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Category:1st AIF/2nd Div/5th Bde

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  • 17th Battalion AIF (New South Wales) [5th Infantry Brigade]
    Formed New South Wales February 1915. Departed Sydney Themistocles 12 May 1915. 
    • 1st Reinforcements departed Sydney Themistocles 12 May 1915, 
    • 2nd Reinforcements departed Sydney Suffolk 28 July 1915, 
    • 3rd Reinforcements departed Sydney Runic 9 August 1915, 
    • 4th Reinforcements departed Sydney Argyllshire 30 September 1915, 
    • 5th Reinforcements departed Sydney Themistocles 5 October 1915, 
    • 6th Reinforcements departed Sydney Euripides 2 November 1915, 
    • 7th Reinforcements departed Sydney Suevic 23 December 1915, 
    • 8th Reinforcements departed Sydney Aeneas 20 December 1915, 
    • 9th Reinforcements departed Sydney  Runic 21 January 1916, 
    • 10th Reinforcements departed Sydney Star of England 8 March 1916, 
    • 11th Reinforcements departed Sydney Nestor 9 April 1916, 
    • 12th Reinforcements departed Sydney Ceramic 14th April 1916, 
    • 13th Reinforcements departed Sydney Kyarra 23 June 1916, 
    • 14th Reinforcements departed Sydney  Wiltshire 22 August 1916, 
    • 15th Reinforcements departed Sydney Euripides 9 September 1916, 
    • 16th Reinforcements departed Sydney Ceramic 7 October 1916, 
    • 17th Reinforcements departed Sydney Ascanius 25 October 1916, 
    • 18th Reinforcements departed Sydney Suevic 11 November 1916, 
    • 19th Reinforcements departed Sydney  Wiltshire 17 February 1917, 
    • 20th Reinforcements departed Sydney Beltana 16 June 1917, 
    • 21st Reinforcements departed Sydney Euripides 31 October 1917.

  • Battle Honours: Suvla, Gallipoli 1915,  Egypt 1915-16, Somme 1916-18, Pozieres, Bapaume 1917, Bullecourt, Ypres 1917, Menin Road, Polygon Wood,  Broodeseinde, Poelcappelle, Passchendaele, Ancre 1918, Hamel, Amiens, Albert 1918, Mont St Quentin, Hindenburg Line, Beaurevoir, France and Flanders 1916-18

  • Egypt, Gallipoli, Western Front

by Ross Mallett (ADFA)

17th Battalion

The 17th Battalion was raised at Liverpool in New South Wales in March 1915 as part of the 5th Brigade. It left Australia in early May, trained in Egypt from mid-June until mid-August, and on 20 August landed at ANZAC Cove.

At Gallipoli the Battalion participated in the last action of the August Offensive – the attack on Hill 60 – before settling into defensive routine in the trenches. For a short period part of the 17th garrisoned Pope’s Hill, but for most of its time on the peninsular the Battalion was responsible for the defence of Quinn’s Post, one of the most contested positions along the entire ANZAC front. The Battalion was evacuated from Gallipoli in December 1915.

After further training in Egypt, the 17th Battalion proceeded to France. Landing there on 22 March 1916, it took part in its first major battle at Pozières between 25 July and 5 August. The Battalion returned to the Pozières trenches for a second time, although in a reserve role, between 18 and 28 August. After a spell in a quieter sector of the front in Belgium, the 2nd Division, which included the 5th Brigade, came south again in October. The 17th Battalion was spared from having to mount an attack across the quagmire the Somme battlefield had become, but did have to continue manning the front through a very bleak winter.

In 1917 the 17th was involved in the follow-up of German forces after their retreat to the Hindenburg Line, and was one of four battalions to defeat a counter-stroke by a German force, almost four times as strong, at Lagincourt. The battalion took part in three major battles before the year was out, second Bullecourt (3–4 May) in France, and Menin Road (20–22 September) and Poelcappelle (9–10 October) in Belgium.

After another winter of trench duty, 17th Battalion helped to thwart the German Spring Offensive of 1918. With this last desperate offensive defeated, the Allied armies turned to the offensive and the 17th participated in the battles that pushed the German Army ever closer to defeat: Amiens on 8 August, the legendary attack on Mont St Quentin on 31 August, and the forcing of the Beaurevoir Line around Montbrehain on 3 October. Montbrehain was the battalion’s last battle. It was training out of the line when the armistice was declared in November 1918, and was disbanded in April 1919.

  • 845 killed, 2435 wounded (including gassed)
  • Decorations

    • 1 VC
    • 1 CMG
    • 7 DSO
    • 32 MC, 1 bar
    • 19 DCM
    • 127 MM, 11 bars
    • 10 MSM
    • 41 MID
    • 8 foreign awards


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Digger History:  an unofficial history of the Australian & New Zealand Armed Forces