9th Australian Infantry Battalion

Place Western Front
Battle Honours
Commanding Officers
Decorations 1 VC; 1 CB; 1 CMG; 5 DSO; 1 MVO; 34 MC, 2 bars, 1 2nd bars; 35 DCM; 152 MM ,11 bars, 1 2nd bar; 4 MSM; 1 Albert Medal; 52 MID; 5 foreign awards
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918
  • N.K. Harvey, From Anzac to the Hindenburg Line: the history of the 9th Battalion, A.I.F. (Brisbane: 9th Battalion A.I.F. Association, 1941).; C.M. Wrench, Campaigning with the fighting 9th (in and out of the line with the 9BN AIF) 1914-1919 (Brisbane, Boolarong Publications, 1985).
  • AWM4/23/26/1-23/26/52
Category Unit
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918
Unit hierarchy

The 9th Battalion was among the first infantry units raised for the AIF during the First World War. It was the first battalion recruited in Queensland, and with the 10th, 11th and 12th Battalions it formed the 3rd Brigade.

The battalion was raised within weeks of the declaration of war in August 1914 and embarked just two months later. After preliminary training, the battalion sailed to Egypt, arriving in early December. The 3rd Brigade was the covering force for the ANZAC landing on 25 April 1915, and so was the first ashore at around 4.30 am. The battalion was heavily involved in establishing and defending the front line of the ANZAC beachhead. It served at ANZAC until the evacuation in December 1915.

After the withdrawal from Gallipoli, the battalion returned to Egypt. It was split to help form the 49th Battalion and bought up to strength with reinforcements. In March 1916 the battalion sailed for France and the Western Front. From then until 1918 the battalion took part in operations against the German Army. The battalion's first major action in France was at Pozieres in the Somme valley. The 9th Battalion attacked on the extreme right of the line and it was during this action that Private John Leak won, with the bayonet, the battalion's only Victoria Cross.

In September 1916 the battalion was moved to Belgium where they served in and out of the front lines near Ypres. There, they were involved in training, trench repairs and maintenance as well as patrols and occasional raids. In early October 1916 they returned to the Somme just in time to spend the bitterly cold winter of 1916-1917 in the trenches. Throughout early 1917, they remained on the Somme as they followed the German retreat to the Hindenburg line, participating in fighting at Lagnicourt in April and at Bullecourt in May. Returning to Belgium in September, the battalion fought in major battles including Menin Road, Broodseinde Ridge, Poelcappelle and Passchendaele during the Third Ypres campaign. The battalion remained in Flanders in the Messines sector of the front into early 1918. Following the launch of the German spring offensive beginning on 21 March 1918, all five Australians divisions were despatched south to the Somme front. In mid-April, however, the 9th Battalion along with other units of the 1st Australian Division, was rushed back to northern France to help contain an enemy breakthrough aimed at the vital town of Hazebrouck. There they remained until August 1918.

Transferred south once more to the Somme, the battalion participated in the great allied offensive of 1918 and fought near Amiens on 8 August. The advance by British and empire troops was the greatest success in a single day on the Western Front, one that German General Erich Ludendorff described as "the black day of the German Army in this war".

The battalion continued operations until 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.

In November 1918 members of the AIF began to return to Australia for demobilisation and discharge. On 5 February 1919, the 9th and 10th Battalions were amalgamated.

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