|1 VC; 3 CMG; 4 DSO; 28 MC; 34 DCM; 92 MM, 3 bars; 8 MSM; 74 MID; 6 foreign awards
|First World War, 1914-1918
First World War, 1914-1918
3rd Australian Infantry Battalion
The 3rd Battalion was among the first infantry units raised for the AIF during the First World War. Like the 1st, 2nd and 4th Battalions it was recruited from New South Wales and, together with these battalions, formed the 1st Brigade.
The battalion was raised within a fortnight of the declaration of war in August 1914 and embarked just two months later. After a brief stop in Albany, Western Australia, the battalion proceeded to Egypt, arriving on 2 December. The battalion took part in the ANZAC landing on 25 April 1915 as part of the second and third waves and served there until the evacuation in December. In August, the battalion took part in the attack on Lone Pine. For his valorous action in defending Sasse's Sap at Lone Pine on 9 August, Private John Hamilton was awarded the Victoria Cross.
After the withdrawal from Gallipoli, the battalion returned to Egypt. In March 1916, it sailed for France and the Western Front. From then until 1918 the battalion took part in operations against the German Army, principally in the Somme Valley in France and around Ypres in Belgium. The battalion's first major action in France was at Pozieres in the Somme valley in July 1916. Later the battalion fought at Ypres, in Flanders, before returning to the Somme for winter.
The battalion participated in a short period of mobile operations following the German withdrawal to the Hindenburg Line in early 1917, but spent much of that year fighting in increasingly difficult conditions around Ypres. 3rd Battalion returned briefly to the Somme (Amiens) in April 1918, but returned north to Strazeele which was also under threat of being captured by the Germans. The 3rd Bn remained in this sector and took part in several operations in the area during June and July 1918. The battalion was then sent back to the Somme on 6 August and two days later took part in the Battle of Amiens, which German General Erich Ludendorff described as "the black day of the German Army in this war".
The battalion continued operations to late September 1918. At 11 am on 11 November 1918, the guns fell silent. The November armistice was followed by the peace treaty of Versailles signed on 28 June 1919.
Between November 1918 and May 1919 the men of the 3rd Battalion returned to Australia for demobilisation and discharge.