Regimental Colour : 19 Infantry Battalion

Unit 19th Australian Infantry Battalion
Accession Number RELAWM17023
Collection type Heraldry
Object type Colour
Physical description Cotton, Gold bullion thread, Silk, Velvet
Maker Unknown
Date made c 1920
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918

Regimental colour of 19 Infantry Battalion, AIF. The banner is made of green cotton and embroidered in silk on both sides with a crest. The crest features a wattle wreath surrounding the brown and green diamond shaped colour patch and surmounted by a velvet and gold bullion thread crown. Embroidered in gold bullion thread around the colour patch is 'NINETEENTH BATTALION'. Also embroidered on each side of the banner are ten yellow scrolls listing with the battle honours awarded to the battalion, 'SOMME 1916'18', 'BAPAUME 1917', 'PASSCHENDAELE', MONT ST QUENTIN', ' BEAUREVOIR', 'POZIERES', 'BULLECOURT', 'AMIENS', 'HINDENBURG LINE' and 'GALLIPOLI'. There is a gold bullion thread fringe around three edges of the banner and a gold bullion thread '19' is sewn in the top proper right corner of each side.

History / Summary

These colours were presented to 19 Battalion in the early 1920s. The battalion was raised at Liverpool in New South Wales in March 1915 as part of 5 Brigade. A large number of the 19th's original recruits had already served with the Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force (AN&MEF) in the operations to capture German New Guinea in 1914. The battalion left Australia in late June, trained in Egypt from late July until mid-August, and on 21 August landed at ANZAC Cove.

At Gallipoli the battalion participated in the last action of the August Offensive - the attack on Hill 60 - before settling into defensive routine in the trenches. From mid-September, until its withdrawal from the peninsula on the night of 19 December, the battalion was responsible for the defence of Pope's Hill. After further training in Egypt, 19 Battalion proceeded to France. It took part in its first major offensive around Pozières between late July and the end of August 1916. After a spell in a quieter sector of the front in Belgium, the 2nd Division, which included the 5th Brigade, came south again in October. The battalion attacked near Flers between 14 and 16 November, in conditions that Charles Bean described as the worst ever encountered by the AIF.

In 1917, the 19th was involved in the follow-up of German forces after their retreat to the Hindenburg Line, and was one of four battalions to defeat a counter-stroke by a German force, almost five times as strong, at Lagincourt. The battalion took part in three major battles before the year was out, second Bullecourt (3-4 May) in France, and Menin Road (20-22 September) and Poelcappelle (9-10 October) in Belgium. The spring of 1918 brought a major German offensive that the 19th Battalion helped to stop. For his actions during the fighting around Hangard Wood on 7 April, Lieutenant Percy Storkey was awarded the Victoria Cross. With this last desperate offensive defeated, the 19th participated in the battles that pushed the German Army ever closer to defeat: Amiens on 8 August, the legendary attack on Mont St Quentin on 31 August, and the forcing of the Beaurevoir Line around Montbrehain on 3 October.

Montbrehain was the battalion's last battle. The casualties of 1918, combined with long-term leave for 1914 enlistees, and dwindling new enlistments had sapped the strength of the AIF. On 10 October 1918 19 Battalion was disbanded to reinforce other battalions in the brigade.