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Category: Western Front

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Pozieres  11,500 casualties per kilometer

  • This page should be considered in conjunction with Somme 1916, which gives an overview. 
    • to go there.
Main Street, Pozieres before the battle. 

See below for after the battle.

The main street of Pozieres after heavy bombardment by the British and the Germans, looking towards Bapaume. Note the shattered remains of trees. Between 23 July and early September 1916, the 1st, 2nd and 4th Divisions between them launched 19 attacks on German positions in and around the ruins of Pozieres. The Australians suffered 23,000 casualties while advancing two kilometres; British and Australian artillery were no match for German artillery and machine guns. The German bombardment was the heaviest and longest lasting experienced by the AIF during the First World War.
The shattered back gardens of the village of Pozieres, seen from the Pozieres-Bapaume road. In the distance on the far right is 'Gibraltar', the German fortified observation post. In the foreground are sandbags from an Australian trench that was dug in the first attack. Between 23 July and early September 1916, the 1st, 2nd and 4th Divisions between them launched 19 attacks on German positions in and around the ruins of Pozieres.
The village of Pozieres as it was some months after the battle. The view is from the southern side of the main road looking southwards, east of the Copse. The grave is that of Captain I S Margetts, 12th Battalion. The large shell hole in the foreground is filled with water.
A view of the cross erected over a trench at Pozieres, in memory of the Australians of the 4th Battalion, AIF, who fell in the fighting on the Pozieres battlefield in August 1916. Added significance is given to the memorial by the fact that its location is above the trench from which the Battalion attacked and overlooks the Copse which was the first objective.
View of the Pozieres battlefield, taken from the Windmill. It was here that Australian troops were first engaged in serious fighting on the Western Front. Early in the morning of 23 July 1916, their great struggle for Pozieres commenced and continued right through to the end of the following month, by which time they had gained the village, and the ridge which the view embraces. The Australian force was relieved by Canadian troops, but they continued to fight alongside the Canadians for thirty six hours. They mixed together, fighting under each other's officers, until the Canadian Highlanders were well entrenched in the lines the Australians had won and held. "Nature, in her kindly mood, has hidden many a scar and many a grave on this historic and desolate area, which Australian valour and sacrifice has made a place of hallowed memory". In the centre is the 2nd Divisional Memorial erected by the 7th Field Company Australian Engineers in memory of members of the Division who fell in the operations of July and August 1916.

Café Pozieres in 2006

When I visited Pozières it was by accident as we had been to Thiepval to visit the British cemetery, we were on our way to Albert and stopped at the village for a drink in the café.

The owner is a descendant of the owner in ww1 and the Australian line went right through the café as well as the village! All his artifacts have been found around the village and fields. Just after we visited an article appeared in an English newspaper as a football used by the officers to determine the advance and also used when a truce was called to play soccer, was found by an old man in his grenier (loft) it joined the uniforms and other memorabilia in the café as well as all the artifacts he has in the garden which he has turned into a trench.

To actually see the helmets, so many piled up or used as flower pots, is heartbreaking. Some with bullet holes in them and everyone was a man. I cried.

Coral Luke, 6 July 2006


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