Almost 100 years after the fighting at Le Hamel in France, a photograph from the Memorial’s collection has resurfaced to reveal a panorama of the village at the centre of one of the most significant battles involving Australian troops in 1918.
Photos, Film and Sound curator Jennifer Selby was reviewing images of Le Hamel that were taken shortly after the fighting on 4 July and depict Australian troops in the recently captured German positions on the hill known as The Wolfsberg – the present-day location of the Australian Corps memorial on the Western Front. The fighting at Le Hamel was the first major British attack in France in 1918. Carried out under the direction of the newly appointed commander of the Australian Corps, General Sir John Monash, the action involved two brigades of Australian infantry supported by US troops attacking German positions in concert with Australian and British artillery, tanks, and aircraft. The infantry took all of their objectives in just 93 minutes. While the battle was considered small in scale, the tactical lessons learned at Le Hamel influenced British operational planning for the Allied counter-offensive that followed the battle of Amiens on 8 August 1918.