1st Australian Division Memorial at Pozieres
The 1st Australian Division was raised on the outbreak of the war in August 1914. It fought at Gallipoli until after the Battle of Lone Pine in August 1915. It was then transferred to France in March 1916.
They took over the front line from 34th British Division on the morning of 20th July 1916. What became known as the Battle of Pozières Ridge was its first major battle in France.
Situated on the highest part of the plateau the village was heavily fortified with numerous machine gun posts including one later named by the Australians as Gibraltar on the western edge of the village. The assault on the village was started just after midnight on 23rd July 1916 and the Australians were soon in command of the edge of the village. Soldiers of the 2nd Battalion charged and captured Gibraltar in a rush during the afternoon.
Having breached the Germans’ defences the Australians were then subjected to three days of intensive bombardment. The Australians remained undeterred and pushed deeper into the village.
The Division was eventually relieved on the 26th July by the 2nd Division AIF.
The cost to the 1st Australian Division was over 5,000 men killed and injured. Some of the battalions (Notably the 48th) suffered particularly severely. Many of the fallen were never recovered due to the severity of the German shelling but Pozières British Cemetery is the last resting place of many of those who were killed in the taking of the village.