August when they participated in the fighting around Péronne during the Battle of Mont St Quentin. Their final involvement came in the Battle of St Quentin Canal.

Withdrawn from the lines, their numbers diminished as men were sent home and they were combined with the 53rd Battalion in March 1919, with the amalgamated battalion in turn disbanded on 11 Apr 1919.

During its active service, the 55th Battalion suffered 1,835 casualties of which 507 were killed.

Battle Honours

  • Egypt 1915-1916
  • Somme 1916–18
  • Bullecourt
  • Ypres 1917
  • Menin Road
  • Polygon Wood
  • Poelcappelle
  • Passchendaele
  • Ancre 1918
  • Villers-Bretonneux
  • Amiens
  • Albert 1918
  • Mont St Quentin
  • Hindenburg Line
  • St Quentin Canal
  • France and Flanders 1916–18

Individual Honours

  • 1 Victoria Cross
  • 1 Distinguished Service Order
  • 1 Member of the Order of the British Empire
  • 24 Military Crosses with two Bars
  • 22 Distinguished Conduct Medals with one Bar
  • 72 Military Medals with one first Bar, one second Bar and one third Bar (a third bar is unique in Australian history - Pte Ernest Albert Corey a stretcher bearer)
  • 3 Meritorious Service Medals and
  • 24 Mentions in Despatches


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

External Links

Pages in category "55th Battalion"

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