Click to escape. Subject to Crown copyright.
Category:1st AIF/3rd Div/10th Bde

Click to go up one level

  • 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.
  • Battle Honours: 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
  • England, Western Front

by 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 October 1917
247 casualties (50 killed)


Passchendaele 12 Oct 1917
241 casualties (79 killed)

Trench warfare, Flanders - 1916-1918
470 casualties (66 killed)

Morlancourt 28-30March, 1918
214 casualties (46 killed)

Hindenburg Line 29-30 Sept 1918
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"

40th Battalion

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 Brigade.

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 Cross.

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 gassed)
  • Decorations

    • 2 VC
    • 1 CMG
    • 3 DSO
    • 22 MC
    • 10 DCM
    • 81 MM, 1 bar
    • 9 MSM
    • 26 MID
    • 7 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