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  • 14th Battalion AIF (Victoria) [4th Infantry Brigade]
    Formed Victoria September 1914. Departed Melbourne Ulysses 22 December 1914. 
    • 1st Reinforcements departed Melbourne Berrima 22 December 1914, 
    • 2nd   Reinforcements departed Melbourne Clan Macgillivray 2 February 1915, 
    • 3rd Reinforcements departed Melbourne Runic 25 February 1915, 
    • 4th Reinforcements departed Melbourne Shropshire 20 March 1915, 
    • 5th Reinforcements departed Melbourne Hororata 17 April 1915, 
    • 6th Reinforcements departed Melbourne Wandilla7 June 1915,
    • 7th Reinforcements departed Melbourne Persia 10 September 1915, 
    • 8th Reinforcements departed Melbourne Makarini10 September 1915, 
    • 9th Reinforcements departed Melbourne  Hororata 27 September 1915, 
    • 10th Reinforcements departed Melbourne Port Lincoln 16 October 1915, 
    • 11th Reinforcements departed Melbourne Nestor 11 October 1915, 
    • 12th Reinforcements departed Melbourne Ceramic 23 November 1915, 
    • 13th Reinforcements departed Melbourne Demosthenes 29 December 1915, 
    • 14th Reinforcements departed Melbourne Ballarat 18 February 1916, 
    • 15th Reinforcements departed Melbourne Anchises 14 March 1916, 
    • 16th Reinforcements departed Melbourne Anchises 14 March 1916,  
    • 17th Reinforcements departed Melbourne Euripides 4 April 1916, 
    • 18th Reinforcements departed Melbourne Port Lincoln 4 May 1916, 
    • 19th Reinforcements departed Melbourne Miltiades 1 August1916, 
    • 20th Reinforcements departed Melbourne Port Sydney 7 September 1916, 
    • 21st Reinforcements departed Melbourne Nestor 2 October 1916,
    • 22nd Reinforcements departed Sydney Port Napier 17 November 1916, 
    • 23rd Reinforcements departed Melbourne Medic 16 December 1916, 
    • 24th Reinforcements departed Melbourne Ballarat 19 February 1917, 
    • 25th Reinforcements departed Melbourne Nestor 21 November 1917.

  • Battle Honours: Landing at Anzac, Anzac, Defence of Anzac, Suvla, Sari Bair, Gallipoli 1915,  Egypt 1915-16, Somme 1916-18, Pozieres, Bullecourt, Messines 1917, Ypres 1917, Menin Road, Polygon Wood,  Passchendaele, Arras 1918, Ancre 1918, Hamel, Amiens, Albert 1918, Hindenburg Line, Epehy, France and Flanders 1916-18

  • Egypt, Gallipoli, Western Front

by Ross Mallett (ADFA)

14th Battalion AIF

The 14th Battalion was formed in Melbourne in early 1914. It saw service at Gallipoli in 1915 and on the Western Front during 1916-18. The command of the 14th Battalion was given to a 45 year old solicitor from Melbourne, Lieutenant-Colonel R.E Courtney, a pre-war citizen soldier. He proved to be a capable administrator but wasn't robust enough to survive the rigors of active warfare. He collapsed after only five weeks at Gallipoli and was invalided home and saw no further action. He died in 1919.


Battalion details at a glance:
Origin State: Victoria
Division: 4th Australian Infantry Division
Brigade: 4th Infantry Brigade
Commanders: Lieutenant Colonel R.E. Courtney
Lieutenant Colonel R. Rankine
Major/Lieutenant Colonel C.M.M. Dare
Lieutenant Colonel John Peck
Major E. Margolin
Lieutenant Colonel W. Smith
Major C.M. Johnston
Lieutenant Colonel H.A. Crowther
Victoria Cross Winners: Lance-Corporal Albert Jacka
Other related items: Battalion members killed in action.
Officers of the Battalion.

Lance-Corporal Albert Jacka VC

On 22 December 1914 the 14th Battalion left Broadmeadows camp, Victoria at 11am and proceeded by train to Melbourne. The Battalion boarded the HMAT Ulysses (15,000 tons) at 4.30pm and sailed at 8pm on the same day. The ship arrived in Albany on the 27th December and waited for the other ships that would make up the Second Anzac Fleet.

The convoy carrying the 14th battalion arrived at Colombo at 8am on 13 January 1915, Ten days later they arrived at Aden and no shore leave was allowed for the Battalion. The convoy reached Port Suez on the 28th January 1915 and Port Said two days later. The battalion was disembarked at Alexandria the following day and the men were marched into a training camp known as Aerodrome Camp.

On the 11th April the Battalion packed up their tents at "the Aerodrome". They then marched from Heliopolis to Helmia railway station for a short trip to Alexandria. There they boarded the SS Seang Chong, a Rangoon trader of 5,000 tons. The Battalions reached Mudros Harbour on Lemnos Island on 15 April. They left Mudros harbour at 10am on Sunday 25th April and at 4pm the transport anchored near the ships that had landed the first wave earlier in the day.

Apart from a small group of 30 men, including Albert Jacka who landed at 7pm on the 25th, the Battalion went ashore at Gallipoli at 10.30am on the 26th April. Sergeant Murphy, landing with Jacka on the 25th, was shot dead on the way over from the troopship, becoming the Battalions first loss due to combat. Many more were to follow before the war was to end. Not long after landing they were ordered to Courtney's Post.

It was noteworthy that some of the best men in the trenches were those
who had given the most trouble during the period of training

Albert Jacka became the first person to win the Victoria Cross when the battalion was engaged at Courtney's Post on the 19-20 May 1915.

The Battalion was granted four days leave on Imbros Island between the 11th and 15th July. The change of food was too much for the men's systems and many were reported ill. Returning to Gallipoli, the battalion was heavily involved in the breakout attempted by the allied troops in August 1915. By the 29th August the Battalion had been reduced to only 192 men fit for duty.

The battalion finally left Gallipoli on the 18th December 1915. As they left they passed by the grave of Rev A Gillison, the much loved chaplain of the Battalion who was killed in the August offensives that almost wiped out the Battalion.

At full strength the 14th Battalion held about 800 men, yet over 2,000 passed through it's ranks on Gallipoli alone. During the war 42 officers and 1008 other ranks were killed in action. Albert Jacka noted in 1917 that there were only about 50 of the original members of the Battalion left.

Back in Egypt, the Battalion was split in half to create a second Battalion. Most battalions simply gave away two companies, but the 14th elected to pick the men individually. Company Sergeant Major Jacka had the job of picking the men who were to be transferred. The split was completed on the 4th March and the new recruits were received.

14th Battalion

The Headquarters of the 14th Battalion opened at an office at 178 Collins Street, Melbourne in the last week of September 1914. On 1 October it relocated to Broadmeadows Camp where the battalion's recruits, principally from Melbourne and its suburbs, were taken on strength and trained. With the 13th, 15th and 16th Battalions, the 14th formed the 4th Brigade commanded by Colonel John Monash. It embarked for overseas on 22 December and, after a brief stop in Albany, Western Australia, arrived in Egypt on 31 January 1915. In Egypt, the 4th Brigade became part of the New Zealand and Australian Division with which it would serve at Gallipoli.

The 4th Brigade landed at ANZAC Cove on the afternoon of 25 April 1915. On 19 May the Turks launched a massive counter-attack. During this fighting Lance Corporal Albert Jacka of the 14th was awarded the AIF's first Victoria Cross. Jacka's leadership and courage became legendary within the AIF and he was eventually commissioned in the 14th Battalion, which came to be widely known as "Jacka's Mob". From May to August 1915 the battalion was heavily involved in establishing and defending the ANZAC front line. In August, the 4th Brigade attacked Hill 971. The hill was taken at great cost, although Turkish reinforcements forced the Australians to withdraw. At the end of the month, the 14th Battalion suffered further heavy casualties when it was committed to the unsuccessful attack on Hill 60. The battalion served at ANZAC until the evacuation in December.

After the withdrawal from Gallipoli, the battalion returned to Egypt. While there, the AIF expanded and was reorganised. The 14th Battalion was split and provided experienced soldiers for the 46th Battalion. The 4th Brigade was combined with the 12th and 13th Brigades to form the 4th Australian Division.

In June 1916 they sailed for France and the Western Front. From then until 1918, the battalion took part in bloody trench warfare. Its first major action in France was at Pozières in August 1916. Along with most of the 4th Brigade, the battalion suffered heavy losses at Bullecourt in April 1917 when the brigade attacked strong German positions without the promised tank support. It spent much of the remainder of 1917 in Belgium, advancing to the Hindenburg Line.

In March and April 1918, the battalion helped stop the German spring offensive. It subsequently participated in the great allied offensive of 1918, fighting near Amiens on 8 August 1918. This advance by British and empire troops was the greatest success in a single day on the Western Front, one that German General Erich Ludendorff described as “..the black day of the German Army in this war...”.

The battalion continued operations until late September 1918. At 11 am on 11 November 1918, the guns fell silent. In November 1918, members of the AIF began to return Australia for demobilisation and discharge. Text from AWM

  • 915 killed, 2229 wounded (including gassed)
  • Decorations

    • 1 VC
    • 1 CB
    • 5 DSO
    • 1 OBE
    • 29 MC, 4 bars
    • 24 DCM
    • 132 MM, 10 bars
    • 7 MSM
    • 40 MID
    • 7 foreign awards

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