Click to escape. Subject to Crown copyright.
Category:1st AIF/4th Div/13th Bde

Click to go up one level

  • 52nd Battalion AIF (South Australia, Western Australia, Tasmania) [13th Infantry Brigade]
    Formed Egypt 1 March 1916 from the 12th Battalion AIF. 
    • 2nd Reinforcements departed Sydney Hawkes Bay 20 April 1916, 
    • 3rd  Reinforcements departed Brisbane Clan Macgillivray 1 May 1916, 
    • 4th Reinforcements departed Brisbane Boorana 16 August 1916, 
    • 5th Reinforcements departed Brisbane Seang Choon 19 September 1916, 
    • 6th Reinforcements departed Sydney Ceramic 7 October 1916, 
    • 7th Reinforcements departed Brisbane Marathon 27 October 1916, 
    • 8th Reinforcements departed Sydney Demosthenes 23 December 1916, 
    • 9th Reinforcements departed Sydney Ayrshire 24 January 1917, 
    • 10th Reinforcements departed Sydney Euripides 31 October 1917.  
  • Disbanded 16 May 1918.
  • Battle Honours: Egypt 1916, Somme 1916-18, Pozieres, Bullecourt, Messines 1917, Ypres 1917, Menin Road, Polygon Wood, Passchendaele, Arras 1918, Ancre 1918, Villers-Bretonneux, Amiens, Albert 1918, St Quentin Canal, Hindenburg Line, Epehy, France and Flanders 1916-18
  • Egypt, Western Front

by Ross Mallett (ADFA)

52nd Battalion

The 52nd Battalion was raised at Tel el Kebir in Egypt on 1 March 1916 as part of the “doubling” of the AIF. Approximately half of its recruits were veterans from the 12th Battalion, and the other half, fresh reinforcements from Australia. Reflecting the composition of the 12th, the 50th was a mix of men from South and Western Australia and Tasmania. The 52nd became part of the 13th Brigade of the 4th Australian Division.

After arriving in France on 11 June 1916, the 52nd fought in its first major battle at Mouquet Farm on 3 September. It had been present during an earlier attack mounted by the 13th Brigade between 13 and 15 August, but had been allocated a support role and missed the fighting. In this second attack the 52nd had a key assaulting role and suffered heavy casualties – 50 per cent of its fighting strength. The battalion saw out the rest of the year alternating between front line duty, and training and labouring behind the line. This routine continued through the bleak winter of 1916–17.

Early in 1917, the battalion participated in the advance that followed the German retreat to the Hindenburg Line, and attacked at Noreuil on 2 April. Later that year, the focus of AIF operations moved to the Ypres sector in Belgium. There the battalion was involved in the battle of Messines between 7 and 12 June and the battle of Polygon Wood on 26 September. Another winter of trench routine followed.

Utilising troops freed by the collapse of Russia in October 1917, the German Army launched a major offensive on the Western Front at the end of March 1918. The 4th Division was deployed to defend positions south of the River Ancre in France. At Dernancourt, on 5 April, the 52nd Battalion assisted in the repulse of the largest German attack mounted against Australian troops during the war. The German threat persisted through April, and on ANZAC Day 1918 the 52nd participated in the now- legendary attack to dislodge the enemy from Villers-Bretonneux.

The defeat of the German offensive had come at a cost though. Due to heavy casualties and a lack of reinforcements from Australia, three brigades were directed to disband one of their battalions to reinforce the other three. The 13th Brigade was one of these, and on 16 May 1918 the 52nd Battalion was disbanded. Text from AWM

  • 650 killed, 1438 wounded
  • Decorations

    • 2 DSO
    • 17 MC, 1 bar
    • 8 DCM
    • 88 MM, 1 bar
    • 1 MSM
    • 20 MID
    • 5 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