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Our Gift To The Empire – 54th Australian Infantry Battalion 1916-1919

By: Ross St. Claire (503.2/35804)
Publisher: Supplier Print Service ISBN: 06464589

The 54th Battalion was formed in Egypt in February 1916. Its men represented most regions of NSW. The battalion had a premature and disastrous start at Fromelles in July 1916and did not lead another major attack until September 1918 at Peronne, where it earned two Victoria Crosses. During the intervening years it endured the horrific rigours of trench warfare and the European winters and took part in battles at Bullecourt, Polygon Wood and Villers-Bretonneux.

Of the 3000 men who served with the battalion 547 died on active servcie and a further 1736 were wounded, gasses or captured. The 54th Battalion’s seventy six per cent casualty rate exceeds that of the AIF and highlights the fact that the Australian infantry battalions took the brunt of the casualties

A number of attempts to write the history of the 54th Battalion were made soon after the Great War. Unfortunately they were not successful. Ninety years later it has finally been completed.

May 2008


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