Australian Army Service Corps - 5th Division Train
From Our Contribution
The 5th Division was formed in Egypt during February 1916 as part of the expansion of the Australian Imperial Force infantry brigades. In addition to the existing 8th Brigade were added the new 14th and 15th Brigades, which had been raised from the battalions of the 1st and 2nd Brigades respectively. From Egypt the division was sent to France, where they served in the trenches along the Western Front. Divisional support units were raised at the same time and subsequently as suitable men were identified.
On formation in February 1916, the 5th Division joined II Anzac Corps, but their artillery pieces and trained staff went to France with the other Divisions leaving the 5th Division to recruit and train from the beginning, delaying their entry to France.
The 5th Division began arriving in France in July 1916, and at this time the Battle of the Somme was underway and going badly for the British. The three Australian divisions of I Anzac Corps, which had been acclimatising on the quiet sector near Armentières, had been sent to the Somme as reinforcements and so the 5th Division took their place at Armentières on 12 July 1916.
The result of this move was that the 5th Division, the most inexperienced of the Australian divisions in France, would be the first to see major action in the Battle of Fromelles, a week after going into the trenches. There they sustained very heavy casualties attacking the 'Sugarloaf Salient' and would be ineffective as a fighting force for some time afterwards (October 1916). Casualties numbered 5,533 in 24 hours, the greatest loss of lives in a 24 hour period in or history.
5th Division units participated in the Second Battle for Bullecourt; Polygon Wood; Villers-Bretonneux; Amiens; Mont St Quentin; Hndenburg Line.
Content for the history and honours sections has come from a combination of Wikipedia and the Australian War Memorial websites.
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