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Following Bullecourt, the Australians enjoyed a break from the front and were able to rest, refit, and train. At the end of July 1917, the British launched a major offensive in Flanders, at Ypres. Initial advances were successful but soon bogged down under stiffening enemy resistance and wet conditions. The ground became a morass. By September, the ground had dried, and the Australian divisions were brought in.

Three successful pushes – Menin Road, Polygon Wood and Broodseinde – in September and early October steadily drove the Germans back to the top of Passchendaele ridge. Through October and into November, wet weather and sheer exhaustion meant further attacks became hopelessly bogged down. Though the final ridge was eventually gained, no breakthrough was possible. Losses were horrendous on both sides. During the five-month campaign, almost half a million men were lost. The fighting in these weeks cost the Australians another 38,000 casualties.

Australian troops walking along a duckboard track near Zonnebeke in the Ypres sector, October 1917. In places, these tracks were the only way to pass safely over the all-consuming mud. E01235

Frederick Tubb

"My [company] has the place of honor on the right joining up the 8th Bn. Am handing this [diary] to Frank tonight. I must not take it into the line with me. I hope to enter up my future doings on this when we come out … With the very best love all my dear Folk I’ll conclude this. I have a very busy time ahead."

   Major Frederick Tubb, 7th Battalion, 12 September 1917

Frederick Tubb had won the Victoria Cross at Lone Pine in 1915. Now, having recovered from his wounds, he was back at the front. Wounded by a sniper while leading his men forward near Ypres on 20 September, Frederick Tubb was hit again by shell-fire while being carried to the rear, and died later that day. This diary entry on 12 September 1917 was to be his last. The remains were identified by the battlefield grave marker until his re-interment in Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery.


The grave of Major Frederick Harold Tubb VC. This cross was erected by his brothers, Lieutenant Arthur Oswald Tubb, Sapper Alfred Charles Tubb and Captain Frank Reid Tubb. P00735.014