- 40th Battalion AIF
(Tasmania) [10th Infantry Brigade]
Formed Tasmania February 1916. Departed Hobart Berrima
1 July 1916.
- 1st Reinforcements departed Hobart Berrima
1 July 1916,
- 2nd Reinforcements departed Hobart Ballarat
8 August 1916,
- 3rd Reinforcements departed Melbourne Seang
Choon 23 September 1916,
- 4th Reinforcements departed Melbourne Port
Melbourne 21 October 1916,
- 5th Reinforcements departed Melbourne Ulysses
25 October 1916,
- 6th Reinforcements departed Melbourne Orsova
6 December 1916,
- 7th Reinforcements departed Adelaide Seang
Bee 10 February 1917,
- 8th Reinforcements departed Sydney Hororata
14 June 1917,
- 9th Reinforcements departed Melbourne Aeneas
30 October 1917.
Messines 1917, Ypres 1917,
Polygon Wood, Broodeseinde, Poelcappelle, Passchendaele,
Somme 1918, Ancre 1918, Amiens, Albert 1918, Mont St Quentin, Hindenburg
Line, St Quentin Canal, France and Flanders 1916-18
Ross Mallett (ADFA)
The 40th Battalion - First World War 1914 -1918
When the 3rd
Division was being formed in early 1916, the Tasmanian Command wished to
assist recruitment. It proposed that the State should have a battalion
comprised completely of Tasmanians, including officers.
It was approved after direct representations by the District Commander
and Parliamentary representatives.
Under the command of Col J E C Lord, the 40th Battalion departed Hobart,
July 1916 and arrived in France, November 1916.
Lt General Sir John Monash wrote of the 40th Battalion:
"The fact that it was
composed wholly of the men of a small island state, gave it a special
stimulus to the highest emulation of all other units. In no other unit
was the pride of origin and sense of responsibility to the people it
represented stronger than in the 40th".
The 40th Battalion suffered
casualties in the following conflicts.
Messines 7 June 1917
343 casualties (46 killed)
Battle of Broodseinde 4
247 casualties (50 killed)
12 Oct 1917
241 casualties (79 killed)
Trench warfare, Flanders -
470 casualties (66 killed)
Morlancourt 28-30March, 1918
214 casualties (46 killed)
Line 29-30 Sept
90 casualties (15 killed)
The Somme March 1918
493 casualties (146 killed)
At Passchendaele, wet weather and mud conditions made the last stages of
the third battle of Ypres one of the most terrible conflicts in the
history of war.
During two years of active service on the Western Front, 69 officers and
2,098 other ranks suffered casualties.
Frank Green, Company Officer and later Adjutant, yielded to the wish of
the whole battalion that he be its historian.
The glorious memory of the 40th Battalion has been recorded in his book "A
Record of the 40th Batt. AIF"
The 3rd Division was raised in
Australia early in 1916. The 40th Battalion was Tasmania’s
contribution to the strength of the division and it joined the
Victorian-raised 37th, 38th and 39th Battalions to form the 10th
The battalion embarked for the Western
Front in July 1916 and by December was serving in the trenches in
France. The 40th Battalion spent 1917 bogged in bloody trench warfare in
Flanders. In June the battalion took part in the battle of Messines and
in October the battle for Broodseinde Ridge. It was during this battle
that Sergeant Lewis McGee of B Company performed the act of valour that
earned him the Victoria Cross. McGee was killed in action eight days
later, one of the 248 members of the battalion killed, wounded or gassed
in the battle of Passchendaele.
The battalion spent much of 1918
fighting in the Somme valley. In March they met the German Spring
Offensive at Morlancourt. In August and September the battalion helped
to drive the Germans back to the Hindenburg Line. It was near Proyart in
August that Sergeant Percy Statton of the 40th earned his Victoria
At 11 am on 11 November 1918 the guns
fell silent on the Western Front. The November Armistice was followed by
the Peace Treaty of Versailles signed on 28 June 1919.
Between February and September 1919
the men of the 40th Battalion returned to Australia for demobilisation
and discharge. Text from AWM
- 475 killed, 1714 wounded (including
- 2 VC
- 1 CMG
- 3 DSO
- 22 MC
- 10 DCM
- 81 MM, 1 bar
- 9 MSM
- 26 MID
- 7 foreign awards