The Headquarters of the 14th Battalion opened at an office at 178 Collins Street, Melbourne in the last week of September 1914. On 1 October it relocated to Broadmeadows Camp where the battalion's recruits, principally from Melbourne and its suburbs, were taken on strength and trained. With the 13th, 15th and 16th Battalions, the 14th formed the 4th Brigade commanded by Colonel John Monash. It embarked for overseas on 22 December and, after a brief stop in Albany, Western Australia, arrived in Egypt on 31 January 1915. In Egypt, the 4th Brigade became part of the New Zealand and Australian Division with which it would serve at Gallipoli.

The 4th Brigade landed at Anzac Cove on the afternoon of 25 April 1915. On 19 May the Turks launched a massive counter-attack. During this fighting Lance Corporal Albert Jacka of the 14th was awarded the AIF's first Victoria Cross. Jacka's leadership and courage became legendary within the AIF and he was eventually commissioned in the 14th Battalion, which came to be widely known as "Jacka's Mob". From May to August 1915 the battalion was heavily involved in establishing and defending the Anzac front line. In August, the 4th Brigade attacked Hill 971. The hill was taken at great cost, although Turkish reinforcements forced the Australians to withdraw. At the end of the month, the 14th Battalion suffered further heavy casualties when it was committed to the unsuccessful attack on Hill 60. The battalion served at Anzac until the evacuation in December.

After the withdrawal from Gallipoli, the battalion returned to Egypt. While there, the AIF expanded and was reorganised. The 14th Battalion was split and provided experienced soldiers for the 46th Battalion. The 4th Brigade was combined with the 12th and 13th Brigades to form the 4th Australian Division.

In June 1916 they sailed for France and the Western Front. From then until 1918, the battalion took part in bloody trench warfare. Its first major action in France was at Pozières in August 1916. Along with most of the 4th Brigade, the battalion suffered heavy losses at Bullecourt in April 1917 when the brigade attacked strong German positions without the promised tank support. It spent much of the remainder of 1917 in Belgium, advancing to the Hindenburg Line.

In March and April 1918, the battalion helped stop the German spring offensive. It subsequently participated in the great allied offensive of 1918, fighting near Amiens on 8 August 1918. This 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. In November 1918, members of the AIF began to return Australia for demobilisation and discharge.

Colour Patch

Colour patch for 14th Battalion

Glossary

Battle Honours

Battle Honours source: Australian Army Orders (112), 1927. Army Head-Quarters, 9 March 1927. 'Award of Battle Honours for the Great War to Cavalry and Infantry Units.'

Casualties

  • 915 killed, 2229 wounded (including gassed)

For more information please see the Roll of Honour, Wounded and Missing, First World War Nominal Roll and Embarkation Roll databases.

Commanding Officers

Decorations

  • 1 VC
  • 1 CB
  • 5 DSO
  • 1 OBE
  • 29 MC, 4 bars
  • 24 DCM
  • 132 MM, 10 bars
  • 7 MSM
  • 40 MID
  • 7 foreign awards

For more information please see Honours and Awards database

Collection Items

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References

  • AWM4/23/31/1-23/31/53
  • N. Wanliss, The History of the Fourteenth Battalion, AIF: being the story of vicissitudes of an Australian Unit during the Great War (Melbourne: The Arrow Printery, 1929).