Click to escape. Subject to Crown copyright.
Category:1st AIF/2nd Div/5th Bde

Click to go up one level

  • 20th Battalion AIF (New South Wales) [5th Infantry Brigade]
    Formed New South Wales August 1914. Departed Sydney Berrima 26 June 1915. 
    • 1st Reinforcements departed Sydney Berrima 26 June 1915, 
    • 2nd Reinforcements departed Sydney Kanowna 19 June 1915, 
    • 3rd Reinforcements departed Sydney Runic 9 August 1915, 
    • 4th Reinforcements departed Sydney Ballarat 6 September 1915, 
    • 5th Reinforcements departed Sydney Argyllshire 30 September 1915, 
    • 6th Reinforcements departed Sydney Euripides 2 November 1915, 
    • 7th Reinforcements departed Sydney Suevic 23 December 1915, 
    • 8th Reinforcements departed Sydney Berrima 27 December 1915, 
    • 9th Reinforcements departed Sydney  Runic 21 January 1916, 
    • 10th Reinforcements departed Sydney Orsova 11 March 1916, 
    • 11th Reinforcements departed Sydney Nestor 9 April 1916, 
    • 12th Reinforcements departed Sydney Ceramic 14th April 1916, 
    • 13th Reinforcements departed Sydney Ajana 5 July 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 Anchises 24 January 1917 
    • 20th Reinforcements departed Melbourne Suevic 21 June 1917, 
    • 21st Reinforcements departed Sydney Port Melbourne 16 July 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)

Click to enlarge

20th Battalion

The 20th Battalion was raised at Liverpool in New South Wales in March 1915 as part of the 5th Brigade. A sprinkling of the 20th’s original recruits had already served with the Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force (AN&MEF) in the operations to capture German New Guinea in 1914. The 20th left Australia in late June, trained in Egypt from late July until mid-August, and on 22 August landed at ANZAC Cove.

Arriving at Gallipoli just as the August offensive petered out, the 20th’s role there was purely defensive. From 26 August, until its withdrawal from the peninsula on 20 December, the 20th Battalion was responsible for the defence of Russell’s Top.

After further training in Egypt, the 20th Battalion proceeded to France. It entered the trenches of the Western Front for the first time in April 1916 and in the following month had the dubious honour of being the first Australian battalion to be raided by the Germans. The 20th took part in its first major offensive around Pozières between late July and the end of August 1916. After a spell in a quieter sector of the front in Belgium, the 2nd Division, which included the5th Brigade, came south again in October. The 20th Battalion provided reinforcements for the attack near Flers between 14 and 16 November, launched in conditions that Charles Bean described as the worst ever encountered by the AIF.

In 1917, the 20th 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 five 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.

The spring of 1918 brought a major German offensive. The 20th Battalion was one of many Australian battalions rushed to stop it, and it encountered some particularly severe fighting when ordered to attack at Hangard Wood on 7 April. With the German Army’s last desperate offensive defeated, the 20th participated in the battles that pushed it 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 of the war. It was disbanded on 20 April 1919.

  • 848 killed, 3143 wounded (including gassed)
  • Decorations

    • 1 VC
    • 1 CB
    • 2 CMG
    • 9 DSO
    • 1 MBE
    • 24 MC, 4 bars
    • 19 DCM, 2 bars
    • 103 MM, 6 bars
    • 6 MSM
    • 38 MID
    • 13 foreign awards

Statistics : Over 35 million page visitors since  11 Nov 2002  



 Search   Help     Guestbook   Get Updates   Last Post    The Ode      FAQ     Digger Forum

Click for news

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